September 11, 2008

Parker’s for Hire – in Hollywood

"Spenser" scribe Robert B. Parker, who has found a new career as a writer of westerns-gone-Hollywood, wore his sunglasses yesterday during a sit-down at the Four Seasons, where he promoted "Appaloosa."

The 75-year-old novelist joked that, in his new role as a "movie mogul," hiding behind the shades was quite appropriate!

"Appaloosa," which was directed by and stars Ed Harris, began as a screenwriting project for Tom Selleck, Parker said, but after the project fell through, he wrote it up as a novel.

"Waste not, want not," said the frugal Yankee, who grew up in Springfield and New Bedford. "I'm thrilled with the film. I think it was a wonderful movie. I have a tuxedo in case we have to go to the Oscars," he laughed.

The film, which will kick off the Boston Film Festival tomorrow at the Kendall Square Cinema, is set in the late 1800s in a small mining community of New Mexico, where a small but powerful group of outlaws controlled by a powerful rancher run rampant. They are brought to justice by a city marshal played by Harris and his deputy played by Viggo Mortensen.

Academy Award winners Renee Zellweger and Jeremy Irons round out the cast.

Parker said his favorite part of movie shoot was having his actor- son Daniel star in a scene with Ed Harris' father, Bob, who plays a judge.

"It's the nepotism scene," said the proud papa.

Parker, who is famous for his set-in-Mass. "Spenser" crime- fighting novels, said the western idea wasn't his. It was Selleck's. The actor had wanted to remake a Lee Marvin flick called "Monte Walsh." Selleck made it for TV back in 2003, but not with Parker's treatment. Hence, the recycle.

New Mexico doesn't hold much of a thrill for Parker.

"I have been in Massachusetts all my life. When I'm away from it for a while, I get homesick. I wanna see grime, I want to hear a bus, SOMETHING," he said.

Now that Parker's a movie mogul, he won't forget about his legendary mystery series.

"Oh sure, `Spenser' novels come out once a year. There will be a new one out in October," he said. "I do three or four novels a year, so if I drop dead now you'd have about two years of my stuff still to read."

CAPTION: Author extraordinaire Robert B. Parker at the Four Seasons yesterday. (Staff Photo by Ted Fitzgerald)

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