I’m ashamed to say I’ve never actually read an Elmore Leonard novel, but I have watched Get Shorty, Jackie Brown, and Out Of Sight a combined 20-something times. It’s because of these movies that I’m very much in awe of Leonard’s talent, especially considering how in each of them, a very strong filmmaker (Get Shorty‘s Barry Sonnenfeld, Jackie Brown‘s Quentin Tarantino, and Out Of Sight‘s Steven Soderbergh) rides shotgun to the source material, occasionally offering his own direction but essentially letting the author’s style take the wheel.
from Get Shorty:
Chili watched the movie star hunch over, narrowing his shoulders. For a few moments he held his hands together in front of him, getting a shifty look in his eyes. Then he gave it up, shaking his head.
“I’m doing Shylock instead of a shylock. Okay, what’s my motivation? The acquisition of money. To collect. Inflict pain if I have to.” Michael half-closed his eyes. “My father used to beat me for no reason… Take the money I earned on my paper route, that I kept in a cigar box…”
“Hold it,” Chili said. “I was a shylock– what do I look like?”
“That’s right, yeah,” Michael said, staring at Chili, his expression gradually becoming deadpan, sleepy.
“You the shylock now?”
“Guy owes me fifteen large and takes off, I go after him,” the movie star said. “The fuck you think I do?”
“Try it again,” Chili said. “Look at me.”
“I’m looking at you.”
“No, I want you to look at me the way I’m looking at you. Put it in your eyes. ‘You’re mine, asshole,’ without saying it.”
“What’re you telling me, you’re tired? You wanta go to bed?”
“Wait. How about this?”
“You’re squinting, like you’re trying to look mean or you need glasses. Look at me. I’m thinking, you’re mine, I fuckin own you. What I’m not doing is feeling anything about it one way or the other…”
from Rum Punch (filmed as Jackie Brown):
He knew she was scared man, she had to be, but wasn’t acting like she was and it made him press his thumbs into her soft skin and tighten up on his fingers, wanting to know what she’d told them and knowing he’d have to take her close to the edge to find out. He said, “Baby, you got a reason to be nervous with me?” He saw her eyes close and open…
And felt what must be her hand down there touch his thigh, brush across it, and move on up and had to admire her using a female way of getting to him, liking it, yeaaah, till something else besides a hand, something hard, dug into him.
She said, “You feel it.”
Ordell said, “Yes I do,” wanting to grin, let her know he wasn’t serious and she shouldn’t be either. He said, “I believe that’s a gun pressing against my bone.”
Jackie said, “You’re right, You want to lose it or let go of me?”
from Out Of Sight:
Karen thought they’d put her inside and leave and she felt around to find her handgun, quick, the Sig Sauer, before they closed the trunk lid and she’d have to kick at it and yell until someone let her out. There, she felt the holster, slipped the pistol out and closed her hand around the grip ready to go for it, six hollow points in the magazine and one in the throat, ready to come around shooting if she had to. But now the one in the filthy guard uniform gave her a shove and was getting in with her– she couldn’t believe it– crawling in to wedge her between the wall of the trunk and her body pressed against her back like they were cuddled up in bed, the guy bringing his arm around now to hold her to him, and she didn’t have room to turn and stick the gun in his face.
The trunk lid came down and they were in darkness, total, not a crack or pinpoint of light showing, dead silent until the engine came to life, the car moving now, turning out of the lot to the road that went out to the highway…
His voice in the dark, breathing on her, said, “You comfy?”
The con acting cool, nothing to lose. Karen was holding the Sig Sauer between her hips. She said, “If I could have a little more room…”
“There isn’t any.”