Speaking on Friday night at the Dundee Literary Festival, alt-rocker, screenwriter and, lately, novelist Nick Cave* confirmed that a TV mini-series of his second book The Death of Bunny Munro is still in the works. And to play Bunny? "Ray Winstone is dying to do it".
The book actually began life as a screenplay, only morphing into a novel when the project went nowhere. Winstone has been on board since the beginning. "He really loved the script when we first handed it to him," says Cave. "He was really excited about it, and really distressed when it kinda tanked and never got made."
Bunny Munro is a little bit like the original Abel Ferrara Bad Lieutenant, if it was set in Brighton and Harvey Keitel was obsessed with Kylie. Bunny is a sex-addicted "cocksman", on a bleak road trip in a terrible car. A cosmetics salesman, his rounds take in underage girls, geriatrics, housewives and policewomen. At the heart of the story there's a father-son relationship with Bunny's nine-year-old boy, but it's buried beneath layers of horror and sleaze. And jokes.
What makes Winstone perfect for the role, Cave believes, has already been evidenced in The Proposition, where Winstone played the beleaguered Captain Stanley ("Australia: what fresh hell is this?"). "Ray let himself go for that particular part," Cave, who wrote it, explains. "He was drinking and kind of out of shape and looking pretty rough, but he had this kind of magnetism about him where all the women involved were weak at the knees when Ray was around. And when he speaks everyone cranes towards him: he has this kind of pull which is really extraordinary. It’s something to do with his ability to be really funny, and the kind of vulnerability he has going on. It was really pleasing to see him get out of those wide-boy roles into something where he showed this amazing side he has as an actor. The idea was that we set him up as a hard guy and then bit by bit dismantle him to show that he’s a quivering wreck underneath it all."
John Hillcoat "will be directing, hopefully", confirming Hillcoat's own assertion from late last year that "we’re going to try and wake up the BBC or Channel 4, and say to British television, look at HBO. I mean what the hell are you doing?”
And, Cave reveals, "we're trying to get another full-length feature film set up". Sounds like The Wettest Country in the World may not be quite as dead as we thought...
*who didn't sign Empire's treasured copy of Let Love In because he was only scrawling on books (we refuse to believe Cave isn't cool, so we're blaming over-zealous publicists).