David Lowery Talks about His Western Influences and Writing

By Jason Harris


David Lowery, the writer and director of Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, a movie about an outlaw portrayed by Casey Affleck, who escapes from prison and sets out across the Texas hills to reunite with his wife and the daughter he has never met. He wanted to do something that dealt with the archetypes of the western and outlaw genres. The westerns he finds himself loving are ones that have a different perspective.

“One of the first westerns that I loved was Lonesome Dove. It gave me a great appreciation of the genre and how rich it could be and how characters like this could live on the landscape.”

The western that showed him a deconstruction of the genre was Dead Man by Jim Jarmusch, he said.

Along with movies, even literature had an effect on Lowery. Cormac McCarthy is one writer in particular that affected him.

“When I read The Crossing when I was 19, it had a profound effect on me and pretty much changed the way I view not just literature, but storytelling in general.”

Lowery considers everything that McCarthy has ever written in the western genre some of his favorite literature, he said.

Lowery doesn’t have a writing process, but he does think that whatever his process is, it’s him just being lazy. He considers himself very lazy, which is what he thinks most writers are.

“I always put it off as long as I can and find other things to do, eventually the ideas I have in my head sticks around long enough that I just have to finally write it.”

He forces every idea through a trial by fire in his own mind before writing them down. If the idea is forgotten then it wasn’t worth writing down to begin with and the ones that stick around tend to get bigger and bigger, he said.

His choice of Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Affleck (Gone Baby Gone) and Ben Foster (X-men: The Last Stand) to star in his movie were his top choices for Ain’t Them Bodies Saints.

“It was a dream come true,” Lowery said about getting his three stars. “It was pretty remarkable.”

It felt to him that he and his three stars were friends and that they wanted to make the movie together, he said.

“I consider myself very lucky not only that they wanted to do the movie, but they brought that attitude.”

This is only Lowery’s second feature. His first feature was St. Nick, which was released in 2009. Along with these two movies, he has created “a lot of short films.”

He learned a sense of confidence from his first film.

“I need to stick to my guns and do what I feel is right for the project.”

Lowery would like to work with his stars again. He would also like to work with Brad Pitt.

“There are so many great actors. I admire so many different people. It really depends on what the project is,” he said about who he would want to work with and place in a movie.

The Book Shop is the Place for Readers

The Book Shop in Somerville, MA. welcomes Dennis Lehane and several authors of Pink Narcissus Press next week.

DlehaneOn Wednesday, May 15, author Dennis Lehane, who grew up in Boston, will be talking about his books and giving a Q & A at 7 p.m. A book signing will follow.

Since his first novel, A Drink Before the War, won the Shamus Award, Lehane has published eight more novels with William Morrow & Co. that have been translated into more than 30 languages and become international bestsellers: Darkness, Take My Hand, Sacred, Gone, Baby, Gone, Prayers for Rain, Mystic River, Shutter Island, The Given Day, and Moonlight Mile.

Morrow also published Coronado, a collection of five stories and his play of the same name, in 2007. Coronado has received stage productions in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and Genoa, Italy. Three of his novels — Mystic River, Gone, Baby, Gone, and Shutter Island — have been adapted into award-winning films.

His tenth novel, Live By Night, which was published last October, has just won an Edgar Award. The store will have tradesize paperback editions available for purchase as well as some of his other books.

On Saturday, May 18, a number of authors of Pink Narcissus Press will be at the bookstore at 3 p.m.

Pink Narcissus Press is a local publisher of quirky fantasy and other speculative fiction and is located in Auburn, Ma. The press is led by Rose Mambert along with the help of Bill Racicot. It’s novels and story collections boast authors from all over the world.

The May 18 event will feature these authors; Mambert from Auburn, Racicot from Medford, J.P. LaFond from Somerville, David Vernaglia from Providence, and Matt MacKenzie from Cambridge.

The Books Shop is located at 694 Broadway in Somerville.