About The Production
"Just Another Sucker In the 1930's," British author Rene Raymond was inspired by the newfangled American literary genre of crime novels -- tough, relentlessly suspenseful entrees into the corridors of criminal and detective minds
"Just Another Sucker In the 1930's,"
British author Rene Raymond was inspired by the newfangled American
literary genre of crime novels -- tough, relentlessly suspenseful
entrees into the corridors of criminal and detective minds. Jumping
off from their dark-hearted themes, Raymond wrote a series of
thrillers under the pseudonym of James Hadley Chase, becoming
one of England's leading pulp novelists.
Energetic, provocative and filled with lost,
lusty characters caught up in bizarre love triangles and vicious
circles of crime, Chase's novels were noted for their imaginatively
rendered worlds and unrelenting suspense.
Still relatively obscure in America (the feature
Rough Magic is based on one of Chase's novels), Chase remains
a favorite across Europe. Thus it was that his comically titled
novel "Just Another Sucker" -- the story of a good man
trying to maneuver his way through an outrageously corrupt town
while getting trapped in a triangle of three irresistible women
-- caught the eye and imagination of Rialto Film's Matthias Wendlandt.
"The novel was true page-turner,"
he recalls. "I could see the entire movie playing out in
Wendlandt loved the story's dizzying twists
and turns, and in an unexpected twist of his own, brought the
book to director Volker Schlondorff.
Schlondorff is best known around the world
for his screen adaptations of serious, thematically rich literary
classics such as "The Tin Drum," "Swann In Love,"
"The Handmaid's Tale" and "Death of A Salesman."
PALMETTO is also an adaptation -- but from the other end of the
Schlondorff was attracted to the story because
it offered the suspenseful chills and thrills he himself likes
to see on-screen as a movie-goer. "When I go to the movies,
this is the type of stuff I most enjoy," admits Schlondorff.
"My friend [filmmaker] Bertrand Tavernier asked me why I
didn't ever make the kind of movies I like to watch myself, a
real 'movie' movie. I decided it was time to take a break from
the heavier subject matter and have a little fun."
Schlondorff found a great deal of fun in reading
"Just Another Sucker" and had just one request before
committing to the project: that the screenplay be penned by an
He explains: "While James Hadley Chase's
thrillers are all set in America, he never actually visited there.
To get the mood I wanted to convey on screen, I felt we needed
someone who could bring a purely American sensibility and ambiance."
With the aid of executive producer Al Corley,
they brought E. Max Frye onto the project. Schlondorff had admired
Frye's fresh, surprising script for Jonathan Demme's Something
Wild and wanted a similar feel.
Frye jumped at the opportunity. "I've
been a fan of Volker's work for a long time and we connected on
a creative level," says Frye. "There are so many wonderful
twists and turns in the Chase novel and I think I managed to bring
them across in the writing, as well as adding a f
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