“In the Electric Mist With the Confederate Dead,” a cult novel written by James Lee Burke, has been adapted into a screenplay and is now being directed by the great Bertrand Tavernier — his first English-language film since ‘Round Midnight — in Louisiana. The problem is that the movie is going to be called In The Electric Mist, which obviously doesn’t get it.
We all know that eight words don’t fit on a marquee but they should stick with the book title anyway because it sounds right. Chopping the title in half is a crude dumb-down procedure.
I’ve read the script, an atmospheric detective story about the hunt for a serial killer of women, and it’s very high quality. Tommy Lee Jones (who co-wrote the screenplay with Jerzy Kromolowski and Mary Olson-Kromolowski) is playing the lead role of Robicheaux, a small-town policeman and an ex-alcoholic Vietnam veteran doing the old Phillip Marlowe-Hercule Poirot routine. Peter Sarsgaard is playing an over-indulged Hollywood star who’s shooting a film in the area.