Toronto-based Middle Child Films will develop Vancouver journalist and screenwriter Mark Leiren-Young’s Leacock Award-winning memoir, Never Shoot a Stampede Queen, as a feature film.
The book engagingly describes Leiren-Young’s recollections of cutting his teeth a young reporter in the rough and rural Cariboo-Chilcotin region of British Columbia in the 1980s. The Globe and Mail described the book as “the Wild West mixed with Capone-era Chicago with a soupçon of Jim Crow Deep South segregation and an unsavory dash of perversion.”
“The great thing about this,” Leiren-Young says about the film deal, “is that the producer is the friend who made this book happen.” The author said that when producer Tony Wosk read the original manuscript several years ago, he “immediately abused me for abandoning it. Then he told me he only had one problem with it as a book. The original structure was completely chronological, so there was no sense the stories would get as dark as some of them do until almost 100 pages in.” Wosk encouraged Leiren-Young to begin with a dramatic incident and then flashback from there.
“I’m not sure I quite slapped my forehead like the guy in those old V-8 commercials,” says Leiren-Young, “but I’m not sure I didn’t.”
Middle Child has received funding for the option from Astral Media’s The Harold Greenberg Fund. Leiren-Young, who previously worked with Middle Child Films on the award-winning feature, The Green Chain which he wrote and directed, is adapting his book for film.
The Toronto-based film production company headed by producer Tony Wosk recently released The Samaritan, a neo-noir thriller from director David Weaver starring Samuel L. Jackson, Luke Kirby, Ruth Negga and Tom Wilkinson. In 2011 they released Leiren-Young’s The Green Chain, a faux documentary about the battle between loggers and environmentalists in a small British Columbia logging town. They are currently in production on a documentary about Canada’s forgotten comic book superheroes called Lost Heroes.