A couple months ago, my supervisor came into the office excited about a movie being filmed in town. Ethan Hawke had been spotted by the local paper at various locations: the zoo, Old Louisville, and nearby small towns.
“He’s filming and directing a movie about Flannery O’Connor,” my boss exclaimed. She loves O’Connor’s short stories.
I was intrigued. I have been a fan of Hawke’s since he appeared in Dead Poet’s Society. And over the years in other movies like Reality Bites. And he was recently a villain in Marvel’s Moon Knight. I have even read one of his novels. And of late, I’ve been a fan of his daughter, Maya Hawke, who plays Robin Bukley on Stranger Things. Yes, I admired Ethan Hawke as an actor and writer.
But Flannery O’Connor? I didn’t know much about . . . him. Oh, wait. Flannery O’Connor is a she? Years ago, when I first heard of O’Connor, I thought she was a man. I had heard of her famous short story A Good Man Is Hard to Find, but just never got around to reading it.
And now my boss is gushing about Flannery O’Connor. She encouraged me to read her short stories. Hmm. I’ve been meaning to. I try to read one or two classic novels a year. This would be an anthology of short stories, but that would count.
On Audible, I listened to her book A Good Man Is Hard to Find, one of her collections of short stories, which includes the titular tale, of course.
I was surprised how short stories written in the 1940s and 50s are still relevant today. She touched upon subjects like depression, murder and, most surprisingly, gender issues.
And also, her stories are dark, which I suspect is why my boss likes O’Connor so much. But one thing I noticed about this writer’s characters: they are hilarious. Until they’re not. I laughed out loud at the conversations between them.
She is a master at slowly turning her narrative from humorous to horrifying. The reader won’t notice until it’s too late. I noticed this about almost all her stories.
A quick perusal of the Wikipedia article on Flannery O’Connor reveals an interesting if not eccentric person. I can see why Hawke chose to direct this movie which will be called Wildcat. And also, IMDB shows Maya Hawke as playing O’Connor. Nepotism aside, from what I’ve seen of the junior Hawke’s performance on Stranger Things, she is an excellent choice for this role.
So, thanks to my boss, I’m a fan of Flannery O’Connor. I’m definitely going to be reading more of her work in the future.
And even without the connections the Wildcat movie has to my city, I am still interested in seeing it when it finally arrives in theaters.