English novelist C. P. Snow once observed, “Civilisation is hideously fragile…there’s not much between us and the Horrors underneath, just about a coat of varnish.” It is this theme that Lee Thomas so brilliantly explored in his 2011 novel “The German,” and which production company Loose Canon Films plans to exploit their screen adaptation, “Perpetual.”
Part “Fargo, part “Brokeback Mountain,” part “Stranger Things,” part “Mississippi Burning,” “Perpetual”, tells the story of small town tensions erupting into scenes of vicious vigilante vengeance as a sheriff hunts down a brutal killer who leaves Islamist calling cards in the remains of his victims, insinuating a private Holy War against America. As the town searches for answers, all eyes turn toward a reclusive foreigner, living in their midst. In a subtle, supernatural twist, the main character is not only Syrian and gay, but also immortal, blessed/cursed with eternal life.
“When I first read Lee’s novel when it was published back in 2011, I thought it was great… but kind of as a measure of how far society had progressed since the 1940s more than anything, says filmmaker Andy Collier of Loose Canon Films. “I believed we were (mostly) way beyond the kind of unashamed, mass hysterical descent into hatred and bigotry examined in the novel. But then Brexit happened. And then Trump happened. And the far right was suddenly emboldened, and the clock was suddenly wound back, and the book became chillingly topical again.”
Loose Canon Films partner Tor Mian adds, “In updating the novel to a contemporary setting, what we found most remarkable is how timeless these issues unfortunately are.”
“It was clear from the outset that Loose Canon understood my novel, ‘The German,’ and even though they’ve modernised the story, they have done so with great care and intelligence,” said author Lee Thomas of the adaptation of his novel. “Andy and Tor are smart filmmakers, and I think they’re going to do a fantastic job with the material.”
Out Canadian-British stage and screen actor Ross Mullan, now most famous for his role as the White Walker* on “Game of Thrones” (seasons 2 – 4), was the first to sign on and will play one of the deputies in the Sheriff’s team.
“When I first heard that Loose Canon Films were adapting the “The German” to the screen I was immediately captivated,” Mullan says. “Their decision to adapt it to our modern world is a stroke of genius. Never has there been a better time to address the core issues of prejudices and homophobia that are rife in its storyline. It is rare to find a thrilling story with such a strong political message. I am very much looking forward to being involved in the project.”
Not only the very modern western gothic horror story of a small town’s descent into racism, homophobia, xenophobia and resulting terror, “Perpetual” is also a blistering commentary on the insidious dark side of Americana.
“Perpetual will shoot next year in northern Utah, with the kind support of the Utah Film Office,” says Loose Canon’s Collier. “We are working to get this film together in record time, as we believe it’s a story that will have huge impact given the current political situation.”
“Perpetual” Full Synopsis
Summer 2018. A killer preys on the young men of a quiet western town. The murders are calculated, vicious, and they are just beginning. Sheriff Fran Rabbit and her men are baffled and the community she serves is terrified of the monster lurking their streets.
The only clues the killer leaves behind are painted trinket boxes containing notes written in Arabic, insinuating a private Holy War against America. As the panic builds all eyes turn toward a quiet man with secrets of his own. Ziad Al-Ahmadi fled Iraq in 2014. Once a brute, a soldier, a leader of Saddam’s genocidal Republican Guard, he has renounced aggression and embraces a peaceful obscurity.
But Ziad is haunted by an impossible past. He remembers his own execution after being exposed as a homosexual and the extremes of sex and violence that led to it. He remembers the men he led into battle, the men he seduced, and the men who betrayed him. But are these the memories of a man given a second life, or the delusions of a lunatic?
*Mullan played the White Walker who arrives on the horse at the end of Season 2 (most watched season finale in tv history since J.R. got shot says People mag.) and gets killed by Sam in Season 3.