Everyone's heard of the book 'The Ginger Man' right? It's set in Dublin, Ireland in post war 1947, written by J. P. Donleavy in 1955.
At first, it was banned from the Republic of Ireland and the United Stated of America for obscenity, blasphemous pornography and whatever other moral offences they could throw at this literature.
The book was written over 50 years ago but the main character Dangerfield is as irresistible as ever. And the great news is Johnny Depp loves the book so much he wants to star in the movie.
The production of this movie has been in the pipeline for a long time now, more than a decade, and recently Donleavy, who is in his 80s, even visited New York to meet with Depp in a bar to discuss it further.
Johnny Depp had also visited the author in Dublin too at one stage to work on the script enlisting Shane MacGowan for a part and selecting Laurence Dunmore (The Libertine) to direct. It is rumoured that Depp has offered to do the movie for free, such is his love of this book, but with the success of Pirates of the Caribbean, it has been temporarily shelved.
The novel is basically about a man of wit, intelligence, and flexible values who craves wealth but is innately incapable of working for it. He seems to crave peace but is hard-wired for bedlam, which he feels he is the victim of.
Socially there is a contrast of worldliness and middle-class respectability, with an anarchic or bohemian lifestyle. Donleavy criticises the middle-class by representing its falsehood and its money-grabbing persona in the character of Sebastian Dangerfield's main opponent and landlord Egbert Skully.
Sebastian Balfe Dangerfield, to be played by Johnny Depp if the movie ever gets made, is without a doubt a funny and desperate character. However many belly laughs this read gets, the drama and dread keep it from being a comic novel. This self-absorbed character is literally obsessed with the idea of his own death and the death of everyone else, rendering existence unreasonable.
One of the great comic sequences though, involves a drunken Dangerfield throwing a whiskey bottle at a bartender when he senses insult. He escapes the police on a stolen bike and hides out in his girlfriends place. "I want you to tell me how I can get away from evil in this world," he tells her. "How to put down the sinners and raise the doers of good. I've been through a frightful evening. Indeed my suffering has been acute and more."
Dangerfield is an American Protestant of Irish descent, commonly believed to be a fictionalised version of the author, but is more broadly based not only on Donleavy but a particular chap by the name Gainor Crist (Donleavy admits in 'The History of The Ginger Man') a fellow American emigrant at Trinity College Dublin, where Donleavy studied.
James Patrick Donleavy, born April 23, 1926 in New York City to Irish immigrants moved to Ireland in 1946 after serving his time in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
He lives in a country house on Lough Owel, in Mullingar which is in the county of Westmeath. He acquired Irish citizenship, choosing to reside permanently in Mullingar where he still lives to this day.
As for Johnny Depp, we hope his wish comes true!
Grove Press copyrighted
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