While we wait and hope that director Ernest Dickerson is able to attract the necessary funding to produce his adaptation of Octavia Butler’s 1984 novel “Clay’s Ark,” the filmmaker has secured financing for an adaptation of another novel, this one from Curaçaoan author, Frank Martinus Arion, titled “Double Play.”
The story centers on 4 men and a marathon game of dominoes they are all playing, which lasts from early morning until night, and which serves as a trigger for social, political and sexual rivalries, all set against a background of colonial unrest, in the 1970s (Curaçao was once a Dutch colony).
A longer description: “It is a hot Sunday afternoon in the village of Wakota on Curaçao, the largest island in the Netherlands Antilles. Four men are seated under the tamarind tree, playing dominoes: Booboo Fiel, taxi driver and layabout; Manchi Sanantonio, bailiff and owner of the biggest house in Wakota; Chamon Nicolas, convicted murderer with a secret fortune (no one may know that he owns several houses) and Janchi Pau, independent idealist. They play dominoes every Sunday, but this particular Sunday is different. There is trouble brewing. Booboo and Manchi lose one game after another. Booboo’s thoughts wander back to the night he spent at the al-fresco brothel of Campo Alegre and Manchi can’t get his partner to keep his mind on the game. Unlike other Sundays nobody’s telling juicy stories, instead all the talk is of politics.”
Despite the seemingly casual setting (4 men playing a marathon game of dominoes, and conversation), the book is said to be chock-full of tension and intrigue which affects them all in what is further described as a taut and ambitious tragicomedy.
Dickerson will direct from a script penned by Evan Jones and Alaric Alexander Smeets, with Lisa Cortes (producer or exec producer of Lee Daniels projects like “Precious,” as well as “Shadowboxer,” and “The Woodsman”) and Gregory Elias producing.
The film will be shot on location in Curacao, and will make full employ of the land and its people. Financing has been secured with casting underway, and filming set to begin in November.
Dickerson has spent the last decade directing mostly episodes of hit TV shows; I’m sure he’s looking forward to directing another feature length film after so long.