Hostile Questions: Gregg Hurwitz
Posted by: Daniel Kraus
When Gregg Hurwitz isn’t banging out bestsellers like Trust No One, They’re Watching, and You’re Next, he’s writing screenplays and dabbling in comics featuring such obscure Marvel and DC characters as Wolverine and Batman. (Ha! A “bat-man”? No one’s gonna buy that, Hurwitz.) But methinks Mr. Busypants has spread himself too thin. While he’s busy adding up his admirers on his calculator watch, that’s when I strike.
Hostile Questioning powers, activate!!!
Just who do you think you are?
I’m a bourbon drinking, books-and-comics reading, voracious-appetite possessing, soccer-playing, center-fielding, white-water rafting, clackety-keyboard owning, smart-assing, jungle-hiking, steak-house patronizing, Rhodesian-Ridgeback owning, constantly traveling, often movie-going, stubborn-streak having, appreciatively overworking novelist, screenwriter, and comic-book writer. Also, I appear to like hyphens.
Where do you get off?
The Mulholland exit on the 405.
What’s the big idea?
The big idea is that thrillers can be just as compelling, just as entrancing, just as moving and sophisticated as any other form of narrative. They’re boiled-down tragedies, modern morality tales, social novels infused with adrenaline. I love writing about characters who’ve been smacked upside the head by an ethical dilemma, caught in the jagged teeth of a conundrum, stuck in a trap where the slightest movement only tightens the screws.
Look at that! Three metaphors in one sentence! (Do I get bonus points or sent back to eighth grade with a copy of Strunk & White?)
What I’m saying is this: People are interesting. And unpredictable. And what they’ll do under great pressure fascinates me. How intense, thrilling, horrendous circumstances can affect relationships fascinates me even more. We’re complicated animals, so let’s talk about it. Or at least let me talk about it for three hundred or so pages.
What is your problem, man?
Where to start? I can be intractable and argumentative and I have this recurrent pain in my throwing arm when I try to hit the cut-off man. I eat too much and sleep too little and don’t know how to sit still, but I’m working on it. As pertains to writing, I sometime have a hard time getting out of a story and back into real life. The hardest part for me, when things are going well, is stopping. I am also the least patient person I have ever encountered. Because of that, I wouldn’t want to go on a road trip with me. But I have to, every time.
Haven’t you done enough?
I hope not.
My new thriller, The Survivor, comes out August 21. It’s about Nate Overbay, a man at the end of his rope, who has crawled out onto the eleventh-story ledge of his bank building to end it all. Just as he’s about to jump, he hears gunshots. There’s a heist crew inside, shooting innocents. So rather than leaping to his death, Nate goes back through the window, picks up a gun, and— What? I’m talking too much? Okay, moving on…
I’m also doing a run on Batman: The Dark Knight (with über-artist David Finch) for DC comics. We’re in the middle of it now and it features the Scarecrow and a lot of psychology and stuff from Bruce Wayne’s childhood that made me cry once when I was writing it, but don’t tell anybody.
I’m writing a TV pilot for Sony/TNT based on my Tim Rackley novels.
And I just got brought on as the writer for a very cool movie called Careful What You Wish For that is noir and modern and cool as hell. Imagine if Kathleen Turner lived across the street from the kid in Disturbia. Kathleen Turner from Body Heat, that is, not Kathleen Turner when she played the dog trainer in Marley & Me. C’mon—you know what I meant. Why do you have to be so hostile?