ELMORE LEONARD: “BUT DON’T TRY TO WRITE” Documentary explores the life, works, and legacy of author Elmore Leonard Releasing on public television July 2022
Elmore Leonard, author of more than 40 novels, is renowned in the literary community. From his westerns and early novels of crime based in Detroit and South Florida, right through his complex and virtually plotless later work, Elmore Leonard dissected an America whose founding sins have continued to haunt it all the days. Leonard’s depiction of America is as real as Twain’s Hannibal, Faulkner’s Mississippi and Steinbeck’s Monterey. The new documentary ELMORE LEONARD: “But don’t try to write” explores the prolific author’s legacy and his influence on generations of writers. Directed and written by John Mulholland and narrated by Campbell Scott, the program is distributed and presented by American Public Television (APT) and premieres on public television stations nationwide beginning July 1, 2022 (check local listings for airdates).
Author of more than 40 works, Leonard was especially known for his crackling dialogue and dark humor. Many of his novels were adapted for film and television, including Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Jackie Brown, and 3:10 to Yuma. The Hollywood Reporter ranked him No. 2 on their list of “Hollywood’s 25 Most Powerful Authors” in 2012, behind Stephen King (who once called Leonard “the great American writer”). From the 1980s through his death in 2013, he remained a top-selling writer.
Beyond being recognized as one of the finest crime novelists of the past half-century, Elmore Leonard is one of the most acclaimed novelists of the era. ELMORE LEONARD: BUT DON’T TRY TO WRITE explores why, tracing Leonard’s career, writing process and his influence. The documentary features exclusive images and previously unseen home movie footage, family photographs, and in-depth interviews with both literary experts and those who knew him well, including colleagues, family, and childhood friends.