Will hidden animosities, demons and secrets kill completion of the lost John Wayne/James Dean film?
In “Impersonators Anonymous,” a new mystery thriller, a Hollywood producer takes the risk of her life to complete a film, but her face blindness masks reality
When actor Rick Lenz starred in John Wayne’s last movie, “The Shootist”in 1976, he asked Wayne about a rumor he’d heard that Wayne had done part of a film called “Showdown” with James Dean.
The question caught Wayne off-guard. He was silent for several seconds and suspected that Richard Boone, another actor who was notable for his roles in Westerns, had leaked news about “Showdown.” When Wayne asked if Lenz had ever worked with Boone, Lenz nodded yes.
Wayne paused again and said, “I don’t talk about that.”
Had Wayne confirmed the rumor? For 30 years, Lenz couldn’t stop thinking about it. In 2007, when the last person who could be hurt by the film had died, Lenz started writing “Impersonators Anonymous,” a mystery thriller prompted by “Showdown.”
The main character, 26-year-old Emily Bennett, an aspiring movie producer, becomes obsessed with completing “Showdown,” which requires using emerging computer technology and doubles who are almost dead ringers for Wayne and Dean. She stumbles into a love triangle with them, but doesn’t know who they really are because she suffers from face blindness, a brain disorder characterized by the inability to recognize faces. “All three characters emerge from their pasts, gifted but damaged,” Lenz said. “Young and ignorant, they refuse to believe they have power over their lives. Their vengeful ghosts inhabit their every decision, every passion and every dream.”
“Impersonators Anonymous” will appeal to movie buffs and to readers who love a juicy, emotional mystery. (Chromodroid Press, 2018, ISBN: 978-0-9996953-1-9, $16.99, available at RickLenz.com or by emailing RickLenz@RickLenz.com) Preorders will be available in August, 2018 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble …
The novel is also about re-dos – vaulting from the pain, cynicism, even the insanity of youth, onto a whole new track of being.
Lenz weaves the real John Wayne and James Dean into the novel too. They and the other characters find themselves in the titular showdown of their lives. Interwoven back-stories coalesce as they complete the film in a stormy, deadly climax that reveals their hidden animosities and demons.