Toronto: Dennis Lehane on Have-Nots Grabbing Pitchforks and Hollywood Movie Flops

The Drop
Courtesy of Toronto International Film Festival

The crime-genre writer is wary of box-office failures like Demi Moore's 'The Scarlet Letter'

Mystic River writer Dennis Lehane saw pitchforks while writing the script for The Drop, the Tom Hardy- and James Gandolfini-starrer that had its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival on Friday night.

Lehane told a Toronto press conference on Saturday that he is inspired as a writer by the eternal battle between the have and have-nots.

"I think it's a rigged game. It always has been. So I'm interested in the have-nots. Those are the people that I grew up with," he said.

Michael R. Roskam's The Drop stars Hardy as a Brooklyn bartender caught between cops and a crew of Chechen mobsters.

Lehane insisted have-nots express themselves with great pain, unlike faceless corporations that can take out opponents with a pen or a law.

"What you get is a Ferguson. So that's what I write about it," the novelist and Hollywood screenwriter said.

To ensure box-office success for his movie scripts, Lehane added he only works with creative players he respects. "The worst you will get is an honorable failure," he argued.

Without that control, Lehane said he risks an ignoble box office flop. "You fear The Scarlett Letter with Demi Moore. You fear where they just didn't get it," Lehane said.

"The only thing that movie was missing was a car chase," he added.

The Toronto Film Festival runs through Sept. 14.