Peanut butter and jelly, tequilla and lime, chips and salsa, me and Alex Skarsgård — these things just naturally belong together. And so, it seems, do Alan Ball and HBO. The cable network has just ordered another pilot from the divine Mr. Ball: All Signs of Death. Surprise, it’s a dark comedy! (I know you’d never have guessed.) The interesting part of the story is how this all came about. It seems Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels on which True Blood is based, gave Alan Ball a box of her favorite books and in the box was a book authored by Charlie Huston. Ball enjoyed the book and went on to read others and eventually met with the author, discovering along the way that he had worked with Huston’s wife (on his movie Towelhead). The two men became friends and at some point Huston mentioned that he’d like to have a series made from his book, The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death. Ball thought it would make a fine series and apparently so does HBO.
Described as a crime noir and lauded by Stephen King, the book is about a young guy who beomes a crime scene cleaner and gets mixed up in a murder mystery. There’s the inevitable femme fatale and the protagonist, with his unresolved issues, who cleans up others’ messes though he can’t deal with his own. Ball’s take on the tale is that “It’s not so much about the crime, it’s about the personal story of the central character and his journey back to being fully connected with his life after some very traumatic things.” In fact, the book description sounds so intriguing I’ve already ordered a copy.
No matter what draws Ball to death, I’m looking forward to the magic of another good pairing. Now if you’ll excuse me please, I have a date with a tall vampire at 9:00.