Now’s as good a time as any to take a little break from the storyline, just to reacquaint my multitudes of loyal readers with the characters in the serial e-novel, “Black Comedy.”
And I realize there may be one or two literate people in the interwebs universe who haven’t yet begun to read this magnum opus. Well, here’s your chance to get hooked; the first one’s free, kids.
So, let’s take a look at the characters who’ve already made appearances in the story and a few who may have been referred to but whose time to shine is coming up in future episodes. Oh, and I’ve provided an extra little treat. Naturally, I fully expect Hollywood to be knocking down my door to turn this thing into a star-studded blockbuster. [The fact that no producer or director has called yet is only proof that the acquisition strategies have begun; none of these savvy Hollywood moguls wants to tip her or his hand yet.] Therefore, after each character thumbnail description, I provide a photo of a movie actor who I believe would fit the part perfectly.
I’m certain that whenever the Coen Brothers, or whoever the winner of the massive bidding war might be, get their hands on this story, they’ll appreciate my casting input.
Here we go!
● Joey Dudek He opens the story, sitting in a tree after midnight, a pistol in his hand, waiting to ambush a black man who has somehow humiliated the Dudek clan in the all-white, middle-class Galewood neighborhood on the Northwest Side of Chicago. Joey is pudgy and a little slow. He’s never done anything to make his Daddy-o proud but maybe, just maybe, shooting this black man will be the crowning achievement of his young life.
Jonah Hill As Joey Dudek
● Anna Dudek Joey’s sister. Bright, aware, sensitive, curious about the outside world, she doesn’t belong in the Galewood neighborhood but she finds herself stuck there for a lot longer than she ever dreamed. She’s the first kid from either side of her family to go to college. Anna marries the gonzo underground journalist Anthony Pontone (see below), has a couple of kids, and then discovers the women’s movement. Oh, the troubles that follow!
Rebecca Hall As Anna (Dudek) Pontone
● Al Dudek Joey and Anna’s daddy-o. Grew up an only child in an alcoholic home in the old West Side Chicago Polish neighborhood immortalized by Nelson Algren. Al’s determination and hard work were keys to the success of his business, Big Al’s Meats. While it’s true he was single-minded and he worked long, long hours, his company thrived mainly because his brothers-in-law torched restaurants that wouldn’t do business with him. Shh! His wife, Tree (see below), doesn’t know he’s playing footsies with her mobster brothers.
John Turturro As Al Dudek
● Trescia Dudek Known all her life as Tree, she married the young, good-looking Polish boy, Al Dudek, mainly to get away from her abusive home in Little Sicily. Her Pa distilled bathtub gin for Al Capone’s operation. Her brothers Frankie and Louie ran with the notorious 42 Gang. Her Ma beat her at the drop of a hat. Tree came to despise everything having to do with Sicilians and the Mob. Had she known her husband was in cahoots with her mobster brothers she’d have brained him.
Winona Ryder As Tree Dudek
● Anthony Pontone Anna’s husband. The son of Chicago’s Mob capo, Tony The Fist Pontone, he strikes out in his own direction. He pledges to move heaven and Earth to change the world — until he discovers that the The Man is more than happy to beat his brains in (or even blow his brains out) if he gets too close to shaking things up. After the assassination of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, Anthony decides to become a househusband. That’s when Anna decides the house is more a prison than a home.
Shia LaBeouf As Anthony Pontone
● James Finnin Sr. Known to one and all as Mickey, he is Al Dudek’s best pal and, as the 36th Ward Democratic Committeeman, is Mayor Richard J. Daley’s (see below) man on the Northwest Side. Mickey, Al, and Tony The Fist Pontone (see below) form the business/politics/organized crime triangle that runs all aspects of life on the Northwest Side of Chicago.
Steve Buscemi As Mickey Finnin
● Jimmie Finnin Jr. Joey Dudek’s best pal, known as The Jungle Man. The two hated each other as little kids but Joey saved The Jungle Man’s life while the city was burning the day after Martin Luther King was assassinated. They’ve been inseparable ever since. The Jungle Man helps Joey concoct the plot to ambush the black man who has humiliated the Dudeks and all of Galewood.
Paul Dano As Jimmie (The Jungle Man) Finnin
● Julian Perdue Anna goes out into the world to find herself, but instead finds this man, a Vietnam vet, a failed musician, and the first black man ever to dare to live in Galewood. The neighborhood has a nervous breakdown when it discovers the presence of Julian Perdue on Natchez Avenue. Joey Dudek sees killing him as the key to earning his daddy-o’s respect.
Tristan Wilds As Julian Perdue
● David Pergler Like Anthony Pontone, David Pergler dreams of becoming a world-changing journalist. But he’s doing it from within the system. He sees his chance to become a big man in TV news when Julian Perdue moves into the Galewood neighborhood.
Michael Stuhlbarg As David Pergler
● Tony (The Fist) Pontone The Outfit’s front man. Tony The Fist, Al Dudek and Mickey Finnin rule Galewood.
Michael Lerner As Tony The Fist Pontone
● Eddie Halloran The hard-drinking, brawling, devoutly Catholic Cook County State’s Attorney. He could have been the mayor one day. But conspiring with J. Edgar Hoover turns out to be his downfall.
Vince Vaughn As Eddie Halloran
● Sal Sanfillipo A patrolman for the Chicago Police Department. He loves using brute force to right the world — witness the bulge in his crotch whenever he lays the lumber on a protester’s skull. His Natchez Avenue neighbors appreciate his defense of our holy land, even if he did once break his wrist on his wife’s jaw.
Ben Stiller As Sal Sanfillipo
● Alderman Rocco Bianco The face of 36th Ward politics. Rocco’s finest political skill is knowing when to say “D’at’s right,” to his City Hall or Outfit superiors. The alderman finds himself in a sticky situation when Patrolman Sal Sanfillipo recognizes him in a raid on a gay bar.
Michael Badalucco As Ald. Rocco Bianco
● Lenny LaFemina An eager and ambitious lawyer in the city’s law department, Lenny suffers a debilitating injury when he tries to tackle an anti-war protester. Wait’ll you see how he parlays that tragedy into triumph.
Jeremy Piven As Lenny LaFemina
● Mayor Richard J. Daley Black Comedy spans the Daley Dynasty’s reign. Richard J.’s and son Richard M.’s terms in office bookend the tale.
Oliver Platt As Mayor Richard J. Daley
The next installment of Black Comedy will appear here Thursday. Grab every chance you can to read it now because one day soon this’ll be the hottest property in Hollywood. Then you’ll have to pay a cool $25 for a movie ticket, a jumbo popcorn, and a Diet Pepsi if you want to know what happens next.
And to think you coulda read it here for free!
All fictional characters, descriptions and situations are the property of the author.
BLACK COMEDY by Michael G. Glab ©2013