Hubbub: Chuck Hogan, Bonus Interview

| Boston Magazine |

I read somewhere that when you’re writing your novels, you like to cast the characters as if it were a movie. So how do you think the producers did? In fact, I never do that — it’s my wife. When I write something, I give it to her. She reads it, lets me know what she thinks, and then she’s like, “I see this person and that person.” But she definitely mentioned Ben Affleck early on — and this is going back to 2003, I think — when I was writing it.

[sidebar]Oh yeah? Oh yeah, absolutely. She loves the cast now, and I certainly love the cast now. And I’ll say, as the person who created the characters, the actors really do seem to get it. It’s really exciting and really strange for me to watch.

So when you got to go on the set, you had lunch with Ben Affleck. How’d that go? Good guy? Great guy. Yeah, really good. He really gave his all to the movie, that was obvious. And in person he was fantastic. We talked throughout this whole craft services lunch in a tent full of people they set up near City Hall. They were relighting the scene, and we kept talking until we were the only two people in the entire tent. So it was great. I’m really lucky. I feel like he brought stuff to this movie that no one else would bring. He did a lot of research on his own. He went way over and above what 99.9 percent of filmmakers would do.

Like what type of stuff? Going to prisons, I know that. Interviewing a lot of bank robbers. Just stuff like that, really. It seems like, my impression from everybody there was that he was hands-on in every department — casting and location and everything.

Maybe there is something to having a Bostonian do the movie, since one of the cool things about your book is how local it is. You set scenes at really specific places, like Espresso Royale, Canestaro’s on Peterborough Street, the movie theater in Braintree. Yeah, yeah. Partly, when you’re working on a book, any shorthand is good. Putting stuff like that in lightens the workload a little. The other part is that it’s just fun. It’s really fun to think about things happening in places that you know well and just sort of immersing the story in those details.

My favorite part is when you have that chase scene on the C Line. It’s great because there are like 12 stops within three feet of one another, and the FBI agent gets pissed about it and commandeers the train. I think everyone who’s ever ridden the C Line has dreamed of doing that. Exactly. That’s a train I rode all the time and to be able to, in my mind at least, hop on it and take it over — it’s just fun.

One last thing, since you’ve also written vampire books. I’m not sure you realize this, but between those and the Boston books, you’re sitting on like the two hottest genres out there. If you could combine them to make a Boston vampire book, I think that would be gold. It’s funny because, as you say, The Town [as a novel] came out before The Departed, and [coauthor Guillermo del Toro] and I started working on these vampire books before Twilight and we just sort of ran into these things. But you’re absolutely right. I gotta hang up right now and get on that.