Hard Boiled (updated with new image)
You can't imagine him without seeing Humphrey Bogart...
What I love about the performance and the character in the film is that for half the movie you don't know whose side this guy's on. Then there's a moment after he meets The Fat Man when he throws a fit and trashes the hotel room, storming out to prove he means business and he wants in on the action. The camera follows Bogart into the hall and out to the elevator. He pushes the button and looks down to find his hand shaking and he laughs at himself, as if to say "Wow, I can't believe I pulled that off" and you realize he's playing every other character off against each other to solve the case, to learn the truth...
And ultimately, that's what he wants... somebody killed his partner and even though the man was a fool, even though Spade didn't like him and was fooling around with his wife... even though Spade is head over heels passionately in love with one of the suspects, well... he's supposed to do something. That something turns out to be tricking a confession out of the woman he loves and handing her over to the cops that don't like him and don't trust him to face a death sentence.
A long time ago, I watched Bryan Ferry singing. He clutched his jacket closed around his chest while singing a love song and in that moment, the band, the lights, the crowd all went away. There was something so personal and lonely in that gesture that it stuck in my heart and wound up making its way into my work.
There would be a guy who would be holding his coat tight against the elements... on the job...searching, lonely, loyal and determined...
part Bogart, part, Ferry, with a little John Constantine thrown in... Constantine is a comic book wizard who usually winds up in trouble way over his head but can survive anything (He even survived that awful Keanu Reeves movie!)
Here he is in a Tarot card designed by the great Dave McKean. Don't let the title "fool" you. In the Tarot, the fool is the guy who makes things happen... he's the one who starts out on a perilous journey even if he doesn't know where it will end. He's the one who knows that he doesn't have all the answers, but he's unafraid to look for them. by stepping out on the path, he inspires movement in the universe to help him on his quest. He faces surprises and challenges, but ultimately succeeds and gains the knowledge he seeks... much like Spade and Spenser and Marlowe and McGee and all those guys who walk the mean streets of our dreamscapes.
Here's one of my latest versions of him... this year I've been dealing with people and their animals... I think we're more alike than different. Here he is having a flash of recognition, a glimpse of an old soul.
Lindsey thinks all my pieces are visions of myself... she's probably right.