Picking up where his acclaimed novels, Department Thirteen and Greco’s Game leave off, Dragon Head will take readers on an emotional, whitewater ride from the atmospheric streets of San Francisco to the exotic bustle of Shanghai, with Turner’s signature hero, former KGB Colonel Aleksandr Talanov, caught between an organized crime boss and the Director of National Intelligence in this “Bond-meets-Bourne-meets-Taken” story of survival, loyalty, and the meaning of family.
Utilizing heroes and villains encountered in his bestselling thriller, November Echo, Turner accepted the challenge to write the screenplay himself, having already authored several other scripts. “Dragon Head took me a year to complete,” Turner says from his home in Austin, Texas. “That’s because I took time to gather feedback along the way from professionals a lot more skilled in filmmaking than I.” That list includes directors Phillip Noyce and Bill Rahn, actors Adoni Maropis and Vanessa Ore, and Executive Director of the PAGE International Screenwriting Awards, Kristin Overn.
“These people were more than gracious to read Dragon Head. It was a huge favor … a sacrifice … a labor of love. Respecting their time and expertise means taking their feedback seriously. I did, and that led to several rewrites and edits of those rewrites. And that’s on top of all the other rewrites! A writer has to be a good listener, and be willing to consider feedback to the strengths and weaknesses of his or her story. Editors — and that’s what these people were in a very real sense — see what authors don’t — or don’t want to — see. That’s why it’s so important to have skilled professionals on your team.”
Turner will also serve as one of the executive producers for the project, where he will offer creative and marketing input.
“I’ve been asked whether my having a Russian as the story’s hero might turn away American audiences. I answer, ‘Not at all. No one is turned away by James Bond being British, or Jackie Chan being Chinese, or Pavel Chekov being Russian in Star Trek, or Natalia Romanova (AKA “the Black Widow”) being Russian in the Avengers, Iron Man II, and Captain America films [a role played by Scarlett Johansson].’ Plus, that’s the way it happened in real life, years ago, when I was a smuggler behind the old Iron Curtain. Those activities landed me on a KGB watchlist, which was not at all surprising. What was surprising was the heroic response of an actual KGB agent in Moscow, who leaked word to me through a network of secret contacts that I was being followed in San Diego, where I was living at the time. That act of heroism — he could have been executed for what he did — gave me the idea of a good-guy KGB agent who became a spy for America.
“And that is precisely what I have done in my Talanov thriller series of novels — created a Russian good-guy hero who has resonated with fans across America and around the world — and that is precisely what we are going to be doing for movie-going audiences with this film, which we hope will be the first in a successful franchise of films.
“Will Talanov and the Black Widow ever get together? You’ll just have to wait and see!”