Most writers would be thrilled to have their books adapted by David Simon and Ed Burns, the guys behind HBO's critically acclaimed cops-'n'-dealers show The Wire. But Evan Wright is not most writers.
“I never saw The Wire until after HBO bought my book,” he tells CityBeat. “To be honest, I'd been a reporter. I'd been to Afghanistan and Iraq. I wasn't home watching TV. Dude, I only got cable a couple of years ago.”
Still, after HBO snatched up the rights to Generation Kill, Wright's best-selling 2004 book about his experiences embedded with a squad of First Recon Marines during the early weeks of the Iraq War, he met with Simon and Burns, and the resulting seven-part miniseries, says Wright, is very similar to his own experiences.
“It does things differently, though,” he says. “In the book, I contextualize more. Say they're in a Humvee; there's a map that shows you where they are. In the show there's no context, so in that sense, the show is more realistic.
When we were in the Humvee, we didn't know what the fuck we were doing or where we were going, what the orders were going to be. It's very demanding on the viewer.”
Generation Kill, the TV show, hits the target, Wright says.
“It has the humor and the irreverence that is ever-present in the Marines,” he says. “And also the aspect of how you quickly go from nothing happening to being in a firefight, and then nothing again. War is a series of almost serendipitous, nonsensical, dramatic events that just happen to you, way before you can even process it or make sense of it. Shit just happens. I think the show follows that.”Generation Kill premieres on HBO Sunday, July 13, at 9 p.m.