×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

PopPolitics: ‘The Force’ Author Don Winslow on the ‘Insanity’ of Trump’s Return to a War on Drugs (Listen)

Don Winslow’s new epic novel “The Force” centers on NYPD detective sergeant Denny Malone, who leads an elite unit, waging a war on drugs, gangs and guns. Malone is both effective and corrupt, the kind of figure that raises moral questions of when the ends justify the means.

Fox already has snatched up the rights to the novel, published last week, with James Mangold directing and David Mamet adapting the book into a screenplay.

In an interview with Variety‘s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM, Winslow talks about how his own experience, working as a private detective in New York in the 70s, inspired this latest work, as well as how he’s long had the idea of centering one of his novels in the city.

“‘The French Connection’ — I can remember to this moment sitting in a big theater on Broadway in Times Square watching that film, and thinking, ‘Man, this is so exciting, and gritty and vivid. Wouldn’t it be great if some day I could make my living telling stories like this?'” Winslow says.

The Force” is set in the present day, against a backdrop of politically charged issues over police use of force and the war on drugs.

Winslow is particularly outspoken about the Trump administration’s approach to the drug war, having taken out a full-page ad in the New York Times on Monday in which he says that the president “wants to drag us back into one of the most catastrophic social policies in this nation’s history.”

“What Mr. Trump and Mr. Sessions have vocalized lately is a return to the worst days of the war on drugs, in terms of maximum sentences, arresting again for marijuana, and pushing for heavy sentences there,” Winslow says. “You would think that 50 years of futility, 50 years of policies that have only made things worse, you try something different.”

Listen below:

Winslow talks about his process of researching “The Force,” including interviews and conversations with cops, combing through court records and studying policing textbooks. After his success in writing on the Mexican drug war in novels such as “The Cartel,” Winslow as said that “cops are harder to penetrate that drug cartels.”

“They are more insular. It’s a more protective kind of society,” he says. “I can’t tell you how many cops told me,’ I only talk to other cops. Only other cops can understand me.’ And both professionally and personally, they have a longstanding habit of keeping things close, keeping things tight. Drug traffickers, particularly the ones you interview in prison, don’t have a lot to lose, and are more amenable to talking and telling stories.”

But Winslow says that once he established trust with NYPD officers, then “you could believe everything that they said. You could go deep with them in ways you never could with drug traffickers.”

Listen below:

Coal Culture

Michael Bonfiglio, director of the documentary “From the Ashes,” talks about the making of his project, which features interviews with displaced coal miners and others who are grappling with the health and environmental impacts of the 19th century energy source.

While President Trump decided to pull out of the Paris climate accords because of his belief that it would harm coal industry jobs, “From the Ashes” shows how the industry is still unlikely to see a rebound in jobs, given the mechanization of the business.

“The coal industry is not a huge employer, and replacing the jobs that the coal industry provides is not an undaunting task at all,” Bonfiglio says.

“From the Ashes” debuted on National Geographic on Sunday, but is available for free on streaming sites like YouTube, Hulu and Amazon until next Monday.

Listen below:

“PopPolitics,” hosted by Variety’s Ted Johnson, airs from 2-3 p.m. ET/11-noon PT on SiriusXM’s political channel POTUS. It also is available on demand.

More Biz

  • Director Dean DeBlois and online game

    'Dragon' Director Dean DeBlois and PUBG's CH Kim to Keynote 2019 VIEW Conference

    Dean DeBlois, director and executive producer of DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” and PUBG Corporation CEO CH Kim are the first keynote speakers announced for the 2019 VIEW Conference in Turin, Italy, in October. Since it began 12 years ago, VIEW, which stands for Virtual Interactive Emerging World, has continually [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Harvey Weinstein Accusers Near Settlement in Bankruptcy Case

    Attorneys in the Weinstein Co. bankruptcy case say they are getting close to reaching a settlement that would compensate Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct accusers. The company went bankrupt last year, as it faced hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and numerous civil suits on behalf of Weinstein’s alleged victims. The company sold to Lantern [...]

  • Ari Emanuel Endeavor

    Endeavor IPO Filing Offers Details of Company's Financials, Leadership Pay Packages

    Endeavor’s IPO filing Thursday offers a hard look at the company’s financial performance during the past three years during a period of rapid growth for the company that’s home to UFC, WME, Professional Bull Riders and a clutch of other assets. Endeavor is generating solid free cash flow from operations and healthy adjusted earnings for [...]

  • Rolling Stones Give up 'Bittersweet Symphony'

    Rolling Stones Give 'Bittersweet Symphony' Songwriter Royalties to the Verve's Richard Ashcroft

    UPDATED: Nearly 22 years after the Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony” was released, the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have assigned to Richard Ashcroft the songwriter royalties and rights from the song, which samples one of their compositions, and removed their writing credits. The news was first reported by the BBC and New Musical Express. [...]

  • Pamela Anderson

    Pamela Anderson Fears Julian Assange 'Won't Survive' Extradition to U.S.

    After previously speaking out in support of her friend and WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, Pamela Anderson doesn’t think he would survive an extradition from the U.K. to the U.S. “I hope he gets out of there, but I don’t think he’ll survive extradition. It can’t happen. It’s not even an option. We can’t have him [...]

  • Jane Austin SAG AFTRA

    SAG-AFTRA Secretary-Treasurer Jane Austin Running for President

    Jane Austin, the National Secretary-Treasurer of SAG-AFTRA, has become the third candidate for the presidency of the performers union, joining incumbent Gabrielle Carteris and Matthew Modine. Austin is running as an independent for the top post at SAG-AFTRA, which has 160,000 members. Carteris will seek re-election as the head of the ticket for the Unite [...]

  • Endeavor

    Endeavor Group Holdings Files for Initial Public Offering

    Endeavor Group Holdings, the parent company of talent agency WME, has filed to go public in a development that has long been expected. The company, which filed a Form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “EDR.” The number of shares [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content