Gloucester Feels a Touch of Fame

Colleen Brownley, Editor-in-Chief

Gloucester, Virginia has many charming qualities that make it an excellent place to live. However, one descriptor that most would not attribute to Gloucester is ‘interesting.’ This lack of excitement in the community is about to change, there is a movie whose setting is inspired by the town that is being made, based on a book by local author, S.A. Cosby. 

The book itself, Razorblade Tears, is about two ex-cons who go on a mission to avenge the death of their sons who were married whilst alive. The main characters themselves, Buddy Lee and Ike Randolph, have “little else in common other than their criminal past and a love for their dead sons” (Goodreads). Besides murder, another serious theme is displayed in the book: prejudice. Ike had some unresolved qualms about his son being gay and Buddy shared those same views on the sexuality of his child. However, Buddy isn’t just homophobic, he is also somewhat racist and that tends to spark some moments of conflict between him and Ike, given the fact that Ike is a Black man. As the story continues both Ike and Buddy are given the chance to grow and change from their close minded perspectives. 

A portion of the novel is based on S.A. Cosby’s own observations whilst growing up in the area of Gloucester county. Part of it is based on his “experiences working as a landscaper in the county” which can be shown in Ike Randolph’s profession as he has his own landscaping company within the storyline. Unfortunately, another portion of the novel that is based on Cosby’s experience living locally is the prejudice that the characters encounter. S.A. Cosby is a Black author and although he adores Gloucester he wants “to be honest and address difficult issues and there have been times I’ve seen or experienced prejudice.” Gloucester is a largely conservative and rural area, so it is not surprising that he has been exposed and undergone the type of bias and discrimination depicted in Razorblade Tears. Nevertheless, Cosby hopes that his work reaches out and “inspires people to have good conversations about those issues.” Another profound message Cosby hopes is taken away from his compositions is that “we all deserve to live the truth of our lives.”

The movie’s release date, location, and cast hasn’t been decided but S.A. Cosby was kind enough to relay what he knows about the adaptation so far. He doesn’t know whether or not a portion of the movie will be shot in Gloucester, but he stated that he would definitely appreciate it if a segment of it was. In relation to the cast Cosby expressed that the movie doesn’t have any official cast members yet, but if he had the opportunity to choose who would play Ike and Buddy Lee he would choose “Idris Elba as Ike and Mathew McConaughey as Buddy.”

The idea of such famous actors playing roles in a movie shot in Gloucester is almost unbelievable. But, it’s not as far-fetched and implausible as some might believe. The rights to the book Razorblade Tears, was bought by Paramount. In addition to a highly valuable and admired company creating the movie, many reputable people have joined the crew of the film. Sherman Payne “best known for the HBO Max original “Charm City Kings””  and works such as “Shameless” adapted Cosby’s novel into a first draft script (Variety). Now, “the directors Travon Free and Martin Roe are writing a second draft” (Cosby). Both Free and Roe are award winning filmmakers and will certainly do the project justice. Travon Free has worked with Cosby’s dream cast member Idris Elba before, even further proving that there is a chance for Elba and McConaughey to be currently being seriously considered for the roles of Ike Randolph and Buddy Lee. 

Cosby also spoke about his process while writing a project. Many articles online will inform readers of outlandish methods such as ensuring every time one writes to do it in the same exact spot as before or that one should create egregiously large and detailed outlines before even writing a single word of the story. But, S.A. Cosby simply writes a rough outline and uses that as a basis while constructing the book, which is a far more efficient way. Cosby takes about 9 months to produce a book to his liking. His advice for authors and aspiring authors is to find the “story only you can tell. Find that story and you’ll find your book.” 

Razorblade Tears is sure to capture audiences across the nation and it will definitely be a thrilling experience for the community if the movie is shot in Gloucester. And even if it isn’t, it’s exhilarating enough that our town has such a successful creator in our midst! S.A. Cosby “can’t wait to see it in a theater in” his own hometown and members of the community will certainly want to see it too. 


Full Interview with S.A. Cosby 

CEB: How much influence will you have over the movie itself?

SA: Well once you see the film rights you don’t have that much control over the movie, but the filmmakers have been very gracious to me and have asked for my input several times. 

CEB: How do you feel about the screenwriter, Sherman Payne, being signed on to the project?

SA:  Sherman wrote a really good first draft of the script and now the directors Travon Free and Martin Roe are writing a second draft so I’m grateful to Sherman for his contributions to the project. 

CEB: Do you believe in the common saying “the book is always better than the movie?”

SA: I think the book and the movie should be viewed as separate entities and allowed to exist on their own.  Both can be good!

CEB: What portions/parts of your book are you most excited to see on screen?

SA: There is a pretty funny scene in a bakery that I’m really excited to see. 

CEB: Is the movie already cast? If so, are there any big names you are permitted to reveal to the public? If not, who would be your dream cast to play some of the characters?

SA: No, the movie hasn’t been cast yet but if I had a dream list it would be Idris Elba as Ike and  Mathew McConaughey as Buddy Lee. 

CEB: Will some of the film be made in Gloucester? 

SA: I haven’t been told yet but I hope so!

CEB: I understand that some parts of the book are based from your experience living in the area, which parts in particular? 

SA: A lot of the book is based on my experiences working as a landscaper in the county,  and my experiences as a young man hanging out with my friends. 

CEB: A theme in the novel is prejudice, the Gloucester/Mathews area is a largely conservative, rural area, is that particular part of the book also based on your experience growing up here? 

SA: Yes., I love this area and I love my hometown but as writers we have to be honest and address difficult issues and there have been times I’ve seen or experienced prejudice. By addressing that in my work I hope it inspires people to have good conversations about those issues. 

CEB: Do you have any advice for people looking to write a book? 

SA: There is a story only you can tell. Find that story and you’ll find your book. 

CEB: How long does it take to write a novel?

SA: For me it takes about 9 months 

CEB: Do you have any specific processes/structure you use when writing a book or do you just go with the flow? 

SA: I usually write a loose synopsis first then I write the novel using the synopsis as a guide 

CEB: Which book of yours is your personal favorite and why?

SA: Lol I can’t pick a favorite.  They are all my favorites 

CEB: What is the most important message that you want people watching a film adaptation of your book to take away from the experience? 

SA: that we all deserve to live the truth of our lives

CEB: Is there anything else you would like to add about the movie?  

SA: I can’t wait to see it in a theater in my hometown!!!


Interview with S.A. Cosby