Kevin Bacon and David Koepp, who have worked together on the recent suspense-thiller You Should Have Left and the horror-thriller Stir of Echos, have created an original horror story that will be presented as an audio book through Audible.
The story is titled Yard Work, and it follows an elderly and recently widowed judge named Herman, who retreats to a home in Wisconsin. While there he finds himself wrestling with grief and alcoholism… it’s in this dark and depressing state that he encounters a deadly weed that won’t go away.
It’s explained that there’s another character named Jeff “a local hardware store clerk who tries to help Herman, the main character, combat his weeds. But nothing on this Earth can stop the threat that comes from the nature growing in Herman’s yard. Unless it’s all in his mind.”
In an interview with CinemaBlend, Koepp revealed that the project came together while being locked down in quarantine:
“This was entirely a quarantine project. I wrote it in quarantine, and Kevin read it in quarantine. So this was from both our houses. Which was great. It had a real feel of, ‘Hey, let’s put on a show!’ … The first thing is that [Kevin’s] just a great actor. I feel very lucky to have been able to take advantage of our friendship and my proximity to him, to get him to read this. I don’t know if he gets my particular voice or not. I would say he does, because it sounded good to me! But I sparked to his ability to differentiate between characters. I’m particularly fond of Jeff, a stoner hardware store guy. He gives him the tiniest little gentle surfer thing, which is great.”
When talking about the personal inspirations behind the story, Koepp went on to say:
“I like writing people who are different from myself, but you’ve got to kind of hang it on somebody that you know, or knew. There’s an awful lot of my dad in Herman. I was raised in a small lake town in Wisconsin, and my dad was… he lived until 86, and he was fiercely determined to do everything himself. Like a lot of parents, they do things long past the point at which we wish they wouldn’t do them. Including, you know, cleaning out the gutters and things that we feel are risky. But as I get older, I’m 57, and I haven’t had to start giving up a lot of things yet. Except maybe gin, which… that was a good one to give up. But I haven’t started that process of losing things, of losing the ability to do things. And I understand why you want to say, ‘No, I don’t care. I’m keeping it! I’m going to keep doing this because that’s the way I want to live my life.’ And, ‘What happens to my life is my decision and my problem.’ And adult children can disagree pretty strongly with that. And that’s a pretty fertile dramatic theme to mine.”
He went on to discuss the inspiration behind the horror aspect of the story and how it came from his own experiences after Hurricane Sandy affected his Northeastern home. While working on his yard and cleaning it up after the chaos of the storm, he became obsessed with “chopping back vines and pulling them out of the trees.”
“I just became obsessed with them, because it was very much like eating potato chips. Once you start to get vines out of the tree, and you can see the gratitude of the branches of the tree, [because] they’re free. I just kept moving further and further into the preserve area with my cleaning out of the vines. And I really felt like they were fighting back. They’re very thorny and nasty and my arms and legs were all cut to shit. … It got nastier as I moved into the thick of the trees more, and I thought, ‘You know, one of these times I’ll pull one of these things out, and there’ll be a mouth on the end of it.’ And a story was born.”
If you want to listen to a sample of the audio book, you can listen to it here.