ST. PAUL -- It’s a big year for Larry Watson. Besides publication of “ The Lives of Edie Pritchard,” he’s anticipating the release of “Let Him Go,” the first film to be based on one of his books. Starring Kevin Costner and Diane Lane, it’s billed as a suspense thriller and one of the most anticipated summer films, although the opening has been pushed back to Nov. 6.

“Let Him Go, ” Watson’s ninth novel, earned starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and Booklist. It’s about a sheriff and his wife whose grandson has been taken by the boy’s mother. In the book, the couple leaves their ranch in North Dakota to find the boy in Montana. In the film, they live in Montana and look for him in North Dakota, where he’s living with some people off the grid who refuse to let him go. Watson doesn’t know why the filmmakers flipped the destinations,but he suspects it was so they could take advantage of “the glorious Montana scenery.”

The film was shot in a small town outside Calgary, where Watson and his wife Susan spent a couple of days meeting the cast.

“They even costumed us and put us in a scene set in a fancy restaurant,” Watson said. “Even if you were looking, you would never find us.”

Watson was born in Rugby, N.D., in 1947, and raised in Bismarck, according to his website. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of North Dakota and his doctorate from the creative writing program at the University of Utah. He and Susan live in Kenosha, Wis.

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Larry Watson
Larry Watson

Watson admits he was nervous about the film, but he’s seen it and pronounces it “really good.” There were a few things that were different, he says, “but different in good ways. These are such different mediums.” He credits screenwriter/director Tom Bezucha with getting it right.