Former Inquirer columnist Steve Lopez in Philadelphia

EARLIER THIS WEEK Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez was on NPR’s Fresh Air, hear it here. The former popular Philadelphia Inquirer columnist was interviewed by Dave Davies, the venerable political writer for the Philadelphia Daily News who fills in for Terry Gross on Fresh Air from time to time.

He was promoting his newest book, The Soloist, which is already under production by DreamWorks as a movie of the same name to debut in November.

Lopez’s book chronicles his interaction with Nathaniel Ayers (depicted above), a homeless, former musical prodigy who began living in the streets after suffering the effects of schizophrenia. In the end, Lopez became an “unlikely advocate and friend” to Ayers, as the Los Angeles Times put it Monday.

The film casts Robert Downey Jr. as Lopez and Jamie Foxx as Ayers.

Lopez is in town today speaking to media, and tomorrow, in a free event at 2 p.m., Lopez will be at the Free Library. I’ll be there, so should you.

His first novel was the well-received Third and Indiana, set in Philadelphia, and he has also written In the Clear, Sunday Macaroni Club and had his Inquirer columns anthologized in Land of Giants. The last and the first I have read, amazed by his words, but I have also followed his L.A. Times columns and, I’ll say, he sometimes seems to be lacking the color that I think is safe to say few places provide like Philadelphia.

Maybe I’ll ask him about that tomorrow.

Photo courtesy of Obsessed with Film.