Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Peter Mountford's "A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism"

Peter Mountford's short fiction has appeared in Best New American Voices 2008, Conjunctions, The Normal School, Michigan Quarterly Review, Seattle Review, Phoebe, and Boston Review, where he won second place in the 2007 contest, judged by George Saunders.

Here he shares some casting ideas for an adaptation of his new novel, A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism:
As it happens, I was having this very conversation with the film producer Anne Carey and the Chilean director Pablo Larrain a couple of weeks ago. They are interested in developing this book for film, and we were talking about the challenges of casting over breakfast. Or, actually, breakfasts plural—I met them at the same restaurant in Chelsea at the same time of day on two different days. I sat in the same chair, ordered the same thing.

Certainly the character of Fiona would be easy and fun to cast. I think Parker Posey would be perfect. But it’s a role that any number of women could have a lot of fun with. Fiona’s fun because she’s tough as nails, smart, and has a kind of macho sexuality about her, but is also intensely vulnerable.

Lenka, Gabriel’s love-interest, who is the press-liaison to then-president-elect Evo Morales, is harder. The problem is that the person would have to speak Spanish fluently and it would be nice if she looked indigenous, too. Obviously, Hollywood hasn’t done a very good job of introducing such actresses to the wider cinema-going public. So, you might not recognize this performer, whoever it is.

Grayson, the IMF’s resident representative, would be another easy and fun part to cast. Any square jawed, attractive, man, really, who’s a bit wicked, and has silver in his hair. Clooney? What about that guy who plays Sterling in Mad Men? He’d be ideal. In the book Grayson’s actually compared to Pierce Bronson, so that would perfect, too.

Gabriel’s mother would be fun to cast, too. There are so many wonderful actresses who are in their fifties and have an arch style and who could just go to town with that role. Angelica Houston comes to mind, but there are others, too. Diane Lane would be interesting, because she’s so terrifyingly beautiful that her beauty kind of gobbles up the screen. That would be an interesting twist on the character, who’s not presented that way in the book because she’s viewed through Gabriel’s eyes.

Gabriel himself is hard. Very hard. He’s the lead and he needs to be very attractive, needs to look like he’s in his mid-twenties, and he’s half Chilean half Russian, so he has to have a certain kind of complexion. If Gael García Bernal spoke English like a native, he’d be superb, but I don’t think he speaks English very well. It’s a very complex and difficult role for a young actor. Six years ago, I would have said James Franco.
View a trailer for the novel, and learn more about the book and author at Peter Mountford's website.

The Page 69 Test: A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Jason Goodwin's "An Evil Eye"

Jason Goodwin's Edgar Award–winning series set in Istanbul at the end of the Ottoman Empire--The Janissary Tree, The Snake Stone, The Bellini Card, and An Evil Eye--features Investigator Yashim: detective, polyglot, chef, eunuch.

Here Goodwin shares some ideas about a big screen adaptation of the books:
I just got back from a book tour through the USA, much enlivened by the company of my 17-year-old son. Bars were out, so we downloaded some movies to watch in the hotel.

No Country for Old Men was one I'd missed (to be honest I miss 'em all these days, and we have no TV). It was, I seemed to remember, a sensitive portrayal of Southern life starring George Clooney. Where could we go wrong?

We watched No Country for about forty minutes, until it became so frightening we agreed to switch off, and just read some thrillers before lights-out. George had so far failed to appear.

After that, every night, we watched another ten minutes or so of the movie. I think we were hyper-sensitive because the film is really all about the creepiness of American hotels. Plus no reassuring George. Clooney isn't in No Country for Old Men, at all. My mistake.

Only there were scorching performances by the whole cast - and the magnificent Javier Bardem.

One of us said - maybe just to lower the tension - 'he'd make a fabulous Yashim.' Look. Yashim's my detective. It's Istanbul in the 1830s, really tense times, harem intrigue, high politics, low tactics, the works.

Bill Nighy plays Palewski, the Polish ambassador. He's Yashim's oldest friend.

And Yashim?

Well, last time I was in LA they congratulated me for coming up with a really successful series. Great location - the Ottoman Empire. Great stories - death and double-dealing on the Bosphorus. Hey, you won an Edgar!

And your books are also completely Hollywood-proof.

I say, excuse me? I mean, these people aren't Hollywood themselves. They just happen to live in LA.

And they splay fingers, raise eyebrows and say: The detective is a eunuch.

I'm not arguing. Yashim's a eunuch - but not a hairless oddball with a falsetto voice. He's a man, with a secret sorrow - and a moustache - who finds solace in cookery and detective work. He's a complex, wronged and compassionate man: he can talk to anyone in Istanbul, because he can visit the harems of the city. He falls in love like any man. He even makes love.

But I see what my friends in LA are saying. Regular A-listers don't dare risk the eunuch.

Javier is different. He's got a fabulous range (I've checked). He is a serious character actor. He has huge charisma, and fonts of compassion - but he can be hard as nails, too.

And to be fair, it takes balls to carry the part of Yashim: cojones, indeed. Meanwhile Javier Bardem is married to Penélope Cruz, the mother of his child (that came out of the fact-check, too).

And if she'd like to play the murderess in An Evil Eye, we have a deal.
Learn more about Jason Goodwin and his work at his website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Snake Stone.

The Page 69 Test: The Bellini Card.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Isaac Marion's "Warm Bodies"

Isaac Marion was born in north-western Washington in 1981 and has lived in and around Seattle his whole life, working a variety of strange jobs like delivering deathbeds to hospice patients and supervising parental visits for foster-kids. He is not married, has no children, and did not go to college or win any prizes.

The author, on a big screen adaptation of Warm Bodies, his first novel:
This is hard to discuss hypothetically because my book actually is being made into a movie and the casting process is already well underway. I've been slapped on the wrist too many times for making even the most innocuous comments about the movie (Hollywood makes the KGB look like Wikileaks.) so I think I'll circumvent the issue a little and give you a different kind of answer. Who of my real-life friends would I cast in the movie? For R, the undead main character, I'd have to cast myself, because he looks like me, thinks like me, and occasionally smells like me. For his love interest and spiritual savior, Julie, I'd have to cast my girlfriend Nichole Hughes, because the character was not-so-loosely based on her, and because she might not approve of me getting romantic with some hot young starlet on screen, even for the sake of art. For R’s friend M (whose post-apocalyptic insights you can follow on Twitter @MtheZombie) it would have to be noted comic artist and self-proclaimed “Big Bald Guy” Dale Woodruff. M was based, again not-so-loosely on this BBG, although I assure you Dale is much better looking than the shambling mass of rot that is M. Thankfully, I don’t have a personal friendship with anybody who could convincingly portray Julie’s lethally conservative, spiritually imploding father, so I’ll have to dip into Hollywood for this one. (It should be safe to speculate, since General Grigio is nowhere near cast yet.) Clint Eastwood would be incredible in this role. Just the right amount of grief and vulnerability under the bitter, leathery exterior. Not that we could ever dream of getting Eastwood, but I could settle for an Eastwood Type. As long as they don’t give him a flat-top and a southern accent and turn him into the cardboard cutout “Bad Military Man” from Avatar, I’ll be happy.
Learn more about the book and author at Isaac Marion's website and the Warm Bodies Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: Warm Bodies.

Writers Read: Isaac Marion.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 22, 2011

David Hewson's "The Fallen Angel"

David Hewson is the author of the Nic Costa series of novels set primarily in contemporary Rome. A former journalist with the London Times and Sunday Times, his work has been translated into many languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Thai ... and Italian.

The latest novel in the series is The Fallen Angel.

Here Hewson shares some reflections on an adaptation of the Nic Costa series:
This is a tough one because it's not academic. All eleven of my Italian novels have been acquired for English-language movie length TV adaptations by the Roman arm of Bavaria, one of the largest media groups in Europe. One side effect of this I get asked about five times a week: who will play Costa?

Honest answer: I don't know and in a sense I don't care so long as it's someone good in tune with the role. Casting decisions are often decided by very practical matters. Sometimes the preferred candidate simply isn't available in the time slot set aside for production. With TV it gets more complicated.

Lots of people have suggested James Franco would make a great Costa. He's good-looking, got that slight touch of innocence about him, and boy can he act. I'm sure he'd do a great job. But we're looking at a multiple production here -- maybe six feature length movies shot back to back. Whoever takes on the regular parts will need to be willing to set aside a substantial chunk of time. Much more than that required for a single movie. Does TV pay as well as movies? Hell, I don't know. I'm just a writer. But I suspect not.

Then there's the upside. The idea is these six TV length movies work so well that we go into production for six more. Imagine a Roman Law and Order, as the New York Times said of the latest book. That would be the kind of thing that ensued. It's not easy to change lead cast members part way through. So I'd guess the production company will be looking for talented people who can commit. Which means, in real terms I suspect (though I emphasise - I am just guessing here - TV is not my field) we're looking at talented little-known actors.

I don't have a problem with that. All well-known actors were unknowns once. TV has made some great careers out there, from George Clooney to Hugh Laurie.
Learn more about the author and his work at David Hewson's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Seventh Sacrament.

The Page 99 Test: The Garden of Evil.

My Book, The Movie: Dante's Numbers.

The Page 69 Test: City of Fear.

The Page 69 Test: The Fallen Angel.

Writers Read: David Hewson.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Santa Montefiore's "The Mermaid Garden"

Santa Montefiore's novels have been translated into twenty languages and have sold more than three million copies in England and Europe. Montefiore, who studied Spanish and Italian at Exeter University, now lives in London with her husband, historian Simon Sebag-Montefiore, and their two children.

Here she shares some ideas for casting a big screen adaptation of her latest novel, The Mermaid Garden:
If The Mermaid Garden was adapted into a movie I would give Javier Bardem the lead role of hero – Rafael is Argentine and Javier is Spanish, so that’s perfect, and although my hero is blond, Javier is quite simply the most attractive man on the planet. I’d change the colour of Rafael’s hair just to suit Javier!! And Javier has a wise, craggy face just like Rafael. I think he’d be perfect. I found the most beautiful Italian villa in a coffee table book of my mother’s. It peeped out at the end of a long avenue of cypress trees and I wanted to walk up to it and see what it was like. I wonder whether they’d let me film my movie there? The Devon coast is easy, I have a friend who owns a beautiful house there by the sea, I’m sure she could be persuaded to lend it to me for filming – certainly if she got the chance to meet Javier!! Meryl Streep would be a very good Marina – frankly, Meryl is just very good all the time, so she could play any of the characters, even the men, if she put her mind to it. That woman is just genius!! But she’d be a compelling Marina and I’d love to meet her! As for the other characters, I’m really not sure. I don’t have actors is mind when I write…but now I’ve mentioned Javier I might just create a character in my next book especially for him….
Learn more about the book and author at Santa Montefiore's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Perfect Happiness.

The Page 69 Test: The Mermaid Garden.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Vanessa Veselka's "Zazen"

Vanessa Veselka is a writer and musician living in Portland, Oregon. She has been, at various times, a teenage runaway, a sex-worker, a union organizer, a student of paleontology, an expatriate, an independent record label owner, a train-hopper, a waitress, and a mother. Her work has appeared in Bust, Bitch, Maxmum Rock ’n’ Roll, Yeti Magazine and Tin House.

Here are some ideas for adapting her novel Zazen for the movies:
People have often told me that Zazen would make great as a movie or a graphic novel so when asked to do My Book, The Movie I thought, great, now I can playfully fill the world I created with actual human actors! Unfortunately it turns out I am missing the chip needed to cast my own novel. In layman’s terms, I got nothing. I can only compare it to a blank spot on an erotic map. Like when someone says, hey are you into hot schoolgirl action? and instead of a meter reading you get a color test screen. So to hide my failure, I got my friend Charlotte to cast Zazen. Here’s what Charlotte said:

“As producer—“


“We need to look at directors…maybe Bigelow, Joss Whedon...”

I'd been thinking along the lines of Francis Ford Coppola’s first chick-flick because, after all, he already knows how to set things on fire and psychedelically butcher an ox.

But Charlotte wasn't listening to me.

According to Charlotte we needed a strong ensemble cast that would please both the arthouse crowd and the money people. Money people?

She was digging in and what emerged was a brilliant combination of indy character actors and glitzy Hollywood. For Credence and Della she wanted something in the way of Billy Crudup and Noomi Rapace. But since they would be too obvious, she chose Ben Foster and Emily Blunt. She said Emily Blunt has the range. I said, who is Emily Blunt? But Charlotte, already in the habit of not listening to me, didn’t.

Next, she cast Jeff Bridges as Miro and Tilda Swinton as Grace. And in a stroke of absolute genius she cast Geoffrey Rush as Coworker Franklin.

“…Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn buddy up again as Tofu Scamble and Ed, Logic's only son,” she said, “it's those small cameos where there's a really opportunity to have superior casting. All Hollywood will clamber to be in it.”

“Owen and Vince are too young.”

“Think about ticket sales when you do casting! Rewrite the parts for Owen and Vince.”

Money people.

“And Leo DiCaprio totally wants to be in your movie. Maybe the guy from the sex party? He works for back-end money, no cash.”

Back end money?

We did hit some snags. She wanted Jeremy Renner for Jules. I wanted a young Sean Bean. For Mirror she wanted a Disney Channel Princess. I stood firm on Alia Shawkat. So Charlotte decided instead to fill the sex party scene with “Disney Channel and Nickelodeon royalty: Selena Gomez, Miranda Cosgrove etc…”

The character of Tamara stumped us both.

“What about someone like a super young Excene Cervenka?” I said.

“Don’t know her. I’ll have to look her up.”

Aha! A win for my team! Finally someone Charlotte didn’t know.

“Wait, she said, “What about Anne Hathaway as Tamara?”

Damn! I was down again.

Charlotte went back to her day job and I went back to googling Anne Hathaway to see who the hell she was.
Learn more about the book and author at Vanessa Veselka's blog.

My Book, The Movie: Zazen.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ed Lynskey's "Lake Charles"

Ed Lynskey, after banging out five hardboiled titles in the Private Investigator Frank Johnson series, now offers up Lake Charles, a standalone Appalachian noir set in the 1970s.  Lynskey has pitched his idea for the movie, but, alas, the Hollywood suits have only turned a deaf ear to him. So far.

Here, he spins us up to speed on his casting advice to make the film of Lake Charles:
Brendan Fishback, my intrepid hero, falls in his early 20s. He’s a pressman by trade, a somewhat rugged job with heavy lifting involved. Therefore I’m in search of a guy in that age range bearing a husky build. The superb Russell Crowe fits the right physique, but he might be a bit long in the tooth. Ditto for George Clooney and Daniel Day-Lewis. A young Ward Bond, John Wayne’s compadre, seems made to order, but then Ward has long since been gone from Glitter Town, RIP since 1960, in fact. So, I’ll postpone making the leading man decision.

Brendan’s mentor, the middle-aged Mr. Kuzawa is a Korean War vet now turned mountain man. He’s shrewd, tenacious, and sure-footed. I’d love to screen test Tommy Lee Jones or Sean Connery, but their top star salary requirements sink that idea. Again, I gaze backward. Fred MacMurray later in his career arises in my mind’s eye. I’m too late since Mr. MacMurray shuffled off this mortal coil in 1991. I’d make the bet that in his heyday Rip Torn would excel as Mr. Kuzawa. Again, I have no luck to peg the right actor. I’ll move on.

Brendan’s sidekick, Cobb Kuzawa, takes a fun-loving but loyal soul. Who should head my short list? Steve Carell, who’s left The Office, is probably too goofy, and age once more plays a factor. Cobb is in his early 20s. Assembling the ideal movie cast is tough work. I fail to google any likely candidates, and I better swing back later to choose an actor for him.

Picking Edna Fishback, Brendan’s twin sister, is a toughie. Who’s suitable for her film role? Of course, as a twin, she has to resemble Brendan. Perhaps with the camouflage of make up and shooting her in lots of shadows we can pull it off. That’s it. Lake Charles will be a neo-film noir. If only Drew Barrymore were ten years younger, or Ashley Judd twenty years. Who then? Scarlett Johansson? Kirsten Dunst? Dial back the clock enough and Tuesday Weld or Jodie Foster is a sure-fired winner. Enough. It’s time to press on. For the time being, Edna’s role will remain up in the air.

Brendan’s mother, Mama Jo, is a stolid lady with an acid tongue, piercing stare, and a no-frills world view. But a sardonic sense of humor and an earthy compassion lurk under her prickly façade. Judi Dench comes up. Of course she’s British, so the accent might present a problem. I’ll jot her down. That makes it one out of the five roles has been filled.

Should Hollywood’s interest be piqued, get it touch with my people, let’s do lunch, and schmooze. I’ll bring the pen to ink the lucrative contract. I’ll drape my dear better half in diamonds, silk, and ermine. But for now, I’ll just take out the garbage and start fixing pork chops with cabbage for our dinner.
Ed Lynskey's The Blue Cheer, the movie.

The Page 69 Test: The Dirt-Brown Derby.

The Page 99 Test: Pelham Fell Here.

Writers Read: Ed Lynskey.

Visit Ed Lynskey's Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sarah-Kate Lynch's "Dolci di Love"

Sarah-Kate Lynch is the author of seven novels, including House of Daughters, Bread Alone, and Blessed Are The Cheesemakers.

Here she shares some casting ideas for an adaptation of her latest novel, Dolci di Love:
Like most writers, I love any excuse to not actually write anything so spend many a happy hour staring out the window and wondering which top international actress will end up begging to play the main character in my novel-in-progress.

Sometimes, I can’t think of just the right actress, so I have to make some adjustments: Meg Ryan but the old one, not the new one, for example. Or Jessica Lange from the Tootsie years.

My new book, Dolci di Love, is about a 42-year-old workaholic Manhattanite who goes to Tuscany to find her cheating husband but instead gets caught up in an underground web woven by The Secret League of Widowed Darners – a group of ancient Italian women hell-bent on providing happy endings.

I pretty much always consider Sandra Bullock for my main character because she is a comedian who does good sad, but as a back-up, in this instance, I would have Kate Winslet, only older. Given that films seem to take an age to get made, this could actually work out.

For Lily’s husband Daniel, I would employ Bradley Cooper just for having the perfect movie star’s name. For the handsome Italian, Alessandro, who threatens to give Lily a different kind of happy ending, I would personally hand select either Sarah’s boyfriend Luc from Brothers & Sisters, or Olivier Martinez who used to go out with Kylie Minogue but now is with Halle Berry.

As for Violetta Ferretti, spiritual leader of The Secret League of Widowed Darners, it would have to be Dame Judi Dench, no question, and for the character of Fiorella Fiorucci, the eightysomething whippersnapper who refuses to wear black and can dance the light fandango, Betty White.
Sarah-Kate Lynch lives part of the year on the wild west coast of New Zealand but travels as often as she can to the vineyards of Champagne, the streets of New York, and the hilltop towns of Tuscany.

Visit her website and blog, and read more about Dolci di Love.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Sarah-Kate Lynch & Ted.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Douglas Corleone's "Night on Fire"

Douglas Corleone is a former New York City defense attorney and winner of the Mystery Writers of America/Minotaur Books First Crime Novel Competition for One Man's Paradise. He now lives in the Hawaiian Islands with his wife and son.

Here he shares some preferences for the above-the-line talent for an adaption of his new novel, Night on Fire:
The initial inspiration for my protagonist, hotshot defense attorney Kevin Corvelli, was Robert Downey, Jr.’s character Harry Lockhart in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005). Downey is usually who I picture while writing Kevin Corvelli, though Downey’s a bit older than Kevin, and now, with the Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes franchises, maybe too mainstream. Still, I’d love to see him in the role.

Kevin’s law partner Jake Harper is an older attorney, a transplant from Houston, Texas. I picture a laid-back Jon Voight with gin blossoms. Their investigator Ryan Flanagan or “Flan,” hails from New Orleans, and is described in One Man’s Paradise as a “Billy Bob Thornton with different tattoos.”

In Night on Fire, Kevin’s client and eventual love interest is a stunning but troubled young bride charged with arson and murder. I envision Claire Danes for the role.

I love what Francis Ford Coppola did with John Grisham’s The Rainmaker, so he’d be my first choice to direct. Danny Boyle is perhaps my favorite director, so if Coppola isn’t available, I’d be delighted to work with Danny. And I thought Brad Furman did a stellar job with Michael Connelly’s The Lincoln Lawyer, so I’d be interested to see what he could do with Robert Downey, Jr. as Kevin Corvelli.

All right, gentlemen and Ms. Danes – the ball is now in your court. Call me.
Learn more about the book and author at Douglas Corleone's website.

The Page 69 Test: One Man's Paradise.

The Page 69 Test: Night on Fire.

Writers Read: Douglas Corleone.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Vicki Delany's "Among the Departed"

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most popular crime writers. The fifth book in her critically acclaimed Constable Molly Smith series set in the mountains of British Columbia is Among the Departed from Poisoned Pen Press.

Having taken early retirement from her job as a systems analyst in the high-pressure financial world, Delany is settling down to the rural life in bucolic, Prince Edward County, Ontario where she grows vegetables, eats tomatoes, shovels snow, and rarely wears a watch.

Here she sketches out some ideas for cast and director of an adaptation of her latest novel, Among the Departed:
This is a tough one. I get one channel on my TV (with rabbit ears) and don’t go to the movies often, so the question as never crossed my mind. I consulted far and wide for recommendations of who would be best to play my characters.

I think the Molly Smith books would work better as a TV series than as a movie. Although each book stands on its own in terms of plot (i.e. the central problem or mystery is resolved at the end of each book) characters change and grow over the course of the series. In the first book, In the Shadow of the Glacier, Molly Smith is a brand new police officer, young and green and very very eager. She makes a lot of mistakes but by book five, Among the Departed, she is more competent and more confident of her own abilities. Not only Molly grows, but the marriage of her co-protagonist, Sergeant John Winters, changes and not necessarily for the better. One of the sub-plots of Among the Departed is how Molly’s mother, Lucky, deals with a massive change in her own life.

So, if we were casting The Constable Molly Smith series for TV I’d like it to have a solid Canadian cast and crew. There is a wonderful young up and coming actor in Toronto named Dana Fradkin who’d be a great Molly. She’s the right age, mid-twenties, very pretty with that attitude that I can only call “tomboy” which allows Smith to be believable as a woman making a success of herself in a man’s profession.

For John Winters, who else but Colm Feore? I’ve seen Colm many times at Stratford and he even looks like I imagine Winters: lean and handsome yet without fake movie-star looks. Lucky Smith, Molly’s mother is an important role so I’d suggest Wendy Crewson. Down to earth, practical, feisty, yet a woman who (although she doesn’t know it) is very attractive to men. And for Eliza Winters, former supermodel and highly intelligent businesswoman – Sonia Smits would be perfect.

No, no you tell me. Hollywood is calling, not Toronto TV. If you insist, Rachel McAdams would be a good Molly Smith and my children tell me that George Clooney has to play John Winters. For Lucky, Kathy Bates would be perfect and I’d like Susan Sarandon to play Eliza because she can do beauty as well as intelligence. For director, let’s have Martin Scorsese because he’s great at police dramas.

Oh, and can I have a small part? I can play Ingrid, the night dispatcher at the police station. She’s tough and can really bark out “Five-One? Come in Five-One.”
Read an excerpt from Among the Departed, and learn more about the book and author at Vicki Delany's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Among the Departed.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Michael Gregorio's Hanno Stiffennis novels

Michael Gregorio is the pen name of Michael G. Jacob and Daniela De Gregorio. She teaches philosophy; he teaches English. They live in Spoleto, Italy. Michael Gregorio was awarded the Umbria del Cuore prize in 2007.

A Visible Darkness, their third novel in the Hanno Stiffennis series was published in hardback by St Martins Press in 2009. Unholy Awakening, the fourth, was issued as an SMP-Minotaur original paperback in 2010. The paperback edition of A Visible Darkness was issued by the same US publisher on 26th April, 2011.

Here the authors share some ideas about bringing their series to the big screen:
People (American friends, as a rule) often ask. “When can we see the film?”

We smile at each other and say, “They’re still thinking about it.”

To be honest, the thought of anyone making a movie featuring a country magistrate who works in early nineteenth century Prussia is so improbable that we decided to let ourselves go and have fun with the casting. Our novels are set in such a remote time (the Napoleonic Wars), and in such a forgotten historical context (Prussia, a country which no longer exists), that Hollywood would not be at all interested in the screenplay (written especially for us by the late Paddy Chayefsky, by the way).

Limited neither by possibility, probability or mortality, and given that our novels are gruesome crime tales, we feel free to range through a number of unlikely possibilities regarding the total improbability of anything ever coming of the project.

Please note, we pity the movie-maker (Federico Fellini? Fritz Lang?) who gets the job.

Prussia was home to the Brothers Grimm and E.T.A. Hoffman, the stamping ground of Immanuel Kant, the philosopher. It had a vast standing army that militarised the entire country until Napoleon turned up and walked all over it to the utter humiliation of all good Prussians.

How do you create a country and a time that no longer exist?

We would go for what we created, rather than what we managed to re-create.

So, our movie world would embrace the realms of serial murder, social satire and cartoon animation as much as serious drama. A bit like Terry Gilliam’s The Brothers Grimm 2005 film, really....

Now, that’s a thought. Would Terry be open to offers? They say he has a house in Italy not far from where we live, and he did win a couple of Academy awards...

He has to accept, however, that we want a digital setting based on new Walt Disney drawings and coloured cels similar in style and colour to the ones that Walt used in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. A number of Walt’s characters could be brought out of the cupboard, dusted off, and adapted for use. It would save Walt time, and also save the studio all lot of money.

Snow White herself could play our heroine, Edviga, who works as a humble amber gatherer on the Baltic sea-shore, though Snow would have to slim down quite a bit, grow a foot (height-wise, of course) wear a blonde wig, dress up in heavy leather weather-alls and labour in the sea in winter – the Baltic may be blue, but it’s damned cold. Several of the dwarfs could be drafted in as representatives of the Prussian army, too: Snoopy as a private, Droopy as a general. Or vice versa...

Our main characters, Hanno Stiffenniis and his wife, Helena, would work with any decent real life or movie husband and wife team, so let’s say Bogart-Bacall, Grant-Hepburn, Burton-Taylor, Astaire-Rogers – it hardly matters. We are only looking at a template, and we want to offer them long-term commitment, casting them through Books 1 to 4 at ages ranging through 26 to 31. We’ll end up animating (or should we say re-animating) our featured couple, in any case.

Maybe Fred and Ginger if we go for the musical.

Regarding the music, well “Heigh-ho, heigh-ho! It’s off to work we go” would not be appropriate. Maybe a brand new piece by Gustav Mahler (something like the Tenth Symphony but with more brio), or a previously unpublished fantasia-opera pastiche by piano-whiz Franz Liszt...

How does that sound, movie-goers?

We hear the dollars rolling in.
Visit Michael Gregorio's website and blog.

Read Michael Gregorio's Q & A with R.N. Morris at The Rap Sheet.

The Page 69 Test: A Visible Darkness.

The Page 69 Test: Unholy Awakening.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Kaira Rouda's "Here, Home, Hope"

Kaira Rouda is a former newspaper columnist, reporter, contributing magazine editor, and freelance writer for numerous regional and national publications.

Here she shares some ideas for casting a big screen adaptation of her novel, Here, Home, Hope:
Here, Home, Hope is described as Desperate Housewives meets The Middle, so if I were to have input in the casting for the movie I would choose women from those casts. To play protagonist Kelly Johnson, the lead would go to Patricia Heaton. Not only is she a warm and witty mother on The Middle, as she was on Everybody Loves Raymond, but she embodies the perfect blend of self-deprecation and strength that the character Kelly uses to her advantage as she moves through her midlife reinvention. Not only that, she is originally from Ohio and attended Ohio State University, as did the character Kelly. It’s almost meant to be. Somebody pick up the phone and get this deal together. But I digress…

To play the role of her sidekick, Charlotte, the beautiful real estate agent, I would select either Eva Longoria or Nicolette Sheridan (she played a real estate agent on Desperate Housewives after all). Either of these actors could embody the character who turns all the men’s heads in the suburb of Grandville, but who is also a loving friend and mom. Kathryn, the corporate tycoon and fashionista, would be played by Marcia Cross, who is convincingly uptight and loving at the same time. Her daughter, Melanie – who suffers from an eating disorder and brings a bit of trouble to Kelly’s otherwise routine life - could be played by many different young actresses in Hollywood. I’d cast Lindsay Lohan. She needs a break.

Patrick Dempsey would be cast as Kelly’s husband because his name is Patrick, he’s adorable and perfect for the role. Beth, who is Kelly’s estranged high school friend who comes back into Kelly’s life and helps to save the day would be played by Felicity Huffman. The role of Rachel White, the Gladys Kravitz of Grandville, would go to a funny character actor looking for a break. There are plenty – just as there are plenty of Gladys in the suburbs, I’m afraid.

When you blend all of these women together – from two very different shows – what you have is closer to reality than Wisteria Lane and bit more glamorous than The Middle. All in all, it would be great fun.
View the book trailer for Here, Home, Hope, and learn more about the book and author at Kaira Rouda's website.

--Marshal Zeringue