Sunday, June 30, 2013

Laura Powell's "Witch Fire"

Laura Powell grew up in the Brecon Beacons and spent most of her childhood with her nose in a book. She went on to study classics at Bristol and Oxford, then spent five years working in the editorial departments of both adult and children's publishers. She now lives in West London.

Here Powell dreamcasts a big screen adaptation of her new novel, Witch Fire:
Witch Fire, like its predecessor Burn Mark, gives the crime thriller genre a fantasy twist by putting witches into the mix. The plot moves from London to a secret boarding school in Switzerland to a corrupt South American Republic, so it’s pretty action-packed. Sam Mendes did a great job on Bond so he’d be my top choice for director.

My hero, Lucas, comes from a long line of inquisitors and is struggling to reconcile his powers as a witch with his family’s status as famous witch-hunters. Skander Keynes, who played Edmund in The Chronicles of Narnia films, is now too old for the part, but he’d convey the right mix of posh-boy arrogance, charm and vulnerability. A young Billie Piper would be great as my heroine Glory, the trailer-trash witch girl with criminal ambitions.

Lucas’s dad, the formidable Chief Prosecutor for the Inquisition, would have to be Jason Isaacs, partly because I’ve got a crush on him. Plus he’s got the right icy blue stare.

Speaking of cold stares … I imagine Troy Morgan, the reluctant heir to a mafia-style coven, as looking like a red-headed version of Benedict Cumberbatch, and would cast Eddie Redmayne as the inquisitor Gideon Hale. Eddie’s good-looking but I also think he’s got what it takes to play a convincing psychopath. And I’d pick Rachel Hurd-Wood, the English actress and model, to play the beautiful and enigmatic Rose Merle.

Since Witch Fire has a large and varied cast – spies, mobsters, witch-hunters, party girls and politicians – I would insist on having a cameo role myself. Perhaps I’d pop up as one of the patrons in the seedy Carabosse Club, where Glory gets a job turning magic tricks for tips. Or else I’d like to appear as a kick-ass inquisitor, hunting witches through the South American jungle…
Read more about the book and author at Laura Powell's website.

Learn about Laura Powell's top ten heroes in disguise.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Peter von Ziegesar's "The Looking Glass Brother"

Peter von Ziegesar is a New York-based filmmaker and screenwriter. He has written articles, essays and reviews on film and art for many national publications, including DoubleTake, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Outside, and Art in America. His short fiction won a PEN Syndicated Fiction Prize. His work as a film and multimedia artist has received national attention, including a solo exhibition at the Hirschhorn Museum of Art in Washington, D.C. He lives in New York City.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of his new memoir, The Looking Glass Brother:
Casting The Looking Glass Brother would present some problems if it were turned into movie, because there are several sizes of everyone, for example myself at ten years old, then seventeen, then forty. Laying that aside, most of the action takes place around the turn of the century. I put the question out at the dinner table tonight of who would play me and got an interesting answer: Ewan McGregor. At forty-two he’s the right age to play me at the start of the book, but infinitely too handsome, I thought. Just for the nose I personally chose Adrien Brody, but got outvoted. Then my wife came up with the excellent idea of Aaron Eckhart, who not only looks a bit like me, but as an actor could handle all the conflicts I go through in the memoir: beginning a family, the sudden reappearance of a homeless schizophrenic stepbrother, propping up a faltering writing career, and trying to escape the weight of an uber-waspy childhood that included some suicides of close family members.

My homeless stepbrother Little Peter can be both eloquent and crude, childlike and wise, calm and crazed and can also change his appearance from extremely scruffy to rather good-looking. Joaquin Phoenix could play all those extremes and more.

As for my wife, who’s Korean-American, Sandra Oh, who has great depth and serious Korean soul, would be perfect to play her as she is today, but my wife at 29? A bit of a stretch. Perhaps Esther Chae, who’s a smart up-and-coming young actress who went to Yale Drama School and is making numerous TV appearances these days.

The plumb role in the film would have to be my father, Franz, who was irascible and self-centered most of the time, and also rather cutting, but could focus himself in a second to say something profound and warm. He was something of a clown as well. As a kid I always thought he looked a bit like Humphrey Bogart. But for me casting my father at seventy is a no-brainer. Robert De Niro has already distinguished himself playing a bipolar father in Being Flynn, and the ADHD father of a bipolar son in Silver Linings Playbook. He is the nearest thing we have to a Humphrey Bogart in the twenty-first century would be excellent in the role.

Finally, there’s my grandmother, Frances, who makes a brief but memorable appearance in the book when she’s about 60. She came from a patrician family, but was also a great raconteur, far from the Long Island lockjaw type. We immediately thought of the brilliant Jessica Walter of Arrested Development, who has some of my grandmother’s irreverence and wit.
Learn more about the book and author at Peter von Ziegesar's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 28, 2013

Eleanor Kuhns's "Death of a Dyer"

In Death of a Dyer, Eleanor Kuhns's second Will Rees mystery,
Will Rees feels at home. It’s been a long time since he last felt this way—not since before his wife died years ago and he took to the road as a traveling weaver. Now, in 1796, Rees is back on his Maine farm, living with his teenaged son, David, and his housekeeper, Lydia—whose presence contributes more towards his happiness than he’s ready to admit. But his domestic bliss is shattered the morning a visitor brings news of an old friend’s murder.
Here the author shares some ideas for casting the leads in an adaptation of the novel:
If Death of a Dyer were made into a movie? (Something I would love!)

Scarlett Johansson for Lydia, I think. She can carry off red hair and she plays many of her parts with a sweetness and a feistyness that is appropriate for Lydia.

Sean Bean (Boromir in Lord of the Rings for Rees). He is a little old but he has the look.
Learn more about the book and author at Eleanor Kuhns's blog and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Susan Dennard's "Something Strange and Deadly"

Susan Dennard is a reader, writer, lover of animals, and eater of cookies. She used to be a marine biologist, but now she writes novels. And not novels about fish either, but novels about kick-butt heroines and swoon-worthy rogues. (She really likes swoon-worthy rogues).

Dennard's novels are Something Strange and Deadly and its sequel, A Darkness Strange and Lovely.

Here the author dreamcasts an adaptation of Something Strange and Deadly:
If the Ambiguous They ever make Something Strange and Deadly into a movie, I can tell you exactly who I'd want to play my characters. Admittedly, these actors are all a bit older than their characters, but that's pretty typical...right? (Plus, it'd be creepy if I was eyeing teenagers. I am almost 30, after all.)

When I was crafting Daniel Sheridan, I very vividly imagined him as Max Irons (Red Riding Hood, The Host). His cocky grin, unruly blond hair, and lanky frame just screamed "Daniel" to me. I still think--in terms of looks and acting--he'd be perfect as my short-tempered inventor.

Joseph Boyer wasn't someone I had an actor in mind for...but then I saw the film The Adjustment Bureau. The instant Anthony Mackie walked on the screen, I was like, "Him!!" He's just so suave, so good-looking, and so perfect for Misyeu Boyer!

For Jie, I also had a very particular idea of what she looked like...and no actress quite fit the part. Until I saw the TV show Awkward (which is so good, by the way!). Jessica Lu has just the right amount of spunk, spark, and snark. I think she would be perfect as my Chinese tomboy.

And this brings me to Eleanor Fitt. My heroine; the character that--above all--has to be perfectly portrayed. But who to do it? I have to admit I haven't yet discovered a single actress (or even person) who seems to be exactly like the vision in my head. But, I do think there are two actresses that might pull off this zombie-beating, high-society gal: Rachel Hurd-Wood (Dorian Gray) and Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland).

They'd both need to gain a bit of weight for the role--Eleanor's a curvy girl!--and they'd definitely need long, light hair. But I think their skin coloring and their acting skills would do well for my leading lady.

As for a director, how about Tim Burton? Just kidding! (Though I think he'd make the series brilliantly dark and wacky.) I have to say I really don't know many directors, but I would think--if my book ever even made it far enough to reach "choosing a director" status, that I'd be quite pleased with whoever came onboard. The important thing is that the director--and cast--love the story and be willing to tell it properly.

Thank you so much for hosting me! And I hope you all enjoy Something Strange and Deadly: The Movie--you know, if it ever actually makes it to the big screen.
Learn more about the book and author at Susan Dennard's website, blog, and Facebook page.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Susan Dennard & Asimov and Leia.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

David Housewright's "The Last Kind Word"

David Housewright is the Edgar Award and three-time Minnesota Book Award-winning author of the Rushmore McKenzie and Holland Taylor novels as well as other tales of murder and mayhem in the Midwest.

Here he shares some suggestions for casting an adaptation of The Last Kind Word, the 10th of his Twin Cities P.I. Mac McKenzie novels:
Truth is, I’ve never given much thought to which actors I would want to play the major parts if my books were to be made into movies. But my fans have. I asked the question on my social media outlets and was quite surprised by the responses I received.

For Nina Truhler, I was given names of actors including Jennifer Connelly (my favorite), Cobie Smulders, Stana Katic, Claire Forlani, Marg Helgenberger, Mary Steenburgen, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Barbara Stanwyck (if only). Yet few of my readers seemed to have a handle on McKenzie (throwing out the names Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Cruise doesn’t count). Some readers said they imagine me in the part even though we’ve never met and all they know about my appearance is from the photo of the dust jacket.

If wonder if it’s because while I have described Nina in some detail, I’ve never described McKenzie - not his hair, the color of his eyes, or even how tall he is.

Readers create a picture in their mind of what characters in their favorite books look like (sometimes ignoring of the actual descriptions) and will not be happy when the actor doesn’t measure up to the image. Remember the uproar when the comparatively diminutive Cruise player Lee Child’s Jack Reacher? Come to think of it, my wife has never forgiven Cruise for playing the vampire Lestat in Interview with the Vampire. As far as she’s concerned, that part belonged to Daniel Day Lewis.
Learn more about the book and author at David Housewright's website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 24, 2013

Simon Toyne's "The Tower"

Simon Toyne has worked in British television for twenty years. He was the writer, director, and producer for several award-winning shows, one of which won a BAFTA. He lives in England with his wife and family.

Sanctus, the first book of Toyne's Sanctus trilogy, has been published in over 50 countries and translated into 28 languages. In the UK it was the biggest selling debut thriller of 2011. The Key, book two of the trilogy, sold twice as many copies as Sanctus in the same period. The Tower, the third volume of the trilogy, is now out in the US.

Here Toyne dreamcasts an adaptation of The Tower:
I read somewhere that the act of fantasy casting the movie of your own book is known as ‘casturbation’ – so I guess this is as good a moment as any to confess that I casturbate - a lot. I come from a TV background and find that visualising everything really helps me write. As a result I spend probably far too long drawing up character documents littered with images of people to help me get a handle on what they look like.

In The Tower a high level FBI investigation runs through the book and the two agents, Shepherd and Franklin, are like black and white, coming from two entirely different perspectives so I cast them in my mind as different physical types to help visualise that division. Shepherd is younger, more cerebral, uncertain of himself, wiry and intense and I always imagined Sam Rockwell playing him with the same kind of off-kilter intelligence he brings to most things, but particularly Moon. His older partner is physically more imposing and more comfortable with himself. He’s from the south so has an old style courtesy about him and slow charm. I imagined Phillip Seymour Hoffman nailing it, but then I can imagine him nailing most things. I also liked the blonde and dark haired contrast these two actors brought to the picture.

Returning characters from the first two books include Liv Adamsen, who is an investigative journalist from New Jersey who I still refer to as my Jodie Foster character in that she is resourceful, vulnerable but also very brave. When I ‘cast’ Sanctus I said I saw her as Emily Blunt with blonde hair and that hasn’t really changed, although I think Natalie Portman would also be very interesting (with blonde hair, of course).

Last time out I said the hero, Gabriel - ex-US special forces superman – could be played by either Jake Gyllenhaal or a young John Cusack, circa Grosse Pointe Blank. Since then I’ve seen Jake in Source Code and think he’s now edged it. Besides, John Cusack is even older now – but then aren’t we all?
Learn more about the book and author at Simon Toyne's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: The Tower.

Writers Read: Simon Toyne.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Tara Ison's "Rockaway"

Tara Ison is the author of the novels The List, A Child out of Alcatraz, a Finalist for The Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and Rockaway, as well as the short story collection Ball.

Here Ison shares some ideas for the leads in an adaptation of Rockaway:
The two main characters of Rockaway are Sarah and Marty.

Sarah is a 30-something, neurotic, nervous, drifting, single, struggling artist kind of gal, borderline alcoholic, borderline Jewish, attractive enough for whatever, conflicted over her responsibility to her aging, consuming parents, questioning all the choices she's made in life, feeling desperate and trapped, wondering if it's too late to start over. The story is, in a way, a delayed coming-of-age novel. She's not the most endearing character, actually - too brittle and high-maintenance, too in-denial about so much - so an actress playing her needs some warmth. I can't really "see" Sarah from the outside, so it's hard to picture a face for her; I had to brainstorm:

Anna Paquin: not quite right, but the Sookie mania works

Anne Hathaway: too beautiful, but I am always pro-Hathaway

Chloe Sevigny: too harsh

Emily Blunt: this could work - brittle but vulnerable

Jennifer Carpenter: is she the most divisive actress ever?

Kate Mara: too waif

Maggie Gyllenhaal: I could see this - I could see her do anything

Natalie Portman: too doe-eyed

Reese Witherspoon: too Gentile

Rosemarie DeWitt: should be top of the list, perhaps!

Jennifer Connelly: waaay too beautiful, also too chilly

Jennifer Westfeldt: too nuts, even for Sarah

Winona Ryder: a bit too old, too fragile?

Young Diane Keaton: yes, please!

But one absolute rule: No Zooey Deschanel.

Marty is a late-fifty-something, once semi-famous doo wop musician, tall, still handsome, very invested in rediscovering his Jewish faith and identity. A whiff of Catskills comic, some musician groove, some sex appeal, some annoying faux-spirituality, so very Jewish, very Brooklyn, very charismatic but totally opaque.

I always pictured Richard Lewis, post-Anything But Love era. But also:

Paul Reiser: not tall enough...but maybe I'm just being a height-whore

Jon Stewart: if he were an actor

Alan Arkin: too old, but he's Alan Arkin.

Jeff Goldblum: because he's Jeff Goldblum

Richard Belzer: a little too weird, but...,

Albert Brooks: post-Broadcast News era

Larry David: too cranky

Neil Diamond: the musician thing, yes

Robert Klein: getting very close

Harold Ramis: he is so dear

Peter Riegert: not tall enough, but...

Ron Silver: always intrigued me

David Steinberg: again, getting close

Henry Winkler: ultimate mensch, probably too likeable

Elliott Gould: because he's Elliott Gould - but too goofy?

Ron Rifkin: like Ron Silver, intriguing

And...not an actor, but: Larry Seidlin. This guy was the judge for the Anna Nicole Smith fiasco - and turned out he loved the camera, and he was showing up on every news show for months, blathering away. First time I ever heard his voice - and saw the way he used his hands, very expressive - I thought: Yup, that's Marty.
Visit Tara Ison's website.

The Page 69 Test: Tara Ison's The List.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sally Koslow's "The Widow Waltz"

Sally Koslow, who was born and raised in Fargo, North Dakota, is the former editor in chief of McCall’s magazine. Married and the mother of two sons, she lives in New York City.

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, The Widow Waltz:
The Widow Waltz may be a novel, but I picture it as if it were cinema in the tradition of Nancy MeyersSomething’s Gotta Give or It’s Complicated. (Does anyone have Nancy’s email?)

The story is set in photogenic locations, Manhattan and East Hampton, with a heroine who searches for the truth beneath her dead husband’s betrayal. It’s a hopeful tale of not just a mother but two daughters, as well--all three pampered ladies need to grow up. Reinvention, humor, intrigue, midlife romance, dementia, jewelry, Twitter and gardening: these are the ingredients.

The star of the novel is the widow Waltz, Georgia. Given to self-deprecation, Georgia describes herself as “no longer a glorious bloom in the ecosystem” and “pleased that I am not like many of my friends, overly proud of ropy, hard-won bodies mismatched to faces that may as well display logos advertising cosmetic surgeons and dermatologists.” She remains much like she was in college, with “teacup breasts, round and high, which was enough, this being decades before implants inflated bosoms and expectations” and she is still a beauty, albeit with a crow’s foot or two and spider veins. Georgia hasn’t “gone aggressively blonde. Her hair (is) the color of clover honey, almost the brown of years ago…. a near-sighted nurse once measured her as five-five, and forever after Georgia has respected this mistake.” For the role of Georgia Waltz, I give you Vera Farmiga, Naomi Watts or Sandra Bullock.

Georgia’s older daughter, Nicola, is adopted from Korea. She’s reserved and elegant, with silky long black hair and “hips and arms, skinny as spaghetti but as toned a fifteen year old boy’s.” I’m seeing Jamie Chung, who got her start in reality TV and has branched out into movies. Remember her in The Hangover Part II? Nicola’s younger sister Luey is their parents’ biological child and has inherited her mother’s shape and face. Her lips are full and pouty. Depending on who is cast for Georgia, I could imagine the incomparable Jennifer Lawrence, because I could imagine her in anything, as well as Emma Watson or Elizabeth Olsen, who I loved in Martha Marcy May Marlene. Luey is a pisser; she would be fun to play.

We don’t see much of Ben Silver, Georgia’s husband, who dies in the prologue of a massive coronary, though “he was a study in egg-white omelets and soy.” Ben has salt-and-pepper-hair, blue eyes and long legs—he's a runner, who goes down training for the New York marathon. Paging George Clooney, who has proven chemistry with, well, anyone. Should George be unavailable, Viggo Mortensen would work for a devil like Ben. Yet another idea: Hugh Jackman. Give the guy a break and let him play sexy.

Camille Waltz, Georgia’s mother, fixates on Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. I would cast Jaclyn Smith. Camille, who has Alzheimer’s, has lost her filter, and spits out zingers. Sweet Jaclyn could let loose lot with this role.

Stephan Waltz, Georgia older brother, is an Anglophile given to quoting Oscar Wilde. He has Georgia’s eyes—“almond shape, charcoal, deep set.” Who better than Rupert Everett, who is an Oscar doppelgänger? Although Stephan is from Philadelphia, Rupert need not tone down his posh speech. Stephan is affected enough to have a faux-Brit accent.

Casting Daniel Russianoff, Stephan’s lover and Georgia friend, is hard, because most handsome actors are thin, and I imagined the character with “bulk rendered elegant by the fine tailoring of his tweed jacket woven in the grays of cobblestones.” He has “black-haired with a closely trimmed beard and mustache…. broad shoulders and stands only a few inches taller than (Georgia,)” with dark curls that “tumble over his forehead and collar. His nose is a beautiful bumpy beak.” I could see Michael Imperioli if he grew a beard and ate a lot of lasagna or a newcomer the casting agent discovers shopping at Paul Smith.

Nat Ross, Georgia’s book store owner beau, is “rumpled, in cords with shaggy salt-and-pepper hair and the sort of thick, black glasses (she) associates with serial killers.” Greg Kinnear or Bill Pullman, come on down.

Last, we meet Naomi McCann, “all confidence and command. She has a symmetrical beauty-queen face that speaks of time on a sailboat and no use for sunscreen. Her hair is pushed back with a headband, though there’s nothing Junior League about her. She’d be the last woman to wear pastels. You’d elect her foreman of the jury or captain of the rugby team.” Hello,  Robin Wright or Maria Bello. Either tough cookie could run walk away with the part.

Now that casting of The Widow Waltz is complete, all we need is financing.
Learn more about the book and author at Sally Koslow's website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Michael Pocalyko's "The Navigator"

Michael Pocalyko is an investment banker, CEO of Monticello Capital. His novel The Navigator, published on June 11 by Forge Books, is a financial thriller with the tagline “Wall Street Comes to Washington.”

“It’s a book,” he writes, “that crosses a whole lot of boundaries, deals with up-to-the-minute political anxieties, and addresses some major issues like the confluence of big business, big data, big government, and big regulation.”

And it has a lot of great characters. Here Pocalyko plays casting director in Old Hollywood:
I wrote The Navigator to be a terrifically cinematic book. The best thing about this novel is that there are not only three great main characters with depth and verve, but a rich supporting cast too.

These are magnificent roles for ten or more of our greatest actors today ... several of whom have recently been approached about The Navigator. That’s why I am dreamcasting historically. I also think it’s much more intellectual fun doing it that way.

Warren Hunter is a brilliant investment banker, the reigning master of the universe on Wall Street, a man of intellect, control, intensity, and overwhelming drive. Princeton, Harvard Business School, astonishing success and wealth even before he’s forty. And he’s coming apart inside. He’s the twenty-first century version of Jack Lemmon in about 1957, his Playhouse 90 years.

Rick Yeager is more complicated a guy who’s stumbled around with varying degrees of success and failure on the finance end of the high-tech world centered in Washington DC. All of the action in the thriller revolves around him as his world falls apart. He’s like Fred MacMurray in his Billy Wilder and Preston Sturges years, the wonderful American Everyman that he played before we pegged him as Steve Douglas, the Dad in My Three Sons. Rick is in every way the personal and acting complement to Warren—a wonderful part.

Julia Toussaint is bright, marvelous, gorgeous, and the moral center of The Navigator. She is a U.S. Senate legislative aide, and her role requires a psychological centeredness, restraint, and evident elegant and understated style. A young professional African American woman making her way in Obama administration Washington, she’s Dorothy Dandridge at Julia’s age, thirty-three.

Dutch, in his eighties, is a deeply troubled man confronting Alzheimer’s when his past unexpectedly intrudes upon his twilight. Hume Cronyn in his late prime.

Lauren Barr is amazingly strong and straightforward, the kind of woman who is compellingly appealing but you don’t know quite why. Myrna Loy as Nora Charles, only with a modern litigator’s personality, and even more mysterious and daring.

Horvath is a rational, incredibly competent bad guy, an old Cold Warrior and spy, a thinking man who is anything but a thug as he goes about his thuggery. Jack Palance with a Hungarian accent.

A mysterious older man, tall, thin, athletic ... nope, no spoilers here ... he is crucial to the plot of The Navigator, and if James Stewart played against type (as he sometime did), he’d be perfect.

U.S. Senator Tenley Harbison is hot, sixty, a former Ford model, ambitious, politically astute, and as driven in her own way as Warren Hunter is in his. She’s the über-modern version of Barbara Stanwyck or Maureen O’Hara.

Lois Carneccio is tough, determined, a Washington dealmaker, a money mover and kind of a lobbyist too.  Honor Blackman playing unapologetic northern New Jersey style, more Carmela than Snooki.

Every small universe has its rock stars, and in high-tech America, that part of it that’s in northern Virginia Beltway land, he’s Sanford Tuttle. Walter Pidgeon or William Holden in their character actor modes.
Learn more about the book and author at Michael Pocalyko’s website and Facebook page. You can also see the author act in the video trailer to The Navigator.

The Page 69 Test: The Navigator.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Jennifer Zobair's "Painted Hands"

Jennifer Zobair grew up in Iowa and attended Smith College and Georgetown Law School. She has practiced corporate and immigration law and as a convert to Islam, has been a strong advocate for Muslim women's rights. Zobair lives with her husband and three children outside of Boston, Massachusetts.

Here Zobair dreamcasts an adaptation of Painted Hands, her first novel:
Whenever people talk about Painted Hands as a movie, it’s clear that Zainab is the first character everyone wants to cast. She’s this brilliant, gorgeous, sharp-tongued political campaign staffer of Indian and Pakistani descent, and my agent and I both agree that Archie Panjabi from The Good Wife and Bend It Like Beckham would make a very fabulous Zainab. Panjabi is poised and smart and beautiful, and seems so comfortable in her own skin. She reminds me quite a bit of Zainab.

Zainab’s best friend, Amra, is a lawyer, and as you might expect, a little more reserved and diplomatic. I think Parminder Nagra, also from Bend It Like Beckham and ER, would be perfect—attractive with sort of that “nice girl” vibe. Amra’s love interest in the book is Mateen, and I have her refer to his “Shahid Kapoor good looks,” so really, I think it would only be right for Kapoor (of Bollywood fame) to play him.

Amra’s colleague, Hayden, struggles with body image issues and relationships with men, and eventually dabbles in fundamentalist Islam (where “dabbles in” means “sort of loses herself because of a guy”). She’s blond and pretty and troubled, and after seeing Silver Linings Playbook, I think  Jennifer Lawrence would be a perfect Hayden.

That brings us to Chase, the thirty-something, right wing talk radio host who publicly attacks Zainab for her Muslim background, but privately is ridiculously, madly infatuated with her. The first time she meets him, Zainab notes that he is “good looking for a white boy.” He’s smart and politically opportunistic. Also, he has a girlfriend. Despite these questionable qualities, he also has this very playful sense of humor and genuine caregiving capacity. So I’m going to go with James Marsden from 27 Dresses. I think he could capture both the unsavory aspects of Chase’s persona and the good nature that lurks beneath all that.

It would be incredible to have A.R. Rahman score the movie, but there’d better be some Pearl Jam somewhere in there, just to make the author of the novel smile.
Learn more about the book and author at Jennifer Zobair's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Painted Hands.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 17, 2013

Jessica Anya Blau's "The Wonder Bread Summer"

Jessica Anya Blau's books include the nationally bestselling novel The Summer of Naked Swim Parties and the critically acclaimed Drinking Closer to Home.

Here she shares some suggestions for the above-the-talent in a big screen adaptation of her new novel, The Wonder Bread Summer:
I love movies as much as I love books, so this is a fun question. I know Steven Soderbergh has quit making movies but I’d like to pull him out of retirement to make this film. I love the energy in Out of Sight, probably one of his least-known films but one that I think was underrated. I thought The Limey was fabulous (and underrated) and loved the oddness of it. And, of course, this book is a caper so, stylistically, the Ocean’s movies have the right tension, wit and tone for The Wonder Bread Summer.

Now let’s cast this Soderbergh production! For Allie, my 20-year old Berkeley student who’s on the lam with a bread bag full of cocaine, we need Rashida Jones seventeen years ago (can someone make that happen?). For Frank, her father, we could use Will Smith. For Penny, her mother, we need Lucy Liu.

Somebody get Soderbergh on the phone and let’s make this thing happen!
Learn more about the book and author at Jessica Anya Blau's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Jessica Anya Blau and Pippa.

The Page 69 Test: The Wonder Bread Summer.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Shamron Moore's "Hollywood Strip"

Shamron Moore became fascinated with Hollywood at a young age; she counts Ava Gardner, Greta Garbo, Rita Hayworth, and Sharon Tate among early influences. In 2000, she left her home state of Michigan for the excitement of Los Angeles.

She started her career with a national print campaign for Cadillac and went on to appear in national commercials, international publications, television shows, and feature films. FHM named her one of the 100 Sexiest Women in the World.

Shortly thereafter, she left the industry to focus on writing, one of her lifelong passions. Many of her experiences in L.A. served as inspiration for Hollywood Strip, her debut novel.

Here Moore dreamcasts an adaptation of Hollywood Strip:
The two most important qualities an actress should possess in order to portray Callie Lambert is a.) vulnerability and b.) a sense of humor. When I first saw Emma Stone in Crazy, Stupid, Love, I was impressed with her comedic timing and the fact that she’s an incredibly well-rounded actress. For these reasons, she gets my vote as Hollywood Strip’s leading lady. Looks wise, she isn’t spot-on, but I value attitude more than physical resemblance.

Evan Marquardt is a blend of charm and smarm. He has the morals of a wolf, but he’s so handsome and charismatic, it’s easy to forget how self-centered he is. You cannot help but be sucked into his web--and he weaves a very seductive web. I picture Robin Thicke, Michael Bublé, or Ryan Gosling as Evan.

A former friend of mine inspired the scandalous Candice Boyd. Candice is vampy, brash, and uninhibited. Her whole vibe is one of unapologetic va-va-voom and  Megan Fox--or possibly Mila Kunis--would be a fine choice.

Tyler Bragg doesn’t just walk into a room, he prances into it, followed by a stream of fireworks. He’s outrageous, witty, and most of all, fun. He has this lightness of spirit that’s contagious. Chris Colfer comes to mind, but I’m not sure if he’s saucy enough.

The character I have the hardest time figuring out is Gabrielle Manx. Gabby isn’t just a tall, jiggly blonde; she’s very introspective and bright with the susceptibility of a wounded baby bird. She must have a commanding physical presence. If you combined Charlize Theron, Sharon Tate, and Jayne Mansfield, you could quite possibly have the recipe for Gabby Manx.
Learn more about the book and author at Shamron Moore's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Charlie Lovett's "The Bookman's Tale"

Charlie Lovett is a writer, teacher, and playwright, whose plays for children have been seen in more than 3,000 productions. He is a former antiquarian bookseller and an avid book collector. He and his wife split their time between Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Kingham, Oxfordshire, in England.

Here Lovett dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession:
I have to say right up front, that my wife, Janice, is the one who should cast the movie of The Bookman’s Tale. She has directed nearly twenty of my plays for children and is constantly being complimented on her casting abilities. Add to that the fact that she knows every Hollywood face and resumé ... well, I had to ask her about casting my book, and the rest of this blog is really from her.

Casting The Bookman’s Tale is all about casting Peter Byerly. He is young, introverted, and sensitive, but he is also intelligent and has a sophistication that belies his youth. Even though Peter is an American, there are a few British actors who might be perfect for the part—James McAvoy, Tom Hiddleston, Andrew Garfield, and Daniel Radcliffe all have their appeal as possible Peter Byerlys. The casting of the female romantic lead, Amanda, would, of course, depend on who was cast in the role of Peter. Amanda is dark-haired and beautiful, but she is also very upright, organized, and a bit separate from the world she inhabits. The actress who plays her needs to be able to embody that separateness without coming across as snooty or aloof. Janice and I spent a fun hour poring over red carpet pictures online and especially like Alexis Bledel and Anna Kendrick as possibilities.

The Bookman’s Tale is told in three time frames and the historic time line (which runs from 1592 to 1879) has lots of great opportunities for stars to make cameos as real people. I love the idea of Alan Rickman or Hugh Laurie as William Shakespeare and please may I see Benedict Cumberbatch as Christopher Marlowe!
Learn more about the book and author at Charlie Lovett's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Bookman's Tale.

Writers Read: Charlie Lovett.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s “Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted”

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong grew up deep in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, then escaped to New York to live in a succession of very small apartments and write about pop culture. In the process, she became a feminist, a Buddhist, and the singer/guitarist in an amateur rock band. She also spent a decade on staff at Entertainment Weekly, cofounded, and now writes for several publications, including Women’s Health, O, Writer’s Digest, Fast Company, and New York‘s Vulture. Her collaboration with Heather Wood Rudulph, Sexy Feminism, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in March 2013.

Here Armstrong shares some ideas for a big-screen adaptation of her new book, Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted: And all the Brilliant Minds Who Made The Mary Tyler Moore Show a Classic:
Turning a nonfiction book about a TV show into a movie certainly comes off as a bit … meta, at first glance. But the people connected to The Mary Tyler Moore Show, particularly those behind the scenes, could make for some pretty juicy roles: There’s Treva Silverman, the first woman hired to write for the show and a take-no-prisoners trailblazer who also happened be a former beauty contest winner and piano prodigy. There are James L. Brooks and Allan Burns, the polar opposites who ran the show: Jim all manic creativity and hippie beads and beard, Allan all Clark Kent hair and affability. There’s Mary Tyler Moore’s TV executive husband, Grant Tinker, a great businessman, champion of creativity, and Captain America Type. There’s Pat Nardo, Jim and Allan’s too-smart-for-shorthand secretary from the Bronx, and Susan Silver, the bombshell writer who rocked hotpants and could write a killer joke.

I could go on, but we’ll stick with these for now, and then do a little dream-casting of the famous folks who played the characters in my title, too, just for the heck of it. I never did that thing that fiction writers do, where they inevitably cast the book in their heads as they write it, if only to help them flesh out their characters. I had talked to the real people, after all, during my research. But I’m intrigued by the idea of a modern-day Mary or Valerie Harper, who played Rhoda.

But first, the behind-the-scenes folks. I want to see Julia Stiles more in general — I realized I’d missed her when I saw Silver Linings Playbook — and she has the gravitas to pull off the role of Treva, the show’s most experienced female writer. She needs to seem like she could be funny and fiercely intelligent, hang with the boys and take no bullshit. Julia’s been doing that since 10 Things I Hate About You. I can imagine Ashton Kutcher as a young Jim Brooks if he grew his hair out and got himself a nice ‘70s beard. He’d have to tap into that “genius” feeling, but, hey, let’s give the kid a challenge. I see Bradley Cooper, with some slicked-back hair and Buddy Holly glasses, playing Brooks’ partner, Allan Burns. Maybe Ben Affleck with his hair grayed could be the chiseled executive Grant Tinker. I like Tina Majorino (from Napoleon Dynamite and Veronica Mars) for the role of Pat Nardo, the street-smart secretary from New York, and Kaley Cuoco as the sexy Susan Silver.

As for the famous folks, that’s always tougher since they have to live up to the real-life stars everyone knows and loves. For Moore — ugh, this is so hard! — what about Rebecca Hall, who was in The Prestige and Vicky Cristina Barcelona? I can imagine that working because she’s not super-famous. Ed Asner, who played Lou Grant: Gosh, that’s even harder. Jack Black, playing low-key? Or Phillip Seymour Hoffman? For Valerie Harper, I was considering Selma Blair, but I think Sarah Silverman would be even better if she could modulate her distinctive voice a bit. Ted Knight might be the easiest one to cast here, strangely enough. I’d go with Rob Lowe, playing a sort-of variation on his Parks and Recreation character, with gray hair.

But I’m open to suggestions on Mary, Lou, Rhoda, and Ted if you’ve got them.
Learn more about the book and author at Jennifer Keishin Armstrong's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 10, 2013

Peter Carlson's "Junius and Albert’s Adventures in the Confederacy"

Peter Carlson, a former reporter and columnist for The Washington Post, is the author of three books of American history, including the newly published Junius and Albert's Adventures in the Confederacy: A Civil War Odyssey.

Here Carlson dreamcasts an adaptation of his new book:
My book is the true story of two reporters for the New York Tribune—Junius Browne and Albert Richardson—who covered the Civil War until Confederate soldiers captured them as they tried to sneak past Vicksburg on a hay barge. The reporters were shuffled from one horrendous Confederate prison to another until they finally escaped and attempted to walk across the snow-covered Appalachians with the help of slaves and pro-Union bushwhackers. When I learned about their story, my first thought was: Wow! This would make a great movie!

I don’t make movies, though, so I wrote the book instead. But I still think it would make a fantastic film—part adventure story, part comedy, part buddy movie, a cross between Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and O Brother, Where Art Thou?.

You’ve got two buddies, each 29 when they were captured. Albert was handsome and strong. Maybe Bradley Cooper could play him. Junius was scrawny, prematurely bald, a nerdy intellectual type. Woody Allen or Wally Cox could have played him decades ago; now maybe Jesse Eisenberg.

They meet many interesting characters during their travels, including Abraham Lincoln—a good opportunity for Daniel Day Lewis to dust off his stovepipe hat. They also encounter a handsome, colorful and corrupt Confederate prison warden, who happened to be a playwright and a former pirate—a great part for Russell Brand, who has played charismatic sleazeballs in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek. Dan Ellis, a tough, grizzled pro-Union bushwhacker leads Junius and Albert over the mountains—a good role for Johnny Depp or Mark Ruffalo.

During their worst moment of danger, the reporters were rescued by a mysterious and beautiful teenage girl riding a horse through the mountains. (Yes, this stuff all really happened!) This part would be perfect for Rooney Mara or Scarlett Johansson or Jennifer Lawrence but I think it ought to go to some beautiful young unknown actress who really knows how to handle a horse.

Shouldn’t the author of the book get a small cameo role in the movie? As a former newspaper reporter, I’d love to play Richard Colburn, a reporter for the New York World, and a pal of Junius and Albert. Colburn missed the Battle of Pea Ridge but had the audacity to write a first person account of the battle anyway. Sitting in a comfortable hotel room 200 miles from the fighting, he began his story with this hilarious bit of balderdash:

“Even now, while I attempt to collect my blurred and disconnected thoughts, the sound of booming cannon and the crack of rifle rings in my ear, while visions of carnage and the flame of battle hover beyond my sight. Three days of constant watching, without food or sleep, and the excitement of the struggle, have quite unstrung my nerves.”

It’s a story of adventure and absurdity, and as such, it would be a great vehicle for the Coen brothers. Are you reading this, Joel and Ethan? The screen rights are currently available. Give me a call. Let’s make a deal.
Learn more about the book and author at Peter Carlson's website.

The Page 99 Test: Junius and Albert's Adventures in the Confederacy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Gary Corby's "Sacred Games"

Gary Corby is a novelist and former systems programmer at Microsoft. He lives in Australia with his wife and two daughters.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, Sacred Games:
Thanks for having me here at My Book, The Movie. My mission: to declare a cast for my book Sacred Games, a murder mystery set at the ancient Olympics of 460BC.

My hero is Nicolaos, a young man of classical Athens who's inventing the job of investigator as he goes. There are lots of options for casting Nico. At the moment I'd like to go with Martin Freeman, who plays Dr Watson in the most recent Sherlock Holmes series from the BBC. Freeman's an excellent actor, I think he might be the best Watson ever. There's more of Watson than Holmes in my detective, so Freeman would be a great pick.

If my detective is the Watson, you're probably wondering who is the Holmes? Let me introduce you to Diotima...

My heroine is the incredibly intelligent Diotima. She is Nico's wife and/or fiancee, depending on who you ask. For Diotima I think we must have Barbara Feldon, who you might know better as Agent 99 from Get Smart. I feel that if Diotima and Agent 99 could get together, they'd have quite a bit in common.

The Spartan investigator Markos works with Nico and Diotima. I think we'll have Sam Worthington.

King Pleistarchus of Sparta makes an appearance. He's the son of the Leonidas who led the 300 at Thermopylae. I think we'll have Russell Crowe for him.

Dame Judi Dench is available now that her gig as M in James Bond is over. Dame Judi would be the perfect Queen Gorgo of Sparta. Gorgo was the mother of Pleistarchus; she was a recognized genius and one seriously badass player in international politics.

For Pindar, the great praise singer, I want the excellent David McCallum. He was the Russian agent in The Man from UNCLE, and these days is Ducky in NCIS. A very great actor.

I better stop or I'll cast the entire book....
Learn more about the book and author at Gary Corby's blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Pericles Commission.

Writers Read: Gary Corby (November 2010).

My Book, The Movie: The Pericles Commission.

My Book, The Movie: The Ionia Sanction.

Writers Read: Gary Corby (November 2011).

The Page 69 Test: The Ionia Sanction.

The Page 69 Test: Sacred Games.

Writers Read: Gary Corby.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 7, 2013

Victoria Houston's "Dead Insider"

Victoria Houston is the author of the Loon Lake Mysteries, which are set in the Northwoods of Wisconsin against a background of fishing – fly fishing as well as fishing for muskie, bass, bluegill and walleyes.

Here Houston dreamcasts an adaptation of Dead Insider, the thirteenth book in the series:
The only actor I can see in the role of Doc Osborne is Treat Williams – close to the right age and good-looking.

On the other hand, I have problems when it comes to Lew Ferris and Ray Pradt, the other two recurring characters in my stories. I’d like a young version of Barbara Stanwyck or youthful Helen Mirren for Police Chief Lewellyn Ferris – no actress in her forties today hits me right for that character as I see Lew as a sturdy, striking woman.

As for Ray Pradt, a young version of Dennis Quaid with his goofy smile works for my pot-smoking fishing guide. My problem is that I see each of my characters as distilled images of people I knew growing up.
Learn more about the book and author at Victoria Houston's website.

The Page 69 Test: Dead Insider.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Rhonda Riley's "The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope"

Rhonda Riley is a graduate of the creative writing program at the University of Florida.

Here she shares some ideas about casting an adaptation of her recently released debut novel, The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope:
I did not have any specific actors in mind when I wrote the book. I don’t think /imagine that way when I am writing. I know writers who start with a photo of someone to help them develop character description, but I don’t do that. Actors’ faces come with their own characters--the people they are and the roles they’ve played can be like shadows next to them. When I’m imagining characters’ faces, I don’t want to give myself anything I have to ignore.

When I think of Adam Hope becoming a film, I think in terms of scripts, scenes, directors, etc. And how would they do that voice? But if there ever was a film made of the book, I’d want the actor who plays Adam to be someone who could convincingly and simultaneously play the surreal, slightly off character and the very down-to-earth character, have both qualities in his face and how he moves. Johnny Depp in his earlier roles played the other-worldly, not-quite-normal stuff very well, and his face is beautiful. But Adam should have a larger more robust physical presence. I love the way Javier Bardem can play his body large or small (check out Love in the Time of Cholera for scenes of him being younger and smaller in presence). He can be very convincing as an imposing power or as an impish young man. That is one thing I wish I’d bought into Adam’s character. I think of him as a bit of an imp. That didn’t come out in the book, but there’s only so much you can put in one book, only so many pages!

I fell in love with Tilda Swinton’s face long ago. She’s capable of a stunned bareness that I associate with Evelyn’s first encounters with A. She can be plain or beautiful. But the closest I’ve seen to how I imagine Evelyn, is  Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone. Though the film was darker than Adam Hope, I was taken with her quiet, solitary, and determined character and the way she held herself and moved through the scenes.

For me, Momma is also a central character. I am blank when it comes to her. She is so closely tied, in my mind, to the bodies and faces of two women I loved, my own mother and my great aunt, Lil. An actress playing her would need a strong face.

As for all those tall redheaded daughters--I would love to see them in a film! Actually, I would be most thrilled by new faces—actors who are getting their first major break and blowing the audience away. Clean slates. Gorgeous and fresh. Of course, blowing away an audience would have as much to do with the script writing and direction as the actors. This question—which actors would play my characters—always confounds me a little and sets me thinking about the differences between the film and books. The collaboration of film is in the product, you actually see the evidence of it. With film everyone sees the same thing. But in books the act of seeing takes place in the moment of reading—in the reader’s mind. The author gives the parameters of the scene, some major characteristic of a face, a place, or a day, and the reader fills in the details. I’d love to see what readers imagine A. looks like. That possibility is endless and far more dynamic than Ben Affleck’s handsome mug.
Learn more about the book and author at Rhonda Riley's website and Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope.

Writers Read: Rhonda Riley.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

M. L. Longworth's "Death in the Vines"

M. L. Longworth has written for The Washington Post, The Times (London), The Independent, and Bon Appétit magazine. She is the author of a mystery series set in Southern France, the Verlaque and Bonnet Provençal Mysteries, published by Penguin USA. The books include Death at the Château Bremont, Murder in the Rue Dumas, and the newly released Death in the Vines.

Longworth has lived full-time in France for over fifteen years and divides her time between Aix-en-Provence, where she writes, and Paris, where she teaches writing at New York University's Paris campus.

Here the author dreamcasts an adaptation of the series:
When I began writing the first book, Marine Bonnet (law professor) and Antoine Verlaque (examining magistrate) were working on their relationship, and having a hard time of it, while trying to solve a mystery together. I wasn’t even sure if their relationship would make it. Now, as the third book has just been released, and I’m in the middle of the fourth book, they have evolved into a couple (although not married; yet) and appear to be quite happy. And so for my fantasy film I have in my head a strong couple—but not portrayed by film stars of today, many of whom I wouldn’t recognize if I passed them on Aix-en-Provence’s main street—but a screen duo from the 1930s: William Powell and  Myrna Loy.

The Thin Man, made in 1934 by director WS Van Dyke, after Dashiell Hammett’s book, brings to life the gin-soaked 1930s and 40s. Amateur sleuths Nick (retired private detective) and Nora (heiress) Charles were attractive, wealthy, fashionable, and intelligent. Marine and Antoine are all of those things, too (although in my version, it’s Antoine Verlaque with the family money, and he’s slightly overweight). Nick and Nora became a beloved screen couple largely because of their quick wit and loving banter; it’s something that has been inspiring me as I write the fourth book. But is that swift repartee—like multiple martinis before dinner—also of another era? I’d like to think not.

In our Puritanical 21st century the Charles’ multiple martinis are no longer de rigueur, but Marine and Antoine live in France, so they love to eat well and drink fine wines, probably too much for some readers: a modern version of Nick and Nora’s, yes, privileged life. If we travel back in time when we watch a Thin Man film, enthralled by Nora’s designer silk gowns, the jazz, and the endless champagne, then I’d like to transport the reader in that same way, across the ocean to contemporary Aix-en-Provence, where there are still designer clothes (although Marine is much too modest and practical to be a fashion victim), contemporary jazz, and lots of champagne.

The late film critic Roger Ebert said of the Thin Man films: “And there is a kind of grace in the way the 6-foot Powell hovers protectively over the 5-6 Loy (or sometimes simply leans as if blown in her direction).” A wonderful sentence, for it sums up how Powell, with a simple gesture, conveyed Nick’s love for Nora. Antoine and Marine have had their ups and downs, but they are now a couple; and just like Nick and Nora, it’s as natural as if they’d been blown together by Provence’s wind.

Postscript: Director Rob Marshall is planning a Thin Man remake, starring Johnny Depp. The actress who will play Nora has yet to be announced.
Learn more about the books and author at M. L. Longworth's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Murder in the Rue Dumas.

Writers Read: M. L. Longworth.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 3, 2013

Diane Radycki's "Paula Modersohn-Becker"

Diane Radycki is associate professor of art history at Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She served as editor and translator of The Letters and Journals of Paula Modersohn-Becker.

Here Radycki dreamcasts--with some help from her friends--an adaptation of her new book, Paula Modersohn-Becker: The First Modern Woman Artist:
Main characters:

1) the painter Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876-1907);

2) her best friend the sculptor Clara Westhoff (1878-1954);

3) Clara’s husband, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926); and

4) Paula’s husband, the landscape painter Otto Modersohn (1865-1943).

Setting: the turn of the century, an artist colony in the north German moors and the artist quarter of Montparnasse in Paris.

On Saturday May 18, 2013 at my book party I asked my guests to help cast the book as a film. Here are some of the suggestions:

BB writes, “Susan Sarandon for Clara! Christophe Waltz for Otto.”

Barbara K writes, “Cast doesn’t matter as long as the 3-D glasses work well.”

Beverly S writes, “Barbara Sukowa, from the movie about Hannah Arendt.”

Cleo K writes, “Vanessa Hudgens for Paula and Ellen Page for Clara. Justin Timberlake  for Rilke and Johnny Depp for Otto.”

Donna M writes, “Liv Tyler?” [John C writes, “OK, Donna came up with Angelina Jolie—but it was my idea to write it down!”]

Doug B says, “Lena Dunham for Paula!”

Grace G-P writes, “Keira Knightley as Clara and Jude Law for Otto [Kate C seconds Jude Law].”

Kate C writes, “I love Emma Watson, Emma Stone & Anna Kendrick [Claire P seconds Anna Kendrick], but they are super skinny. I do enjoy Jennifer Lawrence a lot. . . . Maybe Carey Mulligan can work on her American accent.”

Marc P writes, “Brad Pitt for Rilke.”

Phillip L says, “Margarethe von Trotta would be a good candidate to direct. She works with Barbara Sukowa a lot.”

Anonymous writes, “For Paula, I think Drew Barrymore. She is a bit old, but she could “become” older, she’s very poetic and has produced/directed. Otto should be a blond—actually Brad Pitt might be OK. For Rilke, I would say Justin Timberlake, who is a bit old for the part but can look younger and is himself a writer.”

Smiley Face scribbles, “I think Diane should play Paula because no one else could do her justice!”

To be true to the physical characteristics of the people portrayed, I personally think that Paula—who was not skinny—could be played by Anna Maxwell Martin (or Lena Dunham) and her austere older husband Otto by Jude Law; while tall and dark Clara could be played by Keira Knightley or Liv Tyler; while Rilke—who was shorter than his wife and delicate—by Elijah Wood.
Learn more about Paula Modersohn-Becker: The First Modern Woman Artist at the Yale University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Meg Donohue's "All the Summer Girls"

Meg Donohue is the bestselling author of All the Summer Girls and How to Eat a Cupcake, which was translated into Dutch, German, Italian, and Polish. She has an MFA from Columbia University and a BA from Dartmouth College. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she now lives San Francisco with her husband, two young daughters, and Cole, her endearing Taiwanese rescue pup.

Here Donohue shares some ideas for casting an adaptation of All the Summer Girls:
I actually discuss (dream)casting the All the Summer Girls movie in a Q&A with my editor that appears in the back of the book. In it, I write about how difficult it is for me to pick actresses to fill my protagonists’ flip-flops. Still, it’s fun to try:

I’d like to see Kate, a straight-laced lawyer with a secret, played by Anna Kendrick. I think she’s a wonderful actress and could embody Kate’s mix of serious and sweet.

I’d pick Jessica Szohr for Vanessa, a beautiful New York art-dealer-turned-stay-at-home-mom. I thought Jessica was soulful (and gorgeous) on Gossip Girl, so I think she could handle the crossroads where Vanessa finds herself in the book.

For Dani, an aspiring writer with quite a few skeletons in her closet, I’d pick Kirsten Dunst. Dani is smart and funny but also hardened and lost. Kirsten Dunst has an appealing edge and could do her justice.

Check out my Pinterest board for images of these actresses and other scenes from All the Summer Girls.
Learn more about the book and author at Meg Donohue's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: All the Summer Girls.

Writers Read: Meg Donohue.

--Marshal Zeringue