Here's who he would cast in the movie or miniseries version of the book:
Many novelists today plan for movie adaptations even before they begin writing. Michael Crichton constructs his potboilers in the standard three-act cinematic structure. As a result, some of his novels read like fast-paced, slightly wordy screenplays.Read the prologue to the Canadian edition of A Perfect Hell and the prologue to the US edition.
When writing A Perfect Hell I too fantasized about a big-screen (even small-screen) version. Not without precedent. My book is based on the WWII exploits of the Black Devils, a legendary commando outfit. An earlier popular history of this unit was The Devil's Brigade, which became a classic 1960s war movie starring William Holden and Cliff Robertson.
Both men were class acts, utterly irreplaceable. But whom would I pick for a 2007 re-make? The leader of the Black Devil's (played by Holden in the original) was an extraordinary WWII commander named Robert T. Frederick. Although fearless and aggressive, Frederick had a refined, reserved, almost aristocrat quality to him that was not really consistent with Holden's robustness. I once thought George Clooney would make a great Colonel Frederick (because I like George), but if I had my druthers I would cast Guy Pearce (Memento, LA Confidential) because of his understated intensity.
A Perfect Hell is also the story of a lifelong friendship between two frontline soldiers: Joe Glass and Lorin Waling. My gut feeling is that both actors would have to be new discoveries: for the big-hearted Glass, a 19-year-old version of Adrien Brody (Hollywoodland), another fierce and flexible actor with a fascinatingly asymmetrical face. For Waling, a waif who comes of age on the front lines, I would cast Daniel (Harry Potter) Radcliffe in his first adult non-wizard role. For their girlfriends and wives: two down-to-earth beauties, Elisha Cuthbert (Kim on 24) and Canadian actress Sarah Polley.
Lastly, instead of a movie, I'd make a mini-series, and I'd spend as much of the budget as possible on a screenwriter and cinematographer. I'd shoot the movie on location in Montana (where the commando unit was born), and I'd cast the surviving Black Devils and their children in cameo appearances.
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The Page 69 Test: A Perfect Hell.