Sunday, February 24, 2008

Erika Schickel's "You’re Not the Boss of Me"

Erika Schickel is the author of You're Not the Boss of Me: Adventures of a Modern Mom.

Last year, she applied the Page 69 Test to the book. Here she shares her thinking about the cast of a possible film or television adaptation:

Well, everyone wants a movie made of his or her life, right? And since my book You’re Not the Boss of Me is a memoir that is literally what it would be. As chance would have it, my book was optioned for a TV series last summer and I had many conversations with my producers about who would play me, so I come to this challenge well armed.

First of all, let it be said that I think I should play me. I was an actress long before I got into the writing racket and I think I would be brilliant in the role of Moi, but of course no one wants to make films starring 43 year-old unknown actresses. So, what-ever, Mary.

My next choice was Laura Linney, because she’s smart and brittle and has that New York/intellectual/WASP thing going and those are my people. Did you see The Squid and the Whale? That was my childhood and Linney was note perfect in that. But producers were cool on her and started trying to sell me on Debra Messing (yikes!) so I countered with Téa Leoni, which they loved, but they said we’d never get her. Then I saw Knocked Up and loved Leslie Mann (Apatow’s wife) just for the mouth on her. That got mild interest from the Hollywood suits, but we found out she was already attached to another project. A bit after that my husband had the wild idea of casting Natalie Maines (of the Dixie Chicks), who we both love and who has that sassy, rebellious thing happening. She lets it fly just so to see people’s reaction, which is totally me. Even though Maines has never acted, we thought she’d have been perfect and we even sent her manager a few copies of the book but never heard anything back. Then the writer’s strike hit and it all went in the turlet.

As for my kids, I’d cast a young Jodie Foster to play Franny. People are always saying how much she looks like Jodie (they said the same to me when I was twelve). Foster’s sensible and non-girly like Franny and she don’t take no crap from no one. For Georgia I’d cast Abigail Breslin or Gracie Bednarczyk (the little girl from Grace is Gone). In fact, I’d cast both of those sisters from Grace is Gone to play my girls, it's uncanny how alike they all are, which may explain why I cried all the way through that movie. Anyway, both Breslin and Bednarczyk have that kooky, look-at-me quality that Georgie has in spades. She’s not afraid to break out into a silly dance, she dresses to impress, has a sweet tummy and a super sparkly personality.

As for the other characters, I never got that far when the strike hit. I don’t know if the project will revive post-strike, but it sure was fun to think about and I’m glad my casting dreams have found an outlet here!

Visit Erika Schickel's website and her column on

The Page 69 Test: You're Not the Boss of Me.

--Marshal Zeringue