Here she develops some ideas about the cast and director should her novel be adapted for the big screen:
First, I’d like to thank Marshal for inviting me … My Book, My Movie is a terrific blog, and provides a much needed outlet for frustrated writers who love to fantasize about film adaptations!Learn more about the novel and author at Kelli Stanley's website and her blog.
Meanwhile, back at the keyboard …
I dabbled in screenplays in the 90s, back when I owned a comic book store. I acquired an LA agent (not a great one, but a nice person); realized that I’d actually have to move to LA if I wanted to pursue this seriously; and returned to school for my M.A. in Classics.
No offense to LA—I love the place. But I already had a home in San Francisco, and the idea of compromise and more compromise was fast becoming less and less appealing as a career choice.
Flash forward a few years (you can visualize the spinning newspapers, if you’d like) … inspired by Chandler, the Noir City film festival and the idea of using my degree for something, I wrote a mystery-thriller while in grad school, and after the normal period of ups and downs and hand-wringing, it’s just been published. It’s a new hybrid genre I call Roman Noir: historical setting (Roman Britain, 83 AD) meets the firecracker pace and snappy-bitter dialogue of the hardboiled golden age.
So now, finally, thanks to Marshal … I can return to my would-be mogul days, and dream of my cast … and because I’m a classic film fan (and a Gemini), I have two: Late ‘40s Nox Dormienda and contemporary Nox Dormienda (because where there’s a book out, there’s hope!)
TCM Version (circa 1946)
Arcturus … a doctor and a romantic cynic, torn between two worlds and a double heritage … half-Roman, half-native, fitting in nowhere. Mid thirties, tall for the era (thanks to his Celtic mother), ruggedly good-looking. William Holden or Robert Mitchum.
Gwyna … the drop-dead beautiful widow who walks into the office (in this case, a triclinium) and who may be as much trouble as she looks. Early to mid twenties. A breath-taking blonde in the book. I’d choose Rita Hayworth and make Gwyna a red head. Grace Kelly is too young in ‘46, Lana Turner not refined enough.
On the altar of an underground temple, a butchered corpse is discovered … a now-dead spy for the Emperor … and Gwyna’s fiancé. Arcturus has one week to unravel who murdered him and why before civil war erupts between Britannia and Rome.
Fortunately, he has help in the form of a loyal freedman (former slave) named Bilicho. His best friend, a little older, craggy but appealing. I’m thinking Pat O’Brien, or maybe (against type) Charles McGraw.
Directed by: Fred Zinnemann, Billy Wilder, or John Huston.
OK … and now for the modern version, coming to a movie palace or TV screen near you (hey – it’s a fantasy, right?).
Arcturus: Clive Owen (who is starring as Marlowe in a new Frank Miller adaptation of a Chandler short story). I’d also be very happy with Russell Crowe or Daniel Craig (who wouldn’t?!).
Gwyna: If only Michelle Pfeiffer were younger … as it is, another non-blonde: Angelina Jolie (we can dye her hair) … or possibly, Keira Knightly. Neither have the delicacy that I’d like, though. Aw, let’s just search until we find someone who looks like Grace Kelly or Rita Hayworth!
Bilicho: Graham McTavish … a sexy kind of Bilicho (it’s 2008, we can do this!).
Directed by: Me! (OK, I’ll settle for Curtis Hanson).