Monday, October 19, 2009

Sarah Bryant's "The Other Eden"

Sarah Bryant was born in Brunswick, Maine, USA and attended Brown University in Rhode Island, USA. In 1996 she moved to Scotland to do an MLitt in creative writing at University of St. Andrews, and ended up marrying a Scot and settling in the UK. She now lives with her husband and daughter in the Scottish Borders, where along with writing she doubles as a teacher of Celtic harp, and occasionally triples as a printmaker.

Here she shares some ideas for casting a film adaptation of her novel, The Other Eden:
I'm a very image-driven writer. I have a lot of visual art in my background and present-ground, and I love films, but oddly, the only book I've written where I pictured specific actors in my lead roles is The Other Eden. And even that is problematic, as you'll see! But taking a stab at it, In Order of Appearance:

The first characters we meet are Eve and Elizabeth, a very young pair of identical twins. They are meant to be dark-haired, large-eyed ingenues. Although she didn't 'exist' in the public realm when I wrote the first draft of this book (it was 1990, I was 16!) I think now that Norah Jones would be perfect for them. Plus, she plays the piano, and they're meant to be piano virtuosi...

Next is the narrator and main character, Eleanor Rose. She is actually my hardest character to 'cast'. She's meant to be blond, dark-eyed, fragile, and very young. I always imagined Natalie Portman, but she's not blond. I can't even imagine what she'd look like blond. I also think Katherine Heigl is gorgeous, she has the perfect face for Eleanor, but she's so tall and would maybe come off as too forceful. I wonder what Emmy Rossum would look like blond? I think of all of the characters in this, Eleanor might best be played by an unknown.

Then there's her older companion/mother figure, Mary Bishop. I see her as a slightly faded beauty, rather vague and washed-out - perhaps Miranda Richardson or Michelle Pfeiffer? Someone who could come off as sympathetic and vulnerable, but who could also believably be the instrument of things going terribly wrong. You'd have to be able to hate her for a while, before you forgive her. A good actress!

Briefly, there's Eleanor's grandfather, William Fairfax. A somewhat eccentric Boston Brahmin. Dark eyes - Sean Connery would be brilliant.

The easiest and clearest cast in my mind has always been Alexander Trevahov. There is an amazing Russian actor called Oleg Menshikov who has been Alexander in my mind for so long, I can't think of him any other way. He's probably best known in the western world for Burnt by the Sun, and that's the first film I saw him in. I remember thinking he had the most astonishing face - creepily malleable, and innocent even when you know he's a villain. He's even a virtuoso pianist in real life! Too good to be true. If I couldn't have him, then Johnny Depp. Dark and intense!

Dorian he's more difficult. He'd have to look very straightforward, boy-next-door handsome. Very charming, but able to do unhinged. I used to think Brad Pitt, now I think he's too pretty. A Brit would be nice. Paul Bettany would be absolutely perfect.

The only other significant character is Natalya, but I'm not really up on child actors. A young Dakota Fanning or Kirstin Dunst would have been perfect...
Learn more about the book and author at Sarah Bryant's website.

--Marshal Zeringue