Sunday, March 7, 2010

Jennifer Stevenson's "Fools Paradise"

Jennifer Stevenson is the author of four books that only look like they’re way too much about sex. She is a founding member of Book View Cafe, speed roller skater, swimmer, horsewoman, crow fancier, and messy gardener.

Here she lays out some casting ideas--and choice for director--should her latest novel be adapted for the movies:
Fools Paradise is my favorite book about my favorite men—stagehands, those blue-collar knights of chivalry, those workaholic, playaholic, unsung heroes behind the curtain.

This book more than any other came about through a collage. I knew it would begin with a Porsche Targa full of live smelt. I knew the hero and heroine would be trapped in a family feud, powerless to stop it from exploding, until they fake a betrothal that carries them way beyond sanity.

I didn’t know the characters.

Then I did the collage.

I found two faces in magazines who are two models, as far as I know. I haven’t been able to identify either of them. (If you can name them, email me and I’ll send you a free copy of the ebook!) The guy (center) is such a perfect combination of not-as-dumb-as-I-look and pure hunk that I fell in love with him. The girl (upper left) looks like every Catholic high school girl who ever wore enough makeup to look slutty-sweet. When I realized that they were surrounded by tough-looking old men, the book came to life.

But we need actors for the movie, not so-far-nameless models.

Cast: Shrek in his Shrek 2handsome Shrek” mode would be perfect for Bobbyjay, if he’d be willing to dye his hair blond for the role. Bobbyjay Morton is widely considered the dumbest of the five stagehands named Bobby Morton, all of them his own relatives. He cleans up their messes out of family loyalty. But when he falls for Daisy Ditorelli, granddaughter of his family’s worst enemy, he’s willing to risk everything to make her happy. I loved Shrek’s willingness to sacrifice his own happiness for love—that makes him a perfect Bobbyjay.

Amanda Seyfried would be a wonderfully delicate Daisy Ditorelli. Daisy flunked out of high school by goofing off. Now she keeps house for her doting but strict grandfather. She wants to be a stagehand like the men in her family, but her grandfather won’t let his angelina preciosa anywhere near those animals. She cooks, she cleans, she fights off her sexually-harrassing cousin, and she dreams of wearing steel-toed boots and packing a crescent wrench and getting, you know, like, paid to work sixty hours a week. I’d love to see Seyfried make that transformation from household drudge to kick-ass girl stagehand.

Dennis Quaid should play sexy older roadie, Badger Kenack, Daisy’s childhood heartthrob. There’s something so hot about those weathered roadies. That’s why many groupies prefer them to actual rock stars—roadies are chivalrous and horny, well-travelled yet down-to-earth, hunky without the star ego. Plus, Quaid looks yummy in Levis.

I would pick Eli Wallach for Marty Ditorelli, Daisy’s Machiavellian grandfather. You can easily believe he dotes on his granddaughter and supports his ne’er-do-well grandsons—but also that he once kneecapped a rival with a baseball bat, led his own soldiers in bottle-to-bottle bar fights, and has run for office against his enemy, once his best friend, for more than twenty years, purely to mess with his head.

I’d want Gene Hackman for Bobby Morton Sr., the not-as-nice-as-he-seems patriarch of Bobbyjay’s family. Bobby Sr. stole Daisy’s grandfather’s girl back when they were young stagehands and best friends. His likeable Joe facade conceals a political animal who mercilessly uses his soldiers—especially Bobbyjay—to get himself elected.

Do I get to pick my favorite director / producer, too? Judd Apatow. That guy understands that today’s hero can be coarse, vulgar, stupid, even stoned, and yet tender, self-sacrificing, kind-hearted, generous, and oh yeah good in bed.
Fools Paradise is now available on Kindle, Smashwords, and

Visit Jennifer Stevenson's BVC page and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue