Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bathsheba Monk's "Nude Walker"

Bathsheba Monk is the author of Now You See It ... Stories from Cokesville, PA.

Here she picks the cast for an adaptation of her recently released novel, Nude Walker:
My first option is to have James Franco write the screenplay, direct and play all the parts, because I would really like to see how far he can stretch, and I’m sure he’s curious too, but if that can’t happen because of prior commitments, I would like him at least to play Jenna, the Bible-thumping-tattoo-covered sensualist, who is the “other woman.” Ryan Reynolds is my idea of the Steady-Eddy who everyone wants to marry so he would do a bang-up job as Duck Wolinsky, but I can see him as a guy who would secretly screw around, too, and isn’t that Duck to a T? Jake Gyllenhaal can play Max, mostly because, like Max, he’s so handsome and I would love to meet him and I’m pretty sure they let novelists on the movie sets. Or are they considered a nuisance because they bring autograph books? Jennifer Lawrence is Wind Storm, the half-Native half-Swedish beauty who can roll a log. Ms. Lawrence looks pretty athletic to me so I’m sure she’s up to it and her cool blond beauty is totally Wind. The Nude Walker of the title, Barbara Warren-Bineki, has Meryl Streep written all over it. If Ms. Streep can play Julia Child who is a good foot taller than she is, I’m confident in her ability to play someone who is twice her girth. It would be totally ironic if she dusted off that Polish accent of hers for the roll. If not her, Alec Baldwin. And lastly the leading lady, Kat Warren-Bineki: Is it possible to be too good looking? I’m talking about Anne Hathaway of course. I mean Kat is smart and beautiful, but I sort of had a more sardonic personality in mind, like Emily Blunt. And actually, when I saw the movie Easy A, I gasped when I saw Emma Stone and said, “Oh. My. God. That’s Kat!” But if Ms. Hathaway (may I call you Anne?) wants to hip-check those two out of the way, Kat is hers.
Read an excerpt from Nude Walker, and learn more about the book and author at Bathsheba Monk's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Nude Walker.

Writers Read: Bathsheba Monk.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sophie Littlefield's "Aftertime"

Sophie Littlefield's crime novels include A Bad Day for Sorry and A Bad Day for Pretty.

Here she shares some ideas for casting the stars of an adaptation of Aftertime, the first installment in her new dystopian series:
I’m so tone-deaf when it comes to pop culture, and especially movie stars, that I always have to turn to my secret whiz kid for help on casting my books as movies. None of them have been picked up for film yet, but I’m hopeful, especially after my pal came up with what I think is our best line-up yet:

In Aftertime, the 30-year-old heroine Cass Dollar has been through a lot: a recovering alcoholic, she struggled to raise a baby while working at a convenience store, only to lose Ruthie first to the department of family services and then to zombies and then to an evil religious cult. So she has to be played by someone with real grit: Juliette Lewis.

If you’re remembering Juliette from her fresh-faced ingénue days, think again. She’s still got those hypnotic green eyes but now she’s added steely determination and don’t-mess-with-me to her chops. I think she’d bring it just fine.

Throughout the Aftertime trilogy, Cass finds herself in a love triangle with two men: the mysterious, damaged, vengeful Smoke, who rescues and accompanies her on her journey to get Ruthie back – and the cynical, domineering, ruthless-when-he-has-to-be Dor, who rules the stark community where they take refuge.

When my movie-savvy friend recommended Josh Holloway of LOST fame for Smoke, I was skeptical – Smoke is in no way a smartass! But then I thought about Holloway’s gift for layering emotion into every smoldering glance, and realized that he could bring the necessary range to Smoke’s character even without a lot of dialog.

And for Dor, there’s only one man for the job: Josh Brolin. This darkly handsome, squint-eyed macho man could easily play the half-Afghani, half-Irish Dor with charisma and sensual appeal to spare. We’d just need to tattoo and pierce him a little. But hey, anything for the art – right?
Read an excerpt from Aftertime, and learn more about the book and author at Sophie Littlefield's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Aftertime.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ben Tanzer's "You Can Make Him Like You"

Ben Tanzer is the author of the books Lucky Man, Most Likely You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine, Repetition Patterns and 99 Problems. He also oversees day-to-day operations of This Zine Will Change Your Life.

Here he shares his thoughts on the above-the-line talent for an adaptation of his new novel, You Can Make Him Like You:
Once upon a time, and in a galaxy far, far away I was once asked to tackle the challenge presented by "My Book, The Movie" for my novel Lucky Man. At the time I expressed a handful of desires and recommendations.

One, that when Lucky Man was optioned, and for the record it's still available, so please do contact my representatives, quickly, I hoped that one result would be that Diane Lane would become so enamored with the movie's writing she would be compelled to finally return one of my calls. Still waiting for that, though my hopes are on the rise again with the release of my new novel You Can Make Him Like You.

Two, that the soundtrack would have to include songs by the still largely unknown band The Hold Steady, and this will not change with You Can Make Him Like You, a novel both inspired by and an homage to the now much more widely loved music of that very same band.

Three, that for the director, I would favor Larry Clark, Gregg Araki, Sofia Coppola, Noah Baumbach or Todd Field, among others, and I would still like to see any of these directors put their stamp on this project, though as these characters are in some ways the potentially adult versions, and survivors, of the characters who populate Lucky Man, Greg Arraki and Larry Clark may be much less appropriate, and regardless, Todd Field remains my favored choice.

And fourth, in terms of the cast, I had commented on how cool it would be to cast a group of young actors who seem to emerge fully formed on the scene, like with Diner or The Outsiders, and I am proud to say that the actors I was drawn to, Shia LaBeouf, Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emile Hirsh, have certainly emerged in bigger, and sometimes, better ways since then.

In particular, I had wanted to cast Shia Labeouf as the knowing Sammy, and Amanda Bynes as his girlfriend Tara, and as both of them pop-up in supporting roles in You Can Make Him Like You, I am going to ask them to reprise their roles here. That however leaves our chief protagonist Keith, he of the conflicted and constricted views of the universe, his universe anyway, and while a slightly doughier Joseph Gordon-Levitt could own this, I'm concerned about his age and so I'm thinking James Franco, though I'm guessing he will be harder to land than he might have been six months ago.

This leaves his once best friend and confidant, John, he of the Midwest looks and Big Ten football player build, and for him I'm thinking we should reunite James Franco with his Freaks and Geeks co-star Jason Segel, who certainly has the required comedic chops, but hasn't been asked to go quite this dramatic as well before this; Keith's, lovely and funny, but slowly losing, though not wanting to lose, her patience wife Liz, hello Michelle Trachtenberg; and John's hot, definitely lost her patience, tough, but hurting wife Monica, and for her I am going to suggest America Ferrera who we haven't seen enough of recently but who does pain and humor as well as anyone.

A final comment might be, that one other recommendation I made with that earlier essay was that all the actors had to study the work of River Phoenix, Running on Empty in particular, and this still remains true; sensitive, smart, funny, conflicted, he did all of that, and I miss him and I hope any or all of these performers would channel him at his best.
Read an excerpt from You Can Make Him Like You, and learn more about the book and author at the official website.

My Book, The Movie: Lucky Man.

The Page 69 Test: You Can Make Him Like You.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Janice Eidus's "The Last Jewish Virgin"

Novelist, short story writer, and essayist Janice Eidus has twice won the O. Henry Prize for her short stories, as well as a Pushcart Prize, a Redbook Prize, and numerous other awards.

Here she develops some ideas for the cast of an adaptation of her latest novel, The Last Jewish Virgin:
In my ideal film version, Lilith will be played by Zooey Deschanel, who will look lovely and seductive dressed in Lilith’s various ensembles: vampire seductress; Middle East harem girl; casual jeans/T-shirt/sneakers girl; madcap, bubbly ingenue in polka dots and heels, and whose urgent, blue-eyed intensity and doe-eyed prettiness I find extremely compelling.

As for Baron Rock, the black haired, blue-eyed, art professor/is-he-or-isn’t-he-a vampire/is-he-or-isn’t-he Jewish, 40-something male lead, I’ll have him played by the (mostly) indie actor Eric Stoltz, whose early career includes Some Kind Of Wonderful -- in my opinion, the best romantic teen movie ever made.

Over the years, Stoltz has inhabited a wide range of complex roles in such films as Pulp Fiction and The House of Mirth. Blue-eyed Eric would have to dye his gorgeous red hair black to play Baron Rock, but he recently did just that for the Syfy Channel’s series Caprica, the “prequel” to Battlestar Galactica, in which he played a wealthy, ruthless technologist who somehow also manages to be incredibly vulnerable, loving, and sexy as hell.

For Lilith’s mother, Beth Katz-Zeremba, I’d cast Sarah Jessica Parker, because I adore her face – those beautiful, Semitic-style angles and lines. Beth, a complicated, multi-faceted woman, is deeply concerned about how to make Judaism a truly feminist and multi-cultural religion. In other words, her concerns are very different from Carrie’s in Sex and The City. Playing Beth would help SJP to break free of the confines of those tight, surely-bunion-causing, Manolo Blahnik shoes – shoes that Beth, a fierce feminist, would never be caught dead in (at least not until one climactic scene toward the end of the novel).

Colin Abel, Lilith’s other love interest, the young, socially idealistic artist, would be played to perfection by Jesse Eisenberg. He strikes me as very smart and genuinely well-meaning, and he was absolutely amazing in Noah Baumbach’s bittersweet film, The Squid and The Whale, about a brilliant, dysfunctional, artistic family from Brooklyn, where I currently live (just over the bridge from downtown Manhattan, where much of The Last Jewish Virgin takes place).

So… I’m ready for some popcorn, as well as to kick back and relax in the theater and watch Deschanel, Stoltz, Parker, and Eisenberg bring The Last Jewish Virgin to life. Want to join me?
Read an excerpt of The Last Jewish Virgin, and learn more about the book and author at Janice Eidus's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Last Jewish Virgin.

Writers Read: Janice Eidus.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Elizabeth Buchan's "Separate Beds"

Elizabeth Buchan is the author of several highly acclaimed and bestselling books of fiction, including the bestselling Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman, The Good Wife Strikes Back, Everything She Thought She Wanted, and Consider the Lily.

Here she shares some ideas for cast and director of an adaptation of her latest novel, Separate Beds:
They did make my novel, Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman into a film – to be precise, a CBS Primetime Drama with Christine Lahti as the lead, Rose. So, in that respect, I have been lucky.

For Separate Beds, I would lay siege to Kate Winslet to play Annie. Matt Damon for Tom (he gave such an ace performance in True Grit). Or Leonardo DiCaprio might like to reprise the pairing with Kate of Revolutionary Road – with the incentive that it is a happier ending. For the children, Mia Wasikowska as the estranged Mia, Claire Foy as Emily and James McAvoy or Andrew Buchan (no relation) as Jake.

If my cup was to run over and I would be granted every wish, then Ang Lee would be directing. His take on the family – whether it is the fracture of The Ice Storm or the comedy of manner and morals of Sense and Sensibility is always fantastic.
Learn more about the book and author at Elizabeth Buchan's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Separate Beds.

Writers Read: Elizabeth Buchan.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Imogen Robertson's "Instruments of Darkness"

Imogen Robertson is a writer based in London. Her first book Instruments of Darkness was published in the U.K. in May 2009, and is now available in America. Her second novel Anatomy of Murder comes out at the end of April 2010 in Britain.

Here she shares some casting ideas for an adaptation of Instruments of Darkness:
Before I started to write full time I was a TV director, so it’s usual for me to see my books as I write them, just as I used to see the scenes I wanted to film. That said, I rarely have a particular actor’s face in front of me as I work, but when I started writing Lady Thornleigh in Instruments of Darkness, she appeared in my mind looking exactly like Angelina Jolie, only speaking with an English accent. It was rather strange.

I would be overjoyed if the lead, Harriet Westerman, impulsive, frustrated, clever, were played by Emma Thompson. She could write the screenplay too. If she’s not available then it would have to be Cate Blanchett who is simply one of the best actors in the world.

For the reclusive anatomist, Gabriel Crowther, whom Harriet persuades into investigating a murder with her, I’ll have  Gabriel Byrne, please. He is the perfect mix of compelling and challenging. Of course, if George Clooney is interested he can play any role he likes.

I’m not optimistic about a film deal though. Having had to work on small budgets in TV for a long time, I really let myself go writing Instruments. Riots in London, battle scenes during the War of Independence. I have written the sort of book that makes production accountants cry.
Learn more about the book and author at Imogen Robertson's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Instruments of Darkness.

Writers Read: Imogen Robertson.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 14, 2011

Louise Dean's "The Old Romantic"

Louise Dean's novels include Becoming Strangers, which was awarded the Betty Trask Prize in 2004 and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Guardian First Book Award, This Human Season, and The Idea of Love. She lives in Kent, England.

Here she shares a casting suggestion for the main role should her new novel The Old Romantic be adapted for the big screen:
Michael Caine is the only real contender for the lead role, the ‘Estuary’ accent, the British flinching peevishness, the sly sentimentality - he’s the man. I sent him a copy of the book in homage and supplication, but I’ve had no reply. I get the occasional plea too, as it happens, offering me hundreds of millions of dollars if only I will send just a few hundred to a bank account in Ghana. I always reply, most cordially, to each and everyone, and have a lot of email friends with surnames for christian names who use capitals to convey their excitement.
Learn more about the book and author at the publisher's website and Louise Dean's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Old Romantic.

Writers Read: Louise Dean.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Elizabeth Stuckey-French's "The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady"

Elizabeth Stuckey-French is the author of a novel, Mermaids on the Moon, a collection of short stories, The First Paper Girl in Red Oak, Iowa, and, with Janet Burroway, Writing Fiction: A Guide to the Narrative Craft.

Here's a synopsis of her new novel, The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady:
Seventy-seven year old Marylou Ahearn is going to kill Dr. Wilson Spriggs come hell or high water. In 1953, he gave her a radioactive cocktail without her consent as part of a secret government study that had horrible consequences. Marylou has been plotting her revenge for fifty years when she accidentally discovers his whereabouts in Florida and her plans finally snap into action. She high-tails it to hot and humid Tallahassee, moves in down the block from where a now senile Spriggs lives with his daughter’s family, and begins the tricky work of insinuating herself into their lives. But she has no idea what a nest of yellow jackets she is stumbling into. Before the novel is through, someone will be kidnapped, an unlikely couple will get engaged, someone will nearly die from eating a pineapple upside-down cake laced with anti-freeze, and that’s not all…
And to take this story from the page to the big screen:
Definitely Kathy Bates to play Marylou Ahearn, the so-called Radioactive Lady. I kept picturing her as I was writing it, especially her character in Misery. She was wonderfully innocuous looking, but brother, look out. A lot of anger underneath all that chipperness.

And I’d love for the Coen brothers to direct it. I’m absolutely in love with their movies, and I think their sensibility is similar to mine.
Learn more about the book and author at Elizabeth Stuckey-French's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady.

Writers Read: Elizabeth Stuckey-French.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mark Alpert's "The Omega Theory"

A self-described lifelong "science geek," Mark Alpert majored in astrophysics at Princeton University, writing his undergraduate thesis on an application of Einstein's theory of relativity. After earning an MFA in poetry at Columbia and working as a reporter, he became an editor at Scientific American, where he simplifies bewildering scientific ideas for the magazine's readers.

Here he explains his casting preferences for a cinematic adaptation of his new novel, The Omega Theory:
This science thriller is a sequel to my first novel, Final Theory. The film rights to this book were sold to Radar Pictures, and Nicolas Cage has expressed an interest in playing the role of the hero, David Swift. David is a historian of science, a Columbia University professor in his forties who stumbles upon a secret theory discovered by Albert Einstein just before the great physicist's death in the 1950s. It's nothing less than the Theory of Everything, the unified theory that would explain all the forces of nature. Einstein began the quest for this theory back in the 1920s, and contemporary physicists are still pursuing it today as they develop string theory and other quantum hypotheses. The premise of Final Theory was that Einstein actually succeeded in conceiving the Theory of Everything but had to keep it secret because it would enable the development of weapons even worse than the atomic bomb. In The Omega Theory, all of Einstein's worst fears come true as a militia of religious fanatics tries to use the Theory of Everything to hasten the apocalypse.

I was very pleased when Cage was attached to the project. He's an action-movie star who can handle serious films as well. I loved him in Adaptation and Leaving Las Vegas.

David Swift's love interest in both Final Theory and The Omega Theory is Monique Reynolds, a quantum physicist loosely based on several real scientists whom I met while working as an editor at Scientific American. I think Halle Berry would be the perfect actress to play Monique, and I can honestly say that I had her in mind from the beginning. In fact, when I was writing the passages describing Monique, I actually put a picture of Halle Berry up on my computer screen so I could glance at her face while I was writing.

The other primary female character in both novels is Lucille Parker, a sixtyish FBI agent who pursues David and Monique in the first book and teams up with them in the second. Kathy Bates would be a wonderful choice for playing Lucille, who dresses like a Bingo-playing grandmother but is the toughest character in the story.

The most difficult role to fill would be Michael Gupta, the autistic teenager who is Albert Einstein's great-great-grandson. In The Omega Theory I wrote several chapters from Michael's point of view, and to get the right voice for the character I studied the books of Temple Grandin, the autistic writer and veterinary specialist who has written so eloquently about the disorder. It's a great challenge to convey the state of mind of a person with autism, and I have no idea which actor would be best for the part. I'll keep thinking about it.
Learn more about the book and author at Mark Alpert's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Priya Parmar's "Exit the Actress"

Priya Parmar, a former freelance editor and dramaturg holds degrees in English Literature and theatre. She attended Mount Holyoke College, Oxford University and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Edinburgh. She divides her time between Hawaii and London.

Here she shares some casting ideas for an adaptation of her new novel, Exit the Actress:
Exit the Actress the movie? My dream cast? Dead or alive? For the royal family: Cary Grant would make a heavenly Charles II. He had just the right mix of bite, wit, charm and disarming flirt about him. Emily Mortimer would make a perfect Catherine of Braganza—calm, sincere and lovely. Maggie Smith would be perfect as Henrietta Maria; dripping with scathing criticism and able to throw away the most outrageous lines perfectly.

And the theatre? Johnny Depp was a perfect Johnny Rochester in The Libertine, insouciant yet with a simmering sense of pathos beneath, and Rupert Everett would be a fantastic, hilarious, lovable Edward (Teddy) Kynaston.

And the Gwyns? Merle Oberon would be perfect as Rose; dignified yet wounded. And Nell? Small, beloved, funny, happy, thoughtful Nell? Audrey Hepburn. If only….
Learn more about the book and author at Priya Parmar's website and blog.

Writers Read: Priya Parmar.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Dave Zeltserman's "Outsourced"

Dave Zeltserman is the author of ten novels, including Killer, Pariah, The Caretaker of Lorne Field, Small Crimes, and Blood Crimes, as well as many short stories and a collection of short crime fiction, 21 Tales.

His new novel is Outsourced:
A classic heist thriller pitched somewhere between Ocean's Eleven and Dog Day Afternoon, it’s the story of a group of software engineers who lose their jobs due to an industry push to outsourcing. Desperate, and seeing their middle class lives crumbling apart, they come up with a brilliant plan to use their computing skills to rob a bank. But not even a systems analyst can foresee every eventuality, so the group falls foul of the Russian Mafia.
Here Zeltserman shares some casting preferences for a cinematic adaptation of the novel:
Outsourced has a film deal where the script is different than the book, so I don't want to get in trouble with this. But if I was casting the book and not the script the film company is using, I'd have the following dream cast:

Dan Wilson: Kevin Costner
Carol Wilson: Maria Bello
Alex Resnick: Rob Morrow
Gordon Carmichael: Dan Ackroyd
Joel Kasner: Sean Penn
Shrinivas Kumar: Kunal Nayyar
Viktor Petrenko: Val Kilmer
Learn more about the author and his work at Dave Zeltserman's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: Small Crimes.

The Page 69 Test: Pariah.

The Page 69 Test: Outsourced.

Writers Read: Dave Zeltserman

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Stephen Deas's "The King of the Crags"

Stephen Deas is the author of the acclaimed short story “The Snow Fox.” The Adamantine Palace introduced The Memory of Flames Trilogy and is followed by The King of the Crags.

Here the author develops some ideas for casting a big screen adaptation of the trilogy:
Generally when I write, I don't write with particular faces or actors or movie characters in mind, I just let each new personality form on its own. However, in this case, there is one striking exception. Prince Jehal, the lead protagonist in The Adamantine Palace and still one of the main players in King of the Crags is Joaquin Phoenix, back in his Gladiator days. Best. Sneer. Ever. He's also the Ultravox song Young Savage, in case he needs theme music. He just might.

For the rest, I've gone for contemporary actors and actresses who could fill the roles as they are today. It's tempting to go back and bring Paul Newman back to life for almost every male character, and please yes, can I have Veronica Lake for Zafir? But somehow, indulging in time-travel feels too much like science fiction rather than fantasy, so I've stuck with more generally familiar names.

Prince Jehal – Joaquin Phoenix

Queen Zafir – Scarlett Johansson. She does capricious to a tee.

Vale Tassan – Alexander Skarsgård (aka Eric Northman). For his unrivalled powers of looming-over-people-in-a-menacing-way.

Kemir – Javier Bardem. Someone who can play a tortured soul and a psychopath with equal ease.

Hyrkallan – Sean Penn. I need a reason to include Sean Penn? Don't be ridiculous.

Semian – Shia LaBeouf. To play a deranged man whose earnest self-belief should be scary enough in itself, never mind what he does with it? Yes. Also for what happens at the end.

Prince Meteroa – Jason Isaacs. You know him as Lucius Malfoy and various other villains, but over in the UK we see a bit more of him that that. Check out The State Within.

Jostan – Owen Wilson. Because of what happens in Chapter 7.

Queen Shezira – Cate Blanchett. Because it is simply necessary, after The Lord of the Rings, that Cate Blanchett be in any and all epic fantasy.

Princess Jaslyn, Princess Lystra – Deborah Ann Woll and Anna Kendrick. Can exchange notes on bloodsuckers and find out what it's like to be in a series with some real monsters.

Isentine – Ben Kingsley. Do not...

Kithyr – Geoffrey Rush. ...Need...

Jeiros – Alan Rickman. ...To justify...

Vioros – Jeremy Irons. ...Any of these. (Although I admit to casting with book three in mind)

King Valmeyan – Tim Roth. For that cocked head cockney gangster look.

King Sirion – Hugo Weaving. Because V For Vendetta earned forgiveness for making Elrond into Agent Smith.

The Picker – Brad Dourif. Because Dune wasn't as bad as you remember it.

Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly didn't quite make it simply because I couldn't find any characters who die off quick enough and messily enough to achieve some sort of catharsis for Pirates Of The Carribean II & III. I'm amenable to recasting Jehal as Johnny Depp providing I can have him from about ten years ago. I don't much care who directs it, provided they have the vision and the sense of scale for a battle scene with about a thousand dragons in it.
Visit the official Stephen Deas website.

The Page 69 Test: The Adamantine Palace.

The Page 69 Test: The King of the Crags.

--Marshal Zeringue