His debut novel The Good Son was released in the UK in 2008 and the US a year later. His latest novel The Lost Sister is now out in the US.
Here he shares some ideas for casting adaptations of the novels:
Considering that both The Good Son and The Lost Sister have a recurring cast of characters, I've often thought more of a series of TV movies for the books, or maybe an adapted series. I'd love to keep things Scottish in location and cast, although this might present a few logistical problems for my ideal cast. Mostly that of convincing accents (let us not speak of Mel Gibson in Braveheart…)Learn more about The Lost Sister at Russel McLean's website and blog.
J McNee - The “hero” of the books is a tough one to cast. I've always said I'd like to go unknown. But I would consider someone like Robert Carlyle, although ten or fifteen years ago. Some people have suggested both David Tennant and James McAvoy, but both seem too fresh faced for the part. Although perhaps this is to do with the roles I have seen them in. McNee is young, but I always feel he looks lived in. Which is why I would go out on a limb and consider someone like Paddy Considine. But on one condition: he'd have to be able to do a convincing Scottish accent.
David Burns - is a recurring thorn in the side for McNee. A former thug turned “businessman”, he's got interests in all the city's criminal activity. He's a Godfather figure, worked his way up from poor beginnings to where he is now. He's a conflicted character, and I love that about him. Although physically I don't describe him as such, I've always thought of Dundee's own Brian Cox in the part. I just feel there's something he could bring to the role that would own it. Watch his turn in Manhunter again and the way he plays Lector as a horrifically intelligent thug. Take away the extreme psychopathy, add thirty-odd years and I think we have the ideal David Burns.
Susan Bright - Susan's a tough part to cast. She's tough and yet provides emotional balance. She could run the risk of becoming a “love interest” when she's much more than that. She's a damn fine police officer. A decent human being with a strong sense of justice drummed into her through an upbringing in a family of coppers. Kelly McDonald has been on my mind lately when thinking about the part - she could tear up the screen as Officer Susan.
Ernie Bright - Really only appears in The Lost Sister and yet he's vital in so many ways. Susan's father is a DCI in the force, and he was McNee's mentor before our hero left the force. I have considered two actors I think would work well in the role. The safe bet is Bill Paterson, who I think could really nail the character, particularly his professional side. But my wild casting card is Robbie Coltrane, who I think might be able to bring a physicality and even a darker edge to the role. Having just rewatched Cracker, I think Coltrane could really do something special with Ernie's arc.
The Page 69 Test: The Good Son.
Writers Read: Russel D. McLean.