Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rebecca Cantrell's "A Game of Lies"

Award-winning author Rebecca Cantrell majored in German, Creative Writing, and History at the Freie Universitaet of Berlin and Carnegie Mellon University. Her Hannah Vogel mystery series set in Berlin in the 1930s includes A Trace of Smoke, A Night of Long Knives, and A Game of Lies.

Here she shares some ideas for casting an adaptation of the Hannah Vogel books:
When I think of filming the Hannah Vogel books, I picture them as a feature film or a TV mini-series, something very arty and fun, like Wallander or Foyle's War. In my head, the series is sometimes filmed with an American version, sometimes a British version, and sometimes a German version, all with different actors (it's a busy place, my head).

I'm going to quickly cast the main characters in all three version, and take votes at the end. If none of the choices are perfect, feel free to write in your suggested actor or actress.

Hannah Vogel is strong, compassionate, and sometimes terribly vulnerable. She looks like an Aryan prize (blond hair, blue eyes), a fact that she exploits to slip through the Nazis' defenses.

Boris Krause is a solid, dependable banker who wants to take care of Hannah. He is all grown up, but still smoking hot.

Lars Lang plays a larger role in each book. He starts out as a staunch Nazi, but seems to move toward working to bring down the Nazi government. He's shorter than Boris, with dark hair and eyes.

Here is the Hollywood cast:
Hannah Vogel:
Naomi Watts
Boris Krause:
Aaron Eckhart
Lars Lang:
Edward Norton

The British cast:
Hannah Vogel:
Kate Winslet
Boris Krause:
Rufus Sewell
Lars Lang:
Michael Fassbender

The German cast:
Hannah Vogel:
Carice Van Houten
Boris Krause:
Sebastian Koch
Lars Lang:
Thomas Krettschman
These are pretty much perfect too, except I couldn't find a picture of Sebastian Koch that was the right size where he was clean shaven.
Time for voting! You can vote for those listed above, or choose someone completely different. Who is your favorite? [Comments are open below]
Learn more about the book and author at Rebecca Cantrell's website and blog.

Cantrell majored in German, Creative Writing, and History at the Freie Universitaet of Berlin and Carnegie Mellon University. Her Hannah Vogel mystery series set in Berlin in the 1930s includes A Trace of Smoke and A Night of Long Knives.

The Page 69 Test: A Trace of Smoke.

My Book, The Movie: A Trace of Smoke.

The Page 69 Test: A Game of Lies.

--Marshal Zeringue


Marshal Zeringue said...

I vote for the German men with the English-Australian Naomi Watts as Hannah.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Mixing and matching,
I see!

Good choices!

James R. Benn said...

Carice Van Houten looks like a perfect Hannah to me; beautiful but edgy. Koch for Boris since the other two are over-exposed. Fassbender for the transitional Nazi.

Kathryn Wadsworth said...

Great casting, Rebecca, so you give us tough choices. But I want to mix and match too. For Hannah: Winslet. Boris: Eckhart. Lars: Fassbender. Can't wait to see the movie or even better, the series. I want to savor the experience over time.

Julie Mangano said...

I agree with Marshal: Naomi Watts with the German men.

Marlyn Beebe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
abbazabba said...

I agree with Rebecca's choices. I wold only add cameos by vaguely recognizable (such as Charlotte Rampling, Fanny Ardant, or Cuba Gooding). The choices as they stand are very good. The movie adaptation would be well arranged and the screenplay written by the author

Marlyn Beebe said...

I've never seen this blog before; it's fabulous. I'm subscribing!

Rebecca, I like Naomi and Rufus, but I've always pictured Alex Skarsgård as Lars.

jack hrusoff said...

The choices for actors and actresses in the film adaption to Game of Lies are exceptional. I would only add cameos of vaguely recognizable European mega stars (e.g., Charlotte Ramplig and Fanny Ardant to add mystique) and younger Americans (Cuba Gooding). The choices already displayed are very good, as I could easily these roles realized

Rebecca Cantrell said...

James: Love the term "transitional Nazi" for Lars!

Kathryn: Another vote for Fassbender. Did you see him as Magneto? Whoa!

Julie: It is an intriguing combo, isn't it?

Jack (aka abbazabba): I like your thinking! Cameos...hmmm...

Marlyn: Now you've got me thinking of Alex Skarsgard. In particular this one:

Now I'm all distracted from my work. That Alex would be perfect too!

Jenna said...

Lovely! I like Naomi Watts too, but that could just be the period picture. And of course Winslet is fantastic. Not familiar w/Carice. But you can't have Aaron Eckhart. I need him to play Derek in the DIY books!

comma girl said...

I vote for the German cast, but opt for Fassbender. Carice Van Houten looks like the Hannah I pictured as I read the book. And I somehow pictured Boris and older and rugged, but handsome, so Koch works for me.

Andrew GT said...

Hoom. Well, this is a toughie. Too gauche to have dyed-Rebecca play Hannah herself?

If so, then I have to go with Mr. Z -- Naomi and the German fellas (tho Fassbender gives Krettschman a good run). And this, by the way, comes from someone who loves/Loves/LOVES me some Kate Winslet, but Hannah Vogel has NW written ALL over her.

Chantelle said...

These are pretty great options! I'm mixing & matching too.

Boris - Sebastian Koch

Lars - I like the idea of Alexander Skarsgard

Hannah - Of the three, I'd probably pick Naomi Watts, but how about Kimberly Nixon? She was in the recent Poirot Masterpiece Mystery "Three Act Tragedy" Here's a picture: http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ljek4oD9631qgrla1o1_500.png

I'm keeping Ed Norton for myself :)

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Jenna: How about we split Aaron Eckhardt? There is plenty of him to go around. :)

Comma Girl: Thanks! Everyone likes Fassbender. He's the front runner!

Andrew: Thank you for your suggestions. Naomi Watts would be wonderful. The Germans seem to be edging out the Americans and Brits (except Fassbender!)

Chantelle: I'll check out Kimberley Nixon too. And, really, how can one NOT like the idea of Alexader Skarsgard? For anything.

Matt W said...

I vote for the German cast, and the movie should be in German with English subtitles. That's how I like to watch Das Boot, too. Authenticity all the way!

In second place I like the American cast. Naomi Watts has the fragile exterior / steel underneath that I imagined when I first read Hannah. Aaron nails Boris, and Ed Norton can do anything.

Kate would be a good Hannah, especially in the second novel and later. She kicks ass and takes names. Rufus Sewell has a good, quiet intensity, and Lars Lang plays an excellent gentleman officer.

David Deardorff said...

This is a difficult choice. Each of the casts is perfect, but in different ways, so I'm going to mix and match too. Hannah is strong, edgy, yet compassionate. I vote for Carice Van Houten for Hannah. Edward Norton is the best Lars Lang, he's very dark and ambiguous, can't tell if he's good or bad. And I like Sebastian Koch for Boris. So I've mixed them all up, but actually, any one of these casts would be wonderful. I would LOVE to see this series. Think of Foyle's War! Fabulous!

MerleChloe said...

I think I like the British cast...

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Matt: There's a lot to be said for that. Plus I'd LOVE to hear it in German myself.

David: Thanks! I do see it as a kind of German Foyle's War. You are spot on!

Merle: Those Brits are all very appropriate.

Luckily, I didn't have to pick just three myself. :)

Deborah J said...

Kate Winslet and Rufus Sewell--Perfect casting. Throw in Edward Norton as Lars and you've got the ideal cast.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Thanks, Deb! I can't believe Rufus didn't get more votes. He was great in Pillars of the Earth! But, frankly, I think all the choices are good.

Farin said...

Better late than never, but I vote for Naomi Watts, Rufus Sewell, and Michael Fassbender.

kaz in pink said...

I love Edward Norton for Lars. He is so perfectly ambiguous. Is Lars good, is Lars bad? Norton could easily play this nuance.
I like Naomi Watts for Hannah. She is amazing and underutilized as an actress. She has Hannahs frail yet strong quality in spades.
Rufus Sewell for Boris. He has this sexy yet creepy quality that works perfect for Boris.

saffron said...

Koch is a terrific actor, i cant imagine eckhart in the role.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Those are great choices! Naomi Watts and Michael Fassbender
are everyone's favorites (everyone who saw X-Men this summer,
anyway). And Rufus Sewell with those eyes and
that great sense of entitlement he can do. It'd be a great
film or series.

Kaz in Pink: Naomi Watts, again! I was surprised that Edward
Norton didn't get more votes. He could totally play all
the range that is Lars. Rufus Sewell is moving up the rankings
with the late voting. Hmm...

Saffron: Koch is amazing, isn't he? Loved him in Black Book
and The Lives of Others (and a lot of 80s German TV that
most Americans never heard of).

Thanks for playing, everyone! Fingers crossed that it gets sold and made and the choices are this wonderful!

LiberAvis said...

I just got a chance to look at A Game of Lies. First off, I definitely pick Naomi Watts as Hannah, and Aaron Eckhart has the charm to pull off Boris, if he'd only get his hair dyed a little darker for the role. Lars Lang...this is a tough one. On one hand, I'm leaning towards Edward Norton, because his voice and his looks match Ms. Cantrell's description of him throughout the novels. Then there's Michael Fassbender. He can pull off a German accent well enough, and it helps that he was actually born in Germany. Besides personal info, he somehow seems to look right for Lang too, if you ignore certain details. So in the end, I have to declare a tie between Norton and Fassbender. Norton, because he exudes sensitivity in many of the roles that he plays, and yet he can also be as harsh and difficult in appearances like Lang. Fassbender, because (I have to say it!) he looks smashing in a tuxedo, and I bet he would blend right into being a spy for the British as well as a member of the SS. :)

Rebecca Cantrell said...

LiberAvis: Lars is the toughest one, isn't he? But I think all the actors here could do a great job. It's the most fun male role in the book, I think.

Fingers crossed that we see Hannah Vogel and her friends (and enemies) on the Big Screen!

Thanks, again, everyone for stopping by!

MrBrian said...

A little late : just discovered the Hannah Vogel novels : fabulous! Here are some contrarian choices for the cast, German version : Hannah Vogel : Juliane Köhler (a bit old for the part, perhaps);
Boris Krause : Heino Ferch; Lars Long : Koen De Bouw (runner-up, Jason Statham). But hard to argue against Carice Van Houten!

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ivan ivanov said...

Voted for Naomi and Sebastian Koch.