Here he writes about the actors he'd like to see in an adaptation of One Hundred and One Nights, his first novel:
I bet every author has this same recurring daydream or fantasy ... who stars in the movie production of their first novel. I certainly did (and do) think about this!Learn more about the book and author at Benjamin Buchholz's website.
But, because this story is set in Safwan, Iraq, I'm faced with a dilemma. Do I cast someone relatively unknown who fits the right ethnic profile and hope the movie delivers that person to stardom, like, perhaps, Slumdog Millionaire did for Dev Patel, or do I seek a known star and trust the make-up, language-coaching and special effects crews to turn him into a middle aged, half-mad Iraqi man, troubled by visions of the ghost of his daughter?
For the purpose of this particular fantasy, let's go with Option #2 here and I'll toss out a couple names.
First, Brad Pitt. I think, with brown-colored contacts, he'd make a fine Iraqi man. I'm thinking more about the dinged-up Pitt from Inglourious Basterds than the Pitt from A River Runs Through It. I'd like to see the golden-god-on-earth look of him threatening to shine through, to break through the various layers of disguise that my narrator -- Abu Saheeh -- has wrapped around himself. Such a thing would produce an element of tension within the casting itself!
A more natural choice, however, might be Robert Downey Jr. He's got the craziness down pat and I prefer his brand of off-the-rocker a little more than, say, Johnny Depp. Abu Saheeh has more Sherlock Holmes to him than Pirates of the Caribbean.
Leaving the superficial A-list actors to one side, I think Abu Saheeh, in his understated mission of putting-his-life-back-together-again, might offer a chance to someone whose career is, in a similar way, down-and-out. Abu Saheeh compares himself to Dustin Hoffman at one point -- a little Rainmanish. So I could see that working. But maybe the best option of all would be someone totally forgotten yet containing a high degree of internally self-referencing American pop culture, someone who (in their very person) might reflect my little chirruping Layla back onto herself ... say, for instance, Ralph Macchio. That, my friends, would be a perfect call, with a slightly modernized version of Peter Cetera's "Glory of Love" echoing in our hearts and souls during the credits.
The Page 69 Test: One Hundred and One Nights.