Here he shares his preferences for the cast of an adaptation of Zero:
It took me a while to come up with a dream cast for Zero, but I think I've settled on one.Watch the trailer for Zero, and learn more about the book and author at Tom Leveen's website.
MIKE: The Basketball Diaries-era Leonardo DiCaprio. Perfect blend of smarm, charm, and intensity. He can pull off the skater cut, and slay women with his smoky gaze, amiright? I've been a nominal fan of his ever since Gilbert Grape, and the truth is, the guy's a hell of an actor. It wouldn't hurt ticket sales, that's all I'm sayin'.
MIRIAM: Non-pleather-wearing, post-Matrix trilogy Carrie-Anne Moss. I remember seeing her in a contemporary film after The Matrix and being utterly shocked at her appearance. Still beautiful, but worn and haggard for the role, and I think that's a perfect fit for Zero's put-upon and co-dependent mother.
RICHARD: Philip Seymour Hoffman. Is there any role this man can't do? I love his range, and I think he's can play the right mix of alcoholic charm and sudden brokenness needed for the nuances of Richard Walsh, the fall and redemption of someone who could be a great dad if he tried.
JENN: I went back and forth on this for a while, but ultimately, I'm going to go with Samantha Mathis circa Pump Up the Volume. One, because she's so damn cute in that; and two, she has the edge plus comic timing plus overwhelming energy needed to pull off Jenn's bouncy but wounded persona.
DEBORAH: Allison Janney (The West Wing, Drop Dead Gorgeous.) No question. I flirted with maybe a nineties Whoopi Goldberg, but Deborah has to end up being a bitch, even if it's off screen, and Janney is a superb actor with great range, who I think could really sell the art teacher's flightiness and passion for art, while still stabbing her pupil in the back. Plus, I'd just like to meet her.
And at last, our titular protagonist, ZERO: I really wish I could say AnnaSophia Robb (Bridge to Terabithia, Soul Surfer), who is awesome, but I think she belongs somewhere in my first novel, Party. So that's a heartbreaker. I ended up choosing Ellen Page here, first for her absolutely priceless comic timing, which is central for Zero, but also as an actor who I think can pull off the self-doubt and self-deprecation the character requires. She's probably aged just a bit too much for the role now, so I think I'd have to back her up to a post-Juno, pre-Inception look.
I didn’t have any actors in mind when I wrote the original draft back in 1993, unless you counted myself and my friends. I still saw that “cast” in my head while doing the endless rewrites and revisions over those nineteen years. I even have a series of photos with me and the guys who I envisioned in the band, and more than once had plans to film a scene from the book just for the hell of it.
I also find it amusing, though, how the characters grow and evolve over the course of years, starting off looking and even acting like certain people on page one of draft one, then by the last page of the last draft, they’ve completely transformed. I’m thrilled to finally get her out on the shelves after so long, but I will always wonder who else Zero may have become had we spent more time together.