Here he shares some ideas for casting a big screen adaptation of his new novel, The Last Policeman:
Detective Palace, the hero of The Last Policeman, would be hard to cast, at least as I’ve described him: He’s extremely tall and thin. People call him “Stretch” or “Tallboy,” and he is very uncomfortable in his lanky frame—he sits awkwardly, folding one leg over the other, and he’s always banging his knees on things.Learn more about the book and author at the official Ben H. Winters website.
He doesn’t really sound like a movie star. And I expect, if I were lucky enough that Hollywood took this to the screen, they won’t waste a lot of time finding an action-movie lead who looks like Ichabod Crane—they’ll just skip over the detail.
But when I imagine Palace, I imagine a body and a face like that of Jim True-Frost, who played the role of Pryzbylewski on The Wire. I don’t know how tall that guy is, but he plays like I imagine Palace—thin, wiry, hunched, interesting looking, inward, unconventionally handsome.
So then, as long as I’m in Wire world, I’ll take Wendell (“Bunk”) Pierce as Detective Culverson, Palace’s quasi-mentor and (per page 22) “the Only Black Man in Concord”. For Palace’s screw-up sister, Nico, who may or may not be involved in overthrowing a government conspiracy that may or may not exist, I imagine Rose Byrne, from Damages and Bridesmaids. She’s got this kind of angular toughness that emerges in Nico towards the end of the novel, though we’d have to scruff her up a little for the first three-quarters of the movie.
Finally, some stunt casting: in the role of tough but kindly Chief Ordler, who appears exactly twice over the course of the book, for one page each, I cast Tom Waits. But only because I’d really, really like to meet Tom Waits.