Here the author shares some casting suggestions for an adaptation of the series:
Begging your indulgence, I’d like to cast my book as a television series rather than a movie. Why? Isn’t a feature film the Holy Grail, the place where stories are elevated to iconic status? Well, maybe before television got so very, very good—and before everyone realized how much we liked stories to unfold over time. Besides, Jane Wheel and her crew are junkers, scavengers, treasure hunters and sentimental small town folk at heart and, at the end of the day, they are TV watchers.Learn more about the Jane Wheel mysteries and the author at Sharon Fiffer's website.
Also, Lucky Stuff is number eight in the Jane Wheel mysteries and writing a series of books tends to make the characters into family members who grow and change a bit with each adventure. A television series allows for the arc of the books’ stories, so here are a few of my casting picks for the new HBO hour-long comedy-drama, JANE WHEEL, PPI.
Since this my fantasy line-up, I assume I can use actors past and present, alive or dead—so please imagine the talent I name at their peak—or a little older or younger to fit the ages of the characters.
Nellie, Jane Wheel’s curmudgeony, secretive and mercurial mother—Thelma Ritter or Nancy Walker, come on down from character actor heaven. And even though it’s television and I want the series to last long enough to go into syndication, I won’t accept Betty White. She’s far too over-exposed!
Don, Jane’s bear-like barkeep father—If Brian Dennehy can be persuaded to step off the Broadway stage and give the Eugene O’Neill canon a rest, I have a steady job for him.
Michael, Jane’s younger brother—Michael had a major role in only one of the book, but he’s a big influence on Jane and family. For the series, he and his family will be far more involved in the family situations. David Letterman of twenty years ago, are you ready to show your acting chops?
Tim, Jane’s best friend who is suave, sophisticated and far more stylish than Jane—if we go major network? Neil Patrick Harris, come on down! If we go Masterpiece Mystery, I want Laurence Fox. Detective Hathaway, can you do an American accent and smile once in a while?
Detective Oh, Jane’s Asian-American mentor—Here’s where time-travel comes into the casting. Harry Shum Jr. from Glee will have to fast-forward himself into his forties, but I’d like him to remain as graceful and light on his feet. I can write in a dance scene if I have to, Harry.
Jane Wheel, picker and private investigator, is the hardest to cast. The woman is always longing and searching, yet she’s as funny and acerbic as Nellie even if she claims she’s nothing like her mother. Her mind is a garage sale of ideas and plans and the actress has to convey both vulnerability and odd wisdom. I like Lauren Graham for Jane. I also like Mary-Louise Parker and perhaps an aged-up Ellen Page. She and Harry Shum Jr. can share the time travel machine.
Lucky Miller, guest star in the Lucky Stuff episode will be played by the ghost of Sid Caesar. Or Phil Silvers. Or a slightly younger Don Rickles?
Stuff. Although not technically part of the cast, the prop-master for this show is going to have a blast—and will also be the hardest working tech person in the business. Jane Wheel’s life is all about stuff—and there has to be plenty of it—Killer, Dead Guy’s, Wrong, Buried, Hollywood, Scary, Stagy and Lucky!
Kankakee, Jane’s hometown that is part of her soul and psyche is most definitely a character. And, it must play itself. Park those Craft Services trucks on Station Street in The E Z Way Inn parking lot, please.
Writers Read: Sharon Fiffer.