Here Fuller dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, Sundance:
As a recovering screenwriter (a term my wife coined for me a few years back, so when you hear others use it, you’ll know from where they stole it), I know the ‘business’ pretty well. And I know casting and how it works. I didn’t write the novel to be made into a movie, which is why I wrote it as a novel. But people talk, and when writing screenplays, you always start with your favorites, a little list you keep in your head. The dream list. Sometimes you even write the names down in case your agent bothers to ask who you see in the role. He’ll ignore your suggestions, but it’s nice to be asked. But before we get into the Pitts and the Clooneys and the Costners and the Hamms, when it comes to my novel Sundance, we had better begin at the beginning.Learn more about the book and author at David Fuller's website and blog.
Robert Redford may well be available. And if I had written the novel twenty years ago, he would be the hands-down first choice. But if you cast him now, then you have to cast an older Etta, say Helen Mirren or Judi Dench. Even if you nudge their true ages up a notch for the story, keeping in mind the Sundance Kid would have been 46 in 1913, this perhaps is a notch too far.
So here’s how it will work: You’ve got that list of four or five guys, movie stars, because our image of the Sundance Kid was created by a Movie Star. And you go after them, and this is in no particular order. Well, Brad Pitt loves your project, he wept when he read it, he laughed, he was on the edge of his seat, and he wants to do it, only he’s busy for the next four years. Okay, well, if he liked it that much, maybe we can wait. Oh, well, gee, we sort of forgot to mention that after those four years, he’s decided to take a year or two off to be with his kids. But he loved the book and wants to do it. George Clooney has decided to play only modern parts now, because that historical fiction thing doesn’t really work for him, and besides, he doesn’t like wearing hats. Jon Hamm looks great in hats, but he’s tired of being associated with American icons like Don Draper, so from now on he’s going to play only German characters, as he does a wicked German accent. Kevin Costner also loved your book, and he’d be swell, I mean, he’s perfect, he loves westerns, he wears hats, cowboy hats, and he’s a movie star. But he just committed to an AMC series about the Wild Bunch, and they expect it to run for seven years, so he’s not available.
Right then you’re thinking of giving up and you hear, “All right all right all right,” and Matthew McConaughey , 44 years old, says he’d like to play the part, only he’d prefer to play Butch, and can we change the story so that it’s Butch who’s on the journey to find Etta. Only Butch wasn’t married to Etta, so it has to be someone else he was in love with, so we have to figure that out. And then, after you go through hoops, he passes because he’s got his own Sundance Kid story idea, where the Kid goes to China and shoots up the Great Wall.
Pretty soon, producers are calling you because Dolph Lundgren needs a project, and Arnold Schwarzenegger is available because Jon Hamm is getting all the good German speaking roles.
For the time being, I’m glad that Sundance is a novel and that people are able to read my actual words, and if they like, they can imagine the movie in their heads.
The Page 69 Test: Sweetsmoke.
The Page 69 Test: Sundance.
Writers Read: David Fuller.