Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Enchanted August:
Enchanted August as a movie? Oh yes, please. It would be such a welcome respite from those gigantic, testosterone-driver blockbusters summer rains upon us. Don’t we all long for a sunny romance in the movies, especially if we’re not in the middle of such a romance in real life? I certainly do. And if the lighting is pretty and the moonlight is bewitching and the actors are clearly having a good time on screen, Enchanted August (the movie) could do decent box-office and have a long shelf-life as streaming video. Studio heads: are you listening?Visit Brenda Bowen's website.
The director comes first. Mike Newell did a grand job on the movie version of the book that inspired my own book (Enchanted April – see it!), and he is known for not only getting brilliant performances from his actors, but for making the set a happy place for cast and crew, and I believe in that.
If Mike Newell is busy, how about Emma Thompson to write and and Ang Lee to direct? Because Sense and Sensibility.
Location: I’d love the movie to be filmed on an island in Maine, as it takes place on an island in Maine. But I’d take reliable Vancouver as a stand-in.
Of course it’s the director’s prerogative to cast the movie, but if he/she needed a little help….
I’d nab 2014’s biggest global box office star (The Hobbit, X-Men) to play a pivotal role. And yes, that would be Sir Ian McKellen. I won’t tell you which role Sir Ian would play, as that would be a spoiler. But you’ll know him when you see him. Full disclosure: I was an Ian McKellen stalker when I was young (and lived in England), and was shocked and fascinated as a 13-year-old to see him naked on the stage of the Wimbledon Theatre in King Lear. “Edgar I nothing am!” he cried, and cast off all his garments. Some things just stay with you.
For Caroline Dester, I’d go with the ingenious casting idea a friend of mine came up with: Lupita Nyong’o. She’s an exquisitely beautiful Oscar-winner herself, so she has practically lived the part. It would give the screenwriter a nice challenge, too, as I was picturing a Charlize Theron type as I wrote.
Dear, beleaguered Rose Arbuthnot would be played by the versatile and generous Maggie Gyllenhaal. I adore her expressive face. I know she doesn’t look much like the character I describe in the book but Maggie can convince us of anything.
Lottie is Anna Kendrick, for sure. She’s even from Maine!
The men – well, James Franco as Fred Arbuthnot is just a given. In the 1950’s, the other two – Jon and Robert -- would have been Rock Hudson and Fabian, respectively. And in the forties, Robert Mitchum would have played Max. So let’s go with them.
One last thing: there’s a song in the book that’s sung by an Ivy League-ish a cappella group. I have to think Enchanted August would be a shoo-in for a Best Original Song nod if that tune were written by my idol, Dave Frishberg.
See you on the red carpet!
Writers Read: Brenda Bowen.