Here Abbott dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Concrete Angel:
Concrete Angel flips the plot of Mildred Pierce by being the story of a craven mother and her self-sacrificing daughter. So from the beginning, I couldn't help but picture actors from the sixties and seventies being in its cast.Visit Patricia Abbott's website.
Lana Turner would have been perfect for Eve, the book's pitch-dark protagonist. Especially since Turner experienced an incident like the initial event in the book. When I think of her in films like By Love Possessed, Portrait in Black, and Imitation of Life she would have made a riveting Eve Moran. She was adept at playing the kind of woman you couldn't look away from despite her bad deeds.
If I am going to cast it using actors from that era, the part of Christine might be played by Hayley Mills who was adept at combining innocence and intelligence. If you look at her performances in movies like The Chalk Garden, The Moon-Spinners and Whistle Down the Wind, you can see the intellect lurking behind the baby face.
Dare I cast John Cassavetes as Hank Moran? Actors of this era with any real acting chops tend to be too old for the part. The younger actors were light-weight, overly mannered or from the Adler school of acting--too naturalistic for a traditional melodrama. But I can see Cassavetes managing to make something of a rather opaque character. We don't really see much of Hank Moran outside of the task of handling his wife. I think Cassavetes could convey the secret life Hank had to invent for himself.
The more minor parts I will leave to the casting offices in Hollywood of 1965.
Were I to cast it using today's actors, I can picture: Claire Danes, Kiernan Shipka and Tom Hardy. That would work pretty well too.
The Page 69 Test: Concrete Angel.
Writers Read: Patricia Abbott.