Here Dugan dreamcasts an adaptation of The Sweetheart Deal:
I went right to the A-list for casting the movie adaptation of The Sweetheart Deal because holding these actors in my head both informed the writing and helped build the characters into three-dimensional beings. Plus it didn’t hurt that some of my favorite actors are included in this all-star cast.Learn more about the book and author at Polly Dugan's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.
Kevin Gallagher, a firefighter and 9/11 survivor who also appears in the last story in my first book, is and always has been played by Ed Burns. Ed as an actor, and the majority of characters he plays are precisely who Kevin is: an Irish Catholic native New Yorker. In every piece of dialogue he utters, Kevin’s voice was as authentic as I could make it because I heard Ed saying the words. And, Ed’s narration of The Man in the Red Bandana, the heroic 9/11 story of Welles Crowther was a tremendous influence in casting him. He’d be a natural in Portland Fire and Rescue gear.
Similarly, Leo McGeary has always been played by Mark Wahlberg. Mark can channel the quintessential man-boy in his sleep, and that’s exactly who Leo is. He’s a firefighter and responsible father who maybe pushes his sons too far sometimes, but he’s also a practical joker who is still madly in love with his wife after almost 20 years. So do the math: Rugged, Sexy, Thoughtful + Master of the Smirk + Real Life Dad Who Has Played Multiple Dads on the Big Screen = The Actor Formerly Known as Marky Mark. Bonus points that he’s Catholic, like Leo, and has previously played a firefighter, albeit a parodied one, in I Heart Huckabees.
Because of their on-screen chemistry in more than one film, and their co-starring roles in The Basketball Diaries, 20 years ago, Mark Wahlberg’s Leo McGeary has always been best friends since the age of 14 with Leo DiCaprio’s Garrett Reese. And both because of his real-life confirmed bachelordom and his tremendous ability as an actor to play conflicted characters suffering a loss, the role of Garrett has always belonged to one of the finest actors working today.
One of the truest roles of a heartbroken wife that I’ve ever seen depicted in film is Michelle Williams as Alma in Brokeback Mountain. I’m a long-time fan and although the character of Audrey McGeary, Leo’s widow, is a bit older than Michelle, that’s what make-up is for and I can’t think of an actress who can better convey a compelling balance of strength, grief, motherhood and sensuality, especially if she’s playing opposite both Mark Walhberg and Leo DiCaprio. Bonus points: Michelle has shot other movies in Portland and other parts of Oregon and my book about a family’s overcoming grief and loss with a love triangle in the middle is based in Portland.
Garrett’s father Julian, although he’s a supporting actor, is in a handful of significant scenes and he fills a necessary function in the story. The role of Julian would go to Ed Harris. Because Ed Harris.
As far as directors go I’m torn between Peter Berg, Kathryn Bigelow, Ed Burns and Sarah Polley.