Sunday, July 22, 2018

Susan McBride's "Walk A Crooked Line"

Susan McBride is the USA Today bestselling author of the Debutante Dropout Mysteries and the River Road Mysteries. The debut of her Jo Larsen series, Walk Into Silence, was a #1 Kindle bestseller in the US and the UK, and #3 in Australia.

Here McBride dreamcasts an adaptation of the second Jo Larsen novel, Walk A Crooked Line:
Oh, how I would love to see Jo Larsen come to life! She’s the protagonist of both Walk A Crooked Line and Walk Into Silence, my police procedurals that tiptoe on the dark side. Jo is kind of a mystery herself, and, as I peel back the layers of her family history, I can see several actresses who could walk in her shoes. When I first wrote Walk Into Silence, I envisioned Jennifer Beals, the actress from Flashdance, who’s physically pretty much the perfect Jo. The only drawback is Ms. Beals is a little older than I am, and, for that reason, perhaps too seasoned to play Jo Larsen now, since Jo is in her mid-thirties. Still, I think she could pull it off. Age is just a number, right?

My next pick would have been Meghan Markle, because she’s another one who doesn’t look too white bread, which is important. Both actresses have the dark eyes and dark hair that Jo has. Both seem quite able to play a tough woman who persists despite the odds yet feels about to crack into a million pieces on the inside. I guess Beals would be a better bet these days since Meghan seems busy performing her royal duties. So, if anyone knows Ms. Beals and can slip her a copy of Walk A Crooked Line, you have my blessing.
Learn more about the book and author at Susan McBride's website.

My Book, The Movie: Walk Into Silence.

The Page 69 Test: Walk Into Silence.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 20, 2018

Tiffany Brownlee's "Wrong in All the Right Ways"

Tiffany Brownlee was born in San Diego, California, and, as with many authors, her love for reading and writing began at an early age. Because her father was in the Navy, she and her family moved around far more often than she would have liked (she went to five elementary schools–not kidding!), but despite the many moves, her love of education, books, and writing remained.

Her family’s final move brought her to New Orleans, Louisiana, where she went on to study for and earn her B.S. in Psychology at Xavier University of Louisiana. Immediately after graduation, Brownlee began work as a Teacher’s Assistant while also pursuing a teaching certification from The University of Holy Cross. Juggling both school and work as a full-time teacher’s assistant was a little hectic for her, but she still managed to squeeze in some time to read and work on a YA novel idea that she’d thought up while rereading Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights (one of her favorite classics). That idea eventually became Wrong in All the Right Ways, her newly released debut novel.

Brownlee currently works as a middle school English teacher in New Orleans.

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of Wrong in All the Right Ways:
When I wrote Wrong in All the Right Ways, I didn’t have any specific actors or actresses in mind. It wasn’t until I turned in the final edits for this novel that my friends got me to think about who the dream cast would be in a film adaptation. I’ve probably given this casting way more thought than I should have, but here goes:

Emma Ellenburg: Sabrina Carpenter

Dylan McAndrews: Nick Robinson

Karmin Ortega: Victoria Justice

Keagan Ortega: Jake T. Austin

Lauren Ellenburg: Kristen Bell

Daniel Ellenburg: Scott Eastwood

Matthew Ellenburg: Zackary Arthur

This is definitely what I call a dream cast! And if Wrong in All the Right Ways ever gets made into a movie and one of these stars lands the role I chose for them, I’m going to fangirl like crazy.
Visit Tiffany Brownlee's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Prentis Rollins's "The Furnace"

Prentis Rollins has over twenty-five years of experience working as a writer and artist in the comics industry.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of The Furnace, his debut full-length graphic novel:
When I was writing the script for The Furnace, I was picturing Nick Nolte as the protagonist Walton Honderich—in fact, for a while I was planning to basically draw Honderich as Nolte. Nolte (I’m thinking of Nolte at about 45 years of age here) is handsome, affable, masculine—but I always found him able to project a sense of helpless, floundering desperation really well (just watch 15 or so minutes of Cape Fear if in doubt). And that’s Walton Honderich. I ended up designing Honderich without referring to Nolte, precisely because I wanted the character to not be so handsome—I wanted him to appear to be a squishy, bespectacled middle-aged nebbish (he’s a physicist wracked with guilt over his youthful involvement with a nefarious government scheme to house prisoners in a really horrible new way).

Okay, we’re blue-skying it here, so let’s go for broke.

Walton Honderich: Brad Pitt (if he did a De Niro and packed on 30 pounds). Brad Pitt is (I think) quite a fine screen actor, and he can project damaged-goods desperation mightily when he sets his mind to it (check out Troy and Seven!) I know he’s (of course) handsome—but age and weight could go a long way in masking that out.

Piper Honderich (Walton’s wife): Jennifer Connelly. She’s the perfect age, she’s gorgeous, smart, projects empathy, devotion, and the patience of a plaster saint. Her turn in House of Sand and Fog is unforgettable. And she looks like the character as drawn.

Marc Lepore: Ben Whishaw. He’s young, he’s English, and he can be positively Mephistophelean when he wants to—and that’s Lepore. Whishaw’s tour de force turn in Cloud Atlas (in which he plays multiple characters) is proof positive that he could project Lepore’s cunning, ambition, and visceral (but thwarted) need for human contact supremely well.

And my dream director? Denis Villeneuve. Arrival, his filmed realization of Ted Chiang’s ‘Story of Your Life’, is the kind of cerebral yet ultimately rooted-in-the-human-situation science-fiction that I love best and that you see so little of on screen these days. It was a seamless blend of craft and substance, form and function—and his directorial style is quiet, submerged, the opposite of the show-boating gimmickry other contemporary auteur directors could be accused of.

Yes indeed, we can all dream.
Visit Prentis Rollins's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 16, 2018

Derek Milman's "Scream All Night"

Derek Milman has worked as a playwright, screenwriter, film school teacher, DJ, and underground humor magazine publisher. A classically trained actor, he has performed on stages across the country and appeared in numerous TV shows, commercials, and films.

Here Milman dreamcasts an adaptation of his newly released first novel, Scream All Night:
So this is actually something happening with Scream All Night, and I can't discuss specifics just yet, but I write without ever seeing faces or actors. And I'm grateful for that, so I can focus on their inner lives. That said, I did see a film called Hereditary with some friends, and everyone agreed the boy in that movie, played by Alex Wolff, would be a great Dario; he has the right intensity and the brooding dark looks, and the right edge to his humor and his speech. The same could be said of Timotheé Chalamet, after we all saw Call Me By Your Name--but everyone immediately wanted this kid to play the lead in the adaptation of their YA novel, so it seemed silly to even entertain such notions. Hayley is Irish Catholic in SAN, but there was a wonderful actress I saw in this Netflix coming-of-age flick called Alex Strangelove and if Hayley were Jewish she could totally be played by Madeline Weinstein, who had the right energy and intelligence. I can't go near Oren, that one's too hard. Weirdly, I always thought there could be a fun little casting coup and Project Runway mentor Tim Gunn could play Franklin, The Fixer, which was one face I did see, for some mysterious reason. Because Jack Nicholson is my favorite screen actor of all time, I'd kill to see him play Lucien (he's nearly the same age!) with a slight Romanian accent--I mean who wouldn't want to see that!
Visit Derek Milman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Sibel Hodge's "Into the Darkness"

Sibel Hodge is the author of the number-one bestsellers Look Behind You, Untouchable and Duplicity. Her books have sold over a million copies in the UK, USA, Australia, France, Canada and Germany.

Here Hodge dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Into the Darkness:
When I'm writing a novel I see the scene playing out in my head exactly like a movie so I always have a visual of my characters. Of course, I'd love every book of mine to star the fantastic Tom Hardy if they were ever made into films, and for Into the Darkness, I think he would play an amazing Mitchell, ex-SAS operative who is searching for his missing goddaughter. He may be a little young for the role, though, so as a second I'd choose Ray Winston. It's a gritty British thriller so they would both be perfect.

For Mitchell's opposite, Detective Sergeant Carter, who is a maverick and someone very disillusioned with the police force, I'd choose Gerard Butler. He's kick-ass enough to follow his own hunches and disregard the political correctness and not toe the official party line of his bosses.

For Toni, Mitchell's missing goddaughter I'd choose Emma Watson. Although in real life she's a little older Toni, I think her wonderful acting in the fabulous Harry Potter films would be spot on.
Visit Sibel Hodge's website.

My Book, The Movie: Untouchable.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Sheena Kamal's "It All Falls Down"

Sheena Kamal was born in the Caribbean and immigrated to Canada as a child. She holds an HBA in political science from the University of Toronto, and was awarded a TD Canada Trust scholarship for community leadership and activism around the issue of homelessness.

The Lost Ones/Eyes Like Mine is her debut novel. The sequel It All Falls Down has just been released.

Prior to writing novels, Kamal worked as a crime and investigative journalism researcher for the film and television industry--among other rather unsavoury professions.

Here Kamal shares some thoughts on casting the lead roles in an adaptation of It All Falls Down:
I don't write to actors, but sometimes it's fun to let my mind wander in that direction. Every now and then I get asked who I would cast as my main character, Nora Watts. The truth is, I don't know who could play Nora. I would absolutely love for an intrepid producer to take a chance on an indigenous actor for this part--and there are a few names that kick around in my mind--but it can be tough when you write a character of mixed-heritage.

The other important characters are much easier. I'd love to see Nora's love interest, Jon Brazuca, played by Vancouver actor Ryan Reynolds. Deadpool fame aside, he was in a fantastic movie called Buried where it was just him in a coffin for 90-minutes. He did great work in that film and I can absolutely see him as Nora's mercurial ex-sponsor, a man with mysterious motives.

The other person I cast in my imagination sometimes is Nora's mentor, Seb Crow. He could easily be played by Adam Beach or Mahershala Ali. I also love to imagine Manal Issa, John Cho and Bryan Cranston as just a few of my villains. Strange that it's easier to cast my villains than my hero. I'm sure there's something more to that...
Visit Sheena Kamal's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Lost Ones.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Rob Hart's "Potter's Field"

Rob Hart is the author of the Ash McKenna series which wraps up this month with Potter’s Field. Other entries include: New Yorked, which was nominated for an Anthony Award for Best First Novel, as well as City of Rose, South Village, and The Woman from Prague. He also co-wrote Scott Free with James Patterson.

Here Hart dreamcasts the lead in an adaptation of the series:
Swear to truth, I have never really considered who would play Ash. I’m going to say Adam Driver. He looks like he can hold his own in a brawl, and I think he’s a fantastic, interesting actor. He can find that balance between stoicism and heart and vulnerability that I think is important to Ash. He’s a little old for it—he’s in his mid-30s and Ash is in his mid-20s, but that’s not a deal breaker for me.

Or, if you want to make things interesting, race-flip it and cast Lakeith Stanfield. I’m not precious about Ash being a white guy. And Stanfield is just excellent in everything he does.

I have no real thoughts on directors, though I think it would make a better television show. Each book is set in a different location—New York (New Yorked), Portland (City of Rose), hippie commune in Georgia (South Village), Prague and Krakow (The Woman from Prague), and then finally, Staten Island (Potter’s Field). I think you could get a good season of eight episodes out of each book.
Visit Rob Hart's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Jeff Love's "The Black Circle"

Jeff Love is Research Professor of German and Russian at Clemson University. He is the author of The Overcoming of History in “War and Peace” (2004), editor of Heidegger in Russia and Eastern Europe (2017), and translator of Kojève’s Atheism, among other works.

Here Love shares some ideas about adapting his new book, The Black Circle: A Life of Alexandre Kojeve, for the screen:
Despite the title, my book is more about Kojève's thought than his life. Yet, I must admit that Kojève had quite an interesting life with some cinematic qualities. Born in Moscow in 1902, he fled Russia in 1920 (after being arrested by the secret police and other adventures) to Germany where he studied philosophy, oriental religions, Chinese and Tibetan and experienced the volatile life of Berlin. He moved to Paris in 1926 living off an inheritance enhanced by astute investments (he made a considerable sum from La vache qui rit). After he exhausted his inheritance in 1931, he tried to obtain an academic position and finally was given his famed seminar on Hegel at the École de Hautes Études in Paris that lasted six years (1933-1939) and had a vast influence on French culture in the post-war period. Among his students were Raymond Aron, Georges Bataille, Henry Corbin, Jacques Lacan, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Raymond Queneau. During the war he fled Paris and may have worked for various intelligence agencies as a supporter of the French resistance. After the war he became a major, if largely hidden, figure in the French government wielding considerable influence, all the while maintaining that he was an orthodox Stalinist (who at the same time admired supporters of Hitler, like Carl Schmitt). He played an important role in GATT and in the founding of the European Union. He died on June 4, 1968 while giving a speech in Brussels.

Leonardo DiCaprio could play Kojève, and Martin Scorsese could be the director.
Learn more about The Black Circle at the Columbia University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 6, 2018

Alex White's "A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe"

Alex White was born and raised in the American south. He takes photos, writes music, and spends hours on YouTube watching other people blacksmith. He values challenging and subversive writing, but he’ll settle for a good time.

White lives in the shadow of Huntsville, Alabama’s rockets with his wife, son, two dogs and a cat named Grim. Favored pastimes include Legos and racecars. He takes his whiskey neat and his espresso black.

Here the author dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe:
I am sad/happy to say that A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe would cost many millions of dollars to produce as a film. Sad, because that makes it a difficult prospect. Happy, because that means I'd probably get a ton of money for the rights, and become a nerd legend.

My book has two powerful female leads: Nilah Brio, the queen of the race track and Boots Elsworth, a salty con artist.

For Nilah Brio, I'd pick Zendaya or Zazie Beetz, because both of them could easily represent the posh coldness and razor sharp with Nilah can deliver. Nilah is young at the start of the book, 18 or 19, highly-competitive and mean as hell. She's close to claiming the Driver's Crown in the Pan-Galactic Racing Federation, and her monomaniacal focus is the only thing that can deliver such a victory. We'd need an actor with a lot of intensity.

For Boots Elsworth, I'd like to see Robin Wright. After House of Cards and Wonder Woman, I'm completely convinced that she could pull off the anger and disillusionment so central to Boots's character. Boots is a war vet, from a losing side, and she's lost everything important to her. In response, she's turned to a life of swindling, drinking and general malaise.

Despite the fact that these characters both start the book as... well... assholes, they learn and grow together, becoming whole people again. There's a lot of subtlety required for these performances, which is why I only want the best actors for those roles. That, and it's going to be a blockbuster film, so the leads had better be big names!
Visit Alex White's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Gale Massey's "The Girl from Blind River"

Gale Massey lives in St. Petersburg, FL. Her stories have appeared in the Tampa Bay Times, Walking the Edge, Sabal, Seven Hills Press, and other journals. She has been the recipient of scholarships and fellowships at The Sewanee Writers’ Conference and Writers in Paradise, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Here Massey dreamcasts an adaptation of The Girl From Blind River, her debut novel:
While I wrote The Girl from Blind River I had Jennifer Lawrence in mind to play Jamie. I loved her in Winter’s Bone which is one of my most cherished reading and film viewing experiences, and visualizing her as Ree Dolly helped sustain me in the development of Jamie’s character. Today’s choice though Jamie would be Nadia Alexander of Seven Seconds. She has the depth to play Jamie’s interior life against her external circumstances.

I always saw Jamie’s Uncle Loyal as being played by an aged Heath Ledger (think Enos Delmar in Brokeback Mountain).

My choice for Detective Garcia would be Jeremy Renner. I love his face and the way he portrays such angst.

Sandra Bullock would make an excellent Phoebe Elders.

It would be interesting to see what James Dean would do with the role of Toby. No one did angry young man as well as Dean.

And as for Judge Keating, I don’t even know. Maybe Tom Hardy?
Visit Gale Massey's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 2, 2018

Christopher Ruocchio's "Empire of Silence"

Christopher Ruocchio is a graduate of North Carolina State University, where a penchant for self-destructive decision-making caused him to pursue a bachelor’s in English Rhetoric with a minor in Classics. An avid student of history, philosophy, and religion, Ruocchio has been writing since he was eight years old and sold his first book —Empire of Silence— at twenty-two.

Here the author dreamcasts an adaptation of Empire of Silence:
Fan casting is one of my favorite hobbies, so here goes:

For my hero, Hadrian Marlowe, I’d cast Harry Lloyd, perhaps most familiar to folks as Viserys Targaryen, Daenerys’s awful brother, from the first season of Game of Thrones. Even when he was playing someone as dreadful as Viserys, Lloyd managed to evoke pity from me, and I was blown away by his performance. He’s able to pull off charisma and sneering aristocratic hauteur at the same time, and he has this lovely Machiavellian quality to him that really speaks to the essence of who Hadrian is to me, and I think he deserves a crack at playing a good guy.

The xeno-archaeologist Valka Onderra might be played by Sylvia Hoeks, who played Luv in Blade Runner 2049. There was a real complexity to her performance—outward coldness masking deeper emotions only guessed at—that reminded me very much of Valka. She was also really quite scary in Blade Runner, and Valka is not unintimidating, she’s someone the technophobic Imperium thinks of as a witch, and she leans on that impression to great effect.

Lastly, for Hadrian’s tutor, Tor Gibson, I can’t think of anyone better than the Doctor himself, Peter Capaldi. He walked the line between stern gravitas and smiling grandfather really well in his time on Doctor Who, and I think he’s perfect. He doesn’t appear in the book very much, but his appearances are vitally important to Hadrian’s development as a hero, and to see him grill Hadrian in the best Socratic tradition would be a joy.

Here are some others, rapid fire: In a perfect world, I’d cast Mads Mikkelsen as Hadrian’s father, the stoic and iron-willed Lord Alistair; with Nonso Anosie as Count Balian of Emesh; Kevin McKidd as the old soldier-turned-gladiator Pallino; and maybe Miguel Silvestre for Sir Olorin. And of course, the Legion commander Raine Smythe could be none other than Ripley herself, Sigourney Weaver.

I could go on about this for pages and pages, but let’s call that a day!
Follow Christopher Ruocchio on Twitter.

Writers Read: Christopher Ruocchio.

--Marshal Zeringue