Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Mary Sharratt's "The Vanishing Point"

Mary Sharratt's most recent novel is The Vanishing Point.

Here are some ideas she had about the actors she would cast in the movie adaption of the book and who might be an ideal director for the story:
Set in 17th century Maryland, The Vanishing Point tells the story of two star-crossed sisters entwined in a mystery. The older sister, May Powers, leaves her native England for an arranged marriage to a tobacco heir in Colonial Maryland. When Hannah at last arrives at the backwater plantation, her sister has vanished and her grief-stricken brother-in-law, Gabriel, is entirely alone. Did May die in childbirth, as he claims, or is something darker at work? Hannah, haunted by her lost sister and torn by her unexpected feelings for Gabriel, embarks on a twisting maze toward discovery.

I’m not the most knowledgeable person on things Hollywood. My favourite films tend to be quirky indy movies, such as the works of Pedro Almovodar. I would love to see what a director like Jane Campion (The Piano, Portrait of a Lady) could do with this story.

As for casting, I see Kate Winslet as the perfect embodiment of May’s ebullient beauty and lust for life. Casting Hannah would be trickier. Though formidably intelligent, she is shy and not traditionally beautiful with her flame-red hair, which in that era was seen as the mark of a witch. She is also skinny in a time that celebrated more voluptuous women. The actor who most closely resembles my vision of Hannah is Nathalie Press, who starred in Pawel Pawlikowski’s 2004 film, My Summer of Love. With her angular cheekbones, pale skin, and sweeping red hair, Press has a tough yet otherworldly grace about her, reminiscent of a young Tilda Swinton. She’s also an amazing actor when it comes to portraying unconventional characters.

Gabriel, the male lead, is a dark-haired, quiet, secretive young man, fiercely independent and half-feral from living alone in the wilderness. If Johnny Depp had an eighteen-year-old brother, he would be perfect for the part. Perhaps even Daniel Radcliffe could give it a go when he finishes his West End stint in Equus.
Read more about the book, including an excerpt, at Mary Sharratt's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Vanishing Point.

--Marshal Zeringue