Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Linda L. Richards's "Calculated Loss"

Linda L. Richards is the author of three Madeline Carter novels: Mad Money, The Next Ex, and Calculated Loss.

Here she shares some thoughts about the casting for film adaptations of the novels:
There's been some very strong interest in optioning the Madeline Carter novels for film. For various reasons -- mostly just the nature of the beast, I guess -- nothing has come of it yet. But through all of that, I've had reason now and again to think about this stuff.

As I write, I never have any real living and breathing human in my head. My characters are so real to me, they seem to occupy all available space. I know just what they look like, and they don't look like anyone else, if you follow.

Sometimes, if I'm watching a movie or something on TV, I'll say, "Now she could play Madeline." And who have I said that about? At various times, Julia Roberts, Debra Messing, Jenna Elfman, Sharon Stone, Drew Barrymore ... a few others, as well. Do you see the range here? Honestly, though, I think it would be interesting to see any accomplished actress take it on: she'd bring some of herself to the role, make it her own.

But see, the casting would alter the thing, wouldn't it? The Madeline Carter film starring Julia Roberts is, by its very nature, quite different than the one starring Jenna Elfman. The budget is different, for one thing. And the level of attention that would be paid to both the film itself and the details in the filmmaking.

I know that, whoever was cast in the film, it would never be exactly as I envisioned it, but it would be a new creation, given birth to, in a sense, by the character that I dreamed up. That in itself is exciting, somehow.

When I interviewed Kazuo Ishiguro several years ago for January Magazine, he summed it up perfectly. He said that when he saw the rushes as they were making the film version of Remains of the Day he was put out by the differences. However when he saw the film, he was enthralled: it wasn't his book anymore, but a whole new thing.

I think that's what I'd feel. I hope so, anyway. Not upset by what was different, but excited to see what I'd created brought to physical life through someone else's imagination.
Read more about the Madeline Carter novels at Linda L. Richards's website.

Richards's fourth novel, Death was the Other Woman, will be published January 2008 by St. Martin’s Minotaur.

Richards is the editor of January Magazine and a contributor to The Rap Sheet.

--Marshal Zeringue