Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Richard Chwedyk's "Bronte’s Egg"

Science fiction writer and poet Richard Chwedyk shares some ideas on the casting of a film adaptation of his Nebula Award-winning novella, "Bronte's Egg:"
My best-known work is the novella "Bronte's Egg," a story that takes place in a kind of rescue mission for genetically engineered toys that look like small versions of dinosaurs, called "saurs." The central character is a little bundle of energy named Axel, who wakes up one morning wanting to send a message to "Space Guys," and to build a robot he's calling Rotomotoman. At the same time, an apatosaur named Bronte has produced an egg – something that bioengineered saurs are not supposed to be capable of doing. Bronte and the other saurs hope to hatch this egg, but keep it secret from "the humans." Axel's and Bronte's efforts ultimately converge. That's the story of mine that moviemakers might be most interested in, with an assist from my other saur stories "The Measure of All Things" and "In Tibor's Cardboard Castle." A book-length collection of saur stories will be coming out eventually.

I think you can read the whole "Bronte's Egg" by going here, or to the e-book of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, August 2002.

I see a film of "Bronte’s Egg" done in live action, with the saurs brought to life by computer animation. Short of that, the kind of wonderful animation done by Studio Ghibli. It would need actors with great voices, and actors who can pack a lot into very few lines.

Movies were my first love. My brother and I used to play this sort of casting game all through our childhoods and adolescence. Not long ago, I had the chance to do a little "speculative casting" with the late, brilliant, John M. Ford, who was far better at it than I could ever dream to be.

But this was tough -- much tougher than I thought it would be. I can hear my characters’ voices when I write, but as I pondered which actors could do the job, a dozen possibilities came to me that would do just as well, if not better. We have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to great performers and great voices. So take this list as a fanciful musing that touches upon the possibilities of interpretation. Next week, I’ll come up with a different list and not repeat one name.

The Saurs

Axel -- I DON'T KNOW!!! A number of wonderful voices came to mind but I couldn't decide which one would be best. Read the novella and make your own suggestions.

Doc -- Jeremy Irons

Agnes -- Glenn Close

Preston -- Laurence Fishburne

Sluggo -- Philip Seymour Hoffman

Bronte -- Parminder Nagra [from "Bend It Like Beckham"]

Kara -- Gail Petersen [lead singer/songwriter for The Catholic Girls, a kick-ass New Jersey rock band]

Hetman -- Morgan Freeman

Jean-Claude -- Graham Greene

Pierrot -- French Stewart

Charlie -- John Goodman

Rosie -- Joan Cusack

Geraldine -- Megan Mullally

Tibor -- Lenny Henry

Ross -- Gilbert Gottfried

Diogenes -- Edward James Olmos

The Humans

Tom Groverton (the human who takes care of the saurs) -- Tobey Maguire

Dr. Margaret Pagliotti (the human who looks after the saurs' health) – Fairuza Balk

Susan Leahy (head of the Atherton Foundation) -- Patricia Arquette

The Visitor (from "The Measure of All Things") – Michael Chiklis

The inspectors from the government's Bioengineering Office

Mr. Chase – Stacy Keach

Dr. Yoon – Gong Li

Dr. Phillips -- Denzel Washington

Not saur – Not human

Reggie (voice of the Reggiesystem computer) – Gary Oldman

Can I pick a director while I’m at it? I can think of no one better than Brad Bird, unless it's Joe Dante. Either one can change my cast list and probably do a better job.
"Bronte's Egg" won a Nebula Award and was nominated for a Hugo and a Sturgeon Award as well.

Chwedyk's poem, "Rich and Pam Go to Fermilab and Later See a Dead Man" was nominated for a Rhysling Award, and if you didn't catch it on the Strange Horizons website you can read it in The 2004 Rhysling Anthology, available from the Science Fiction Poetry Association.

Read about some of Chwedyk's other publications.

--Marshal Zeringue