Friday, June 1, 2007

Richard Aleas's "Little Girl Lost"

Richard Aleas’s Little Girl Lost received nominations for both the Edgar Award and the Shamus Award.

Here he shares some thoughts about the casting for a film adaptation of the novel:
Talking about who it might be appropriate to cast in a film version of Little Girl Lost is a bit tricky, since I'm currently working with Papazian-Hirsch (producers of HBO's Rome, among many other things) to develop just such a film, and I wouldn't want to suggest with my random musings that any of the people I mention here have actually been approached or will be cast. In the end, the casting decisions will all be up to P-H and whichever director they hire, not me.

That said, I can certainly describe the sorts of actors I had in mind when writing the book. The main character, detective John Blake, is supposed to be young and look younger -- more like a prep school kid than like a detective. Elijah Wood and Tobey Maguire both have something of this quality, and of course Brick makes it natural to think of Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the role. (Though he may not be eager to do yet another noirish crime story, having also done a turn recently in The Lookout.) My favorite out-of-left-field candidate: Jesse Eisenberg, star of the forthcoming The Education of Charlie Banks, an outstanding drama that lit up the Tribeca Film Festival -- he's got the intelligence, the innocence, and the requisite baby face.

For Leo's older and wiser boss, ex-cop Leo Hauser, there are two generations of character actors you could imagine in the role. Robert Duvall could do it; so could Dennis Franz.

For Susan, the stripper who helps John crack the case and falls in love with him in the process, you want a self-possessed and charismatic but vulnerable brunette, plus unless you want to spend a bundle on CGI, she's got to be stacked -- Jennifer Love-Hewitt comes to mind (when he was working on sketches for the cover, Robert McGinnis drew one that looked just like her).

And for Miranda, the great love of John's life who winds up murdered in the opening scene and returns in flashbacks throughout the story, you need a blonde who can mix tragedy with an element of madness -- someone like Ali Larter, who's so good in the schizoid role on Heroes, or Zooey Deschanel, or even (if she'd go blonde for the job) Christina Ricci.

Just some thoughts -- there are lots of talented folks I'm leaving out, including some, I'm sure, who would knock the ball out of the park.
Richard Aleas is a pseudonym for Charles Ardai, who also earned a Shamus award nomination for his short story, "Nobody Wins." His work has appeared in dozens of publications including Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine as well as anthologies such as Best Mystery Stories of the Year and The Year’s Best Horror Stories.

“Home Front,” Ardai's Edgar Award-winning short story, is available online courtesy of Hard Case Crime.

Richard Aleas's new novel, Songs of Innocence, releases this July.

The Page 69 Test: Little Girl Lost.

--Marshal Zeringue