Wednesday, July 25, 2007

David Fulmer's "Storyville" books

David Fulmer is the author of, among other works, the acclaimed Storyville mysteries featuring Creole detective Valentin St. Cyr. The first volume of the series, Chasing the Devil's Tail, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Mystery/Thriller Book Prize and the winner of the Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel.

Here he speculates about which actors might best portray the characters in the Storyville novels:
Since there have been numerous nibbles and discussions about one or all of my Storyville books reaching the screen, I've spent some time thinking about the talent in the roles. It's an intriguing exercise, because it's such a unique setting: sex, drugs, and primitive jazz, all in turn of the century New Orleans. I can only take credit for some of the characters: others are real historical figures, and as good as I or anyone else could make up.

At one point, an agent asked me for suggestions, and because I'm so clueless about new talent, I in turn asked a group of mostly female friends to weigh in. The majority of the suggestions were sober, but then a misbehaving few turned it into "Who I'd Most Like to Jump." Nonetheless, I came up with a short list.

For my protagonist, Valentin St. Cyr: Johnny Depp, and not just because he's such a rare talent. He looks the part, and that's important. Remember, St. Cyr is Creole who passes for white. Benecio Del Toro and Hugh Jackman would be other equally-strong candidates.

Buddy Bolden, who appears in Chasing the Devil's Tail and returns in Lost River, would be a great part: a crazed genius. Physically and in terms of a vibe, I always thought Erik Dellums who played Luther Mahoney on Homicide: Life in the Street, would be a great choice. However, I suspect he's now too mature for the part. I saw a photograph of Andre Benjamin in a local (Atlanta) newspaper and I was stunned by how much he resembles Bolden.

As to Tom Anderson, "The King of Storyville," Robbie Coltrane has the girth, though I don't know about the height. That type, though. Another plum supporting role would be Picot, St. Cyr's nemesis. I think Brian Cox could do well with this.

It's more fun for me casting the women. The female lead is Justine Mancarre, the sporting girl who is also Valentin's paramour. I've got three choices: Thandie Newton, Zoe Saldana, and a gifted actress now working in Atlanta named Portia Cue. All have exactly the right look and could carry the part.

The only other recurring female role is the madam Lulu White, who was in fact the inspiration for Mae West's Belle of the Nineties. In looks and temperament, Oprah Winfrey would be perfect.

There's lots of room in these stories for a supporting cast. And I love supporting actors. I think they often make the movie. I confess that often when watch a scene, I keep an eye on the supporting actors. Everyone else is watching the lead and these folks know it and still work their smaller parts like pros. So I hope they will take heart that people like me notice their work.

Finally, since I already confessed by general ignorance of the acting crowd, I'd be pleased to receive casting suggestions from readers of my books. [There is contact info at Fulmer's website.]
Fulmer's other books include The Dying Crapshooter's Blues, to which he applied the Page 69 Test.

Visit David Fulmer's website. Read chapter one of Chasing the Devil's Tale.

--Marshal Zeringue