Thursday, August 30, 2007

Chris Knopf's "Two Time"

Chris Knopf is the author of two Sam Acquillo Hamptons mysteries, The Last Refuge and Two Time.

He took Two Time through the "My Book, The Movie" exercise and came up with this take for a film adaptation:
Now that Dreamworks has greenlighted Marshal's script for Two Time, I guess we have to think casting.

Sam Acquillo is perfect for Sean Penn. Sam's in his early 50's - older than Sean, but not by much, and by the time this gets through development he'll be much closer, right? Plus, it's much more impressive for an actor to stretch a little older than go younger. Sam's a physically vital 50's, who likes to stay in shape, notwithstanding a tendency to smoke and drink too much.

He's not a classically handsome guy, but women go for him. He's got a big, busted up nose and curly gray hair. He's an ex-pro boxer. He has an inner rage that manifests itself in a calm and disciplined outward demeanor, until the provocation gets to be too much. In fact, anger management and eruptions of violence are two of Sam's livelier qualities. Think Viggo Mortensen in A History of Violence.

Sam's very intelligent and well educated. He's had a successful corporate career as a design engineer, which he blew up. Along with his home life. So there's loads of inherent tragedy in his situation, well leavened by a cynical, mordant wit.

He's trying to achieve a rapprochement with his grown daughter, whom he loves unconditionally. More fodder for dramatic expression.

In the Sam Acquillo books, all the action takes place in the Hamptons, though mostly the Hamptons few know about. You get to flash on the glitterati, but the action is on the back roads, working class neighborhoods and dive bars. I think Sean is one of very few actors who'd be able to keep all this in balance, without tipping into cliché, using the various contradictory elements to good dramatic and comic effect.

For his principle love interest, Amanda Anselma, I'd want to cast Annabella Sciorra, with her Italian beauty, underlying sexuality and gift for tragedy. (Though in my mind's eye I admit Amanda sort of looks like Anne Archer at about forty with a really nice tan.)

With some thicker, redder hair, freckles and both her comic and tragic personas in full force, Drew Barrymore would make a great Jackie Swaitkowski.

If Rick Schroder would agree to add about fifty pounds, he'd be great as Joe Sullivan. Orlando Bloom would also have the chance of a lifetime to play slightly older as Burton Lewis. (As would Jude Law if Orlando was busy.) Bob Hoskins would own Paul Hodges and Christina Ricci could play his daughter Dotty in her sleep.

Ben Affleck, an underrated actor, could project the complex, high-energy, self-absorbed, yet slightly sinister nature of Butch Ellington. It would be interesting to see him play against Rosie O'Donnell as Butch's wife Dione. Parker Posey will have to play Appolonia Eldridge, that's obvious.

I think I've busted the casting budget, but could someone see if Jim Carrey's available for a cameo as Ross Semple? I think his body-of-work would benefit from another dramatic part, but Ross would also give him a chance to show flashes of inner lunacy.

As far as directors, Sean Penn said Clint Eastwood was "the least disappointing icon I ever met." With that sort of endorsement, maybe they'd like to team up again. If not, Paul Thomas Anderson or David Cronenberg are skillful with tense, intimate interplay, have a nice sense of place and pull highly credible and distinctive dialogue out of their actors.
Visit Chris Knopf's website to learn more about the Sam Acquillo Hamptons mysteries.

--Marshal Zeringue