Friday, August 24, 2007

Nathan Walpow's "The Manipulated"

Nathan Walpow is the author of The Manipulated, the latest of his four "Joe Portugal" mysteries.

Joe Portugal in the movies? Why not? Here's who his creator sees populating the adapted films:
I've thought about casting my protagonist, Joe Portugal, a TV commercial actor who keeps stumbling over dead bodies, pretty much since the first book came out in 1999. Never came up with anyone I've been truly happy with. A few years ago I started considering Hank Azaria (who I was in a comedy improv class with a couple of decades ago). He'd be good, but seeing him doesn't quite make me jump up and say, "Hey, that's Joe." Another name that's come to mind lately is Steve Carell. I've seen him in a couple of movies, and I think he'd work nicely, but again I don't experience the that's-Joe moment. I watch The Daily Show every day, and Jon Stewart would be right physically; he's got the comedy chops, but I'm not sure about the more serious stuff. Finally, give him a few more years, and I'd consider John Cusack, who I think is vastly underrated.

For Gina Vela, who starts out as Joe's best friend and by the fourth book is his wife, I would love to see Vanessa Marcil, who I've been watching on Las Vegas. She's a little young for the part, but I don't care. She got the right blend of smarts, cynicism, and hotness. I'd also be happy with Laura San Giacomo. And, of course, if someone insisted on casting Salma Hayek, I wouldn't argue.

For Joe's father, Harold The Horse Portugal, we've got to have Alan Arkin. For Alberta Burns, the homicide detective who becomes Joe's friend, I'd like April Grace, who I first saw on Joan of Arcadia. For Eugene Rand, Joe's not-quite-ready-for-social-interaction friend, I'd like Todd Louiso, who was so good in High Fidelity. For Ronnie McKenzie, Joe's next-door-neighbor and protege ... well, hell, we might as well have Scarlett Johansson. And for John Santini, who only showed up in The Manipulated, the most recent book -- but will be a big part of future ones -- I'd like Jon Polito, who's been in a bunch of Coen Brothers movies (not that I'm a big fan of Coen Brothers movies).
Read an excerpt from The Manipulated and learn more about Nathan Walpow and his books and short stories.

--Marshal Zeringue