Sunday, December 2, 2007

Penni Russon's "Undine"

Tasmania-born Penni Russon is the author of The Undine trilogy, published by Random House in Australian and Greenwillow in the US, a series of magical books set in Hobart’s streets and the surrounding bush and seascapes.

Here she shares some ideas about film adaptations of the novels:
When I first imagined Undine as a movie (which was as I was writing the book!) I pictured it as a live action, but my four year old has recently fallen deeply in love with anime – films like My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away and Whisper of the Heart. When I started watching these with Frederique I definitely thought that it would be a great way to make Undine into a film. The dialogue in Totoro is some of the best I've ever heard in a film, the spirit of childhood is so perfectly captured. I think the Tasmanian landscape would be inspirational to a film-maker and Tasmania and Japan have a special relationship, maybe because we both know what it's like to see your country as fractured into islands – an image of Australia that 'mainlanders' don't share.

So without further ado, here's the cast list, bearing in mind that because its animation, age doesn't matter so much!

Undine: Emilie de Ravin

Trout: Richard Wilson

Lou: Rachel Griffiths

Prospero: Sam Neill

Richard: Hmm … someone from an Aussie soap probably (but I don't watch soaps). But someone young and smooth.

Jasper: An undiscovered, yet brilliant, yet balanced and happy in himself child actor

Max: Audrey Tatou

Grunt: Heath Ledger

I've mostly chosen Australians with international starpower because I want the movie to make LOTS of money. But Trout is a local, the first time I saw Richard Wilson on an ABC Kids show called Out There I knew he was Trout, he has the right blend of geeky and funny and vulnerable and self-possessed. Heath Ledger is exactly the kind of Australian boy I was picturing Grunt to be. I love Emilie as Clare in Lost, I love that she can look little and breakable but powerful and resilient too – her facial features are just right for Undine, so the illustrators should model Undine on her. Rachel Griffiths looks nothing like Lou but she would make a great Lou, she's got the energy and the shades of darkness Lou needs. Audrey Tatou would give Max an air of mystery (and not just because she has an accent!). I chose Sam Neill for Prospero just because I'd like to meet him. But I think he'd be great.

The music by the way, would be mostly supplied by The Waifs. But Kate Rusby's song 'Who Now Will Sing Me Lullabies?' is Undine's song in Drift.

It feels very naughty and fun playing this game! Now I should go and do something sensible. Sigh.
Learn more about the author and her novels at Penni Russon's website and her blog, Eglantine's Cake.

The Page 69 Test: Penni Russon's Breathe.

--Marshal Zeringue