Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Sarah Langan's "The Missing"

Sarah Langan received her MFA in fiction writing from Columbia University. She studied with Michael Cunningham, Nicholas Christopher, Helen Schulman, and Maureen Howard, among others, all of whom have been instrumental to her work. She is currently a master's candidate in environmental medicine at NYU.

Earlier this year Langan applied the Page 69 Test to The Keeper, her first novel.

Here she develops a few ideas about the cast and crew for a film adaptation of her new novel, The Missing:
I’d love for The Missing to be made into a movie, mostly because it would get more people to read the book. Also, I would become a rich and famous bizillionaire, and replace all my teeth with gold!

For directors, and we’re talking crazy mad dream here, I love Marty (in my dreams, I call him Marty) Scorsese. He’d handle the violence in the book with honesty, so that it never got campy or gleeful. Also, he understands intelligent women. His actresses fight the camera until it sees things their way, while lesser directors are happy to fill the screen with pretty (boring) smiles. Under his direction, Meg and Fenstad Wintrob’s love would be poignant, and Lois’ bitterness sympathetic.

For screenwriters, I love Brent Hanley (Frailty). He understands that horror comes from within, and his stories engage with the world. I’m also pretty thrilled with Ido Mizrahy and David Meyer -- the guys currently working on a screenplay (well, up until the strike) for The Keeper.

As for actors, Philip Seymour Hoffman would make a great Fenstad. I think he’d bring a quiet turmoil to the role. Fenstad Wintrob is the town psychiatrist in The Missing. While he madly loves his wife Meg, their marriage is unraveling. A year previous to the opening of the novel, she engaged in a short affair, which she regrets. Still, she remains unfulfilled, and he’s miserable, because he can’t figure out why she can’t enjoy life now that their nest is empty, and they’ve finally got time to themselves. Actually, Donald Sutherland thirty years ago would have been perfect. Then again, when is Donald Sutherland NOT perfect?

I wrote Meg’s character with Nicole Kidman in mind, mostly because Kidman is so frigging cool. But Maria Bello, Vera Farmiga, Linda Fiorentino, Rachel Griffiths, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Téa Leoni all have that same smart, type A sexiness that I envisioned for my heroine. She’s comfortable in her own skin, and accustomed to being in charge. Her weakness is her inability to be vulnerable, which I think is a nice twist, and more common than often gets written about.

Lois Larkin is the hero-turned-villain, and probably the most fun to imagine casting. Upon being dumped by her boyfriend of seven years for her best friend, and losing her job, Lois’ personality takes a turn toward the dark side, and her carnal appetites are unleashed. She’s gorgeous, wounded, angry, and infected with a virus that allows her to read other peoples’ thoughts. I like Angelina Jolie for the role. She’s great in everything she does. Or Rita Hayworth — she would have been amazing! Also, I can only imagine the crazy stuff Rita put up with, while living with Orson. I like to imagine she was the genius behind the genius all those years.
Learn more about The Missing at Sarah Langan's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Keeper.

--Marshal Zeringue