Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Kate Pepper's "One Cold Night"

Kate Pepper's novels include Five Days in Summer (2004), Seven Minutes to Noon (2005), One Cold Night (2006), and Here She Lies. In April 2007 she applied the Page 69 Test to Here She Lies.

Here she develops some ideas for a film adaptation of One Cold Night:
Whenever I visualize Dave Strauss, the detective whose quest to find his kidnapped teenage sister-in-law and whose love for his wife are at the heart of my thriller One Cold Night, I see Viggo Mortensen: quiet, intense, brooding, intelligent, and sexy. Dave is a man whose greatest attributes include his keen investigative instincts, the self-doubt inspired by a seasoned past, and his ability to deeply love and cherish his wife, Susan. I can see Mortensen embodying this character with conviction and soul.

Susan is played by Diane Lane, but maybe that’s just because I remember the sizzling chemistry between Mortensen and Lane in the 1999 movie A Walk on the Moon. Both these actors are not only gorgeous but have an emotional range along with the ability to play smart down-to-earth characters, and I like that a lot. (I went to graduate school with Diane’s late father, Burt Lane. He was older than the rest of us but he fit in because he was a great guy, completely unpretentious; at the time, he spoke only briefly of his then-nineteen year old daughter who was about to star in a movie called The Cotton Club. That film sank like a stone while Diane rose to stardom. I’ve always wanted to meet her to tell her how proud her dad was of her.)

In the role of Detective Lupe Ramos, I see Rosie Perez, because no one else has the comic grit to simultaneously strut in tight jeans and snap orders in a high-pitched voice like Rosie. Lupe Ramos is both tough and funny; her appearance in a scene guarantees that the plot will propel forward and also supply some needed comic relief … especially when she’s with her partner, Detective Alexei Bruno.

If Robin Williams would be willing to be cast in a supporting role, he’d make a brilliant Bruno, a leather-clad Russian whose English is peppered with malapropisms. On the outside, Lupe and Bruno seem like opposites, but as partners they’re in perfect synch and much sharper than they appear at first glance. They work seamlessly with Dave in pursuit of a kidnapper who may also be a long-sought killer.

And to play Lisa Bailey, Susan’s fourteen-year-old sister whose abduction sparks the story into action and leads to the revelation of a long-held family secret that nearly wrecks Dave and Susan’s marriage, give me Evan Rachel Wood. Wood embodies the mix of feistiness and sweet innocence that helps Lisa survive her ordeal, and like Lisa, Wood sings like an angel.

Last but not least, among the lead players is not a person but a place that is the main setting for One Cold Night: Dumbo, an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Brooklyn Overpass. This gritty waterfront neighborhood in Brooklyn, directly across from lower Manhattan, once inspired Walt Whitman to write his poem “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” and now straddles a haunting sense of history in its cobblestone streets and nineteenth century warehouses, with the high-rises and galleries that mark its recent gentrification. The heart of the neighborhood was recently given landmark status to preserve its historic nature, and so no matter how long it takes this movie to get made, the neighborhood that is one of the story’s main characters will be waiting, mostly intact, to supply the sense of atmospheric mystery it lends this thriller in spades. Dumbo is where Dave and Susan live, where Susan has her handmade-chocolate shop, where Lisa vanishes, and where Dave begins his search for her on what becomes the longest, coldest night of all their lives.
Read excerpts and learn more about the author and her work at Kate Pepper's website and her blog.

The Page 69 Test: Here She Lies.

--Marshal Zeringue