Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Lev Raphael's "The German Money"

Lev Raphael's books include the award-winning Dancing on Tisha B'Av, two novels about Holocaust survivors, Winter Eyes and The German Money, and a collection of Jewish memoirs and essays, Journeys & Arrivals.

Last year he applied the Page 69 Test to Hot Rocks, one of his Nick Hoffman mysteries.

Here he develops some ideas for a film adaptation of The German Money:
My novel The German Money is the story of three adult children of a Holocaust survivor dealing with the surprises of her Will after she dies unexpectedly. It's an intimate family drama interwoven with a mystery,with scenes and dialogue I would love to see on-screen, more than any other of my books. Writing is solitary, of course, but this book brought me a lot of contact with the world: because it was a Jewish Book Council pick, I toured Jewish Book Fairs in the US; the English publisher had me read in London and Glasgow, and the German publisher sent me on a two-week tour of Austria and Germany.

So I'm not surprised that someone's been doggedly been trying to make a movie out of it, and has come close twice to putting together a deal. That means I've had lots of time to think about casting, which also means dreaming of some of my favorite actors. Robert Downey, Jr. would make the perfect lead, playing Paul, a neurotic Jewish man fleeing his past. Rachel Weisz would be luminous as Valerie, the women he loves but abandoned, who's now a successful writer. For Simon, the bisexual screwed-up brother, Justin Kirk would have just the right look and energy, and Laura Linney, one of my favorite actresses, would be ideal as Paul and Simon's beautiful, cold, angry sister. I'm also thinking of how they'd look together, as well as their acting styles. The family friend with a pivotal role would have to be Olympia Dukakis.

And for the director, I'd want John Curran, who did an amazing job with the Andre Dubus stories that made up We Don't Live Here Anymore. Fun to fantasize about, but not as much fun as writing the next book, and the one after that....
Read more about The German Money and Lev Raphael at his website.

--Marshal Zeringue