Monday, January 28, 2008

Rhonda Pollero's "Knock 'em Dead"

Rhonda Pollero is the author of more than thirty novels, including two humorous mysteries featuring Finley Anderson Tanner, Knock Off and (coming in February 2008) Knock 'em Dead.

Here's how she would cast film adaptations of Knock Off and Knock 'em Dead:
Okay, I’ll admit it, I ALWAYS have an actor in mind when I craft a character. Not because I’m thinking any of my books will make it to film or television, but because I’m a visual learner and use photographs of celebrities – and non-celebs – when I’m creating my character binder. FYI – soap opera sites are great for this because they have photos of people ranging in age from birth to near death. MySpace and Facebook opened up a whole new world from me to cull photos.

Enough about that - who should play Finley? Me, – but only if we did “Finley Anderson Tanner – the Overweight, Wrinkled Midlife Years.” Since it can’t be me, I’d pick Emily Proctor. She’s the right height and body type and she manages to blend sexy and smart effortlessly. The thing about Finley is at first glance, people only see her as beautiful. The beautiful is the cocoon that camouflages her intelligence. When Emily Proctor was on The West Wing (my all time fave show), the Sam Seaborn character (played by Rob Lowe) upon seeing her all dressed up for a function said, “You’d make a good dog break his leash.” Even though that line of dialogue was spoken years ago, it stayed with me as a great jumping off point for developing a character. So when Finley was being born and that phrase suddenly popped into my head, I immediately thought of Emily Proctor as my visual Finley.

I do visuals for all my characters, not just the major ones. This actually serves two purposes. First and foremost, it provides continuity when writing a continuing character. As I began Knock 'em Dead, book 2 in the series, I just flipped open my character binder and there was Emily staring back at me. I did change her eye color and Finley does not have a southern accent, so she really is the visual. The second purpose it serves is during the process is that I can imagine Emily Proctor walking through each scene, so it gives me a physicality to build on when I’m actually writing.

Finley’s voice would be played by different actresses. When I hear her in my head, her voice is one part Valerie Harper (minus the accent) for humor and one-liners; one part Allison Janney for intelligence and reasoning skills; and one part Reese Witherspoon (minus the accent) for that hint of innocence Finley has when it comes to tackling new situations. Notice there’s a lot of minus the accent going on here. Finley doesn’t have any discernable accent.

For Liam I’d chose television actor Eddie Cahill. He had me at jet-black hair and piercing blue eyes. He has that just-below-the-surface smoldering sensuality that Liam brings to the Finley mysteries. No swagger, not even a hint that he knows he’s attractive. That kind of confidence is what I wanted for Liam and I think Eddie would be a perfect Liam – I wouldn’t even need voiceovers.

So I suppose if I had the job of casting the movie, I’d need some sort of character Mr. Potatohead™ casting ability. Either that or a good voice coach.

Hope you enjoy
Knock 'em Dead.
Visit Rhonda Pellero's website and her blog; learn more about the Finley Anderson Tanner books.

Read an excerpt from Knock Off and an excerpt from Knock 'em Dead.

The Page 69 Test: Knock Off.

--Marshal Zeringue