Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Adam Gittlin's "The Deal"

Adam Gittlin is the author of The Men Downstairs and The Deal.

Here he develops some ideas about the cast should The Deal be adapted for the big screen:
No matter what book I’m writing, I always see it playing out as a film as quickly as the words hit the page. The Deal was no exception. It is a complex financial thriller in which New York City commercial real estate power-broker Jonah Gray thinks he’s been given three weeks to orchestrate the deal of a lifetime. But soon one of the world’s rarest antiques is planted in his briefcase, and he learns quickly that nothing in his professional or personal life is quite what it seems.

The Deal has a lot of characters, so for sake of keeping this exercise relatively simple I’ll touch on the main players. From day one I thought Jonah Gray presented a great opportunity for one of two actors, Jonathan Rhys Meyers or Leonardo DiCaprio. I know—they’re very different. But each brings formidable attributes to the table that would benefit the part. For Rhys Meyers, we got a glimpse of how he would look and feel as a polished business young gun in Match Point. This coupled with the intensity he shows in everything from his portrayal of Henry VIII in The Tudors to his Golden Globe-winning, Emmy-nominated turn as Elvis shows me he has both the fire and ice Jonah would require. With regard to DiCaprio, it’s a bit more obvious: he has the skill (The Departed), he has the versatility (Blood Diamond) and he has the star power (any film he’s called upon to headline).

As for the three other members of Jonah’s brokerage team—Perry York, Jake Donald and senior partner Tommy Wingate—I would love to see if either Rachel McAdams or Anne Hathaway could harness the toughness and maturity to play the sassy Perry York, though I feel Maggie Gyllenhaal or Vera Farmiga may be more natural at pulling her off. Jake Donald’s character combines serious business sense with some of the novel’s comic relief; I see this as a chance for Seth Rogan to begin expanding his range but can also envision Peter Sarsgaard fitting comfortably into the role. Tommy Wingate, the seasoned high-rolling senior partner, would round out the team nicely if played by either Kevin Spacey or Alec Baldwin.

The book’s ultimate villain, Andreu Zhamovsky, is mysterious, crafty, intimidating and stylish. He’s also Russian raised therefore the ability to capture his accent would be vital. Assuming this was a non issue (these guys are professionals, right?) either Matt Damon or Jason Statham would be a strong fit.
Read an excerpt from The Deal, and learn more about the book and author at Adam Gittlin's website.

--Marshal Zeringue