Thursday, May 8, 2008

Brent Ghelfi's "Volk’s Game"

Brent Ghelfi's Volk's Game was recently nominated by the International Thriller Writers for Best First Novel, and his new book, Volk's Shadow, is set for release on July 8.

Last year, he applied the Page 69 Test to Volk's Game. Here he shares some thoughts on the cast should the book be adapted for the movies:
Volk’s Game tells the story of the theft of a long-lost Leonardo Da Vinci painting from the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. The story takes place against the backdrop of post-Soviet Russia, a country still captured in the flaming embrace of change.

The novel was recently optioned, so I suppose now is as good a time as any to dream about the cast and director for the movie.

The title character, Volk, is both a Russian army colonel and a gangster, one of those men perfectly positioned to take advantage of Russia’s latest economic model: capitalism sucked through the filter of a police state. But Volk wants something more from his life and Da Vinci’s painting gives him the chance to obtain it, to find something good amid all the evil that surrounds him. Brooding, conflicted, violent, and passionate about the painting—Volk is deep, but definitely not the expressive type. The actor who plays him will have to possess a menacing on-screen presence and the ability to reveal his emotions through action instead of words. My nominee is Jason Statham.

Valya, Volk’s lover and guardian angel, is a refugee from Chechnya, a small corner of hell ravaged by two wars brought by Yeltsin and Putin. Forged like white-hot steel, Valya burns across the pages of this novel. The perfect actress to play her—to show both her vulnerability and her strength—is Olga Kurylenko (although I suspect she’ll be busy in the next few years as the new Bond girl). Valya’s secret lover, the darkly seductive Yelena, has a hidden agenda and the ruthlessness required to execute it. My pick for that role is Milla Jovovich.

Volk’s patron, the General, is an aged survivor of Cold War Russia and hot war Chechnya who has transformed himself into a covert oligarch. Brilliant and manipulative, the General could be played beautifully by Peter Dinklage, assuming a makeup artist adds a few decades to his appearance.

Crime boss Maxim? Well, what with all 300 pounds of twisted steel of him, just the sheer size of the man presents a casting problem. Not to mention his emotional mix of raw fury, unrestrained violence, and cold calculation. If I could I would cast Gerard Butler in this role.

And, finally—we are still dreaming here, right?—I’d choose Paul Greengrass or Alejandro González Iñárritu to direct.
Visit the Volk's Game website, read Chapter One, and watch the video trailer.

The Page 69 Test: Volk's Game.

--Marshal Zeringue