Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lisa Shearin's "Magic Lost, Trouble Found"

Lisa Shearin has been a magazine editor, advertising copywriter, and writer of corporate marketing materials of every description. Her novels include Magic Lost, Trouble Found and Armed & Magical. A unique blend of fantasy, adventure and romance, Lisa’s series features Raine Benares, a sorceress and seeker—a finder of things lost and people missing. Raine’s third adventure, The Trouble With Demons, will hit bookstore shelves in the spring of 2009.

Here she discusses her ideas on casting should her series ever be adapted for the big screen:
For me, it’s the characters who make a book, and their relationships that weave the story. I’ve never been big on physical descriptions in my books, yet I have a detailed image of each character in my mind as I write. A couple of months ago on my blog, I thought it’d be fun to have my fans weigh in on who they thought should play my characters should I ever get The Call from Peter Jackson. It was amazing to me how many different impressions readers have of my characters—and it was a lot of fun.

My main character, the elven sorceress and seeker Raine Benares, defends her friends by going toe-to-toe with the bad guys. She’s tough, yet caring, and you never know what she’s going to say or do next. I think Felicia Day (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Guild) or Miranda Otto (LOTR) would be excellent choices. For the hot and handsome elven Guardian, Mychael Eiliesor, Gerard Butler would be my hands-down choice. Vincent Irrizary would be excellent as the wicked sexy goblin and nightclub owner, Tamnais Nathrach.

For Raine’s cousin, the scion of the most notorious criminal family in the seven kingdoms, Johnny Depp gets the nod. Give this devilishly delicious man some elf ears, and he'd be good to go. Piaras Rivalin is a young, yet incredibly powerful elven spellsinger who manages to get tangled up in any trouble Raine finds. Josh Groban would be a perfect Piaras: big brown eyes, dark curls, killer set of baritone pipes. Sign this kid up.

For my villains, Richard Armitage who plays Sir Guy of Gisborne in the BBC's Robin Hood would make a wonderfully evil goblin grand shaman, Sarad Nukpana. A young Frank Langella would be a good casting choice for the power-hungry goblin king, Sathrik Mal’Salin. And for Sathrik’s younger brother, the exiled Prince Chigaru Mal’Salin, I think that Stephen Caudill (independent film actor of End of the Spear and The Other Side) would fill the bill nicely.
Read the first few chapters of both Magic Lost, Trouble Found and Armed & Magical at Lisa Shearin’s website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Deborah & Joel Shlian's "Rabbit in the Moon"

Deborah and Joel Shlian are the authors of three novels: Double Illusion, which won rave reviews from the Los Angeles Times and was optioned for film; Wednesday's Child, which earned comparisons to Mary Higgins Clark and was nominated for an Edgar Award; and the newly released, Rabbit in the Moon.

Here Deborah shares some ideas about the cast and soundtrack should their new novel be adapted for the big screen:
My husband and I are physicians who practiced medicine in Los Angeles for many years. Now you can’t live in Southern California for very long without getting bitten by the Hollywood bug. Everyone you meet is something else on the side- your dentist is a producer, your lawyer is an agent, and of course every waitress is an actress. Even though we wrote Rabbit in the Moon as a novel, we always visualized it as a film. That’s one major characteristic of our writing style— fast-paced and cinematic. While we did the same for our two previous novels (Double Illusion and Wednesday’s Child), both of which were actually optioned for film (though never made), Rabbit in the Moon is our most ambitious book and the one we feel is best suited for a feature film.

Here’s what a reviewer wrote: “Rabbit in the Moon is an international thriller of epic proportions. American-born-and-proud Lili Quan is a driven woman — young, a medical doctor, and passionately strong in her convictions and views on life. She’s also stubbornly avoiding a heritage she’d rather not identify with. But when two completely different cultures and secret political agendas collide, she slowly learns that her overall importance in a whirlwind of seemingly unconnected events cannot even begin to be imagined. It’s an east vs. west, old vs. young, democratic vs. communistic, yin vs. yang struggle for an elusive secret with unlimited and priceless potential. One that men…and even governments…are willing to kill for…”

The story is told against the backdrop of the most tumultuous seven weeks in recent Chinese history: from the rise of the Student democracy movement in April, 1989 to its fall with the Tiananmen massacre on June 4th.

If I were casting the movie myself, I would probably start with the character of Lili Quan. A good friend sent me the resume for the actress Elizabeth Tsing. She is not only gorgeous, she is an expert in tai chi and martial arts. There’s an exciting motorcycle chase scene through Beijing in the story that would require an agile, athletic actress.

For Dr. Richard Trenton, someone like Ed Harris has the military bearing of the tough ex-Army Chief of Medicine to play Lili’s nemesis.

Although Dylan O’Hara is blonde, blue-eyed in the book, he’s a first generation Irish American so Dublin born Jonathan Rhys Meyers could probably pull it off. On the other hand, I could see Leonardo DiCaprio in the role as well.

Chow Yun Fat would be wonderful as the ruthless, ambitious, Dr. Seng while I see someone like Kevin Spacey as Charlie Halliday, the rogue CIA agent.

I leave casting of the main Chinese characters (Lili’s grandfather Ni Fu Cheng, her Chinese lover, Chi-Wen Zhou and the three old timers) to the director—someone like Elizabeth Sung who has the experience and sensitivity to appreciate a complex east meets west story.

Finally, the music. As we were writing the book, we listened to Karen (Hua-Qi) Han’s gorgeous erhu playing. Karen happens to be a dear friend and some of the inspiration for our main character Lili, as well as the person to whom we dedicated our book. As Karen herself says, the 2000-year-old Chinese violin has a unique voice like quality that evokes Eastern cultural traditions. If a movie is made, we hope Karen will play (and perhaps compose) the music. She has been a featured musician in just about every Hollywood movie score that requires the erhu including The Joy Luck Club, The Last Emperor and Kung Fu Panda.
Listen to the podcast of the prologue of Rabbit in the Moon and view the book trailer.

Learn more about the book and authors at Deborah and Joel Shlian's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Shaun Tan's "The Lost Thing"

Shaun Tan is a freelance artist and author, concentrating mostly on writing and illustrating picture books. He has received numerous awards for his picture books, including the CBCA (Children’s Book Council of Australia) Picture Book of the Year Award for The Rabbits with John Marsden. In 2001 Tan was named Best Artist at the World Fantasy Awards in Montreal.

Here he shares his thinking about the ideal actor to narrate an adaptation of his picture book, The Lost Thing:
I have to say that I don't often think of my work in terms of film and casting, my mind is in the world of static, silent images most of the time. Also, there is some discussion currently of adapting The Arrival as a feature film and I wouldn't want to prejudice that by speculating on actors, directors and so forth - I'm really open to any suggestions. As most of my characters are anonymous, unnamed figures in my stories, I have a slight preference for 'no name' actors. However, in my picture book The Lost Thing (which is currently being adapted as an animated short), I imagined that the narrator's voice would be that of the Australian actor Noah Taylor, as he shares some qualities with the main character; or the voice of Hugh Jackman would be good.
Learn more about The Arrival, The Lost Thing, and their author at Shaun Tan's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sandra McDonald's "The Outback Stars"

Sandra McDonald has been a Hollywood production assistant, a software instructor, a bureaucrat, and an officer in the United States Navy. Her short fiction has appeared in Realms of Fantasy, Strange Horizons, and elsewhere. Her novels include The Outback Stars and The Stars Down Under.

Here she develops some ideas about the cast--and the soundtrack and special effects--should her novel be adapted for the big screen:
My science fiction novels are about a beautiful military lieutenant and her handsome sergeant. Though, truth be told, I'm not that keen on external appearances. The values I appreciate most -- honesty, humor, courage -- are not unique to those of us with perfect hair and perfect faces. (And by "us" I don't mean me!) I never really describe my characters beyond a cursory "brown hair" or "blue eyes" and prefer to let readers build their own ideas of how a character looks.

That said, as a former Hollywood wannabe (I worked for CBS, Dreamworks and Dustin Hoffman during my brief career), when The Outback Stars and its sequels get made into movies I'd love to sit in on the casting calls. For Lieutenant Jodenny Scott, we'd need an actress with the expressiveness and forthrightness of Rachel Weisz (Evie in The Mummy). But also with the freshness and normal build as Liz White, who plays Annie Cartwright in the brilliant BBC series Life on Mars. Liz is just the right age, too. Speaking of fresh and young there's also Billie Piper (Rose on Doctor Who), though she'd have to go back to being a brunette for awhile. And she'd have to tell me all about kissing the Doctor, maybe over drinks on Sunset Boulevard.

Sergeant Terry Myell's a little tougher to cast. When I first starting writing him I had in mind a military man with the calm, practical, and resilient nature of Sgt. Zeke Anderson on Tour of Duty, played by Terence Knox. Joe Flanigan of Stargate Atlantis would be a shoo-in these days but he's a little older than my character, who's only twenty-eight. Instead I'd ask Jensen Ackles of Supernatural to come try out for the role. He's got the haircut already, and would enormously popular on any spaceship in the universe. And while we're dreaming, Jensen, I'm also available for lunch or dinner any day of the week. And breakfast. Call me.

For the soundtrack, John Williams. I was backstage with him once at an awards show, and all I could think of was the brilliant music of The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Special effects? Only Industrial Light & Magic. I have no special picks for director, because there are so many good ones out there, but this "auteur" theory I keep hearing about? We'll have to have a sit down about that. In fact, let's talk about how the ship looks, and how important Australian Aboriginal mythology is to the story, and I also have some ideas for the movie posters --

Oops, gotta go. My assistant tells me Jensen Ackles is on the phone! But I'll see you all on big screen.
Read the first chapter of The Outback Stars, and learn more about the book and its author at The Outback Stars website, Sandra McDonald's website, and her LiveJournal.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 2, 2008

Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy

Brandon Sanderson's books include the Mistborn Trilogy--Mistborn: The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages (October 2008)--which he has called "a Hybrid fantasy, heist story, kung fu epic!"

Here he discusses his thinking about the cast and crew should the books be adapted for the big screen:
I know a lot of authors "cast" certain actors in their books as the characters, but I've never done this. In my mind, they're who they are--and that's not a given actor. It's someone else, as unique as any of us are. That isn't to say I wouldn't like to see a director adapt my books to film! It just means that it is very hard for me to pick actors for my books.

Now, directors are a different story. I've often thought about who I would like to make the Mistborn trilogy into a movie. The obvious choice would be Peter Jackson, but I shy away from this one. Perhaps because he's the aforementioned obvious choice. More, I've always kind of thought that I'd like to pick Robert Rodriguez. Why him? Well, because of his versatility. I've seen so many different types of movies from him, but I've liked every one. He's good with action sequences, can film a nice, dramatic scene, and has proven that he can do adaptations. Mostly, however, he's able to mix blockbuster storytelling with an artist's flair.

So, that would be my pick!
Learn more about the Mistborn books and Brandon Sanderson and his work at his website and his blog.

--Marshal Zeringue