Sunday, July 27, 2008

Jarad Henry's "Blood Sunset"

Jarad Henry is an Australian crime writer. His first murder mystery, Head Shot, which was inspired by Melbourne’s gangland killings, was short listed in the 2006 Ned Kelly Awards for Best First Crime Novel. As a manuscript, it was also short listed in the 2004 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards. Blood Sunset, his second novel, was short listed in the 2006 Australian Vogel Awards and in the same year won the Fellowship of Australian Writers Jim Hamilton Award.

Here Henry shares some ideas about the star and creative team should his latest novel be adapted for the big screen:
My second crime novel is Blood Sunset, a hard boiled police procedural about a murdered street kid who was involved in recruiting other street kids for a child porn racket. The central character is Detective Sergent Rubens McCauley, attached to the Criminal Investigation Unit in St Kilda, Melbourne's bay side red light district and an area with one of the highest crime rates in Australia. The title refers to the sunsets that occur during the summer months, when crime and violence is especially high.

In July 2008 Blood Sunset was pitched to film producers at the annual Melbourne International Film Festival. My publisher, Allen & Unwin, chose only my book to pitch this year, something I was very flattered by, given they publish over 100 titles each year. Like most writers, I'd love to see my novel made into a film and my characters on the big screen. Of course, there is no guarantee of success even if the book does somehow find its way through the labyrinth of creative steps required before a film is even made, let alone hits cinemas. Having said that, I deliberately write with a strong sense of imagery and cinematic prose, a symptom in part reflective of my age (I'm 30) and the era we live in. With that in mind, I'd love to see the big-bad Russell Crowe play the lead role. He's tough, reliable and carries a lot of depth, very much like McCauley. And they're both Australian!

Behind the cameras and directing the action would have to be modern legends Shawn Ryan and Tony Stark from the hit television series The Shield. The series is raw, edgy and totally convincing. If my story could be blessed with such talent, there is no doubt that Blood Sunset (the movie) would be a winner.
View the trailer for Blood Sunset.

Read an excerpt from Blood Sunset, and learn more about the author and his work at Jarad Henry's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 21, 2008

Perri O'Shaughnessy's "Keeper of the Keys"

Perri O'Shaughnessy is the pen name for sisters Mary and Pamela O’Shaughnessy, authors of the bestselling Nina Reilly novels.

Here they develop some casting ideas for adaptations of their stand-alone thriller, Keeper of the Keys, and for the main characters in the Nina Reilly novels:
We have sold a few movie options over the years, although none of our books or short stories have ever made it the big screen. However, if we were ever to sell rights to a book that did, we would expect shocks to the concept and the characters. Maybe we would welcome them, since the artist/director/screenwriter should have an opportunity to re-conceive for a different medium.

So here we go with our own dream casting notions for our latest novel, Keeper of the Keys. Ray Jackson, the main character, a troubled architect would benefit from the dimples of Matthew McConaughey. Cute and accessible, we think this actor's got potential as a guy with dark secrets. His missing wife, Leigh, might take good advantage of the talents of Claire Danes. As an artistic furniture designer who has plenty of action scenes, she's also got plenty of drama happening, and Danes seems to be able to bring out the intelligence this character requires. Her pregnant sister Jackie could be Ginnifer Goodwin, the dark-haired sweetie and youngest polygamist wife on HBO's Big Love. For Ray's mom, last but not least, we'd be thrilled to see the Glenn Close of Dangerous Liaisons, complex and unpredictable.

Our next novel, Show No Fear, will come out in early December. It's a prequel to our Nina Reilly series, featuring our series character as a young woman in law school facing the crime that shaped everything she became.

When Nina first appeared, in 1995, we imagined Holly Hunter playing her and her detective/lover Paul van Wagoner played by Nick Nolte. Isn't it funny to think how as time passes, actors get gray just like real people? Midway through the series, we re-cast Nina with Ashley Judd. Now, restarting the series with a woman in her twenties, we're thinking perhaps Julia Stiles. She's got an adorable smashed up face. Put her in big, blowy dark hair and make her a bit more voluptuous, and you would have our character with all her glory, wit, and vulnerabilities intact. Her co-worker and later spouse, Jack, could be Ben Affleck, a man with some humor, attitude, and ideals. As for Paul, well, how about Daniel Craig or Clive Owen (with an American accent, of course)? He should be tall, blond, fearless and muscular without being Tom Cruise handsome. He's a guy that shows some hard knocks in his face.
Read an excerpt from Keeper of the Keys, and learn more about the authors and their work--and about Nina Reilly--at Perri O'Shaughnessy's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 14, 2008

Steven Wilson's "Armada"

Steven Wilson is Curator and Assistant Director of the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum, which houses one of the most diverse Lincoln and Civil War collections in the country. His books include Between the Hunters and the Hunted, President Lincoln's Spy, and Voyage of the Gray Wolves.

Here he develops some ideas about the director and cast should his novel Armada, set just before D-Day, be adapted for the movies:
I grew up with movies and my brother and I could tell which studio (back when studios were factories) produced a movie by the sounds used from their libraries. Warner Bros. gunshots were distinct from Paramount, as were MGM's from Republic's. It is a little like recognizing a composer from their music characteristics.

Since Armada, was the last of a series (President Lincoln's Spy came out since then), I'm going to cast this book. I gave Tom Wilkinson the role of Captain Hardy. A superb actor, he can play gruff with a great deal of sensitivity. For Edland, I choose John Cusack. They both have something hidden deep within, and both share a profound intelligence. For Jordan Cole I like Dax Shepard. His command presence on the screen is impressive.

My choice for director is John McTiernan. That may be a bit old school, but then, so am I.

I should point out that I use motion picture music to help me set the scene when I'm writing. So I must thank John Williams, Dmitri Tiomkin, Alfred Newman, Thomas Newman, Jerry Goldsmith, and Craig Safan.
Read the prologue to Armada, and learn more about the author and his work at Steven Wilson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 7, 2008

Timothy Hallinan's "The Fourth Watcher"

Timothy Hallinan has lived off and on in Southeast Asia for more than twenty years. He is the author of eight published novels and one nonfiction work on Charles Dickens. The Fourth Watcher is the second book in the Poke Rafferty novels of Bangkok that began in 2007 with A Nail Through the Heart.

Here Hallinan develops some ideas about the directors and cast should the Poke Rafferty novels be adapted for the big screen:
The Fourth Watcher is the second in a series of Novels of Bangkok (as the people at William Morrow subtitle them), so there are really two challenges: casting the continuing characters and casting the people who show up only in one novel.

One of the most important continuing characters is the city of Bangkok itself. The film(s) would need a director with a strong feeling for this most dizzying of Asian capitals, with its unique blend of spirituality and carnality, its extensive population of ghosts, its invisible circles of power and influence. I think Oxide and Danny Pang, two very stylish Hong Kong brothers and directors who have made several films in Thailand, would capture the city in all its gold-leaf-and-rough-concrete complexity, and they'd be great with the action sequences, although God knows what they'd do to the stories.

The most important person in the books is the protagonist, Poke Rafferty, an American whose 25% Filipino ancestry is evident in his features. I actually had Johnny Depp mind when I started to write Poke, although now, two and a half books later, the identification isn't so strong. But I think Depp would be wonderful, especially because of the intelligence he conveys. Poke is a writer and only a reluctant action hero, so it's important that the actor who plays him seems at least marginally comfortable with the activity of thinking.

Poke's family – his former bar-girl wife, Rose, and his adopted street-orphan daughter, Miaow – are Thai and would best be cast with Thai actors, as would his best friend, the honorable policeman named Arthit. Any movie made from these books would have to feature some Thai actors, and there are some excellent ones to choose from.

The main “one-off” roles in The Fourth Watcher are Poke's morally equivocal and somewhat treacherous father, Frank and half-Chinese half-sister, Ming Li; the shady former CIA operative, Arnold Prettyman; and the way-too-tightly-buttoned Secret Service Agent, Richard Elson. At one point, a film company was fooling with the idea of actually making a movie from the book, and they wanted Gene Hackman as Frank. I personally think Gene Hackman could play Heidi if the makeup people could make the braids work, so I can't improve on that.

Prettyman is an unwillingly retired spook who never, ever volunteers the truth and seems always to be evaluating half a dozen potential parallel realities. Kevin Spacey would be splendid. And Elson is a tightly wound straight-arrow with a byzantine and highly guarded sexual life who would be both menacing and hilarious in the hands of Michael C. Hall of Dexter and Six Feet Under.

Casting Poke's half-sister is more difficult, but the world's most beautiful human being at the moment is the Chinese actress Xun Zhou. She's older than Ming Li, but we could all forget that and just look at her.

Together again for the first time: Depp!! Hackman!! Spacey!! Hall!! Xun Zhou!! Under the direction of the Pang Brothers!! The Fourth Watcher!!! I wouldn't even need popcorn.
Read an excerpt from The Fourth Watcher, and learn more about the author and his work at Timothy Hallinan's website and his blog.

The Page 69 Test: A Nail Through the Heart.

The Page 69 Test: The Fourth Watcher.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Andrew Blechman's "Leisureville"

Andrew Blechman has been a reporter for the Los Angeles Times and the Des Moines Register. His work has also appeared in Smithsonian Magazine, the New York Times, and the International Herald Tribune, among others. His first book, Pigeons: The Fascinating Saga of the World's Most Revered and Reviled Bird, was widely praised in the media and featured on CBS Sunday Morning.

His latest book is Leisureville—Adventures in America’s Retirement Utopias. Here's how he'd like to see it make the journey to the big screen:
I’d love to see Leisureville adapted as another installment of the National Lampoon Vacation series with Chevy Chase. It could be called Permanent Vacation.

Here’s how I see the plot:

After seeing more than half of their neighbors in suburban Chicago hit 55 and take off for a magical retirement community called “Wallyville,” Chevy and his wife finally succumb to peer pressure and make the big move. It appears to be a paradise: 48 golf courses, countless pools, two movie-set-perfect themed downtowns that look like Disney World’s Main Street, and tens of thousands of relaxed retirees zooming around silently on golf carts over specially designed bridges and tunnels. Even the neighborhood looks like something out of Leave It to Beaver with perfectly edged lawns, picket fences, and spotless driveways.

The Griswolds slip into “today’s retirement” gracefully, hitting the links with cocktails, hanging out at a Baby Boomer keg party with Eagle’s music, nude hottub romps – everything you can imagine Boomers doing with time on their hands and no kids to worry about.

Then Rusty shows up in another station wagon, filled with three rambunctious grandchildren. He spends the evening as the kids run around the yard and neighborhood bringing icy stares from Chevy’s new neighbors. Rusty explains that he’s in the middle of a divorce and he’s accepted a security job in Iraq: he needs to leave the kids with his parents for the summer.

The kids have fun until their guest passes (“visas”) run out and the Griswolds are told they must ship them off or be evicted. Chevy tries disguising them as Mexican gardeners and pool cleaners, but finally gives up and is forced to house them in a motel outside the gates each night and pick them up each morning, where they are given a hard time as they pass through “immigration control.”

The Griswolds realize that their neighbors aren’t as friendly as they thought they were, and try to decide what to do with the kids. The climax comes when their neighbors hold a demonstration against them and march on their house. One of the participants has a heart attack and the eldest grandchild performs CPR on him and saves his life. The community is left contemplating its age-segregationist policies and chooses to be more lenient and even make the Griswold grandkids honorary Wallyville residents.

Anybody have Chevy Chase’s email?
Read an excerpt from Leisureville, and learn more about book and author at Andrew Blechman's website.

The Page 69 Test: Pigeons.

The Page 69 Test: Leisureville.

--Marshal Zeringue