Monday, September 29, 2008

Dave Zeltserman's "Small Crimes"

Dave Zeltserman's books include Fast Lane, Bad Thoughts and Bad Karma, and a three-book "man just out of prison" noir series that kicks off with Small Crimes.

Here he spells out the ideal cast for an adaptation of Small Crimes:
Small Crimes is the first of three "man just out of prison" noir thrillers of mine that Serpent's Tail will be publishing. In this case, the man out of prison is Joe Denton, a disgraced ex-cop who got sent away when trying to destroy evidence for a corruption case being built against him ended up stabbing the DA, Phil Coakley, 13 times in the face and horribly disfiguring the man. Now out of prison Joe wants to go through life without causing anymore damage. The problem is Manny Vassey, a mobster Joe used to do jobs for, is dying of cancer, and Phil is trying his damndest to trade Manny a one-way ticket to heaven for a deathbed confession.

A 42 year-old version of Bruce Willis would be perfect for Joe, but at this point I'd go with Clive Owen.

Billy Bob Thornton with a good makeup job as DA Phil Coakley.

Burt Young as the dying Manny, Michael Chiklis as the sadistic and heir apparent, Manny Jr.

Tim Robbins as the spectacularly corrupt town sheriff, Dan Pleasant, who will go away also if Manny confesses, and puts Joe between a rock and a hard place to make sure that doesn't happen.

Renée Zellweger as Charlotte, a nurse who Joe tries to enlist in one of his many schemes to get out of his mess.

John C. Reilly as Earl, one of Joe's few remaining friends in town and the owner and bartender at Kelly's, a local strip club.

Eva Longoria as Toni, a stripper with not quite a heart-of-gold.

Rounding things out, Robert Duvall as Joe's dad, and Ellen Burstyn as Joe's mom.
Read an excerpt from Small Crimes, and learn more about the book from the publisher.

Visit Dave Zeltserman's website and his blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Peter Behrens' "The Law of Dreams"

Peter Behrens is the author of the short story collection, Night Driving, and other stories and essays, and the internationally-acclaimed novel, The Law of Dreams.

Here he develops some ideas for a cinematic adaptation of the novel:
The director of The Law of Dreams has to be Terrence Malick.

There's a problem with casting, from a strategic dollars and cents standpoint, because the two leads are wild Irish children, or teenagers (in 1847 the concept 'teenager' hadn't been invented yet). Daniel Radcliffe would've worked for Fergus O'Brian, until about a year ago. Fergus has a lot to do with horses--and I saw a still of Daniel in the London "Equus" production and he looked pretty darn good with a horse in the frame.

My other young main protagonist is Molly. Going back to Terrence Malick, I'm looking for some untamed young actor to play Molly and to do for this movie what Linda Manz did for Malick's Days of Heaven ... i.e., launch it into the sublime.

And I want to see if darling Sinéad O'Connor would be willing to play the character Shea, owner of Shea's Dragon, a Liverpool bordello circa 1847. Anyone out there knows Sinéad, please send her a copy of The Law of Dreams. And either Johnny Depp, or Bob Hoskins, please, to play the old fur trader, Fergus' benefactor, Ormsby.
Read more about the novel and author at Peter Behrens' website.

The Page 69 Test: The Law of Dreams.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Stephanie Hale's "Revenge of the Homecoming Queen"

Stephanie Hale is the author of Revenge of the Homecoming Queen and Twisted Sisters.

Here she imagines the cast and director for a film adaptation of her debut novel:
First off, I'd like to thank the academy for this award. Oops, I guess I'm getting a little ahead of myself! Okay, so if my fabulous teen novel, Revenge of the Homecoming Queen, were made into a book these would be the actors and actresses I had in mind to play the parts perfectly.

Aspen Brooks~ My heroine is sassy, sophisticated, and smart as a whip. She is also occasionally so full of herself that you want to smack her upside the head with her favorite Dooney & Bourke purse, but in the end that's why you'll love her. The only person I can ever see doing Aspen's character justice is Hayden Panettiere. I first saw her in Racing Stripes and knew that she would be perfect. Of course, she's exploded due to her Heroes fame (which sadly, I've never watched). I think Hayden is trying so hard to portray herself as a positive role model that it makes me heart her even more!

Rand Bachrach~the unconventional homecoming king who makes Aspen realize there is more to life than Dooney's. The actor I would pick for Rand's role is Shia LaBeouf. If you have been following Shia from Holes to Disturbia, you'll understand why he is perfect for the role of Rand. He would have to agree to stop drinking and driving because Rand would never do something so stupid. And I am available to be on set to massage his hurt hand in between scenes. I'm just saying...

Angel Ives~ Angel is Aspen's nemesis and lives to make her life miserable. She is the head cheerleader of the Seagals and doesn't mind stealing another girl's boyfriend. I needed someone beautiful who could fight dirty. I like Alexa Vega. She was so awesome in Spy Kids and I think she would definitely be an awesome Angel.

Lucas Riley~ Aspen's boyfriend and quarterback of the Comfort Seagulls. Lucas is the hottest guy in school but isn't exactly on the honor roll each semester. I think from Cody Linley from Hoot and soon to be dazzling audiences on Dancing With The Stars is perfect.

Tobi Groves~ Every girl has to have a trusty sidekick and Aspen is no exception. Tobi has been by her side since pre-k even if Aspen tends to take her a bit for granted. I loved Kristin Stewart in Panic Room with Jodie Foster and in November she will be Bella in the movie version of Twilight.

Miss Hott~ the high school principal who has to put up with all of them. I think Ricki Lake would be a perfect Miss Hott, although she would have to bulk up again for the role.

As for the director, I'd choose Steven Spielberg. Because he's awesome and none of these actors would turn him down!

I hope you'll all rush out and see Revenge of the Homecoming Queen when it comes to the big screen.
Read more about Revenge of the Homecoming Queen at Stephanie Hale's website, and check out Hale's MySpace page and the Books, Boys, Buzz blog.

The Page 69 Test: Revenge of the Homecoming Queen.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sheila Lowe’s “Written in Blood”

Sheila Lowe is the author of Poison Pen, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Handwriting Analysis, Handwriting of the Famous & Infamous, Sheila Lowe’s Handwriting Analyzer, software and Written in Blood.

Here she names her ideal director and cast for adaptations of her Forensic Handwriting mysteries, Poison Pen and Written in Blood:
If I had a buck for everyone who’s said to me, “this series would make a great movie!” I could buy a Mont Blanc pen to write my next book. My character, Claudia Rose, is a forensic handwriting expert who uses her special knowledge to understand the people she gets involved with—especially the ones who create problems. She’s an independent 40 year-old, facing all the challenges of any modern woman, and has an LAPD detective partner, Joel Jovanic. Claudia also has a couple of sidekicks: Kelly Brennan, a man-eating family law attorney, and Dr. Zebediah Gold, a semi-retired criminal psychologist.

I thought about some of my all-time favorite movies and discovered that Jeannot Szwarc had directed Somewhere in Time, and also currently directs numerous forensic-type shows, so he’s the perfect fit for my forensic handwriting mysteries.

For the series characters, my number one pick for Claudia is Minnie Driver, and many readers of Poison Pen agree there’s something very Claudia in Minnie’s energy and her looks. When I first created Jovanic, I had in mind a cross between Michael Keaton and Harrison Ford, and then I thought—Denzel Washington! But it took so long to get Poison Pen published that now they’re all too old (sorry, guys). Then I recently saw a film clip of Mark Wahlberg, and instantly thought, “That’s Jovanic.” He’s good looking without being a pretty boy, you can tell he’s sharp and intelligent, and there’s a seriousness to him that would make him a good police detective. He’s a little on the young side right now, but by the time the movie is made, he’ll be just right.

Claudia’s irreverent friend and confidante, Zebediah Gold, has to be Sean Connery (or someone who looks just like him and has those twinkly eyes). Reese Witherspoon is cute enough and perky enough to be Kelly, but the part may not be big enough for someone with her star power.

For Written in Blood, Jennifer Connelly has the looks and attitude to be Paige, the not-so merry widow who needs Claudia’s expertise. The abrasive Sorensen twins would be played to perfection by Steven Weber and Juliette Lewis. I’ve always seen Greg Kinnear as their tragic disabled brother, Neil. Antonio Banderas shares the cute butt and smoldering Latin looks factor with hunky Sorensen Academy athletic director Cruz Montenegro.

Written in Blood also introduces a spoiled, troubled fourteen year-old, Annabelle Giordano, who comes to play an important role in Claudia’s life. When she’s a couple of years older, Abigail Breslin would make a great Annabelle if she’d color that lovely copper hair black and learn to hide her smile behind a scowl. Armand Assante is Annabelle’s father incarnate. Dominic Giordano is a studio head rumored to have ties to the mob.

With the enormous interest in forensics these days, people want to know what makes things work. Handwriting is the key to understanding personality, and Claudia Rose wants to help them see what makes it so.
Read an excerpt from Written in Blood, and learn more about the author and her work at Sheila Lowe’s website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Shirley Wells' "Into the Shadows"

Shirley Wells lives in Lancashire, UK. She has published numerous novels, including Into the Shadows and A Darker Side from the Jill Kennedy and DCI Max Trentham series.

Here she imagines the cast and director for film adaptations of the Kennedy-Trentham novels:
What a terrific blog! Let’s face it, all authors dream of having their books made into movies and it’s fascinating to see all those dreams in print.

When thinking of casting stars for my own movie, I’m reminded of when Jimmy McGovern, without doubt the most important script writer in the UK, started writing the Cracker series. It’s common knowledge that McGovern pictured Fitz as a thin, wiry man. The original choice for the role of Fitz was Robert Lindsay but, when he turned it down, they considered Robbie Coltrane, better known at that time for his comedy work. Thin and wiry Coltrane isn’t. In fact, he’s the size of a small country. Yet Coltrane made that role his own. Who can imagine anyone else playing Fitz?

My crime novels are set in the beautiful Rossendale area of Lancashire in the UK and have a cosier feel than anything Jimmy McGovern would pen. Nevertheless,I would want no one less working on the script. (This is just a dream, right?)

As I’m currently working on the fourth book in the series, the two main characters, forensic psychologist Jill Kennedy and DCI Max Trentham have been with me for quite a while. So I know everything about them. Oh, yes, they have a past, too. Whether they have a future is anyone’s guess, but there’s a lot of chemistry between them.

So who could transport them to the big screen?

Jill Kennedy was brought up on a tough estate in Liverpool. She’s attractive, she’s clever, she loves her cats and she enjoys a flutter on the horses. I’m torn here, but I think I’d choose Kate Ashfield, perhaps best known for her lead role in Shaun of the Dead, to play Jill. It would give her chance to pick up yet another Best Actress award. My second choice would have to be Keira Knightley.

DCI Trentham has 2 sons and 3 dogs, enough to drive anyone to drink, and holds old-fashioned views on policing that make it difficult for him to do things by the book. Clive Owen would be perfect for the role, especially as, oddly enough, he looks a little like Max Trentham. Should the unlikely happen and Owen turn down this chance of a lifetime, John Simm of The Lakes and Life on Mars would do a superb job.

That, of course, is only the crime-fighting duo. In Into the Shadows, the first book in my series, one character looked exactly like a young Robert Redford. But hey, I’m flexible. Robert Redford can have any role he likes. As can Hugh Jackman, Sean Bean and Pierce Brosnan.

To direct this masterpiece, I’d demand Jonathan Demme. That man can do it all, from The Silence of the Lambs through Philadelphia to Neil Young: Heart of Gold. Everything he touches is just - perfect.

All I do now is sit back and wait for the call, right? Meanwhile, I suppose I’d better get back to the keyboard.
Visit Shirley Wells' website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 4, 2008

JD Seamus' "Last Call"

JD Seamus is the author of a series of novels based in Manhattan including the whodunit, Last Call. "Part mystery, part comedy, and part action-adventure, the novel chronicles in sparkling style the lives of a diverse group who frequent Jimmie Collins’ bar, fall in and out of love, and come together to help their good friend."

Here Seamus spells out the dream cast for an adaptation of Last Call:
A good friend gave me a tip that I’ve continued to use throughout my writing. The tip was, as you suggest, to pick a star to use in character building.

My choice was easy in Last Call. A tough, sensitive, New Yorker who could do comedy. Fuhgetaboutit. Robert Freakin’ De Niro! Forget he’s not Irish but he’s perfect for the role of Jimmie Collins. Bar owner, tough guy, made enough money to go in business by stealing bearer bonds with a couple of rising mafia stars. Close to the church. Treats his bar patrons like family, all around nice guy but will ‘knock you on your ass’ if you cross him.

It was actually fun. My wife would hear me laughing loudly and come into my office to see what the hell was going on. I’d try to explain that it’s how De Niro interacts with Nathan, a small town guy (Randy Quaid-did I mention the guy was a lovable dufus) relocating to New York? She’d just stare and I’d explain it’s how he deals with a big mouth, short Italian (Danny DeVito—just too easy) bar regular who has the worst tailor in the world? Or how he would interact with two Manhattan North cops with career paths heading south (anyone from the old Barney Miller show)? Or a long time bar patron who is witty, tough and has a problem picking men (Annette O’Toole). De Niro lines her up with Nathan after telling Nathan to not hurt her in any way or he’s coming after him. Looking up at my wife to see if she gets it, I often get a sage nod, a pat on the head and a smile. She then walks out and closes the door quietly behind her. I guess unless you’ve banged out a book you can’t possibly comprehend.

Last Call was perfectly casted with De Niro. There could’ve never been anyone else. Even the slow times when you’re burning pages building characters. Even De Niro as Jimmie making his sick wife breakfast in bed is an adventure. Picture De Niro fussing over breakfast and toast is way over his head. Juice and coffee, a real napkin after discarding his first candidate; a paper towel. Sliced apple, a little cheese. He’s trying and trying hard. Got to be perfect--the De Niro way. Picture him walking out of the kitchen, remembering the sweetener at the last minute and putting it on the tray. He puts the whole box on the tray, takes a step then stops. He worries that the box is screwing up his presentation. He frowns. Throwing a leftover rose on the tray, he grabs a soup spoon and shrugs, “It’ll have to do. What the hell? I ain’t Martha Stewart.”

Forget narrative. With De Niro, it’s all dialogue. And that’s my favorite. That’s where I stick it to the competition in my genre. Me and De Niro. Those suckers don’t have a chance.
Learn more about Last Call and its author at JD Seamus' website.

--Marshal Zeringue