Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Leighton Gage's "Buried Strangers"

Leighton Gage is the author of the Chief Inspector Mario Silva crime novels.
The producers of Buried Strangers have finished packaging the film. Gage took the opportunity to interview one of his characters about the casting.

LG: Claudia Andrade, you’re going to be played by a relative unknown. How do you feel about that?

CA: I’m pissed off. Let me ask you a question. Did you have anything to do with it?

LG: The casting? No, I wasn’t consulted. I only wrote the book, and in Hollywood—

CA: I asked you a simple question. I didn’t ask for one of your long-winded explanations. Stop hogging my air time. Whose interview is this anyway?

LG: Yours. Sorry. Why are you pissed off?

CA: I’m pissed off because they went out and got Tommy Lee Jones for Silva, Leonardo DiCaprio for Hector, Ben Kingsley for Horst Bittler and then chose that (expletive deleted) Fernanda Torres to play me. What’s wrong with this picture?

LG: Ha! Well, to start with, Buried Stangers, the movie, is a picture about--

CA: Don’t be a wise ass. That was a rhetorical question, and you know it.

LG: I wasn’t being—

CA: Where’s mine? Where’s my Oscar winner? Tell me that! I’m so mad I could spit. Fernanda Torres? Spare me! You know what her specialty is? Comedy, that’s what. Seriously, do you see anything comic about me? Anything funny in what I do?

LG: No, Claudia, nothing funny. Quite the contrary. I see you as a warped, twisted and totally ruthless killer.

CA: Thank you. I work hard at it.

LG: Maybe you shouldn’t fly off the handle before you see some results. The producers tell me Fernanda will be terrific.

CA: Yeah? Well, I don’t think so. And those producers have no idea who they’re dealing with.

LG: Whom, not who.

CA: What?

LG: Whom they’re dealing with.

CA: Whom then. And you can take your English-language grammar and stuff it. It’s a lousy language to begin with.

LG: Not so. It’s a great language. And if it didn’t exist, you wouldn’t exist.

CA: Back to that creation myth of yours, are we? Gage as God? Pardon me while I throw up.

LG: I wish you wouldn’t—

CA: They’re going to pay for it.

LG: Wait a minute. Are you threatening the producers?

CA: You bet I am.

LG: Stay away from those producers, Claudia. I don’t want them harmed until they finish the picture.

CA: And then?

LG: And then, if I don’t like it, maybe I’ll let you kill them.

CA: In your next book?

LG: No. Dying Gasp is being copy edited as we speak, and I’m not going to change it. Has it occurred to you they might have chosen Fernanda because none of the big-name Hollywood types wanted the role? Your character engenders hate. Maybe that’s why Oscar winners steered away from it.

CA: Did Fatal Attraction hurt Glenn Close? Did Total Recall wreck Sharon Stone’s career? I don’t think so.

LG: Beautiful women, those two.

CA: And I’m what? Chopped liver? Okay, my nose is a little longer than most, but I look great when I’m photographed head on. Look!

LG: Hm.

AC: I’ve got it! Charlize Theron! Charlize Theron would have been a great choice.

LG: You’re thinking Monster?

CA: With that hair? That makeup? All that extra weight? Are you insane? I’m thinking Mighty Joe Young.
Note to the reader: Despite his character’s protestations to the contrary, Leighton thinks the Brazilian character actress Fernanda Torres would make a wonderful Claudia Andrade. You can see Fernanda at work in this video.

Leighton Gage has been a copywriter, an advertising creative director, a magazine editor, and a writer/producer/director of documentary films and industrial videos. Read an excerpt from Buried Strangers and learn more about the author and his work at Leighton Gage's website and his Crimespace page.

--Marshal Zeringue