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

Friday, December 26, 2008

Lydia Millet's "How the Dead Dream"

Lydia Millet is the author of Omnivores, George Bush, Dark Prince of Love, My Happy Life, a winner of the 2003 PEN-USA Award for Fiction, Everyone’s Pretty, and Oh Pure and Radiant Heart.

And How the Dead Dream, about which she has some ideas for cast and director should the book be adapted for the movies:
The book tells about a businessman, a young real estate developer named T, who runs over a coyote in his car, begins to lose people he loves, and then spins out and starts breaking into zoos to be near animals that are on the brink of extinction. From the pantheon of available faces and styles, I see T as Christian Bale. I like the blank and cold yet soulful handsomeness of Bale's face -- perfect for this character and for the mood of the piece.

There's a mother character, T's mother, fraying and graying at the edges and a little WASPY despite being Catholic, who's suddenly abandoned by her gay husband and begins to disintegrate. Blythe Danner, hands down.

Then there's Casey, a girl in her twenties in a wheelchair, stubborn, foul-mouthed and gutsy. She deserves great casting but she's harder. Maybe someone like Kirsten Dunst. Or that beautiful Natalie Portman, if she can still act. Did the Star Wars movies kill her acting forever? She was great in that Ted Demme movie from the 90s.

The funnest to cast might be the pig of the book, a sexist, dog-hurting cartoon of a guy named Fulton. He's often played by Chris Penn. But you could give him more charm than that if you wanted to, and ask, say, Alec Baldwin to do it. Besides being a perfectly timed comic actor Baldwin can do a great villain.

Directors are harder. Spike Jonze?
Read an excerpt from How the Dead Dream. Learn more about the author and her writing at the How the Dead Dream publisher's website and Lydia Millet's website and Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: How the Dead Dream.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Reed Farrel Coleman's Moe Prager Mystery Series

Reed Farrel Coleman, on casting an adaptation of his Moe Prager Mystery Series:

Why I Won’t Play
I was one of those college students who paid careful attention in class because I took terrible notes. In retrospect, I probably would’ve been better served by improving my note taking skills. Much of what my professors had to say blended into a kind of buzzing. Certain lessons, however, have persisted even after thirty years. One lesson in particular, taught by Jim Merritt, my instructor for Romantic Poetry at Brooklyn College, has had a profound effect on my writing. Oddly enough, it wasn’t a writing class, yet I can still hear Prof. Merritt’s voice in my head. We were discussing the life and works of Percy Bysshe Shelley when the subject of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein came up. Merritt, a man with a wonderfully expressive face, frowned:

“Okay everyone,” Merritt said, “close your eyes and imagine Frankenstein’s monster.”

After fifteen seconds, Merritt went around the room, selecting students at random to describe what they had seen in their mind’s eye as they conjured up their images of the monster. To a person, we described a gigantic green monster with a flat head, a jagged scar on its forehead, bolts in its neck, dull, heavy-lidded eyes… In other words, we all saw the same thing. Merritt’s point? The movies had robbed readers of the joy of imagining the monster for themselves. The movie image of the monster had taken the romance out of the reading.

That lesson stays with me every day as I write. In the Moe Prager series, I do occassionally give very slight—so slight I can’t recall them—hints about Moe’s looks, but I am very careful not to actually describe him. If I do describe any of the major recurring characters, it’s usually through one or two aspects of their physical appearance. Moe’s wife Katy, for instance, has thin lips and is curvy. Their daughter Sarah has red hair. Mr. Roth dresses well, walks with a cane, and has a number tattooed on his forearm. That, however, is usually the extent of the description of the central recurring characters in the series. Emotion is at the heart of why I take this approach. I want the reader to form, in his or her own mind, the image of the characters. In this way, the reader becomes more emotionally invested in the characters or, to phrase it a bit differently, the reader contributes more of him or herself to the characters. I want a reader to develop a vision of Moe not based upon a set of physical characteristics, but based upon his emotional, philosophical, and moral underpinnings. I want the reader, in the same way I do, to build Moe from the inside out.

None of this is to say I wouldn’t sell the movie rights to the books. I would in a nano second, but there’s no denying a movie would change new readers’ perceptions of Moe. It is also not to say that I don’t have an actor in mind to play Moe. I have all the books cast in my head, but I won’t share my choices. Again, I wouldn’t want my conception of Moe to taint yours.
Reed Farrel Coleman, Brooklyn born and raised, is the former Executive Vice President of Mystery Writers of America. He has written ten novels in three series including two under his pen name Tony Spinosa. His eleventh novel, Tower, co-authored with Ken Bruen, will premier in Fall 2009. Reed has been twice nominated for the Edgar Award, mystery fiction’s most prestigious honor. He has won the Shamus Award twice along with the Barry and Anthony Awards. He was the editor of the short story anthology Hardboiled Brooklyn. His short fiction and essays have appeared in Wall Street Noir, Damn Near Dead, Brooklyn Noir 3, and several other publications. Reed is an adjunct lecturer in creative writing at Hofstra University and lives with his family on Long Island.

The Page 69 Test: Redemption Street.

The Page 69 Test: Empty Ever After.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 15, 2008

Malena Lott's "Dating da Vinci"

Malena Lott is the author of the recently released Dating da Vinci.

Here she lays out some casting ideas for a film adaptation of the novel:
I love movies almost, but not quite, as much as I love books. In writing classes, you often get the tip to find models or actors in magazines to cut out and storyboard for the physical character development of your novel. I tend to choose actors because I may like certain mannerisms or their charisma on screen, just as much as having the "look" I'm going for. I did this with Dating da Vinci, a tale of love, longing and la dolce vita. Bookopolis said that Dating da Vinci, "has all the making of a great romantic comedy." So, with that in mind, here's my cast....

I imagined my protagonist, Ramona Elise, a linguist and widowed mother, as a curvier Kate Winslet, one of my favorite actors, period. She has the acting chops to handle her struggle with grief and joy, with just one look.

For Leonardo da Vinci, my twenty-five year old handsome Italian immigrant, it would most likely be an unknown, someone new to Hollywood perhaps, and even a fresh-from-Italy transplant. Above all, he has to be sexy in that smoldering way, like Gilles Marini, who played Dante in Sex and the City, the Movie.

Ramona's fitness star, narcissistic sis would be played by Jane Krakowski and her evanga-mom by Mary Tyler Moore. Ramona's best friend, the down on love, snarky business woman Anh, who is raising her grand-daughter but is in denial, would be someone like Sandra Oh.

Last but not least, we have the charming doctor, Cortland. He's dating Ramona's sis, but sure gives Ramona a lot of attention, something she's really noticing since she's doing her dissertation on the "language of love." The most charming guy I could think of is Greg Kinnear. Love him! And I have since his early days on E! in the '90s.
Read an excerpt from Dating da Vinci, and learn more about the author and her work at Malena Lott's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Dating da Vinci.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 8, 2008

Rachael King's "The Sound of Butterflies"

Rachael King's debut novel The Sound of Butterflies, which was among the top three bestselling New Zealand fiction titles in her native country for 12 weeks when it was published in July 2006, was released in the U.S. by William Morrow in 2007.

Here she shares some preferences for cast and director for a cinematic adaptation of the novel:
I'm sure that all writers day-dream about who might play their characters in a film; certainly I have been asked enough by my friends, and it's always a fun game to play. I have no interest in the A-list, such as Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie; I'm much more interested in British actors (well, the characters are mostly British) who aren't afraid to get their hair dirty. When I first started writing The Sound of Butterflies, I had recently seen a New Zealand mini-series called Greenstone, and I had a young Matthew Rhys before-he-was-famous in mind for Thomas, but a skinnier, blonder version. The truth is that the exact Thomas I had in my head was a perpetually worried-looking waiter I'd seen at a cricket match. I drew a caricature of him that day in my notebook and will always think of him as my Thomas. Rhys doesn't seem right to me anymore, (too old perhaps), but someone like James McAvoy would be perfect: an atypical leading man who could do intense and awkward well. He's not my waiter, but he will do nicely.

Since Kate Winslet is too old now, I would definitely pick Romola Garai for Sophie. Physically she is perfect, and would do a good mixture of strength and vulnerability. Her modern friend Agatha would be Zooey Deschanel (I love her) if she could pull off an English accent; if not, then maybe Emily Blunt. I had in mind a young Nastassja Kinski look-alike when I was writing.

The characters of Ernie and George, Thomas's companions, would be a good chance for Jude Law and Matthew Goode, respectively, to play it seedy. I have also been impressed by Laurence Fox (the way he made Cecil Vyse in the recent TV adaptation of A Room With A View both sexy and repellent was marvelous), who could play either role. The older, rougher John Gitchens could be played by Rufus Sewell with a beard. I can see Sam Neill (a fellow New Zealander who has just been directed by my brother Jonathan King in Under the Mountain, out 2009) as José Santos, the rubber baron: he does enigmatic and slightly menacing well. His wife Clara could be someone like America Ferrara but older, mid-30s. She needs to be Latin and able to play plain and not thin. As the 'other woman' in the book, I have no doubt that if Hollywood got its hands on her, it would make Clara smouldering hot.

People keep telling me The Sound of Butterflies would make a great movie and I'm waiting for the offers to start pouring in any day now. Obviously it would have to be a big-budget, lavish costume drama, so it's not something that can be tackled lightly. At first my director of choice would have been Anthony Minghella, but then he sadly died. James Ivory seems another obvious one, but I was so impressed with the film of Atonement I would have to ask Joe Wright. Then again, if I were to turn to my fellow countrymen and women, I'm sure Peter Jackson would have the budget and I'm waiting with interest to see what Niki Caro does with my friend Elizabeth Knox's book The Vintner's Luck.
Read an excerpt from The Sound of Butterflies, and learn more about the novel and its author at Rachael King's website and her blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Sound of Butterflies.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tony Richards' "Dark Rain"

Tony Richards is the author of five novels—the first was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award—plus many short stories and articles. His work has appeared in numerous venues, including The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Cemetery Dance, Asimov's, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, and Weird Tales.

Here he shares some casting ideas for a cinematic adaptation of his latest novel, Dark Rain:
The characters in Dark Rain are many, varied, and in some cases extremely weird. And in a few instances, an actor springs immediately to mind. Ideally, Dr. Lehman Willets, the only African-American in Raine’s Landing -- the town has been cut off from the outside world by a curse for the past three hundred years -- would be played by Morgan Freeman, although I understand that he’s been hurt recently. The short but dignified Judge Samuel Levin? Ron Rifkin would be perfect.

Others are a little harder to pin down. The guy who plays the big bald grouchy cop on CSI:Miami would make an excellent Lieutenant Saul Hobart, who is … well … a big bald grouchy cop. And Rod Steiger would have a fun cameo role as Reverend Purlock. But which actor does insane well enough to portray the rambling master of Raine Manor, Woodard Raine himself? I can only think of Michael Keaton.

As for the two leads? To play Cass Mallory accurately, Angelina Jolie would have to wear her hair Sinéad O'Connor style, cropped to within half an inch of her skull. But who knows, she might think that fun. As for Ross Devries, the usual action movie leads like Hugh Jackman would make a decent job of being him.

But no, I’d rather Ross were played by an unknown. He’d like it that way.
Browse inside Dark Rain, and learn more about the book and author at Tony Richards' website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Dark Rain.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Jason Goodwin's "The Snake Stone"

Jason Goodwin's Edgar Award–winning series set in Istanbul at the end of the Ottoman Empire--The Janissary Tree, The Snake Stone, and coming in 2009, The Bellini Card--features Investigator Yashim: detective, polyglot, chef, eunuch.

Here Goodwin explores some casting options for a cinematic adaptation of the books:
Orientalist painters in the 19th century fell over themselves to capture the Ottoman Empire on canvas. They painted the mosques and domes, the palaces and bazaars, and of course the naked odalisques, reclining with their pipes. They captured the tilework and the black eunuchs, the costume and the artefacts of an imperial civilisation that was, visually, utterly stunning. Here’s a curious thing: no-one has ever done it on screen.

But let’s face it: who’s man enough to play my central character, Yashim the Investigator?

He’s invisible. He’s active. He’s calm - and smart.

And he’s a eunuch.

I put this very question on my blog (the bellinicard.wordpress.com) and the answer was: Tony Shalhoub. He’s a versatile Lebanese American actor whose roots are properly Ottoman, like Yashim. The good news for Mr. Shalhoub is that Yashim doesn’t have a squeaky voice – and even gets involved with women.

Yashim's great friend is Count Palewski, an exiled Pole who also happens to be the ambassador to the Sublime Porte in Istanbul. He’s dry but charming, a drinker, a voracious reader who dabbles with the violin. Bill Nighy, please.

Come back, Peter Lorre. You were the most sinuous and untrustworthy villain in movie history, and I was thinking of you when I wrote about the dodgy French archaeologist, Lefèvre. And do bring Claude Raines with you: he’d make a splendid sultan.

You don’t have to be camp to play Preen, the transvestite dancer – but Julian Clary has the right air of vulnerability. Julian Clary in a black wig.

The girls? The Validé, for a start: the sultan’s proud and acerbic French-born mother. A natural beauty, even in her seventies. Would Catherine Deneuve mind aging herself for the part? Or Tilda Swinton – a little line of chalk beneath the cheese.

A Russian countess – extravagantly beautiful, and brimming with youthful curiosity. Juliette Binoche, if she’d just step down from The Unbearable Lightness of Being - or Lauren Bacall, best of all, if she could take some time after shooting The Big Sleep.

In The Snake Stone a lovely French girl, Amelie, with a steel streak. Not Audrey Tautou of the eponymous movie, but Uma Thurman, maybe.

Telly Savalas as the bull-headed Seraskier of The Janissary Tree.

Sydney Greenstreet for the Soup Master.

All of it set in Istanbul and – lately – Venice. Clear the streets, please!
Learn more about Jason Goodwin and his work at his website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 21, 2008

Charles Cumming's "The Spanish Game"

Charles Cumming is a British spy novelist who has been hailed as the heir apparent to John le Carré. His most recent novel, Typhoon, was published in the UK to huge critical acclaim. Cumming’s first novel, A Spy By Nature, has just been released in the US in paperback. The sequel, The Spanish Game, is available in hardcover from St. Martin’s Press.

Here he speculates on casting the lead in a film adaptation of The Spanish Game:
A recent review of my novel, The Spanish Game, described the central character, Alec Milius, as “excessively paranoid, a womanizer, an alcoholic, and generally of questionable morality”.

It’s a fairly accurate description. Milius is an ex-MI5 agent who was drummed out of the Service following a botched industrial espionage operation, described in my first novel, A Spy By Nature. At the start of The Spanish Game, we find Alec living in Madrid, sleeping with his boss’s wife, drinking heavily and wondering when his old enemies are going to catch up with him.

Milius has no recognisably heroic attributes, beyond a basic desire to make the best of himself. He is essentially self-serving, untrustworthy and paranoid. Which begs the question – what actor would want to play a character with those attributes? For a long time, I thought Jude Law would be perfect casting. Milius is a good-looking British guy in his early thirties. He’s quick-witted and attractive, largely because he is so honest about his own shortcomings and insecurities. Law would be ideal: here is a very charming, very seductive actor who has never shied away from playing anti-heroes. Think of Alfie, of Dickie Greenleaf in The Talented Mr Ripley, or Law’s sinister assassin in Road to Perdition. But nobody I talk to who knows the books feels the same way.

So what about Matthew Goode? Goode is not yet a bona fide star, but he was the best thing in Woody Allen’s dismal Match Point and recently took the Jeremy Irons role in the new version of Brideshead Revisited. He has the looks, the charm, the accent and – above all – the talent to make an audience root for an essentially unsympathetic protagonist. There’s also James McAvoy. In fact, I quite like the idea of Alec having a Scottish accent… like a flip of the working-class Scot Sean Connery playing Ian Fleming’s Eton-educated secret agent, James Bond.

A Spy By Nature and The Spanish Game are currently in the hands of two LA-based movie producers, with Trainspotting’s John Hodge attached to write the script. Who knows? Maybe someday soon I won’t be the only one wondering who would be dream casting for Alec Milius….
Learn more about the author and his work at Charles Cumming's website.

The Page 69 Test: A Spy By Nature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Jeff Carlson's "Plague Year"

Jeff Carlson's short fiction has appeared in venues such as Asimov's, Strange Horizons, Fantastic Stories, and Writers of the Future XXIII. His first novel, Plague Year, was published last year. His new novel, Plague War, was published this summer.

Here he lays out some casting ideas for a film adaptation of Plague Year:
Will Smith. Doesn’t everyone say Will Smith? Give me Will Smith and my head will explode with excitement. Sure, the lead character in Plague Year is a 25-year-old Hispanic, but that’s easily changed. For example, in Catherine Ryan Hyde’s novel Pay It Forward, the male lead was an African-American who’d lost one arm and a lot of his face in a grenade explosion. What you got on the big screen was Kevin Spacey with minor, elegant scars. Movie magic!

This sort of daydreaming is extra fun for me because film rights for Plague Year have been optioned by Seven Seas Jim, an independent production company that’s been involved with films such as Academy Award Nominee Zus and Zo, Spirit Award Nominee Oasis, and Venice film festival award winner Khadak. The project is in play. With skill, luck, and the strength of the book, maybe we’ll actually have to answer the question of who to put in which role.

If it was up to me (it’s not), my preference would actually be a no-name cast like the original Star Wars. That was before anyone had really heard of Harrison Ford or Carrie Fisher. The story was the real focus of the movie, not the faces and the associated celebrity gossip, which has become quite an industry since 1977.

Still, give me Will Smith any day. That guy’s not only sexy and smart and packed with box office power, he’s become a fine actor.

Or they could cast me! Ha ha.

Check out our “book trailer” at http://www.jverse.com/trailer.html. Maybe I can give Will a run for his money…
Visit Jeff Carlson's website and his blog.

The Page 69 Test: Plague Year.

The Page 99 Test: Plague War.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

James Scott Bell's "Try Dying"

James Scott Bell is the author of Try Dying, Try Darkness, and the forthcoming Try Fear.

Here he develops some ideas for film adaptations of the novels:
My series featuring L.A. lawyer Ty Buchanan and the basketball playing nun, Sister Mary, has been described as "L.A. noir meets Nick and Nora at the intersection of Ellroy and Chandler." And that's fine with me, because I wanted to do contemporary suspense in a style that could have been published in 1947 (I think much of the genre these days pushes the darkness beyond "too far").

So it's no surprise that my favorite movie genre is film noir of the 40's and 50's. Especially when it takes place in Los Angeles.

In keeping with that, I'll tell you who I wish could have directed the movies made from my series--Billy Wilder. Think of the two quintessential L.A. noirs: Double Indemnity and Sunset Boulevard. That's the tone and feel I'm going for. A touch of wry humor, as with the narrations, respectively, of Fred MacMurray and William Holden. The undercurrents of money, sexual tension, and murder. The idea that the sun shines bright on the surfaces, but the night brings out the hidden and secret things.

The big question for me would be, black and white or color? I think the neon night is so L.A. that I'd opt for color, the kind that Michael Mann captured in Collateral (a recent, and superb, L.A. noir).

The films would, then, begin with Buchanan's narration, lifted right from the first lines of the books.

Try Dying:

On a wet Tuesday morning in December, Ernesto Bonilla, twenty-eight, shot his twenty-three-year-old wife, Alejandra, in the back yard of their West 45th Street home in South Los Angeles.

Try Darkness:

The nun hit me in the mouth and said, "Get out of my house."

Try Fear (to be published in 2009):

The cops nabbed Santa Claus at the corner of Hollywood and Gower.
Learn more about the books and author at James Scott Bell's website.

The Page 69 Test: Try Dying.

The Page 69 Test: Try Darkness.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Noah Charney's "The Art Thief"

Noah Charney holds degrees in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art and Cambridge University. He is the founding director of the Association for Research into Crimes against Art (ARCA), the first international think tank on art crime.

Here he spells out his thoughts on--and ideal cast for--a film adaptation of his debut novel, The Art Thief:
Readers often tell me that my novel, The Art Thief, would make a great film. The question of who would play which role is delicious fun for authors, during slow rainy days and hot sunny ones, as we'd be lying if we authors didn't say that we think of our own characters in terms of real-life equivalents. Our characters, whether we state it explicitly or not, are hybrid quilts sewn together from parts and characteristics of people we know or have read about--Frankenstein's monsters whose components could be traced back to their people of origin, if only an author took the time to wind back his mental ball of yarn. Especially for more commercial fiction which, these days, is often written in order to be made into a film (this is how an author can strike it rich), not only are characters considered in terms of the actors who might play them, but written scenes are conceived of from the viewpoint of a camera--what angle does the reader "see" the scene. Writing with this in mind, in all honesty, helps producers reading your book to transpose the concept into a potential film, and therefore helps it sell.

There is nothing wrong with this, for those of us without intellectual or arch-artistic pretensions. For those of us writing what we'd consider intelligent but not intellectual, artistic but not "Art," there is no shame, and every logic, in hoping that your book will be made into a film, and perhaps even facilitating it. The truly-pop fiction that begs to be made into a film, that feels written solely to be made into a film, pushes the envelope too far. But if there are tricks that will accommodate readers, particularly in this age of short attentions spans and quick-cut editing, then I say go for it.

As I write, my book has drawn the interest of both a US and a UK film-maker. The two countries have a rich and wonderful film heritage, but make very different products. The UK is more character-based, and likes to instill wonder through wondrous concepts and images. The US is more plot-based, and likes to instill awe through special effects, size, speed, and double-back tricks that make you want to rewind the film and watch it all over again, to locate the gears of the clockwork mechanism.

My novel takes place in London, Paris, and Rome, and for my part, I'd love to see an international cast, no matter the country of origin producing the film. For an interview with Italian Vanity Fair, I stated what may be obvious to most readers--that the sexy dark-haired Italian cat burglar Vallombroso should be played by Monica Bellucci. The lead, Gabriel Coffin, has shifted in my mind, but it must be an elegant middle-aged gentleman, and Ralph Fiennes or Sean Connery have alternated as stand-ins at various points along my mental pathway. My two favorite characters are the French detectives, Bizot and Lesgourges. Ideally, they would be played by French actors, or English actors pretending to be French, which could be even funnier. Bizot must surely be played in a fat suit to fit his monumental girth--I first imagined Gerard Depardieu and Jean Reno (as Lesgourges) as the squabbling pair that cannot live without one another, for the chemistry must be tight, but then I got the idea of Richard Griffiths and John Cleese pretending to be French, and the idea sounds even more wonderful. Delacloche should be an elegant middle-aged French actress, such as Emmanuelle Béart or Juliette Binoche. The American collector, Robert Grayson, I always imagined as George Clooney--but the trouble with monumental movie stars for an ensemble piece like The Art Thief (there are 7 characters who get approximately the same amount of page/screen time, so there is no one clear protagonist), is that there might not be enough screen time to generate either their interest or willingness on the part of the producers to pay for them to appear in a non-central role. The ornery museum security director should be someone who can convey exhaustion, frustration, and menace, yet whom we like very much--someone like Robbie Coltrane. And the museum director always stuck in my mind as Anjelica Huston, but a number of British actresses, like Charlotte Rampling or Helen Mirren would do nicely. Finally, Harkness alternated between Edward Fox and Robert Powell, both of whom exude elegance and aristocracy, but are capable of hinting at darkness beneath. Professor Barrow was Simon Callow for me throughout--I even chose Barrow as a name because the sound is like Callow. And the droopy, depressed Detective Harry Wickenden was always, for me, an incredible British stage actor who has appeared little in film, Simon Russell Beale. I wrote that "part" for him, as much as I did for anyone. If a producer were to ask me for my wishlist, signing him up would be my top priority.

That would bring my dream cast to something along these lines:

Coffin: Ralph Fiennes or Sean Connery

Vallombroso: Monica Bellucci

Bizot: Richard Griffiths

Lesgourges: John Cleese

Delacloche: Emmanuelle Beart or Juliette Binoche

Wickenden: Simon Russell Beale

Grayson: George Clooney

Cohen: Robbie Coltrane

Van Der Mier: Anjelica Huston or Charlotte Rampling or Helen Mirren

Harkness: Edward Fox or Robert Powell

Barrow: Simon Callow

It seems that my wish-list is British-heavy, which is almost certainly because I wrote The Art Thief while living in London. But let's be honest--if it's made into a film without a single star, I'd be just as happy. The goal is to bring the story to as many people as possible, so they can enjoy it and be stimulated by it in as many formats as possible. It is every author's fantasy to see the creation that began as a seedling in their mind, come to fruition on a big screen. In this era, that is the ultimate compliment and self-actualization. I'll keep my fingers crossed.
Learn more about the book and author at Noah Charney's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Art Thief.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 31, 2008

Colin Cotterill's "Curse of the Pogo Stick"

Colin Cotterill is the author of The Coroner’s Lunch, Thirty-Three Teeth, Disco for the Departed, and Anarchy and Old Dogs, featuring seventy-three year old Dr. Siri Paiboun, national coroner of Laos. He and his wife live in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he teaches at the university.

Here he considers several casting approaches for a film adaptation of Curse of the Pogo Stick, the latest novel in the Dr. Siri Paiboun series:
It’s my own silly fault. I know that now. How am I ever going to break into Hollywood without a western protagonist? My sin, you see, is that all my characters are Lao. There have been, so far in the series, only one direct and one peripheral role for honkies and one of those was a Soviet circus performer. How can I get my movie made without any A-list actors queued up to play the main role of Dr. Siri Paiboun?

We could use makeup I suppose. In fifteen movies, Charlie Chan was played by a Swede, Warner Oland, and nobody noticed he was a Norseman. (I hesitate to suggest there was any racism involved in the fact that audiences could so happily accept him as an émigré from mainland China.) When poor old Warner passed away, who took over the mantle of the most famous Chinese in the west? Sidney Toler, a Scot. When they were looking for an actor to play Kentaro Moto, in a popular series about a Japanese secret agent they needed to look no further than Peter Lorre, the world’s most famous Hungarian. And after Lorre had made a Japanese name for himself in eight feature films, when it came to a remake, The Return of Mr. Moto, even as late as 1965, who did they call? (Sidney Toler was busy), good old Henry Silva, a New York Sicilian. It looks like there just weren’t any real Asians around in them days.

So, assuming we go with the clothes pegs behind the ears method, who should I ring in? I figure if they could make Dustin Hoffman look a hundred in Little Big Man, surely they could make him Asian. But if we’re going American, I suppose we’d have to look at the box office hotties first and work our way down. Tom Cruise has the height requirements but Siri would be a franchise and Tommy doubles his fees for sequels. Bruce Willis couldn’t make a movie where he doesn’t take off his shirt. No, I think I’ll go with Will Smith. He’s on a rocket these days, and I saw what those special effects wallah’s did with the Wayan brothers in White Chicks. So, good, we have Will as Dr. Siri. From there it should be easy. Even when I was writing the first book I had Paris Hilton pegged for Nurse Dtui. All right, she’s on the light side but she’s a method actress and for the opportunity to win a role like this I’d bet she’d eat her little heart out. And the bonus is she already has that pinched, lemony oriental countenance. I’ll go with Will Ferrell as inspector Phosy just for the whimsical hell of it. We need a ‘serious actor’ to bring some legitimacy to this project, so, of the available Oscar winners, I’m going with Sir Anthony Hopkins whose Comrade Civilai would be the perfect foil for Smith’s Dr. Siri.

Of course there will be certain pressures from the studio. They might argue that with all these non-Asian actors in key roles, wouldn’t it be more economical in the long run to just relocate the story to Los Angeles? I’d make feeble arguments about sense of place and history, they’d offer me lots more money, and the next thing you know, the Mahosot morgue is a road-kill clearing center just outside Santa Monica. (I’ve already started this adaptation just in case.) Siri, now Sol Prospero, of African /Nicaraguan descent, trained in New York as a classical dancer now finds himself reluctantly running the road kill center. But the flattened animals talk to him and he sets out to find who ran them over…that sort of thing. Unless it became really popular I’d disclaim all responsibility for it and say Hollywood destroyed a perfectly good book.

That’s the path you’re inevitably led down if you start messing with your ethnicity. But I’m just as buggered if I try to tap into the tiny pool of Asian actors who have been let in through the tradesman’s entrance of Hollywood. I suppose another one of my faults is that I’ve created an Asian character who doesn’t perform martial arts. Really, what use is he? If I’d only had the foresight to give Siri a black belt in something, I know we’d be on the big screen already: Yun-Fat Chow as the wise, brooding, Kung Fu kicking, Dr. Siri Paiboun. Ken Watanabe as the swarthy, dark-browed, samurai sword swinging, Comrade Civilai. Gong Li as the lithe, pert-breasted, karate chopping, nurse Dtui. It really is the only way we’ll get on the screen in North America. I mean, who’s going to find a bunch of non-arse-kicking, wall-climbing, impossible-somersaulting, tree-flying Asians credible?

No, I admit, I’ve done it all wrong. It’s back to the drawing board for me. I mean, how difficult can it be to write about a black superhero alcoholic or a kung-fuing panda? Really, I’m just making all this getting rich and famous a lot more difficult for myself than it really is.
Visit Colin Cotterill's website and his Crimespace page, and learn more about Curse of the Pogo Stick at the publisher's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Steve Brewer's "Lonely Street"

Steve Brewer is the author of the Bubba Mabry mystery series and the Drew Gavin mystery series in addition to a handful of stand alone crime novels.

Here he reveals which actors are starring in the forthcoming film adaptation of his novel Lonely Street, and identifies a few actors who might have played some of the roles in a different production:
An author may have a movie star in mind when he's writing his book, but it's practically guaranteed that Hollywood will choose someone else.

The director and producers have their own favorite stars. There are myriad business reasons that actors get picked for roles and those reasons may have no relation to how well-suited they are. Even if the author gets a chance to speak up (which is rare) and if someone is listening (even rarer), actors often are unavailable or too expensive or not interested.

Those are facts of life in Hollywood, but many of us still picture particular movie idols when "casting" our stories. It's a nice shortcut in thinking about characters.

My first novel, Lonely Street, was recently made into an independent movie, and virtually none of the actors resemble the people I pictured when writing the book more than 15 years ago.

Lonely Street features Bubba Mabry, a low-rent private eye in Albuquerque, NM. I've written eight different comic mysteries about Bubba, and have a very solid picture of him in my mind. The actor who would most closely resemble my balding, hangdog detective would be Nicolas Cage. So naturally, Bubba is played in the movie by blond, buff comedian Jay Mohr, who's currently starring in the new CBS sitcom Gary, Unmarried. Couldn't be farther from my vision of the character, but I'm not complaining. Mohr's production company helped make the movie happen.

In Lonely Street, Bubba is hired by what appears to be the living Elvis, long after the King is dead. Robert Patrick of Terminator 2 and The Unit plays the aged Elvis, thanks to a crack makeup team.

Bubba's love interest (and eventual wife in the series) is a hotshot reporter who's a dead ringer for Tina Fey. The casting director tried to recruit Fey, but she'd just signed up to do 30 Rock on TV. Instead, we got Lindsay Price of Lipstick Jungle.

I pictured the villainous concert promoter as a weaselly David Paymer type. Instead, the filmmakers cast Joe Mantegna of Criminal Minds and dozens of great movie roles.

The blond bombshell in the book is played by Nikki Cox, a redhead.

A fast-talking redneck drug dealer is played by fast-talking African-American comedian Katt Williams.

The stern, brainy Hispanic police detective in all the Bubba books, Steve Romero, is played in the movie by comedian Paul Rodriguez.

Don't get me wrong. I wasn't disappointed with any of these casting decisions. They're just not the way I pictured these characters.

At this writing, I still haven't seen the finished film (and don't know yet when it'll be released), but in the few clips I've seen, the actors do a great job. Jay Mohr is very funny as Bubba. Robert Patrick makes a great Elvis. Lindsay Price is priceless. Joe Mantegna, one of my favorite actors, is wonderful, as usual.

So, have I learned a lesson? Do I no longer picture movie stars when I'm creating characters? Nah, I write the way I always have. But I do so with the knowledge that, if I get lucky again with Hollywood, they'll pick different actors. I'm okay with that.

But, um, Jason Statham, if you're reading this, please check out my latest thriller, Cutthroat. Boy, have I got a role for you.
Learn more about Steve Brewer at his website and his blog.

The Page 69 Test: Cutthroat.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Humphrey Hawksley's "Security Breach"

Humphrey Hawksley's latest novel Security Breach has been acclaimed as the international thriller of the new Cold War.

Here he develops some ideas for its cinematic adaptation:
Security Breach is a story of high-action and complex relationships – all of it revolving around the smart, vulnerable, kick-ass heroine, Kat Polinski.

I would like to develop the filmic style around the The Washington Post’s description of the book -- Die Hard meets 1984.

One idea would be to introduce two highly talented, but relatively unknown action actors into the lead roles, such as Livvy Scott or Emily Beecham as Kat, and James Layton as the superb, monosyllabic moral beacon of Mike Luxton. Alternatively, I would try to get Liv Tyler and Matt Damon for the same roles.

I have in mind George Clooney or Nicolas Cage, for Kat’s controller, Bill Cage; Bill Nighy for the veteran British spymaster Stephen Cranley; Frank Langella for Kat’s antagonistic family friend, Nate Sayer; and Ewan McGregor as her thoughtful, but dithering brother.

Uma Thurman would be perfect to play Yulya Gracheva, the epitome of the modern most evil villain; Meryl Streep as Kat’s god-mother, Nancy; and Francesca Martinez as the feisty Liz Luxton.

The movie is set in a surveillance society of the near future with scenes that move between Washington D.C., London, the English coastal country-side and the desolate land-scape of oil-rich Kazakhstan.

In London, the screen-play, cinematography and direction would build up an atmosphere of the most security-intense city in the world. Through the eyes of Kat Polinski, we would come face to face with a daily life of high-tech surveillance that George Orwell could not have conceived when he wrote 1984.

The actions starts as the world is preparing for the signing of Project Peace, a treaty between Russia, China and the United States. It claims to be a formula to end terror and guarantee global energy supplies. But like with the Iraq war and the global financial markets, it is not as we are told it is.

The movie would show much of our society as it is today, but infiltrated by growing trends that worry so many of us: the post Nine Eleven tightening of security, imprisonment without trial; power in the hands of international business consortia who have governments in their pockets; and a growing underclass whose opinion is forged through clever manipulation of the media.

Filming would be split between London and the Suffolk coast, where much of the action takes place, with the rest possibly being done in Thailand which now has excellent crews and post production sound stages on which the dramatic escape scenes from Kazakhstan would be shot.

With all that to play with, I can think of no better director than Vernon Layton, and if he is unwilling, I would head for the Oscar-winning writer/director, Paul Haggis of Crash.
Visit Humphrey Hawksley's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The History Book.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lin Anderson's "Easy Kill"

Easy Kill is Lin Anderson's latest novel featuring the forensic scientist Dr. Rhona MacLeod.

Here Anderson speculates on which actor might best portray MacLeod, who the Guardian's reviewer called "a complex and engaging protagonist," in a film adaptation of the novel:
Easy Kill is the latest book in my crime thriller series starring forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod. Readers tend to stay with a series because they grow fond of the characters and want to know what happens to them next. The crime is important but essentially a crime book is about the character rather than the crime. Being asked to come up with someone to play Rhona is intriguing but fraught with difficulty. Let me tell you why. Nowhere in the books does it tell you what Rhona looks like. When I ask my audience at author events, everyone has their own Rhona MacLeod and they often argue with one another’s version. They’re all in agreement with her character traits but not what she looks like. That’s great, because if you give your readers room to put a bit of themselves in a character they make her their own. When Ian Rankin’s Rebus was first adapted for television it went spectacularly wrong with the casting of John Hannah as Rebus. A second series with Ken Stott proved a winner. As I said, its fraught with difficulty. Most readers seem to agree Rhona is sexy and arresting but not necessarily conventionally pretty (neither was Sophia Loren). In her thirties Rhona’s a woman with a lot of emotional depth. Helen Mirren made a wonderful job of such a character in the Prime Suspect series. I recently saw The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and thought Vera Farmiga’s performance as the mother was outstanding. She would make a great Rhona. The British actress Catherine McCormack who starred in the excellent thriller Midnight Man and was Mel Gibson’s true love in Braveheart would be ideal too. And last but not least Juliette Binoche who can portray strength and vulnerability so well.

The other members of the gang, Chrissy McInsch, Rhona’s sidekick – a gallous Glaswegian (a New Yorker would do just as well), Rhona’s mentor DI Bill Wilson, modelled on my own detective father and not unlike Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon and last but not least Sean Maguire, Rhona’s Irish lover who plays the saxophone as well as he plays his woman (Sean Bean perhaps?)…. I think I’ll leave their casting up to you.
Read more about the author and her work at Lin Anderson's website and the official Rhona MacLeod website.

The Page 69 Test: Dark Flight.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 10, 2008

Eric Stone's "Flight of the Hornbill"

Eric Stone is the author of the novels Living Room of the Dead and Grave Imports. Additionally, he wrote the non-fiction book Wrong Side of the Wall.

Here he develops some ideas for director and cast for a cinematic adaptation of his new novel, Flight of the Hornbill:
I don’t expect a movie of any of my books to actually be much like my books. I’m not sure I’d want it to be. I want different things from movies and books. They’d be welcome to add action and plot elements if they wanted, so long as they stayed true to the characters, settings and basic ideas. So I’ve never given much thought as to who would play who, or who would direct.

Flight of the Hornbill is certainly no comedy, but I’d love to see it directed by Preston Sturges, my favorite comedy director of all time. He’d have a very nice feel for the social, cultural and political nuances of the books, as well as the way the characters interact with those elements. A modern director would be tougher. Maybe John Woo. He has a nice way with stories involving loyalties among the characters and an excellent sense of place in his movies, and he could certainly spice up the action. Andrew Lau and Alan Mak – the directors of Infernal Affairs, the Hong Kong movie that was far better than The Departed, which was based on it – might also be good.

Spencer Tracy or John Garfield would make a great Ray Sharp, my protagonist; an everyman who manages to stumble his way into doing the right thing because of his loyalty to his friends and also to a rather complicated, and compromised, moral compass. As far as modern actors go, Brad Pitt could do a pretty good job if the makeup artist could make him look a little more like a regular guy. Chow Yun Fat would be good, too, and I don’t mind changing the race of the character.

Ray’s love interest would have to be smart, beautiful and strong, with an under layer of sadness. Veronica Lake would have done nicely. Angelina Jolie would be just fine with me, or Emily Deschanel from the TV show Bones. The main bad guy could be nicely played by Alan Rickman, but he’d need to put on a French accent.
Read an excerpt from Flight of the Hornbill, and learn more about the book and author at Eric Stone's website.

Flight of the Hornbill is the third Ray Sharp novel. See the Page 69 Test for Grave Imports, the second book in the series.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Suzanne Kingsmill's "Forever Dead"

Suzanne Kingsmill is the author of Forever Dead, a fast paced murder mystery featuring zoology professor Cordi O'Callaghan who discovers a bear ravaged body in the wilderness and has her life turned upside down because of it.

Here she shares her idea of a dream cast, director, and producer for a film adaptation of the novel:
I had no actors in mind when I wrote my murder mystery Forever Dead. However, while watching TV my characters have sometimes jumped out at me after their creation. I saw Cordi O'Callaghan, my lead character and a university zoology professor, in Julia Roberts as she grappled with The Pelican Brief. Cordi is continually faced with obstacles and life threatening situations and handles them as Julia Roberts's character does - with smarts.

Martha Bathgate, Cordi's overweight and humourous lab technician and best friend leapt out at me as Lesley Boone from the TV show Ed where she played the fun loving, goofy best friend to one of the lead characters - just as Martha does with Cordi.

Duncan McPherson, a pathologist and Cordi's mentor, was more difficult as he has a trademark enormous nose, but when I discounted that from the equation Anthony Hopkins came to mind for his role in The World's Fastest Indian. Smart and likable and highly focussed. But Duncan lacks the naivete of Anthony Hopkins's character.

Patrick White, Cordi's love interest, matches Nick (George Eads) in CSI as a strong, sensitive good looking scientist. Jerry Bruckheimer could produce it if he wanted and Norman Jewison (Thomas Crown Affair) could direct it.
Listen to the Prologue from Forever Dead and learn more about the book at Suzanne Kingsmill's website.

The Page 69 Test: Forever Dead.

--Marshal Zeringue

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