Thursday, January 15, 2009

Erika Mailman's "The Witch’s Trinity"

Erika Mailman is the author of Woman of Ill Fame and The Witch's Trinity, the story of a medieval German woman accused of witchcraft when her village undergoes famine.

Here she lays out some casting ideas for a film adaptation of The Witch’s Trinity:
It’s a heady thing to imagine a movie made of one’s novel. Most novels never get optioned for film, let alone have the rights bought outright—and then to be filmed and distributed, well, let’s just say it’s a guilty pleasure to visualize. Much like my daydreams of getting an Olympic gold medal (in some vague, undefined sport) or saving someone’s life.

My book is The Witch’s Trinity, set in medieval Germany. The main character Gude is elderly, as is her friend Kunne who is pivotal in the beginning. I’m happy my book would offer leading roles for older women if it were made. I’ve heard much talk of how females in Hollywood never get good roles after they turn 30-something… this would be a film where older women could sink their teeth into meaningful roles. Although the character Irmeltrud is comparatively young, the severity of her life (diet, strenuous work, short life expectancy in the Middle Ages) has rendered her looking fairly old.

My choice for the main character Gude would most emphatically be Dame Judi Dench. Though she often plays firm, no-nonsense characters, her vulnerability and mental bewilderment in the film Iris make it clear how amazing she is when portraying less powerful characters. She also looks moderately German. I always think it is disappointing when a character of a particular ethnicity is played by someone clearly not of that background. I have loved her as an actor for a long time, and respected the variety of roles she has undertaken.

Gude’s friend Kunne could be played by Elaine Stritch, who currently plays Jack Donaghy’s mom Colleen on 30 Rock. She’s a wonderful actress, and I can see the tilt of her lips—which currently make her look brash and unhappy—altering a little so she appears strong, worldly-wise and accepting of her fate.

For Irmeltrud: Meryl Streep. Why not aim high? We know she’s incredible and does accents like nobody’s business. I love the idea of her in Irmeltrud’s braids. When I think of Irmeltrud, I always picture the scene at the fireplace where her eyes roll over to look at Gude, and Gude knows she is plotting something. Streep’s sharp eyes would do this perfectly.

For Jost: Viggo Mortensen. He has the sort of obsessed look that a man in Jost’s position would have, trying to feed his family in an environment where that simply isn’t possible.

For Fronika: Jennifer Connelly. Her stunning performance in House of Sand and Fog demonstrated her ability to make her beauty play second fiddle to a complex, endangered, confused character.

For the Friar: Well, one name that springs to mind is Philip Seymour Hoffman. I am a big fan! It may seem strange, though, since he is already playing a priest in a movie with Meryl Streep (Doubt). But the friar is relatively young, well-fed, handsome but also with a cold viciousness that I know Hoffman could so easily carry off. Plus, his last name suggests he is German already.

Another great choice would be Clive Owen. What a shame to tonsure that beautiful hair, though! Or even… gulp… Daniel Craig. Holy cow. I wouldn’t want to sully the place in my daydreams where he resides (this one isn’t about the Olympics!) by casting him as this shiver-worthy character, though.

For the rest of the important characters (Frau Zweig, the Priest, Ramwold, Alke and Matern), I’d pitch for unknowns. It is so much easier to fall into a story and suspend disbelief when you’re not trying to figure out what the last movie was you saw that particular actor in. I have a particularly hard time with this and can’t focus on a movie if I’m mentally cataloging where I last saw them.

P.S. My husband just poked his head over my shoulder. He suggests Angela Kinsey, the woman who plays Angela on The Office for Frau Zweig, except that she has too much of a comedic reputation now. We sat there stewing until he said with a clenched fist, “How’d you like to be typecast as the Hollywood actress who just embodies infertility?!”

He also suggests Frau Zweig be an animated character like Teacher Susie in Sid the Science Kid.
Read an excerpt from The Witch's Trinity and learn more about the book and author at Erika Mailman's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Witch's Trinity.

--Marshal Zeringue