Monday, March 9, 2009

Peter Watts' Rifters trilogy

Peter Watts is the author of the Rifters trilogy, the Hugo Award-nominated Blindsight, and numerous short stories.

Here he develops some ideas for director and cast for the major roles in a big screen adaptation of the trilogy:
Let's talk about the Rifters trilogy (Starfish, Maelstrom, Behemoth). This is not a complete cast list-- it would take forever to come up with actors for every role in the trilogy, and I've already taken far too long to do this as it is-- but if someone were to cinematically adapt the Rifters books, I'd like to see these folks in the credits:

Ellen Page as Lenie Clarke: back in the day, it would have been Carrie-Anne Moss, but she has since aged out of the demographic. Katee Sackhoff certainly has the moves down-- she does abused, fragile, raging, and ass-kicking to a tee-- and she'd give a terrific performance. Still, physically, she's a bit too robust; Lenie Clarke is a waif, with attitude. And when I saw Ellen Page in Hard Candy, I could see why so many people said she'd be a perfect Lenie Clarke. Forget the precocious loveable smart-aleck from Juno: Ellen Page knows how to rage.

Callum Keith Rennie as Karl Acton: Twitchy, charming, idiosyncratic-- and liable to beat the shit out of you if you let your shadow fall on his boot.

Katee Sackhoff as Judy Caraco: Sackhoff's consolation prize for being outwaifed by Ellen Page. Caraco is not a major character, but she's got a real take-no-shit-kick-your-ass attitude that doesn't crack until they strip out her eyes. Plus, Katee Sackhoff in hot girl-on-girl action! Tell me that wouldn't sell the movie right there.

Daniel Craig as Ken Lubin: Daniel Craig. That's easy. But you'd have to scar him up some on the outside, first.

Michelle Forbes as Patricia Rowan: Forbes' portrayal of Admiral Caine in the Galactica reboot is Pat Rowan without a conscience: someone forced to make too many of the heartless kill-ten-to-save-a-hundred decisions that are all that's left when your back's to the wall. Caine has almost become a psychopath through necessity; she can't afford to have a conscience. Rowan still does, Rowan keeps her conscience up to the day she dies-- but it's a bruised and mangled thing, and if she'd had to keep making those decisions she would have had to turn into Caine or broken down completely. You can still see echoes of the Pat Rowan stage in Forbes' eyes.

Jake Gyllenhaal as Achilles Desjardins: Donnie Darko with a PhD in catastrophe theory. Behind the lopsided loner's grin, you can just see the monster waiting to come out.

Grace Park as Alice Jovellanos: Repressed, lovesick, and secretly subversive. Someone so convinced of Human decency that she infects the unwitting object of her desire with a retrovirus that gives him back his free will. Too bad that underneath it all, the object of her desire turns out to be a sexual psychopath.

Carrie-Anne Moss as Taka Ouellette: here's a role Moss hasn't gotten too old for-- a widow whose whole family was cut down by Behemoth (possibly due to her own negligence), wandering the infested wildlands in a militarised mobile infirmary, desperate for redemption. Even in the goat-blowing Matrix sequels, the lines in Moss's face conveyed a world-weary fatalism that would be right at home in the ravaged hellscape of the trilogy's third act.

And I see I have just enough space left to name one dream director: James Cameron. The Abyss proved that he could pull off a movie in a deep-sea setting. Aliens proved he could blow shit up. And Terminator 2 proved that he could navigate the tortuous, all-too-human paths to redemption.

What an author's wet dream these people could build, if they all got together...
Visit Peter Watts' website.

--Marshal Zeringue