Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Libby Hellmann's "Easy Innocence"

Libby Fischer Hellmann has edited the acclaimed crime fiction anthology, Chicago Blues, and published over a dozen short stories. Her four novels featuring Chicago video producer and amateur sleuth Ellie Foreman have won numerous awards.

Her fifth novel, Easy Innocence, featuring newly-minted PI Georgia Davis, is a spin-off from the Ellie Foreman series. It is a dark, disturbing tale about high school girls and what they are doing when they're not adequately supervised. It came out of Hellmann's experience with her own daughter, and what she imagined as "every mother's nightmare."

Here she suggests some A-list actors suitable for a cinematic adaptation of the novel:
While Easy Innocence is the debut of a new series, its protagonist, former cop turned PI Georgia Davis, gets around. She made her first appearance in my second Ellie Foreman book, A Picture of Guilt, but I’d written a short story about her prior to that. In fact, she first came to me before I was published, when I was writing what I euphemistically call one of my “practice novels.” Georgia is tough, guarded, and independent. She keeps people at a distance. She doesn’t want you to know her too well. And she doesn’t take **** from anyone.

The other thing to keep in mind is that show business runs through my family like a bad case of chicken pox. One of my nieces is an actress, and I originally based Georgia’s physical appearance on her. At the moment, though, she’s busy raising her two sons, so I see several other possibilities. Charlize Theron would make an excellent Georgia. So would Kate Hudson. Reese Witherspoon, if she was able to play against type, might work also.

The other dominant female in Easy Innocence is Andrea Walcher, the mother of 17-year-old Lauren. I think Marcia Cross from Desperate Housewives would be terrific: her sangfroid and arrogance is perfect. Julianne Moore could do a great job, too -- again, if she’d play against type.

I’m less sure about her daughter, Lauren, the spoiled North Shore teenager who’s running a prostitution ring from her laptop. Short of Dakota Fanning, I’m not familiar with the crop of up-and-coming actresses. I do know that Lauren should be slim, have dark hair, and project an air of total control. As for Sara Long, the girl who’s murdered in the beginning of the novel, I know she needs to be blond, beautiful, and should look older than her 17 years.

Real estate developer Ricki Feldman, who may or may not be dirty, is a recurring character in my books, including Easy Innocence. Ricki’s father caused a scandal when he built a housing development over a toxic waste dump, and Ricki’s been atoning for his sins ever since. Still, she’s sharp, ambitious, and manipulative. Angelina Jolie would do a fabulous job.

For Tom Walcher, father of Lauren and wife of Andrea, I think Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight) would be perfect. If he’s not available, I’d cast Rob Lowe. And if George Clooney wanted the part, I wouldn’t object.

Lawyer Paul Kelly, with whom Georgia works to solve the case, would be Ben Kingsley, assuming he can do a Chicago accent. Georgia’s former boyfriend, detective Matt Singer, could be Johnny Depp, although he’ll need to wear glasses. Ben Stiller could pull it off too.

So, Hollywood, what are you waiting for?
Visit Libby Hellmann's website.

My Book, The Movie: A Shot To Die For (of the Ellie Forman series).

The Page 69 Test: Easy Innocence.

--Marshal Zeringue