Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lisa Black's "Takeover"

Lisa Black has worked as a forensic scientist at the Cuyahoga County Coroner’s Office where she analyzed gunshot residue on hands and clothing, hairs, fibers, paint, glass, DNA, blood, and many other forms of trace evidence, and went to crime scenes. She is now a forensic specialist for the city of Cape Coral, Florida, police department, working mostly with fingerprints and crime scenes.

Here she shares her thoughts on the cast of a cinematic adaptation of Takeover, the first novel in her series featuring forensic scientist Theresa MacLean:
I would love to see this book become a movie, because it really is suited to the big screen. It involves a hostage situation, which is always a drama mine, and intense, attractive characters. But the setting is even more perfect: the Cleveland Federal Reserve building, built from marble and glass in 1923, and the Cleveland Public Library, built…I don’t know when, but it’s old. Though actually the section of building used in this tale—directly across from the Fed—is quite a bit newer, but I’ll gloss over that part. It’s also set in summer, which means Cleveland will look clean and attractive minus its winter coating of slush.

Anyway, casting: My heroine Theresa MacLean is always played by Julianne Moore. I don’t know if it’s the red hair or the way she’s always serious without being humorless, but Julianne Moore is right in every way. The right age, the right look, the right attitude. You can imagine her handling just about anything, yet she also seems realistic when performing the more mundane tasks of life like filling out evidence slips or scraping red tape off the booking counter. I can’t picture, say, Angelina Jolie filling out evidence slips. Theresa is fortyish, so the other leads have to be about the same age. Don’t torment me by surrounding my alter ego with handsome men young enough to be, if not her sons, then kids she used to babysit. I get enough of that anguish from prime time TV.

My hostage negotiator, Chris Cavanaugh, is Kevin Spacey. I don’t mean I’d like Kevin Spacey to play him, I mean I wrote him as Kevin Spacey, who played such a role in The Negotiator with Samuel L. Jackson. I didn’t give him the same name, Chris Sabian, only because I’d already used the name Sabian in a previous book. But Kevin is perfect also because I wanted Chris to be attractive in a sneaky sort of way, not attractive in George Clooney, the-minute-he-walks-in-you-know-he’s-the-hero way. I wanted readers to be a little unsure about Chris’s true character. Is he a good guy, or a manipulative publicity-seeker?

Frank, the homicide detective and Theresa’s first cousin, is played by a blond guy who appears to be the absolute cop’s cop, down to the mustache and that look of having been the kind of person who stuffed nerds into their locker in high school. I cannot find his name, however, and it’s not worth re-watching the bad movie I saw him in to find him again. This might be a good role to give to my nephew-in-law, Devin McGinn, an LA actor. Nothing like keeping it in the family.

Theresa’s fiancé Paul…there are only two actors I can picture my alter ego willingly trading her life to save, and that’s Rory Cochrane and Joshua Jackson. Both are too young. Maybe Simon Baker, both because I picture Paul as a blond and because getting shot in the leg would take The Mentalist down a peg or two. Better yet, how about the handsome Thomas Kretschman, who played strong leaders in both King Kong and Valkyrie.

It would be a sweet movie.
Learn more about Takeover and the author at Lisa Black's website.

The Page 69 Test: Takeover.

--Marshal Zeringue