Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lauren Bjorkman's "My Invented Life"

Lauren Bjorkman grew up on a sailboat, sharing the tiny forecastle with her sister and the sail bags. She now lives in Taos, New Mexico.

Here she shares some ideas about actors and director for an adaptation of her debut YA novel, My Invented Life:
When my agent called to say that Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B had expressed an interest in My Invented Life, I immediately thought about actors. Not that they were going to ask me for suggestions. It was just plain fun to think about. Eventually the deal fizzled. But the question remained. How would I cast a movie of my book? To add to the challenge, I enjoy movies with unknowns or lesser-knowns.

My heroine, Roz is a very tall, not-very-skinny teen. As a drama queen and theater geek, she lives to be the center of attention. And she’s wounded. Her older sister who she’s worshipped since forever recently deleted her from her life. Roz hides the wound behind a snarky and hilarious attitude. Whoever plays her would have to be tall. Mandy Moore fits the bill at 5’10’’ and has proven herself capable of playing a teen with an attitude.

Still, I imagine Roz’s face to be more like singer/songwriter Pink. Or like Busy Philipps who played a punky girl in the movie Home Room. Busy looks tough but vulnerable, and has the perfect chin. She would have to dye her hair brown, though.

Someone much shorter and sweeter should play the older sister, Eva. Eva is the perfect one—talented, funny, and, well, perfect. Though she’s excellent at ballet, cheerleading, and acting, she doesn’t brag. Some perfect girls are detestable, but Eva is not. In fact, she’s rather adorable and insecure. Ashley Greene (Twilight) would do justice to Eva’s sense of humor.

On the outside, Carmen is the smart, beautiful, Latina best friend to Eva. On the inside, she’s a bundle of complex phobias. Emily Rios (Quinceañera) would capture this unusual mixture of haughtiness and fear. Not to mention Carmen’s more hidden loveable side.

When it comes to the sexual orientation of my characters, ambiguity rules. Nothing happens beyond a little kissing (e.g. no sex), but my actresses would have to be comfortable showing attraction to another girl onscreen.

I’d like Ang Lee to direct because he’s so good at revealing the emotions beneath. And he’s the most versatile director around, trying his hand at so many genres—Chinese movies, dramas, a Jane Austen movie, a surreal martial arts movie, a superhero movie, and a gay western. It’s about time that he did a smart teen movie about sisters, Shakespeare, sexuality, and secrets.
Read an excerpt from My Invented Life, and learn more about the book and author at Lauren Bjorkman's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue