Monday, October 5, 2009

Louise Penny's "The Brutal Telling"

Louise Penny's bestselling first mystery, Still Life, was the winner of the New Blood Dagger, Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony, and Dilys awards; her second, A Fatal Grace, won the 2007 Agatha Award for Best Novel; her fourth, A Rule Against Murder, was a New York Times bestseller. The Brutal Telling is the fifth novel in the Three Pines mystery series.

A couple of years ago Penny took a very entertaining stab at the My Book, The Movie exercise for the series. Here she revisits the casting of an adaptation:
I love this idea, and have given several answers depending on the book. None of them, truth be told, very serious. Though John Travolta as Ruth still appeals to me. And I think Mo'Nique or Oprah for Myrna would be great fun! But, suddenly, unexpectedly while watching a film I found my Gamache.

I wasn't looking - but there on the screen he was. It was while watching this wonderful, fairly modest British film called Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. It stars Amy Adams and Frances McDormand, as Miss Pettigrew, a middle-aged British nanny in the late 1930's, who finds herself taken on by a giddy American singer. It's hilarious, and wonderful. There's a character named Joe. And I suddenly realized Joe was Gamache, in slightly different circumstances. The same warmth, dignity, humour but with a touch of sadness. A happy man, but one who has seen more than anyone should.

And while the actor, physically, wasn't perfect he was close. The right age, the right height, the right body type.

His name is Ciarán Hinds.

There might be a better Gamache out there, but for now, when I wrote The Brutal Telling and the book I'm now finishing, I see Mr. Hinds as Gamache. It's an amazing, transforming, experience. I would never have guessed how powerful it is, to have a live man as my fictional character. I'm more than a little afraid to meet Ciarán Hinds one day in case he turns out to be some horrible man. I suspect he's lovely - but hate to be disappointed.

I've since seen him in other roles, since I wanted to research him (and felt more than a little like a stalker!) He was Caesar in Rome, and did a good job. He was also in Munich, a Speilberg film - and was fabulous I thought.

You know, up until now I've sort of joked about the film versions, or TV versions, of my books, giving obviously ridiculous casting ideas. But now I'm quite serious. I've turned down a number of offers for the rights, because I never felt the project was right. But there are a few companies interested right now, so we'll see. The one casting decision that would make or break the entire thing is Gamache. But - we'll see.
Learn more about the book and author at Louise Penny's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Still Life.

My Book, The Movie: A Fatal Grace.

The Page 99 Test: The Cruelest Month.

The Page 99 Test: A Rule Against Murder.

The Page 69 Test: The Brutal Telling.

--Marshal Zeringue