Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A.W. Hill's "Nowhere-Land"

A.W. Hill is the author of Nowhere-Land: A Stephan Raszer Investigation, as well as two previous Stephan Raszer novels; he has won numerous literary prizes. He is a Grammy Award-winning music supervisor for films, and was vice president of music for Walt Disney Pictures.

Here he shares some ideas for casting a cinematic adaptation of Nowhere-Land:
Stephan Raszer (the name is an acronym), protagonist of Nowhere-Land and the two novels that preceded it, was real for me long before any of his plots took shape.The first tic I pictured was the squint he registers when something doesn't smell right, or when he's faced with a metaphysical puzzlement. It's a gesture stolen from the facial repertoire of the great Steve McQueen, who is the most enduring model for Raszer. When the first book was in movie development at Paramount under Alphaville and director Alex Proyas, I had to give some serious thought to who a latter-day McQueen might be (not that I would have had any say about casting), and I thought of guys like Daniel Craig (not yet Bond), Guy Pearce, and Viggo Mortensen, all guys whose vulnerability is just barely disguised by tough exteriors, all "on the borderline of handsome." That's still pretty much how I see the character.

Raszer's women are a special breed of dirty angel. They're more grounded than he is, but only because their wings would otherwise carry them off. Monica Lord, his indispensable assistant, has always been Claire Danes. No one else comes remotely close. The character of Ruthie Endicott in Nowhere-Land, a "slice of rhubarb pie too good to spoil with ice cream," is a tougher call. She would be, I think, the present-day version of Valerie Bertinelli at 22. Cat's eyes, full of guile, and impossible to resist.
Learn more about the book and author at A.W. Hill's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue