Friday, November 20, 2009

Lara Zielin's "Donut Days"

Lara Zielin is a magazine editor by day and young-adult author by night. She grew up in Wisconsin eating cheese and watching the Packers, both of which she never really stopped doing even after moving to Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Here she shares some thoughts about the actors and director for a big screen adaptation of her debut YA novel, Donut Days:
Donut Days’ protagonist, Emma, is something of a budding hipster living in a community of conformists. Her parents are evangelical ministers who want her to attend a Christian college when she graduates from high school, but Emma can think of nothing worse.

Emma has a funny, often sarcastic voice, so the actress who plays her would need to be edgy, but not too edgy since the book takes place in the Midwest and, well, no one is that mean in the heartland. I think Ellen Page would be a fabulous option. Emma Watson, too, if she lost the British accent. I also think Amanda Bynes could do the role a great justice, and also I’d like her to play me in the Lifetime movie they’ll make about me one of these days: Lara Zielin: The Lara Zielin story: Hallowed Pages [subtitle] Not Without My Pen.

Emma’s in a fight with her best friend, Nat, who is tall and gorgeous, and who has red hair. Her character is more conservative and simple than Emma, so I’m thinking of someone fresh-faced and wholesome like Hayden Panettiere (but with scarlet locks).

Emma’s love interest is a nerd-turned-hunk, which would be a fun twist to bring from real life to the screen. Peter Billingsley is a bronze god of a man, who was Ralphie in A Christmas Story. But he more directs than acts now, so maybe Patrick Dempsey, except a few years younger. But not too young, because then he’s back to being a geek. It’s very nearly a quandary, you see.

To direct, I’d love Rob Hess, who always does an amazing job of capturing humor and drama in his films (full disclosure: I’m sleeping with him. We’re married.).

If not Rob, then Mark Waters who did an awesome job making Mean Girls fast and engaging, or Spike Jonze because he’s amazing and why not. I mean, come on, Being John Malkovich? That’s just brilliant filmmaking right there.

I would caution all the actors and producers and the director that they’d better bring to set a love for donuts and pastries because a big chunk of the book/movie takes place as people camp out in front of a donut shop waiting for it to open (full disclosure: I gained 20 pounds writing this book. I called it research.).
Learn more about the book and author at Lara Zielin’s website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue