Sunday, December 27, 2009

Gail Dayton's "Heart's Blood"

Gail Dayton was born in Ohio, only because her dad was in the Air Force at the time. She got to Texas as soon as she could—at one year old. She was raised in Texas and Idaho, reading everything she could get her hands on, especially adventure stories. She was reading and loving fantasy and science fiction back when she still thought kissing was icky. Then she grew up.

Now, Dayton lives with her husband of 30-plus years on the Texas Gulf Coast two blocks from the beach, and writes fantasy romance for Tor Paranormal Romance. She reads in the back yard—the beach is too sandy for her Sony reader—but she still considers everything she reads a beach read.

Here she explains who she has in mind for the leads in a film adaptation of her new novel, Heart’s Blood:
Heart’s Blood is the second book in my blood magic universe, following New Blood, which was released March 2009. Grey Carteret is the main character in Heart’s Blood, but — since I cast my characters as I write them — the part was cast during the writing of the first book. I knew when I cast him that I would be giving him his own book. Secondary characters who have someone playing their part do tend to get uppity and demanding.

Grey is an aristocrat, the third or fourth son of a duke, with at least two older and two younger sisters as well. He’s the black-sheep member of the family, since magic is frowned upon by the nobility, and he is not only a conjurer associating with spirits, but he’s the magister of the conjurer’s guild. So I needed someone who could do both aristocratic and dissolute. Ralph Fiennes seemed to fill the bill perfectly.

Except during the writing of the story, Grey’s smart-ass side started coming out. He would just SAY these things ... and they wouldn’t be coming out of Ralph Fiennes’s mouth. Grey had decided for himself that Johnny Depp (as seen in From Hell or The Libertine, not Pirates of the Caribbean) was the actor he would inhabit. He just morphed from one into the other, all on his own. So Johnny Depp played the part during the writing of Heart’s Blood. He does smart-ass beautifully, as well as dissolute, with a core of honor beneath. Perfect for Grey Carteret.

(Yes, the hero on the cover of the book looks more like Doogie HowserNeal Patrick Harris as he was then, not as he is now. Just paste a cut-out of Depp over it. Or use your imagination.)

Pearl was a little more difficult. She has the strength to blackmail Grey into taking her as his apprentice. She’s been living on the streets in London’s East End, but hasn’t always been there. She’s tough and tiny, able to disguise herself as a boy because she’s so small — and because she can use blood sorcery. And she’s only 20. Pearl is someone who thinks outside the box to accomplish what she thinks needs doing, because she’s too small to tackle things head on. She’s also wary of depending on anyone other than herself. I think I’d like to see Marcy Rylan (Guiding Light) take on the part. She’s small and delicate-looking, like Pearl, and she has to be tough to work on a soap. [grin]
Learn more about the book and author at Gail Dayton's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: New Blood by Gail Dayton.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Vonda McIntyre's "Starfarers"

Vonda N. McIntyre's publications include the Nebula and Hugo award winning novel Dreamsnake, which is based on the Nebula-winning story “Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand.”

Here she shares the tale of the genesis of Starfarers, “the best SF TV series never made,” and the novels it spawned:
Starfarers didn’t start out as a novel quartet. It didn’t start out as a single novel, a short story, or prose.

It started out as a hoax.

Some years back, I was to be on a SF convention panel, “Science Fiction on Television.” This panel used to turn up at conventions with some regularity, and it always followed the same pattern: Somebody pulled out a list of all the SF television series of the recent past and read it aloud, inviting the audience to agree how terrible all the shows were. (Since then, things have changed, and some good SF has been on tv, but at that time aside from Twilight Zone and the original Star Trek, you had choices such as Time Tunnel and Lost in Space.)

This particular panel bores me to death, so, having promised to be on it, I had to do something different.

I had always thought the TV miniseries was the perfect form for SF — I wished Masterpiece Theater would produce one of our field’s classics — but at the time no one had tried it.

When the panelist next to me whipped out his list and started to read titles, to the audience’s groans, I let him get through a couple of lines before I raised an eyebrow.

“Hold on,” I said. “Haven’t you seen Starfarers? Hasn’t anybody seen Starfarers?”

Of course nobody had (because I made it up).

“It was a terrific miniseries. It was hard to find because CBS kept moving it around — isn’t that always what happens with good shows? It was about an O’Neill colony starship, a university town in space, preparing for its first research expedition. But there’s a political change, and the current administration decides the expedition should be cancelled and the starship turned into an orbiting spy station.

“So the faculty and staff of the starship do what any red-blooded space explorers would do.

“They steal the starship.”

I told the audience a little about the exploratory company:

J.D. Sauvage, alien contact specialist and long-distance swimmer, joining the alien contact team after a sojourn with a pod of killer whales and their genetically engineered human cousins, the divers (who live in Canada because they’re technically at war with the USA);

Victoria Fraser MacKenzie, Canadian physicist, inventor of the starship’s propulsion system, descendent of slaves who escaped via the Underground Railroad before the American Civil War;

Satoshi Lono, geographer, web-savvy nightowl and Marathon runner;

Stephen Thomas Gregory, geneticist, oversupplied with good looks and charm that mask his troubled family past.

Victoria, Satoshi, and Stephen Thomas are members of a family partnership, trying to recover from the loss of their fourth partner, Merit.

The story was part space adventure, part alien contact story, part family saga.

At the end of the panel, local filmmaker Ryan Johnson was about to set out on a quest for videotapes of the series. I had to confess that the series was a hoax, “the best SF TV series never made.” After a moment of disappointment, he said, “I’ll make you a trailer!”

And he did.

Several friends formed the Starfarers Fan Club, and we did a number of panels at sf conventions over the next couple of years. I fondly remember one in which the next panel was “Hollywood screenwriting,” and the panelists in the back of the room waiting for their panel to start were completely fooled by Ryan’s trailer, which was designed to look like it had been fortuitously snagged off a tv broadcast.

We always called Starfarers “the best SF TV series never made,” and the audience almost always failed to hear the “never made” part.

After a few panels, I realized it was a pretty good story and I wanted to write it, so I did. It ended up being a quartet, which I think of as one long novel that I couldn’t afford to write all at once: Starfarers, Transition, Metaphase, and Nautilus.

Over on the Book View Café blog, we were discussing casting possibilities, and the interesting idea came up of a vintage cast from 1940s movies. We kicked that around for a while.

It turned out to be impossible.

The problem with a vintage cast is that the faculty and staff of Starfarer is a diverse group. Satoshi is of Hawaiian and Japanese background, Victoria is Canadian. Stephen Thomas’ boss is the daughter of Cambodian refugees. J.D. has six biological and social parents, and Zev is from a family that has chosen genetic engineering to allow them to live in the sea. Stephen Thomas is one of the few people in the book who’s the default human being as far as movies are concerned: a white guy in his late twenties or early thirties. And even he isn’t quite “default,” not that you can tell by looking, because like most of the characters in Starfarers, Stephen Thomas chooses his lovers for other qualities than whether they’re of the opposite sex.

One hopes that if a miniseries were ever made of Starfarers, the producers would honor the diversity of the people in it, and not claim (as happens far too often) that because they were color-blind with casting, it really wasn’t important or significant that everybody turned out to be white. That claim is just plain ridiculous.

Aside from a diverse cast of human characters, the quartet includes biomechanical creatures (the silver slugs and the artificial stupids) and aliens who are alien physically as well as culturally. None of the aliens is remotely human. One group vaguely resembles six-limbed meerkats. One being is the size of an island, and another is as delicate and insubstantial as vacuum.

And then there is Nemo, the squidmoth.

As J.D. thinks, at the end of Transition: Squidmoths?

Those folks are going to require some serious CGI.

So who would be my ideal (human, or mostly human) cast? When I wrote the novels and when we were doing the Starfarers panels, we had a cast in mind, but some of the actors are no longer in the business. The vintage cast was a no-go, and while it was tempting to try for a time-travelling 1960s cast (mainly because Peter O’Toole in his Lawrence of Arabia days would have been perfect as Stephen Thomas, and Peter O’Toole is in all my favorite movies, and Lawrence of Arabia is my candidate for the best movie ever made), I decided to go with contemporary actors.

Alien Contact Specialist J.D. Sauvage is Camryn Manheim. She can be funny or serious, sexy or reserved. You can believe her as a long-distance swimmer and as a person who could make friends even with alien intelligences.

For Victoria Fraser MacKenzie, I want Tracy Heggins. Heggins would be perfect for the sophisticated and politically savvy head of the Alien Contact Team. Victoria is a physicist, but she’s no girl geek. Heggins is stunning; she projects intelligence and strength. She can also be vulnerable — an important quality for Victoria, who is still grieving over the loss of the fourth member of her family partnership, Merit.

For Stephen Thomas Gregory: Cillian Murphy. Stephen Thomas is the biologist of the team, preternaturally handsome, very smart, the newest partner and youngest of the family, the person knocked most off-center by the death of Merit, who proposed to him.

And for Satoshi Lono, the geographer of the Alien Contact Team, and the person whose good sense, intelligence, passion, and love keeps the family partnership from dissolving?

George Takei, of course.

There may be some truth to the suggestion that the Starfarers group developed Satoshi for Takei, to give him a part to play where he got to do a good deal more than navigate a starship. And if Satoshi is some years older than the rest of the Alien Contact Team, older than the other members of the family partnership?

That’s OK.

George Takei is timeless.
The Starfarers Quartet debuted at Book View Café on 20 December 2009. For more about Vonda N. McIntyre, please visit her website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Claudia Dain's "Courtesan Chronicles"

Claudia Dain is a two-time Rita finalist and a USA Today bestselling author.

Here she shares her thinking about the director and principal cast for a film adaptation of the Courtesan Chronicles:
This is so easy, the actor part of the equation, anyway. I always work from a photo to create and cement a character. I like to be able to stare at an intriguing face, to see the subtle and not so subtle differences between one brown-eyed brunette and another. Plus, then I don't forget the details, like the scar is on the left cheek and not the right.

I didn't use to need physical props to remember my characters, but now I do. I'd like to blame it on age but since I'm not 92, is age really the factor here?

Don't answer that.

I'm writing a long-running series (the fifth book out in July 2010) and the central heroine must be played by Catherine Zeta-Jones. She's that perfect blend of smart sophistication, sex appeal, and innate good humor; my Sophia Dalby character to a T.

Her hero should be played by Clive Owen. Dark haired and green eyed, tough, and yet still a gentleman, he's a man who is not intimidated by anything or anyone, yet doesn't make a big deal out of that fact.

In the director's chair, I'd love to see Bonnie Hunt. She has a light touch and can hit both the humor and romance button in the same instant. That's not easy to do well.

To produce? That's tougher. Someone who isn't afraid to take on the costs of filming a Regency historical. All those location shots! All those lavish costumes!
Learn more about the author and her novels at Claudia Dain's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Joel Shepherd's "Sasha"

Joel Shepherd was born in Adelaide, South Australia, in 1974. He has studied Film and Television, International Relations, has interned on Capitol Hill in Washington, and traveled widely in Asia. His first trilogy, the Cassandra Kresnov Series, consists of Crossover, Breakaway and Killswitch.

Here he shares some ideas about casting opportunities for a film adaptation of Sasha, the first book in the A Trial of Blood and Steel series:
One giant plus for any movie made of Sasha, is that unlike my previous ‘Cassandra Kresnov Series’, Sasha would be relatively cheap to film. Yes there are some quite big battle scenes at the end, but most of the story is character driven rather than action driven, so aside from the costs of shooting in some very pretty, wild terrain (New Zealand? Canada?), I can’t see any prohibitive expenses. There’s also no magic or dragons or other giant, flame spewing monsters, so special effects would barely be needed (and wouldn’t that be just wonderful, to see some character based fantasy that didn’t just rely on eye candy?).

Since characters drive the plot, by far the most important part of the film would be casting. And for my main character Sasha, I have exactly the same problem I had with the Cassandra Kresnov Series -- there’s very few actresses in Hollywood who have established themselves playing tough female roles. There are probably quite a few who could do it, but haven’t been given the opportunity. But I don’t know who they are.

As a character, Sasha is something of a force of nature. She was born a Princess, daughter of the King of Lenayin, and was a very wild kid. In any other circumstance she might have had it beaten out of her, but Lenayin loves individualists and Sasha’s older brother, Prince Kristoff, was a little wild himself and encouraged her, perhaps unwisely. But Kristoff was killed when Sasha was eight, Sasha was heartbroken, and went to live with Kristoff’s old mentor Kessligh, greatest warrior in Lenayin , to take Kristoff’s place as his student.

Any actress playing Sasha would have to get into the shape of her life, think Demi Moore in G.I. Jane. Swordfighting in my novels isn’t some magical gift -- talent perhaps is (as Tiger Woods or Roger Federer could tell you), but talent has to be worked at, and Sasha works hard. She’s only an average sized girl, twenty years old in the novel, but she’s got muscles all over. She’s not bulky at all, because she relies on speed more than power, but has technique to achieve both.

She fights with an exotic swordfighting style called the svaalverd, the like of which I’m not sure has ever actually existed with swords, so I’m not actually certain that it’s possible, I’m just presuming it is. It’s inspired by the Wing Chun style of Kung Fu, which was created by a woman (the story goes) named Yim Wing Chun a long time ago in China, and was designed specifically to enable a weaker fighter to beat a stronger one, using the power derived of form and technique to overwhelm the inferior power of size and muscle. Or in other words, it was designed in part to allow women to beat men, by using a man’s greater size and strength against him (the irony being that these days far more men practise it than women). To portray this in a movie would be fascinating, and would require a very good fight choreographer with an excellent imagination who grasped the concept. Sasha’s blindingly quick, has amazing footwork and balance, and parries often with an angled blade so she’s not meeting force with force, but deflects her opponent’s blade past its target, leaving him open for the next cut. The more power her opponent uses against her, the better she likes it, because a big swing that misses its target will leave him completely exposed on the follow through.

Another key character is Kessligh, Sasha’s mentor. I’ve always imagined him as a guy with a very rugged and memorable face. Michael Douglas comes to mind, though only in a general sort of way. Kessligh’s an even better fighter than Sasha, not quite as fast any longer (he’s about fifty) but deadly experienced. He’s a philosophical guy with a hard edge, whose emotion when you get it out of him is that much more valuable because it’s so rare.

Sasha’s most prominent brothers, Damon and Koenyg, could be played by any number of tough young Hollywood guys. Damon is taller, more cynical and less self confident. Koenyg is a brick wall, average height but built like you might see in the WWF, and with similar attitude.

And then there’s Sofy, Sasha’s younger sister, intelligent, sophisticated and ‘girly’, an utterly different personality to Sasha, yet somewhat worshipful of her all the same. She has no interest in being ‘just like’ Sasha, but has huge admiration for Sasha’s strength of character. Sofy is the peacemaker in a world filled with warriors, and it is a struggle for her to retain her youthful optimism in the face of all her world’s troubles. As a character type, I don’t think she’d be difficult to cast compared to Sasha, but again, her character’s surface simplicity becomes more and more complicated the further the story goes, so some real acting talent would be required.

Lastly, I think Sasha the movie would require some awesome cinematography. Lenayin is a very rugged, beautiful land, rather like its people in that it can be difficult, dangerous and wonderful all at once. The native Goeren-yai are animists who believe spirits live in all things, and beautiful photography could capture their sense of wonder at the land around them, and help to convey why it is that they are like they are.
Read an excerpt from Sasha and learn more about the land of Lenayin. Visit Joel Shepherd's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: Crossover.

The Page 69 Test: Sasha.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 11, 2009

Meg Gardiner's Evan Delaney series

Meg Gardiner's novels include the Jo Beckett series -- The Dirty Secrets Club and The Memory Collector -- and several Evan Delaney novels, which feature "a smart-aleck freelance journalist, deal with religious extremism, a high school reunion killer, and sex, drugs, and rock’n'roll. (They’re set in California. Of course they do.)"

China Lake (of the Evan Delaney series) won the 2009 Edgar award for Best Paperback Original; Stephen King calls the series “simply put, the finest crime-suspense series I’ve come across in the last twenty years.”

Here Gardiner explains some casting choices for a big screen adaptation of the novels:
Here I go, stepping into a bear trap.

I’ve always avoided being pinned down about who should play Evan Delaney. I write about her in the novels: She’s a tomboy who doesn’t know that she’s beautiful. She’s athletic, has a quick laugh, a quicker tongue, and a sharp sense of humor.

The books are fast-paced thrillers set in southern California. And when the Winnipeg Free Press reviewed Kill Chain, it said, “You just want to see what Rachel Weisz could do as Evan Delaney, a Santa Barbara freelance journalist whose father has gone missing.”

Rachel Weisz is fabulous. It’s a kick to hear that somebody sees her as Evan. Others have said they picture Sarah Michelle Gellar and Sarah Connor—meaning Linda Hamilton in the Terminator movies. And not one of those actors is the Evan of my imagination.

Here’s the wonderful thing about fiction: After I write the book, readers do creative work of their own, and imagine the world of the novel fresh in their own minds.

But if I had to pick a big-screen actress to play Evan, I’d go with Hilary Swank. She’s feisty but vulnerable, has strong looks with an underlying tenderness, and can run like hell. Plus, in Kill Chain, Evan says she has a better chance of landing the space shuttle than of fixing her computer. In The Core, Hilary Swank actually does land the space shuttle. That’s good enough for me.

(And in the background, my husband calls: “But give Evan Sigourney Weaver’s voice.”)

Other characters also take some thought. Jesse Blackburn, Evan’s boyfriend, combines Jensen Ackles from Supernatural with Keanu Reeves in Speed—and maybe Matt Damon in Jason Bourne mode, if his dialogue were written by The West Wing writers. But casting Jesse’s tricky. He’s a smartass, drives too fast, is as brave as all get out, and once had the world at his feet as a world-class athlete. But he’s been disabled by a hit-and-run driver. He can’t walk. Any hot men out there who are paraplegics and first class actors, please grab for the role. Meanwhile, the guy who comes closest to looking like him is Brazilian actor Reynaldo Gianecchini.

Then there’s Evan’s family. Mark Harmon would be great as her dad, Phil Delaney. Jamie Lee Curtis — though she’s too young in real life — would be good as Evan’s mom, Angie. And let’s have Jon Hamm play Evan’s fighter-pilot brother, Brian. Oh, yeah.

As for Evan’s guardian demons — the spy couple, Jax Rivera and Tim North — Jada Pinkett Smith would play a fierce Jax, and Jason Isaacs a coolly threatening Tim.

What do you know—that wasn’t painful at all. I don’t even have to gnaw off my own foot to get out of the trap.
Learn more about the author and her work at Meg Gardiner's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ellen Byerrum's Crimes of Fashion mysteries

Ellen Byerrum is a journalist in Washington, D.C., and a produced and published playwright. She holds a Virginia private investigator’s registration.

Here she shares her thinking about the characters in her Crimes of Fashion mysteries, both on the page and on the screen:
It’s funny how many people ask me who would I cast in movies of my books. At least I don’t have to make up an answer on the fly because two of my books, Killer Hair and Hostile Makeover, have already been made into Lifetime Movie Network films. They aired this past summer in June and July. As it turned out, I was pretty lucky with the cast, and the movies were fun and they still resembled my books.

When I write I have a very clear picture of my characters; their age, height, hair and eye color, as well as their background and quirks and style of dress. But that’s only natural: I write Crimes of Fashion mysteries. The books feature Lacey Smithsonian, a reluctant (yet stylish) fashion reporter turned amateur sleuth who works in Washington, D.C., which she likes to call “The City Fashion Forgot.” In addition to Lacey, there are her friends, her love interest, her suspects, and her coworkers to complicate her life. But I don’t write with actors in mind. Not even now, after the movies. Of course if Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant were available…

As a playwright, I learned that unexpected casting choices often produce the best results. Your first-choice actor may not work the way you imagined or have the right chemistry with the rest of the cast. Counting on one actor to play a particular part can be shortsighted and limit the creative possibilities. So I was not thinking about who I would cast as Lacey Smithsonian when the movie deal came up.

I wanted an actress who would bring Lacey to life, rather than someone famous who simply plays the same role every time. Some movie stars essentially just play themselves, not the character. But Maggie Lawson brought abundant charm and wit and intelligence to the role of Lacey and won lots of applause from my readers, and from me.

Some of the movies’ characters differed from the books, but they all brought something unique to their roles. Sadie LeBlanc’s character look as Stella Lake was not exactly the spiky-haired, leather lass, punk goddess hairstylist in my books, but she was very funny and engaging and had great chemistry with Maggie’s Lacey, as did Sarah Edmondson, who played attorney and conspiracy theorist Brooke Barton. Jocelyne Loewen took a small role as food editor Felicity Pickles and made it very funny and left a lasting impression.

The leading men in the movies offered lots of eye candy for the ladies. Victor Webster played Lacey’s main squeeze Vic Donovan, who is a private eye in the books, but a homicide cop in the TV flicks. (A couple of readers complained he was too handsome! Oh please, I beg to disagree. How can a man be too handsome?) Mark Consuelos offered a sharp, humorous and smart turn as police reporter Tony Trujillo. James McDaniel was appropriately cranky and caring as Eye Street Observer editor Douglas MacArthur Jones, Lacey’s boss.

Mary McDonnell made a wonderful Rose Smithsonian, Lacey’s loving but smothering mother. And Katharine Isabelle played a spunky Cherise Smithsonian, Lacey’s little sister, a former high school cheerleader with a lethal high kick.

While I don’t write my characters with actors in minds, I have to confess a few actors have always struck me as perfect, mostly for the secondary characters I love to have fun with. For instance, I would love to see a Wally Shawn-type actor play my happy-go-lucky death-and-dismemberment reporter Harlan Wiedemeyer. Maybe someday. I’m crossing my fingers.
Visit Ellen Byerrum's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Saint-Germain Chronicles

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro is the first woman to be named a Living Legend by the International Horror Guild. She has been nominated for the Edgar, World Fantasy, and Bram Stoker Awards and was the first female president of the Horror Writers Association. She is best known as the creator of the heroic vampire, the Count Saint-Germain. The latest volume in the Saint-Germain Chronicles is Burning Shadows.

Here she shares some insights about the difficulty of casting the principal parts in any adaptations of her Saint-Germain Chronicles ... and names some actors who might have done the story justice:
When asked what actor I would like to play Saint-Germain, for the last quarter century, I've said James Mason in 1954. He was short, he was smart, he was a grown-up, he had incredible dark eyes, and a truly seductive voice; he rode well, he was a fine musician, and he seemed to lack that short man's chip on the shoulder -- I say seemed because I can only assess that from his acting; I didn't know the man himself. But no, I didn't and I don't imagine him as Saint-Germain while I write. Since the character is based on a real man, when I visualize him, that is who I see in my mind's eye. The historical man looked a lot like the late French film director François Truffaut, but with eyebrows angled in a more Slavic manner than and his nose more out of line than Truffaut's.

With a book series that has run longer than some actor's careers, settling on one for the role has seemed a bit ... unrealistic. There are actors who might do it very well, but as time goes by, who they are changes. Since Saint-Germain himself was about five-foot-six and stocky, he isn't the current "image" of a vampire, and that narrows the field right there. While I occasionally see an actor I think might be the right fit for the role, it doesn't happen very often, since the real man is so well-established in my imagination. But I have a great respect for the manner in which an actor can accommodate a role and give it authenticity through their art, and I sometimes can see possibilities in unlikely places.

Another factor in these stories -- and it would be a crucial one in casting most of the novels -- is Roger. The right balance needs to be struck between Saint-Germain and Roger. Among the current crop of actors who would look about the right age and can play the demeanor is British actor Michael Kitchen. But if he were cast in the role, it would definately influence who would play Saint-Germain. The relationship between the two is one of the major means of establishing that the foreignness of the two isn't just geographical. And with as long-enduring a relationship as those two have, much of what goes on with them is by implication as much as discussion, so the chemistry of the actors would be very important in terms of getting the tone right.

The great stage director Frank Corsaro and I once spent the better part of a dinner discussing who should play Saint-Germain, and Roger, for that matter. The time factor entered into our thoughts: in the 70s, Alan Bates (he'd need contact lenses, but short and tending to stocky; perhaps a bit too flamboyant, which Saint-Germain distinctly is not); for the 90s, Sting (wig/dye-job, contact lenses, a bit too tall, but great presence); Ralph Fiennes for the end of the 90s (wrong build, needs contacts, and a strong Roger to anchor, but has wonderful self-contained intensity). For Roger, in the 70s, Ian Richardson (providing the Saint-Germain had a more beautiful and distinctive speaking voice than Richardson's), in the 80s Edward Petherbridge (too tall, and would need a very elegant Saint-Germain to out-elegant him); in the 90s, we couldn't agree. We also had a good time debating Olivia, ranging over a great number of really good actresses, but never narrowed it down to one per decade. Frank said that it was a juicy role for any woman, and I, naturally, agreed. We were also in full accord about Saint Sebastien: the only actor for the role was, and is, Christopher Lee: the book is dedicated to him with an operatic joke, and he is familiar with the book. If he weren't available, we thought --- staying with actors who have played Dracula --- possibly in the 80s Jack Palance, and in the 90s Frank Langella.

There is also the problem that leading men tend to be handsome, and handsome changes from era to era and culture to culture. The real Saint-Germain wasn't handsome by the standard of his day, he was attractive, and attractive remains fairly constant. Casting the role to adhere to the standards of male handsomeness for this time will be inconsistent with standards of other centuries and other cultures. Making full allowance for the adaptability of actors, perhaps Saint-Germain would be better served by one of many fine character actors who are attractive but not so handsome that their very faces scream "Early twenty-first century!" After all, the old guy is over 4,000 years old, and Roger is just over 2,000, and they've been over a good portion of the world.

If a producer started out today to film all the Saint-Germain tales, novels and shorter works, at the rate of one a year, it would be 2034 before the films caught up to where I am now --- and that doesn't include Out of the House of Life or the Olivia books. In the meantime, I plan to write some more, so there would be at least two, and probably three Saint-Germains, and the same number of Rogers, so the casting conundrum would continue into the future, and probably remain just as perplexing as it is now.
Visit Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's website.

--Marshal Zeringue