Saturday, January 30, 2010

Alexandra Diaz's "Of All the Stupid Things"

Alexandra Diaz grew up in a bilingual Spanish/English-speaking family in various parts of the US and now spends her time between Bath, England, Santa Fe, NM, and the rest of the world. She graduated magna cum laude with a BA in English and Communications from Lake Forest College and then went on to be awarded an MA by the prestigious Writing for Young People course at England's Bath Spa University.

Here she shares some casting ideas about a big screen adaptation of her new novel, Of All the Stupid Things:
While writing my YA novel, Of All the Stupid Things, I always saw the character’s actions and expressions as if it was a fuzzy film. I know the individual’s physical characteristics, but with the exception of Tara, I didn’t have an actual picture in my head that adequately represented the characters.

Because of that, it was interesting and fun to go through my mental library of actors I had seen in films who might work to represent the characters from my book. Despite their blurry faces, they feel like real people. I can’t assure these actors are the best people for the task, but this is my fantasy movie world and the result of the assignment amused me nonetheless.

I once saw a teenage girl playing soccer, her short blond hair in a ponytail. As soon as I saw her I thought, that’s Tara! So from then on every time I visualized Tara, it was with this girl’s face. Ideally I would like that soccer girl to play Tara, but if I have to go with an actor, Keira Knightley in Bend it Like Beckham would work. She is, however, nothing like I envisioned Tara to look like.

Even though Pinkie’s ethnicity is technically Italian, I think America Ferrera would do the role well. Ferrera is a beautiful full-figured woman and that is a must for anyone playing Pinkie. I only wish there were more actors like her in Hollywood.

I thought Whitney Blaire would be difficult because she is much more than a pretty rich kid so I wanted an actor who could reflect that. Take away the leather, and Faith from Buffy the Vampire Slayer immediately came to mind. Eliza Dushku has a presence that is more than just a pretty face.

As for Brent, I think it goes without saying that a young Johnny Depp with shoulder length hair would do the role perfectly. He’s sexy and suave and it’s easy to see why Tara would be with him even if he had messed around with others.

Riley is a hard one to cast, or at least I can’t think of anyone that is just right. I’m going with a younger Lucy Liu at the moment. Although I never mention it, Riley could be Chinese. At least I always got the feeling she wasn’t “white.”

While David is not a heartthrob, he has his boyish cuteness and innocence. Joshua Jackson when he first played Charlie in The Mighty Ducks had that, complete with the bowl haircut.

Add all this up with the directing talents of Gurinder Chadha, and we’d have an amusing film. Don’t know if it would work (even if we could make the cast younger), but it would be fun nonetheless. And that’s all that matters!
Learn more about the book and author at Alexandra Diaz's website.

--Marshal Zeringue