Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Jenny Gardiner's "Winging It"

Jenny Gardiner is the author of the novel Sleeping with Ward Cleaver. Her writing has appeared in Ladies Home Journal, the Washington Post, and NPR’s Day to Day, and she has a column of humorous slice-of-life essays that runs in the Charlottesville, VA Daily Progress. Gardiner lives in central Virginia with her husband, three kids, two dogs, one cat, and one gregarious parrot.

Here she explains some casting ideas for a big screen adaptation of her new book, Winging It: A Memoir of Caring for a Vengeful Parrot Who's Determined to Kill Me:
Well, it might be a little tricky, what with the parrot in the starring role. That said, Hollywood works magic all the time, so I'm sure it could be done. Besides which, Winging It features my African gray parrot, Graycie, but it's her story intertwined with my family's story, so it's not as if it would be 120 minutes of talking bird.

I haven't given a whole lot of thought to this book in movie form--funny, as I did very much with my first book, the novel Sleeping with Ward Cleaver. In this one it's more personal, as I'd be casting my family, which seems a bit surreal. If we went by looks, well, hmm, I was told in my skinnier days frequently that I looked like Courtney Thorne-Smith, so that might be useful casting. But personality-wise, I'd have to go with someone more known for their humor. I've always felt an affinity toward Bonnie Hunt--I think she and I are soul-sisters in our approach to life, parenting, humor in general--based of course purely on what I've seen of her in interviews and in movies.

For my husband, it's so hard to say. Maybe he'd like Andrew Shue since they both have strong soccer backgrounds. In his heydey he sort of had that look. Hmmm, how about Colin Firth? He always seems to have that capacity to stretch from character to character, so I could see him playing a dad-type...

For the kids, I have NO idea, but I would ask that they don't pick smarmy child actors. Those are just the worst! I loved how the casting was done for, say, Juno, just normal, down-to-earth. So whoever did the casting for that has my vote.

For that matter, for directing, I'd like someone very down-t0-earth. Penny Marshall maybe? Wait, Ive got it--Nora Ephron. I'D LOVE to be part of anything with which she's affiliated. I think she's so damned talented, so savvy, so funny, and has that capacity for vulnerability that's really important. I'd hand it all over to her and let her have at it!
Watch a video of Gardiner discussing Winging It and another of Graycie performing, and learn more about the book and author at Jenny Gardiner's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: Sleeping with Ward Cleaver.

Writers Read: Jenny Gardiner.

The Page 99 Test: Winging It.

--Marshal Zeringue