Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Keir Graff's "The Price of Liberty"

Keir Graff is the author of the novels Cold Lessons (under the pseudonym Michael McCulloch), My Fellow Americans, One Nation, Under God, and The Price of Liberty.

Here he shares some casting ideas for the main roles if The Price of Liberty is adapted for the big screen:
If they made The Price of Liberty into a film, who would I like to play the lead roles? That's a tough question. When I write, I don't picture living people, so it's hard to imagine anyone personifying my characters onscreen. Not that I wouldn't want that to happen -- boy, would I love to see my book made into a film, even with Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen as the leads. That would be completely inappropriate casting, of course, but I could distance myself from the project, cash my check, and buy a full-page ad in The Hollywood Reporter complaining about the casting. I imagine there would still be some money left over after I paid for the ad.

I guess the real answer is that I wouldn't want any actor I've seen before to play Jack McEnroe, my rugged Wyoming hero, or Shane Fetters, his deadly doofus nemesis, or Kyla Stearns, Jack's ex-wife -- or any of the other characters in the book. I love discovering new actors in movies and find that, once I get too well acquainted with them, I don't experience their twentieth projects quite as fully as their first ones. By then the actors have become their own entities, or characters, and my feelings about them sometimes interfere with my ability to believe their portrayals.

But, if I had to choose, I guess I'd go for someone with the DNA of Paul Newman for Jack: who else showed taciturn intelligence and toughness so well, always with a twinkle of humor in his eyes? And for Shane, well, he'd never do it in a million years, but Philip Seymour Hoffman can play dumb smarter than anyone I've ever seen -- although he'd have to work out or maybe we'd have to splice his genes with someone more physically imposing. Or John C. Reilly, who has been known to swap roles with Hoffman (they did it in a stage version of True West, playing different roles on different nights). Reilly would definitely be scarier than Hoffman. So maybe conjoin them like twins? As for Kyla, Holly Hunter of a few years back: sharp-witted and spunky but able to show emotions seething just below the surface.

With a dozen roles left to cast, I'm already exhausted just thinking about it, and have a healthy new respect for the work done by casting directors!
Visit Keir Graff's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Price of Liberty.

--Marshal Zeringue