Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Matthew Dicks' "Unexpectedly, Milo"

Matthew Dicks is the author of the novels Something Missing and Unexpectedly, Milo. An elementary school teacher, he was named West Hartford’s Teacher of the Year in 2005 and was a finalist for Connecticut’s Teacher of the Year.

Here he shares some casting options for a big screen adaptation of Unexpectedly, Milo:
Since the film rights to Unexpectedly, Milo have already been optioned, the question of who should fill the role of Milo is one that I have been asked many times. It’s not a question that is easy for me to answer. Though I see a lot of movies, I tend to focus more upon plot and character than the actual actors who are playing the roles. I often find myself involved in a conversation about actors who I have seen in dozens of films but have never known their actual names.

Keeping that somewhat limited perspective in mind, here is my attempt at casting a few of the lead roles in Unexpectedly, Milo:

Matt Damon seems well suited for the Milo role, and there are people in the film business who agree (and who admittedly planted the idea in my head). While Damon can play the role of an action hero quite well in films like The Bourne Identity, he can also play much less-assuming lead roles in films like The Talented Mr. Ripley and The Informant!. It’s the slightly bumbling, somewhat wayward hero that he played in The Informant! that seems especially apropos for the role of Milo. Likeable but fallible. Capable but flawed.

I also think Greg Kinnear would make a great Milo. Kinnear has played a flawed anti-hero in such films as Little Miss Sunshine and Flash of Genius, and these qualities seem especially suited to Milo’s disposition. These were characters (one fictional and one real) forced to confront and ultimately accept their own limitations, yet they still rose above expectations in a way that surprised even them. This seems to capture the essence of Milo.

I think that Ellen Page would handle the role of Freckles quite well. Her performance in Juno was terrific. Specifically, I think she managed to occupy the space between eminently confident yet deeply fragile quite well, walking that fine line with artistic dexterity. Freckles is a woman who is attempts to portray strength and assurance while the ghosts of her past constantly threaten to tear down her carefully framed façade. In Juno, Page portrays a teenager who attempts to remain calm and in control in the face of her unwanted pregnancy, yet in the end, she is just a young girl, frightened, immature and feeling alone.

The role of Christine, Milo’s wife, is a tougher one for me. I immediately thought of a younger Demi Moore, but unless there is a way to reach back and access the Demi Moore of 1995, this is not a realistic option. The actress playing the part would need to have the ability to appear likable and rotten at the same time, capable of causing the audience to wonderful she is justifiably angry, just plain awful or perhaps both.

Any suggestions?
Visit Matthew Dicks' website and Facebook page.

Writers Read: Matthew Dicks.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Matthew Dicks & Kaleigh.

The Page 69 Test: Unexpectedly, Milo.

--Marshal Zeringue