Thursday, September 30, 2010

Meredith Cole's Lydia McKenzie novels

Meredith Cole started her career as a screenwriter and filmmaker. She was the winner of the St. Martin’s Press/Malice Domestic competition. Posed for Murder (2009) was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Mystery Novel. Dead in the Water (2010) continues the adventures of photographer Lydia McKenzie in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Here she shares her casting ideas for a cinematic adaptation of the Lydia McKenzie novels:
Since I started my career as a filmmaker and screenwriter, people often ask me when my books will be made into films or a television show. It seems natural to other people that I would imagine my stories as both novels and films from the very beginning. But I don’t. When I set out to write something new, I choose at some point whether a story is destined for the screen or for the pages of a book. And then I write it (or direct it). And then I’m done.

I wouldn’t say “no” if someone bought up the film rights and gave Lydia a new life in a different medium. There are probably things I would find painful (they might exaggerate her vintage clothes or goofiness), and others I would find enlightening (I wrote that?). But it would be an interesting experience nonetheless.

When someone first asked me who I saw playing Lydia, one actress popped into my head: Maggie Gyllenhaal. I think she’s a great actress. The first film I saw her in, Secretary, I couldn’t stop watching her. She is a beautiful woman, but very distinctive. She wears every emotion on her face and in her eyes. She has the quirkiness to play Lydia. And, even better, she lives in Brooklyn these days.

The rest of the cast? The main returning players are her bosses, the D’Angelo brothers and their bigger than life mother. If you’re going to dream, dream big: Olympia Dukakis as Mama D’Angelo, James Gandolfini as Frankie D’Angelo, and Andreas Katsulas (the one-armed man in The Fugitive) for Leo. And for Detective Daniel Romero? That’s tough. He has to be handsome and have a lot of charisma. Someone like Javier Bardem would fit the part exactly.

But really one of the most important characters in my book isn’t an actor. It’s the streets themselves. I would definitely object if they decided to move the film to somewhere in Canada. First, there are so many talented film professionals living in the New York and in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. But second, the film wouldn’t feel authentic without the industrial parks, the quirky cafes, the East River, and Manhattan peeking over the top of the buildings.
Learn more about the books and author at Meredith Cole's website.

The Page 69 Test: Posed for Murder.

--Marshal Zeringue