Saturday, September 18, 2010

Nora McFarland's "A Bad Day's Work"

Nora McFarland has worked for CNN and is a former community relations manager for Barnes & Noble. She has an MFA from the University of Southern California's school of cinema and television.

Here she shares some casting input should her debut novel, A Bad Day's Work--a funny, fast-paced mystery similar in tone to Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series--be adapted for the big screen:
My main character is named Lilly Hawkins. Despite her physically demanding job as a TV news photographer, called a “shooter” in the industry, she’s actually fairly petite. She uses intelligence and a pit-bull personality to stay ahead of the bigger and stronger male shooters in her hometown of Bakersfield, Calif.

Ellen Page is physically perfect, but more than that, she has the right combination of toughness and vulnerability. She’s also got excellent comic timing. She’s younger than Lilly, but I don’t mind because she so perfectly embodies the character.

Rod Strong, a new reporter at Lilly’s TV station, is very handsome and wears expensive designer clothes. Lilly initially believes he’s shallow and vain, but over the course of the story discovers most of her assumptions about him are wrong.

I’d love to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt in that role. He’s great with both comedy and drama. The tricky part about Rod is that the audience needs to slowly shed their dislike before completely falling in love with the character, just like Lilly does. That’s tough to pull off, but I think Gordon-Levitt would be great. Also, after seeing Inception, I like the chemistry he has with Ellen Page. The two of them as Lilly and Rod would be fantastic.

Lilly’s Uncle Bud is someone who hasn’t been a strong presence in her life, but comes to her aid once she becomes embroiled in the murder investigation. He’s a bit of a shady character who works the angles and doesn’t mind running afoul of the law. He came to Bakersfield as a young child during the Dust Bowl migration in the thirties. He still has his southern accent and is fond of using colorful sayings like, “Harder to shed than a booger you can’t thump off.”

Ian McKellen is my dream Bud. He always appears to know a little bit more than he’s saying and has a twinkle in his eye. It’s important that Bud always looks like he’s having fun, even when he’s diving into the backseat of a moving 1972 Plymouth Fury—with police in pursuit.
Learn more about A Bad Day's Work at Nora McFarland's website.

--Marshal Zeringue