Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Jeri Westerson's "The Demon's Parchment"

Jeri Westerson is the author of Veil of Lies, Serpent in the Thorns, and The Demon's Parchment.

Here she shares some ideas for casting adaptations of her Crispin Guest novels: 
The first time I put the words “Crispin Guest” to paper was sometime in 2002. He was to be my first foray into medieval mystery where before I had written, apparently, unsellable historical novels. He was to be a true detective not an amateur sleuth of the monk or nun variety that seemed to populate medieval mysteries. He was to be my cross-pollination of genres between hard-boiled detective fiction and the medieval mystery. I was inventing “Medieval Noir” and my detective was going to be extremely important to the series.

When I write novels, I do see them as movies because I grew up on movies, especially old, swashbuckling types. But there are plenty of modern adventure movies that catch my attention, too. So when I started thinking about who Crispin Guest was — an ex-knight down on his luck with the skills and wits to re-invent himself into the “Tracker”, a very physical medieval PI — I needed a face, a personality to reflect the anguish of his past, the toughness of his bearing, and the inherent nobility to which he was raised. And when I saw the movie X-Men, with a swaggering Hugh Jackman as the tortured Wolverine, I knew I’d found my man. And then some years later, seeing his work as the sarcastic and clever Van Helsing, sealed the deal. As an actor, he’s got a good deep voice for the character, he’s handsome, likeable, with an edgy sense of humor and enough pathos behind the eyes to carry it off. He’s really my first and only choice.

As for side characters, I saw Mark Addy in A Knight’s Tale as Roland, and with his round and pliable face and his humanity, I cast him as the tavern owner and Crispin’s friend, Gilbert Langton. As for Gilbert’s wife Eleanor, Julie Walters as she portrayed Mrs. Weasley in the Harry Potter movies, had the right amount of moxy and nurture to fulfill the role (with padding as she has for those roles, because in reality, she is a tiny lady).

As for the all-important Jack Tucker, Crispin's apprentice who was a cutpurse and street urchin, I also got my casting from Harry Potter and found the young Rupert Grint who plays Ron Weasley, as the perfect kid to do the job. But that was a long time ago when those kids in Harry Potter were still kids. Now he’s far too old for the part, but I’m sure there are any number of up and comers in British cinema who can step into those worn shoes.

I don’t know if all authors hear this, but every time I make an appearance, I am always told by readers what a great movie my books would make. I hope Hollywood notices that, too, at some point. I write them as movies. I can’t help it. So an adaptation would be pretty easy. Are you listening, Hollywood?
Learn more about the author and her work at Jeri Westerson's website, her "Getting Medieval" blog, and the Crispin Guest Medieval Noir blog.

The Page 69 Test: Veil of Lies.

The Page 69 Test: Serpent in the Thorns.

The Page 69 Test: The Demon's Parchment.

Writers Read: Jeri Westerson.

--Marshal Zeringue