Thursday, April 21, 2011

Jesse Bullington's "The Enterprise of Death"

Jesse Bullington spent the bulk of his formative years in rural Pennsylvania, the Netherlands, and Tallahassee, Florida. He is a folklore enthusiast who holds a bachelor's degree in History and English Literature from Florida State University. His novel The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart was one of Amazon's top ten Science Fiction & Fantasy books of 2009.

Here he shares some ideas for cast, director, and soundtrack for an adaptation of his latest novel, The Enterprise of Death:
Awa would possibly be the toughest to cast, as the novel follows her from adolescence to adulthood. I think either Naomie Harris or Meagan Good would be awesome as adult Awa, but it might be tough since the book opens with her as a young teenager. I think Keke Palmer or Camille Winbush would make a good younger Awa, but then there’s the opposite problem of their maybe not being old enough for the later sequences. Perhaps the solution would be to make it an animated film, and then she could be voiced, young and old, by Angela Bassett or N’Bushe Wright.

At first I was thinking Niklaus Manuel could be played by Sam Rockwell or Tom Hardy, so long as whoever it was had an appropriate wig and a little paunch, but the more I mull on it the more obvious a choice Matt Berry seems—this could be his break-out starring role. Julie T. Wallace fifteen or twenty years ago would be an ideal Monique, but she’s a little old for the part now—maybe Noomi Rapace, if they used camera trickery to make her seem a lot bigger and rougher. No, wait, you know would be awesome if they hulked her out, made her less pretty? Alia Shawkat (Maeby from Arrested Development)—she’d own that part, no question. Either Paul Giamatti or Ricky Gervais would make a suitably bombastic Paracelsus, I think, since Jeffrey Jones is a little old for the role. Perhaps Brad Dourif or Keith David as the necromancer, John Goodman or Rip Torn as Albrecht von Stein, Jeffrey Combs as Inquisitor Kahlert, and the Egyptian actress Zeina as Omorose—well, her or Raven-Symon√©.

In terms of direction, I think it would benefit from someone fresh, like J.T. Petty (The Burrowers) or Antti-Jussi Annila (Sauna)—I think the vitality a comparatively newer director could bring to it would be great. In terms of those with a few more titles under their belts, there’s Guillermo del Toro, who knows his way around the emotional stuff as well as action sequences and fantastical elements. Along similar lines, I’m a big fan of Peter Jackson from early on in his career, and if he wanted to get down and dirty again I suppose I might deign to give him a crack at it. Then again, the semi-masochistic temptation of seeing what someone like Werner Herzog might do with it is also strong. In any event, soundtrack by Kronos Quartet, The Tiger Lillies, Cradle of Filth, and A Hawk and a Hacksaw.
Read an excerpt from The Enterprise of Death, and learn more about the book and author at Jesse Bullington's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart.

The Page 69 Test: The Enterprise of Death.

Writers Read: Jesse Bullington.

--Marshal Zeringue