Monday, April 25, 2011

Mark Russinovich's "Zero Day"

Mark Russinovich works at Microsoft in the Windows Azure product team as a Technical Fellow, Microsoft’s senior-most technical position. He earned a Ph.D. in computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and he joined Microsoft when it acquired Winternals Software, which he co-founded in 1996. He is also author of the popular Sysinternals Windows administration and diagnostic tools. He is coauthor of the Microsoft Press Windows Internals book series, a contributing editor for TechNet Magazine, and a senior contributing editor for Windows IT Pro Magazine.

Here he shares some ideas for casting the leads in an adaptation of his new novel, Zero Day:
Most of my friends and family members who’ve read drafts of Zero Day told me they thought that it reads like a movie, so I’ve been involved in constant debates and discussions about who would play the leading roles. Based on the passionate arguments, you’d think that the cases made for various nominees were serving as actual input for casting decisions. I know that the chances of having a book made into a movie make the chances of having a book published in the first place seem like a sure thing, but it’s fun to pretend.

There are several main characters, but just deciding who would be good fits for the protagonists has generated more than enough controversy that conversations have never gotten to picks for the secondary characters. Both leads, Jeff Aiken and Daryl Haugen, are intelligent, have cerebral jobs and are in their late 30’s or early 40’s. Jeff works as an independent security consultant and Daryl is assistant director of the Computer Infrastructure Security Unit at the Department of Homeland Security. Jeff is pretty straight-laced with a blazer, button down and khaki pants serving as his work uniform, while Daryl is feistier, an above average height blond and very attractive.

The selection of well-known actors that are in the right age bracket and that can play roles that are a mix of thought and action seems somewhat limited. James Franco was one of my favorites for Jeff and Natalie Portman my candidate for Daryl for a long time, but more recent brainstorming with my family, spurred by this question, has changed my thinking. Eric Dane, the actor that plays “McSteamy” in Grey’s Anatomy is my current choice for Jeff. He’s got an action edge to him, but has a smoldering seriousness that’s appropriate for someone that can sit at a computer for hours on end matching wits with viruses. Mila Kunis, who played Lily in The Black Swan, has the stunning looks and seriousness of Daryl. She’s a little young for Daryl, but I think she could act a part that’s a little older than her age. I can only hope that Zero Day makes it to movie form and the director cares about my opinion!
Read an excerpt from the novel, and learn more about the book and author at the Zero Day website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Zero Day.

Writers Read: Mark Russinovich.

--Marshal Zeringue