Monday, May 16, 2011

Ed Lynskey's "Lake Charles"

Ed Lynskey, after banging out five hardboiled titles in the Private Investigator Frank Johnson series, now offers up Lake Charles, a standalone Appalachian noir set in the 1970s.  Lynskey has pitched his idea for the movie, but, alas, the Hollywood suits have only turned a deaf ear to him. So far.

Here, he spins us up to speed on his casting advice to make the film of Lake Charles:
Brendan Fishback, my intrepid hero, falls in his early 20s. He’s a pressman by trade, a somewhat rugged job with heavy lifting involved. Therefore I’m in search of a guy in that age range bearing a husky build. The superb Russell Crowe fits the right physique, but he might be a bit long in the tooth. Ditto for George Clooney and Daniel Day-Lewis. A young Ward Bond, John Wayne’s compadre, seems made to order, but then Ward has long since been gone from Glitter Town, RIP since 1960, in fact. So, I’ll postpone making the leading man decision.

Brendan’s mentor, the middle-aged Mr. Kuzawa is a Korean War vet now turned mountain man. He’s shrewd, tenacious, and sure-footed. I’d love to screen test Tommy Lee Jones or Sean Connery, but their top star salary requirements sink that idea. Again, I gaze backward. Fred MacMurray later in his career arises in my mind’s eye. I’m too late since Mr. MacMurray shuffled off this mortal coil in 1991. I’d make the bet that in his heyday Rip Torn would excel as Mr. Kuzawa. Again, I have no luck to peg the right actor. I’ll move on.

Brendan’s sidekick, Cobb Kuzawa, takes a fun-loving but loyal soul. Who should head my short list? Steve Carell, who’s left The Office, is probably too goofy, and age once more plays a factor. Cobb is in his early 20s. Assembling the ideal movie cast is tough work. I fail to google any likely candidates, and I better swing back later to choose an actor for him.

Picking Edna Fishback, Brendan’s twin sister, is a toughie. Who’s suitable for her film role? Of course, as a twin, she has to resemble Brendan. Perhaps with the camouflage of make up and shooting her in lots of shadows we can pull it off. That’s it. Lake Charles will be a neo-film noir. If only Drew Barrymore were ten years younger, or Ashley Judd twenty years. Who then? Scarlett Johansson? Kirsten Dunst? Dial back the clock enough and Tuesday Weld or Jodie Foster is a sure-fired winner. Enough. It’s time to press on. For the time being, Edna’s role will remain up in the air.

Brendan’s mother, Mama Jo, is a stolid lady with an acid tongue, piercing stare, and a no-frills world view. But a sardonic sense of humor and an earthy compassion lurk under her prickly façade. Judi Dench comes up. Of course she’s British, so the accent might present a problem. I’ll jot her down. That makes it one out of the five roles has been filled.

Should Hollywood’s interest be piqued, get it touch with my people, let’s do lunch, and schmooze. I’ll bring the pen to ink the lucrative contract. I’ll drape my dear better half in diamonds, silk, and ermine. But for now, I’ll just take out the garbage and start fixing pork chops with cabbage for our dinner.
Ed Lynskey's The Blue Cheer, the movie.

The Page 69 Test: The Dirt-Brown Derby.

The Page 99 Test: Pelham Fell Here.

Writers Read: Ed Lynskey.

Visit Ed Lynskey's Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue