Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Peter Mountford's "A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism"

Peter Mountford's short fiction has appeared in Best New American Voices 2008, Conjunctions, The Normal School, Michigan Quarterly Review, Seattle Review, Phoebe, and Boston Review, where he won second place in the 2007 contest, judged by George Saunders.

Here he shares some casting ideas for an adaptation of his new novel, A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism:
As it happens, I was having this very conversation with the film producer Anne Carey and the Chilean director Pablo Larrain a couple of weeks ago. They are interested in developing this book for film, and we were talking about the challenges of casting over breakfast. Or, actually, breakfasts plural—I met them at the same restaurant in Chelsea at the same time of day on two different days. I sat in the same chair, ordered the same thing.

Certainly the character of Fiona would be easy and fun to cast. I think Parker Posey would be perfect. But it’s a role that any number of women could have a lot of fun with. Fiona’s fun because she’s tough as nails, smart, and has a kind of macho sexuality about her, but is also intensely vulnerable.

Lenka, Gabriel’s love-interest, who is the press-liaison to then-president-elect Evo Morales, is harder. The problem is that the person would have to speak Spanish fluently and it would be nice if she looked indigenous, too. Obviously, Hollywood hasn’t done a very good job of introducing such actresses to the wider cinema-going public. So, you might not recognize this performer, whoever it is.

Grayson, the IMF’s resident representative, would be another easy and fun part to cast. Any square jawed, attractive, man, really, who’s a bit wicked, and has silver in his hair. Clooney? What about that guy who plays Sterling in Mad Men? He’d be ideal. In the book Grayson’s actually compared to Pierce Bronson, so that would perfect, too.

Gabriel’s mother would be fun to cast, too. There are so many wonderful actresses who are in their fifties and have an arch style and who could just go to town with that role. Angelica Houston comes to mind, but there are others, too. Diane Lane would be interesting, because she’s so terrifyingly beautiful that her beauty kind of gobbles up the screen. That would be an interesting twist on the character, who’s not presented that way in the book because she’s viewed through Gabriel’s eyes.

Gabriel himself is hard. Very hard. He’s the lead and he needs to be very attractive, needs to look like he’s in his mid-twenties, and he’s half Chilean half Russian, so he has to have a certain kind of complexion. If Gael García Bernal spoke English like a native, he’d be superb, but I don’t think he speaks English very well. It’s a very complex and difficult role for a young actor. Six years ago, I would have said James Franco.
View a trailer for the novel, and learn more about the book and author at Peter Mountford's website.

The Page 69 Test: A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism.

--Marshal Zeringue