Thursday, June 2, 2011

David Gullette's "Dreaming Nicaragua"

David Gullette is an English professor at Simmons College and the author of two books about revolutionary poetry in Nicaragua.

Here he shares some suggestions for casting an adaptation of his new novel, Dreaming Nicaragua:
The year is 2000: Jesse Pelletier is a Vietnam Vet who runs a small hotel in a little port on the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua. He’s 56. It’s been 10 years since he divorced his wife and got on his daughter’s shit-list. But the daughter, Suzy, has decided to come to Nicaragua to visit the old man and see if they can reconcile. Jesse’s love interest is a half-Nicaraguan California woman, Caitlin Cuadra, who has her own sailboat: she’s skinny, tough and gorgeous in a post-chemo sort of way (she’s been battling the Big C.) Jesse’s old Vietnam buddy Tapper also turns up—he says he’s been exporting Nica shrimp to LA (turns out he also trained Contras in Honduras in the 8os): he’s semi-drugged-up, foul-mouthed, and clearly into more stuff than just shrimp.

Jesse should be played by a solid 50-ish actor who knows how to suggest a subfloor of panic and bad dreams beneath a surface of calm and competence: Kevin Spacey. (I would have said Sam Shepard, but he’s too old.)

Suzy is a plummy role for a stubborn, snarky 20-something: Jennifer Lawrence is just old enough for this part.

Caitlin has to look like a woman returning from near-death: the face gaunt, savaged, intensely sexy: Patti Smith has the authenticity to ace the role. That she’s not an “actress” is perfect.

Tapper was written with Nick Nolte in mind—not the earnest photographer of his first Nica movie, Under Fire, but a darker, more menacing riff on the role of the homeless dude in Down and Out in Beverly Hills.
Read more about Dreaming Nicaragua at the Fenway Press website.

The Page 69 Test: Dreaming Nicaragua.

--Marshal Zeringue