Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Scott Sparling's "Wire to Wire"

Scott Sparling grew up near railroad tracks in Michigan. He now lives outside Portland, Oregon, with his wife and son.

Here he shares some insights into adapting his new novel Wire to Wire for the big screen:
Okay, I’m stumped. I have no idea who should play the main characters in Wire to Wire.Here’s what I do know:

The big railroad ferry that carries freight trains across Lake Michigan – called the Chief Tecumseh in the book – should be played by the ship it is based on, the Arthur K. Atkinson. Unless it’s already been sunk or turned into scrap metal.

The song over the credits should be Joe Ely’s “Boxcars,” Bob Seger’s “Railroad Days,” or Jon Dee Graham’s “Beautifully Broken.”

No glue should be huffed during the making of the film.

More seriously, I think the reason I can’t picture actors playing Slater or Harp or Lane from Wire to Wire is that I’ve lived with the characters too long in my head. So I turned to my editors for help. Here’s what they said:

For Lane – the damaged, glue-sniffing but irresistible woman at that apex of the love triangle – try Mila Kunis or Emmy Rossum. It needs to be someone who can look through all the lies life has to offer, and is seriously freaked. Remember the expression on the face of that famous National Geographic Afghan refuge? Like that.

Michael Slater spends a lot of time staring at video screens and having visions/hallucinations. That might lead to Emile Hirsch, who got pretty trippy in Into the Wild, or Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul.

For Charlie – the small-time drug dealer, puppet-master of Wolverine, Michigan where the book is set – the editors agree on Giovanni Ribisi from Public Enemies and Avatar. Pretty close match, I think.

Harp is the strong, proud, uncompromising freight rider in the book, and he’s the one character I have a Hollywood match for. Taylor Kitsch of Friday Night Lights. I can totally see him rolling into a boxcar and fading into the night.
Learn more about the book and author at Scott Sparling's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Wire to Wire.

--Marshal Zeringue