Sunday, September 11, 2011

Kelli Stanley's "City of Secrets"

The first book in Kelli Stanley's Miranda Corbie series, City of Dragons, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. It was also named one of the 2010 Top Ten Mystery Thrillers by Oline Cogdill and one of the Top Ten Best Fiction by Bay Area Authors by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Here Stanley shares some insights into casting the lead of an adaptation of her new novel, City of Secrets:
If Miranda Corbie showed up at your neighborhood multiplex tomorrow—or even on your favorite cable station—I’d like to see her played by Charlize Theron.

Charlize exudes a rare combination of beauty, strength and absolute toughness that would make her a believable Miranda. As a former model—and a beautiful woman in Hollywood—she completely understands the double-edged sword of physical attractiveness, the power and the powerlessness of being a desirable woman. There are games you have to play to survive and games you have to play to win. Charlize, like Miranda, is a winner.

Miranda uses her beauty. She recognizes it for the tool that it is, a prime benefit when dealing with people who see nothing but a face and a figure and therefore underestimate her. But she also pays a price: harassment, frustration, abuse. Unwanted attention coupled with the most devastating blow of all—loneliness.

Miranda was partially inspired by two real-life women: Martha Gellhorn, a hard-drinking, foul-mouthed, brave, beautiful and eloquent reporter (and incidentally Hemingway’s third wife), and Rita Hayworth, whose Gilda is the film noir antecedent for Miranda. Rita’s famously said that men went to bed with Gilda and woke up with her. That juxtaposition between desire and fulfillment, fantasy and reality, are part of the package beauty like hers—and Miranda’s—demands, and living with it can be more curse than blessing.

I think Charlize would understand this on both an intellectual and emotional level ... and I’d love to see her bring it forward in a portrayal of the beautiful, brittle, and cynical idealist of City of Secrets.
Learn more about the novel and author at Kelli Stanley's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: City of Dragons.

My Book, The Movie: City of Dragons.

Coffee with a Canine: Kelli Stanley & Bertie.

--Marshal Zeringue