Sunday, October 30, 2011

David O. Stewart's "American Emperor"

David O. Stewart's books include the highly acclaimed The Summer of 1787, the bestselling account of the writing of the Constitution, and Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln's Legacy. He has practiced law in Washington, D.C., for more than a quarter of a century, defending accused criminals and challenging government actions as unconstitutional. Stewart has argued appeals all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and was law clerk to Justice Lewis Powell of that Court.

Here Stewart suggests some actors who might play the lead roles in an adaptation of his new book, American Emperor: Aaron Burr's Challenge to Jefferson's America:
For an actor in his middle years, Aaron Burr in American Emperor would be the role of a lifetime. The charismatic Burr, who romanced the ladies wherever he went, had remarkable adventures. A face-off with Thomas Jefferson in the election of 1800! Dueling with Alexander Hamilton! Traveling through America’s frontier to recruit an army to conquer Mexico and Florida! Defending himself against treason charges and cheating the gallows in a trial before Chief Justice John Marshall! To capture the mystery and magnetism of Burr, Johnny Depp would be perfect.

When I recently expressed this opinion to a fellow writer, I was dismayed to find that she believes Johnny Depp would be perfect for the movie version of her book. In quick succession, I posed the question to two other writers, both of whom stoutly contended that Mr. Depp should star in the movies of their books. So he is going to have to stop messing about with those Pirates of the Caribbean things and buckle down to some serious movie-making!

Other roles in American Emperor may be cast with comparable precision:

General James Wilkinson – A triple agent for Spain, Jefferson, and Burr, the alcoholic, florid Wilkinson is perfect for Tom Wilkinson (presumably no relation, but one never knows).

Thomas Jefferson – In the HBO series on John Adams, Stephen Dillane portrayed Thomas Jefferson brilliantly. A reprise of the role in American Emperor would be much appreciated.

Erich Bollman – A German adventurer who schemed to spring the Marquis de Lafayette from an Austrian prison, started and crashed numerous ventures in the United States, and then became a key figure in Burr’s audacious projects, Bollman is a natural role for Christoph Waltz. Type-casting for the Austrian-born Waltz? Sue me; he’d be great.
Learn more about the book and author at David O. Stewart's website and blog.

The Page 99 Test: Impeached.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 28, 2011

J.T. Ellison's "Where All the Dead Lie"

J.T. Ellison is the international award-winning author of the critically acclaimed Taylor Jackson novels, multiple short stories, and has been published in over twenty countries.

Here Ellison shares some ideas about who should star in an adaptation of the latest Taylor Jackson book, Where All the Dead Lie:
For years, I’ve been trying not to answer this question. I’ve put it out there for my readers to comment on, not wanting to influence that psychic connection people have with fictional characters. I’ve always felt that if I tell you what Taylor Jackson looks like to me, it may alter your reading of the novel.

I’ve come to change my mind on that, mostly because I’ve finally seen a few actresses who I think could successfully interpret the character. So much of Taylor Jackson is physical – and I’d love to see that physicality explored on the screen. I was very surprised to realize that Blake Lively is probably as close to Taylor in my mind as a real person could be. I’d always thought of her as Charlize Theron, but Charlize is a tiny bit too refined. Blake, even though a bit young for the role, has the presence necessary, and if you’ve seen her in The Town, the acting chops to pull it off as well. And she can do the hair. Taylor has great hair.

Baldwin – I’ve got nothing. A really scruffed up Thomas Gibson would work – he’s not quite as pretty, but he has the right smoldering intensity.

But from the very beginning – Memphis Highsmythe, the Viscount Dulsie, was modeled on Daniel Craig. My editor saw him as Simon Baker – but no. He’s Craig all the way – that barely contained fury, simmering just under the surface, the coiled grace… he’d be perfectly cast.

Sam Owens is Natalie Portman, hands down.
Learn more about the book and author at J.T. Ellison's website and blog.

Writers Read: J.T. Ellison.

The Page 69 Test: Where All the Dead Lie.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Brian Doyle's "Bin Laden’s Bald Spot"

Brian Doyle is the editor of Portland Magazine at the University of Portland, in Oregon—the best university magazine in America, according to Newsweek, and “the best spiritual magazine in the country,” according to Annie Dillard.

He is the author of five collections of essays, two nonfiction books (The Grail, about a year in an Oregon vineyard, and The Wet Engine, about the “muddles & musics of the heart”), two collections of short prose, and the sprawling novel Mink River, which Publishers Weekly called a “original, postmodern, shimmering tapestry of smalltown life.”

Doyle's new book is Bin Laden's Bald Spot & Other Stories.

Here he shares some suggestions for casting bin Laden and other characters in an adaptation from the collection:
For my new collection of stories, Bin Laden’s Bald Spot, I would choose old Gregory Peck to play His Murderous Idiocy. You want a tall gangly guy with a fixed stare, which in Peck’s case was always taken for intent calm dignity, but in His High Killingness I would ascribe to a roaring arrogant mania; he really thought, I bet, that he was important, and right that killing children would be a good thing for his religion and his idea of how the world should be (something like the year 900, but with cell phones). Seth Rogen or Albert Brooks as his hairy and rotund first mate in crime; Willem Dafoe as the insane ranting cleric (a generic role, representing lots), and dozens of walk-ons as the children who thought he was pretty much the worst dad ever. What a waste of gifts, poor Usama – a brilliant, charismatic, visionary, wealthy dude, who used all those gifts to damage his religion more than anyone in centuries, who cackled while children were roasted, and who must have watched in rage as the Arab world turned toward freedom without the slightest help from him or his ideas about how to topple the world that made him so angry.
Learn more about Bin Laden’s Bald Spot and visit its Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dean Crawford's "Covenant"

Dean Crawford worked as a graphic designer before he left the industry to pursue his lifelong dream of writing full-time. An aviation and motorcycle enthusiast, he lives with his family in Surrey, England.

Here he suggests a couple of actors who might play the lead in an adaptation of his new book, Covenant:
Funnily enough, a copy of my debut novel Covenant is in Los Angeles at the moment! Although I did not write the novel with a film in mind, as the movie would have to look very different from the book, many readers have told me that it would make a great film.

I’m a die-hard Harrison Ford fan but as the hero of the novels, Ethan Warner, is in his thirties, I could see Hugh Jackman playing the role. He’s got that almost ordinary-guy-in-the-street look about him, but also looks like he could do some damage if he got angry enough. My editor mentioned Kiefer Sutherland as a possible lead a few months ago. I try to write Ethan Warner as human as possible, not one of these indestructible James Bond type characters, so any actor in the role would benefit from appearing slightly vulnerable, the reluctant hero.
Learn more about the book and author at Dean Crawford's website and blog.

Writers Read: Dean Crawford.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Doug Magee's "Darkness All Around"

Doug Magee has been a photojournalist, screenplay writer, children's book author, death penalty activist, film producer and director, war protestor, college football player, amateur musician, and the basis of the Aidan Quinn character in Meryl Streep's Music of the Heart.

Here he shares some ideas for casting an adaptation of his new novel, Darkness All Around:
There are three principal roles in Darkness All Around. Sean Collins is a man who disappeared from his home town eleven years earlier and has returned claiming he killed a woman while blacked out before he left. I did a book trailer and used the actor Chris Henry Coffey to play Sean (he can be seen in the film Trust). If I had to choose a star, it would probably be Ryan Gosling. Sean's ex-wife, Risa, would be played by Michelle Williams (though the actress Julie Ann Emery who was in the book trailer would be terrific). Risa's current husband Alan could go to a number of actors but Clive Owen with an American accent would be great.
View the trailers and learn more about the book and author at Doug Magee's website and the Darkness All Around website.

Writers Read: Doug Magee (June 2010).

The Page 69 Test: Never Wave Goodbye.

My Book, The Movie: Never Wave Goodbye.

Writers Read: Doug Magee (October 2011).

The Page 69 Test: Darkness All Around.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 20, 2011

C. K. Kelly Martin's "My Beating Teenage Heart"

C. K. Kelly Martin's books include I Know It's Over, One Lonely Degree, and The Lighter Side of Life and Death.

Here she shares some ideas about who should direct and star in an adaptation of her new novel, My Beating Teenage Heart:
Director/writer Andrea Arnold was so fearless and emotionally authentic with Fish Tank that she’d be at the top of my list to direct a film version of My Beating Teenage Heart, the story of a dead girl who begins to remember the story of her own life as she tries to help the grief-racked 17 year old boy she finds her consciousness attached to.

Here’s a rundown of my dream cast:

Ashlyn Baptiste – she’s a challenging character to cast because her ethnic background is a quarter French Canadian, quarter African-American, quarter Chinese-Jamaican and quarter Scottish and throughout the book we see Ashlyn at various ages. I think there’d have to be a series of unknown actors playing her. For most of the novel Ashlyn’s unseen, just a consciousness observing Breckon so it could be that we’d only view her in flashbacks of her own life and hear her thoughts as a voice-over in the present.

Breckon Cody – Logan Lerman. He was terrific in the show Jack and Bobby and now he’s playing one of my favourite YA characters (Charlie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower) so I know he can handle complex emotions. That’s essential because Breckon’s being torn apart by grief and guilt but he’s also constantly trying to hide how deep those feelings run.

Jules Pacquette – Saoirse Ronan. She comes across as self-possessed and unique which makes her perfect to play Breckon’s theatre student/punk girlfriend Jules and I known from The Lovely Bones that Saoirse can do a perfect North American accent.

Mr. Cody – Aidan Quinn. He’s currently in the show Prime Suspect, has a long list of credits and has been a personal favourite of mine since 1984’s Reckless. I saw him playing a dad in the Irish film 32A a couple of years ago, which made me look at him in a different light. But he’s always been extremely talented at tapping in to really primal feelings, like anger and anguish.

Mrs. Cody – Alex Kingston. I first discovered her on ER and have thoroughly enjoyed watching her play River Song on Doctor Who. I know she’d give a really nuanced performance as Breckon’s mother who is grief-stricken herself but still very worried about him.

Skylar Cody – I think there’d need to be a casting call to find the right young actor to play Breckon’s tomboy sister with the white blond hair. Dakota Fanning as she was in I Am Sam would’ve been absolutely perfect.

Mr. Baptiste – Lenny Kravitz. I think of Ashlyn’s dad as kind of a cool guy while being laid back about it and at the same time, pretty nurturing in a quietly steadfast sort of way like Lenny’s role in Precious.

Mrs. Baptiste – Phoebe Cates. I haven’t seen her onscreen since Bodies, Rest & Motion (she’s probably best known for roles in the Gremlins movies and Fast Times at Ridgemont High) but in my ideal vision of this movie we’d lure her back to play Ashlyn’s mom who is smart and down to earth and described in the book as having “an amused intelligence in her face that has always made people wonder what she was thinking.”

Celeste Baptiste – Lenora Crichlow. There’d need to be someone younger to play Ashlyn’s older sister when they were kids but I think Lenora Crichlow of Being Human (the original British series) would make a terrific college-age Celeste. She has such a warmth about her and I can easily picture her as the sister Ashlyn sees as more confident and cooler than she is, things she admires her for while being just slightly envious.
Learn more about the book and author at C. K. Kelly Martin's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: The Lighter Side of Life and Death.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Carol Snow's "What Came First"

Carol Snow is the American author of two teen novels and five books that are classified as “women’s fiction” (though men secure enough to tote around candy-colored books have been known to enjoy them, as well). Her latest, What Came First, is an Amazon UK Editors’ Pick and was described by Westways magazine as “funny, insightful, and heartbreaking.”

Here Snow shares some ideas for casting an adaptation of What Came First:
The premise:

A single mom, longing to give her son a sibling, sets out to find the sperm donor she used nine years earlier, only to turn the lives of two other women upside down.

The cast:

Laura (an attractive, self-contained, slightly chilly lawyer and single mom): Téa Leoni

Ian (Laura’s eight-year-old son): Any random blonde kid from the Disney Channel stable; twins preferred

Vanessa (twenty-nine-year-old dental receptionist, eager to start a family with her commitment-phobic boyfriend): America Ferrera looking like she really does, not like Ugly Betty

Eric (Vanessa’s boyfriend; thirty-two-year-old slacker and failed musician): Eric Hutchinson, a successful musician whom I pictured while writing the book

Wendy (fortyish, frazzled, frumpy, overweight mother of wild five-year-old twins; conceived via same sperm donor as Laura): We’d have to go with an unknown actress; no one fitting that description has ever found any screen success!
Learn more about the book and author at Carol Snow's website.

My Book, The Movie: Just Like Me, Only Better.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst's "Becoming Dickens"

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst is Fellow and Tutor in English, Magdalen College, Oxford.

His media work includes writing arts features and reviews for the Daily Telegraph, contributing to UK and US radio and television programs, and acting as the historical advisor on recent BBC adaptations of Jane Eyre (2006) and Emma (2009).

Here Douglas-Fairhurst suggests a director and some actors for an adaptation of his new book, Becoming Dickens: The Invention of a Novelist
In some ways this book was inspired by the 1998 movie Sliding Doors, which showed two versions of the same life going down diverging paths, depending on whether or not the leading character catches a particular train. It’s a sharp reminder of how easily someone’s life can veer off in a different direction, and how many possible lives we all carry around inside us – the rival selves that repeatedly get aborted by choice or chance. Dickens was obsessed by the idea, and often reminded his friends that he could have ended up as an actor or a beggar just as easily as a writer. I’d love to see a movie version of Becoming Dickens that dramatised this idea, by having dozens of different versions of Dickens wandering around, like a Victorian sequel to Todd Haynes’s 2007 Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There. That way I wouldn’t have to choose between the actors who could play Dickens. Dan Stevens, Ben Whishaw, James McAvoy – they could all chip in. Christopher Nolan would direct it – from Memento to Batman Begins and beyond, he has shown himself to be fascinated by how we end up as the people we are. He might even allow me a cameo role as one of the hangers-on who swarmed around Dickens once he became – at an enviably young age – the world’s first international literary celebrity.
Read more about Becoming Dickens at the publisher's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Denise Gigante's "The Keats Brothers"

Denise Gigante is Professor of English at Stanford University.

About her new book, The Keats Brothers: The Life of John and George:
John and George Keats—Man of Genius and Man of Power, to use John’s words—embodied sibling forms of the phenomenon we call Romanticism. George’s 1818 move to the western frontier of the United States, an imaginative leap across four thousand miles onto the tabula rasa of the American dream, created in John an abysm of alienation and loneliness that would inspire the poet’s most plangent and sublime poetry.... In most accounts of John’s life, George plays a small role. He is often depicted as a scoundrel who left his brother destitute and dying to pursue his own fortune in America. But as Gigante shows, George ventured into a land of prairie fires, flat-bottomed riverboats, wildcats, and bears in part to save his brothers, John and Tom, from financial ruin.
Here Gigante suggests actors for a couple of the main roles in an adaptation of the book:
I think Jake Guyllenhaal could play the role of John Keats, and (although this may sound strange it is not so for the Romantic period), his sister Maggie Gyllenhaal could play John's lover, Fanny Brawne.
Learn more about The Keats Brothers at the Harvard University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mark de Castrique's "The Sandburg Connection"

A native of North Carolina, Mark de Castrique writes mysteries primarily set in the Appalachian mountains. He is an award-winning film and video producer whose work has been broadcast on PBS, HBO, and network-affiliate stations as well as the author of the Sam Blackman mystery series, the Buryin’ Barry series, and two mysteries for young adults. He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Here he shares some ideas for casting an adaptation of his new novel, The Sandburg Connection:
The Sam Blackman novels feature a former military criminal investigation warrant officer who lost a leg in Iraq. Sent to the V.A. hospital in Asheville, NC, Sam Blackman becomes immersed in cases first growing out of his V.A. stay and then as the co-owner of a private detective agency with his partner and lover, Nakayla Robertson.

For his latest adventure, The Sandburg Connection, I would cast the following:

Sam Blackman – James Franco. Franco is the right age and projects a keen intellect, brooding self-reflection of a soldier dealing with loss, and yet has a quick-witted and playful personality necessary to a relationship rich with humor and banter.

Nakayla Robertson – Kandyse McClure. Nakayla is a young African-American woman every bit Sam’s equal, with beauty, brains, and a less cynical outlook on life. I was writing the first Sam Blackman novel when I became a late arrival to the SciFi Channel’s revitalized Battlestar Galactica series. The South African born, Canadian actress Kandyse McClure, who played Anastasia “Dee” Dualla, struck me as Nakayla in space. I think she has the poise and screen presence to hold her own with James Franco.

Hewitt Donaldson – John Goodman. Donaldson is the aging hippie attorney down the hall from Sam and Nakayla’s detective agency. Instead of law degrees, his conference room is adorned with vintage rock album covers. A one-man firm with only a paralegal and office manager, Donaldson loves going up against the system. John Goodman would bring the right tone and quirky nature to give the character life.

Wendy Wainwright – Jennifer Lawrence. A critical character in The Sandburg Connection is the daughter of the woman who fell to her death on the mountain behind Carl Sandburg’s farm. The star of Winter’s Bone, Jennifer Lawrence, would be terrific in the role of Wendy Wainwright. Jennifer just wrapped shooting in the mountains of NC as the lead character Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games. So, she already knows her way around the ridges and valleys.

And, if anybody knows James, Kandyse, John, or Jennifer (or their parents, cousins, or next door neighbors), please mention that the roles are available. Have their people call me and we’ll do lunch!
Learn more about the book and author at Mark de Castrique's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Sandburg Connection.

Writers Read: Mark de Castrique.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Jean-Vincent Blanchard's "Éminence"

Jean-Vincent Blanchard is Associate Professor of French Studies at Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania. Born in Canada and raised in Europe, he earned his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1997. He is a specialist on pre-revolutionary France, with particular emphasis on the seventeenth century, and has published on a broad range of subjects in politics, history, religion, philosophy, and the arts.

Here he shares the context for an adaptation of Éminence: Cardinal Richelieu and the Rise of France, his first book in English, and some suggestions for the cast:
Chief Minister to King Louis XIII, Cardinal Richelieu was the architect of a new France in the 17th century, and the force behind the nation's rise as a European power. One of the first statesmen to clearly understand the necessity of a balance of powers, he was one of the early realist politicians, practicing in the wake of Niccolò Machiavelli: a notable advocate of Realpolitik in our own time, Henry Kissinger, credits Richelieu with introducing a modern approach to international relations. He became, as well, a cultural icon, appearing, for example, as an important character in Alexandre Dumas’ classic The Three Musketeers.

Forging a nation-state amidst the swirl of unruly, grasping nobles, widespread corruption, wars of religion, and an ambitious Habsburg empire, Richelieu's hands were full. Serving his fickle monarch, however, and mastering the politics of absolute power provided Richelieu with his greatest challenge and ultimately determined his legacy to France and to all those who practice statecraft today. My new biography brings Richelieu fully to life—at court, on the battlefield, at times cruel and ruthless, always devoted to creating a lasting central authority vested in the power of monarchy, a power essential to France’s position on the European stage for the next two centuries.

Richelieu. The director should chose an actor capable of representing a stately and yet slightly devious presence, but without overdoing it. I propose David Strathairn.

Louis XIII. Nerd chic needed here: Jesse Eisenberg or Jim Parsons.

Marie de’ Medici: Meryl Streep. It takes talent to represent angry mediocrity.

Anne of Austria: Scarlett Johansson or Blake Lively.

Gaston: Oddball Russell Brand would be perfect.

Madame de Chevreuse was seductive and dangerous: Keira Knightley

Period costumes are gorgeous, but I think they should be adapted a little bit because some of the hairstyles would seem a bit silly now. The story mixes grand epic military campaigns with court intrigue, so the sets have to alternate between sprawling natural scenery (the Alps, the Atlantic Ocean, forests) and dark, jewel box, almost claustrophobic interiors.

For beautiful images showing these historical characters, see my "Writer’s Page (Éminence)" on Facebook.
Learn more about Éminence at the publisher's website.

Writers Read: Jean-Vincent Blanchard.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ann Hite's "Ghost On Black Mountain"

Ann Hite has published more than sixty stories in publications such as: Literary House Review Anthology, Espresso Fiction, Skyline Magazine, Plum Biscuit, Moonwort Review, Foliate Oak, and Spillway Review.

Here she shares some casting suggestions for a big screen adaptation of her new novel, Ghost On Black Mountain:
Ghost On Black Mountain is a novel set in the North Carolina Mountains with ghosts, murder, and secrets, lots of secrets. The story is told by five women whose lives are inextricably bound because of one decision made during the Depression-era. I’ve given the movie a lot of thought. What published author doesn’t? Nellie—a simple, innocent girl, who makes the wrong choice—would be played by Emma Stone. Zac Efron could play Hobbs Pritchard because Hobbs is an incredibly handsome twenty-five year old, who has eyes that just kill the girls. But…he’s not such a nice guy. This would take Mr. Efron out of the funny, sweet characters he has been cast into. He could stretch his wings. And my tween daughter would love me for the choice.

Ashley Judd would be the perfect Josie Clay—Nellie’s mom—in her early years. I see Dakota Fanning as Iona Harbor. Iona is key to the whole book and I truly can’t write much about her without giving away the best parts.

I could go on and on dreaming of the movie. A screenwriter out there needs to read Ghost On Black Mountain and write a killer screenplay. I know it would sell! Help this writer get her book made into a movie!
Learn more about the book and author at Ann Hite's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Ghost On Black Mountain.

Writers Read: Ann Hite.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 7, 2011

Dave Zeltserman's "A Killer's Essence"

Dave Zeltserman was born in Boston and educated at the University of Colorado. A former software engineer, he is the author of nine horror and crime novels including Outsourced and Pariah.

Here he shares some ideas for casting the major roles in an adaptation of his new novel, A Killer's Essence:
Last month I signed a film deal for A Killer's Essence, and these are my thoughts on the casting and in no way reflect what the film company might be planning. In fact, I'm going to cheat with a couple of the actresses by picking them at a specific age.

Stan Green : Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Bambi : a 25 year-old Marisa Tomei
Zachary Lynch : Jesse Eisenberg
Jill Chandler : a 38 year-old Glenn Close
Joel Cohen : John Travolta
Jack Hennison : Sean Penn
Earl Buntz : John Carroll Lynch
Cheryl: Gwyneth Paltrow
Learn more about the book and author at Dave Zeltserman's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: A Killer's Essence.

Writers Read: Dave Zeltserman.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lisa Black's "Defensive Wounds"

Lisa Black is a real-life CSI and latent print examiner, and her character, Theresa MacLean, holds her old job at the coroner’s office in Cleveland, Ohio. Defensive Wounds is her fourth outing and involves a serial killer working at a defense attorney’s convention at the same hotel at which Theresa’s daughter has a summer job and has met a young man who may prove to be extraordinarily dangerous.

Here’s what she says about casting Defensive Wounds:
My first choice for Theresa has always been Julianne Moore. Beautiful without it being distracting and a little more intelligent than those around her would prefer at times. But I would also love my overall favorite Rachael Weisz, provided she could do a convincing American accent.

Since the action takes place at a convention where defense attorneys keep turning up dead, the set is a hotel—not the most exciting backdrop. But several pivotal scenes take place on the outside observation deck of the iconic Cleveland landmark the Terminal Tower, seven hundred feet up with sweeping views of the city and lake.

Homicide detective Frank Patrick is both the quintessential police detective, down to the mustache, but he is also Theresa’s first cousin so they have a very personal relationship. Timothy Hutton from Leverage might be good, provided someone combs his hair (they don’t, on Leverage). Or maybe Chris Bauer from season 2 of The Wire, though in that case I would have some very un-platonic-cousin-like feelings toward him.

His partner, the understated Angela Sanchez, unfortunately doesn’t get enough to do in the story to attract a well-known actress like Zoe Saldana or Sarah Shahi.

I’m not sure who to nominate for eighteen-year-old daughter Rachael, since I tend to avoid shows with teenagers in them. I love Molly Quinn, who plays the ridiculously perfect child Alexis on Castle, but her coloring isn’t quite right and she’s too sweet. Rachael isn’t flat-out sullen, but has that mercurial moodiness of the average teenage girl.

And as for detective Neil Kelly, to whom Theresa finds herself unexpectedly attracted, none other than the actor I wrote the part for—Mark Sheppard, whose career I have been following since he played firestarter Caretaker Bob in an X-Files episode. He’s been a guest or recurring star in everything lately from Battlestar Galactica, Leverage, Burn Notice, Warehouse 13, Supernatural, to 24, etc. etc. etc. A cutie with an edge, too charming to ever fully trust.

Yeah, this would be a pretty cool movie!
Learn more about the book and author at Lisa Black's website.

My Book, The Movie: Trail of Blood.

The Page 69 Test: Trail of Blood.

Writers Read: Lisa Black.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 3, 2011

Brenda Novak's "Inside"

Brenda Novak is the national bestselling author of over three dozen books.

Here she shares some ideas for casting an adaptation of Inside, the first book of the Bulletproof Series:
If Hollywood were to make one of my books into a movie, Inside would be the story I’d love to see portrayed on the big screen--and yet Virgil’s character would be, by far, the most difficult to cast. So much of the story hinges on finding someone who can be believably seasoned and “hard” (seeing as Virgil’s an ex-convict) yet noble, vulnerable and wounded beyond his control at the same time.

At first, Vin Diesel (The Fast and the Furious) came to mind, but he’s almost as old as I am. Next I thought of Jason Statham (The Transporter). He’s every bit as tough as Vin but better looking. Hmm…getting warmer. Or so I thought until I pulled Jason up on Wikipedia. Like Vin, he’s 44. Too old to play Virgil, who went to prison at 18 for killing his stepfather and gets exonerated fourteen years later. Virgil has to be a muscular, hard-edged actor with a strong, silent-type of demeanor, someone in the neighborhood of 32. If I go much older he’ll look like an idiot for being indoctrinated in a prison gang in the first place. So maybe Chris Helmsworth (Thor)? Or Tom Hardy (Inception)?

Casting Pretty Boy, Virgil’s best friend and fellow gangmember (before he also tries to get out), would be almost as challenging. Or maybe not. Wentworth Miller of Prison Break fame would work. Although he might be a touch old for the part, he looks much younger than he is, and Prison Break was the inspiration for this novel, so it seems to fit. Yes, Chris Helmsworth for Virgil and Wentworth Miller for Pretty Boy. Now we’re rolling….

But who would play the female lead? Peyton would require a woman who was attractive, professional and by-the-book. Someone who could survive in a man’s world and tolerate the difficulties of running one of the most notorious Supermax prisons in the country while still managing to retain her humanity. Peyton is sexy, but not a bombshell. Anyone too curvy would diminish her sense of professionalism. So as much as I like Charlize Theron for this role I’d probably pass over her in favor of someone like AJ Cook or Blake Lively. No wait…Jennifer Connelly. She’d be perfect.

Now what to do with the villains? This I will have to leave up to suggestions. I’m not familiar enough with Hollywood and the available talent to cast the bad guys, especially because there are several (they are members of the prison gang that don’t want to let Virgil and Pretty Boy walk away). “Blood in, blood out.” That’s their motto and they mean it. Ink, who’s bald, muscular and tatted up from head to toe, is one of my most believable villains. That’s probably the most consistent comment I get about Inside, so the actor would have to be equally convincing.
Visit Brenda Novak's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Stephanie Chong's "Where Demon’s Fear To Tread"

Stephanie Chong worked as a lawyer at a top-tier Canadian firm and completed five university degrees before landing her dream job: romance novelist. Her degrees include a J.D. and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, and a Master’s in Creative Writing from Oxford University.

At Fiction Vixen, she recently shared her dream cast for an adaptation of her novel, Where Demon’s Fear To Tread. Reposted with permission:
The Heroine: Serena St. Clair

Guardian angel and yoga teacher Serena St. Clair left her own human life at just twenty-three years old. Now returned to earth to guide humans, Serena is innocent, gentle and full of optimism.

I would love to see Jennifer Lawrence in this role. She’s such a talented actor, and was superb in Winter’s Bone. I can’t wait to see her as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games. I love those books.

Alternatively, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, who took over as the female lead in Transformers 3. She was a former Victoria’s Secret model and has already worn angel wings – maybe that’s why I picture her in this role.

The Hero: Julian Ascher

Archdemon Julian Ascher owns an empire of nightclubs. Which he uses to lure humans into their greatest moments of weakness and desperation, of fantasy and desire. A connoisseur of pleasure, Julian loves destroying beautiful woman for the sheer joy of ruining the sublime.

As Julian, I’d love to see Henry Cavill, who was Charles Brandon in The Tudors. Cavill is starring in the new Superman movie, and I’m looking forward to his take on that iconic character.

Or else Ian Somerhalder, who plays Damon in The Vampire Diaries. He’s got smoldering down to an art. He has a great chemistry with Nina Dobrov, and I think he’d make a great Julian.
View the Where Demon’s Fear To Tread trailer.

Learn more about the book and author at Stephanie Chong's website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue