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