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