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