Saturday, November 5, 2011

D. E. Meredith's "The Devil's Ribbon"

D.E. Meredith read English at Cambridge, then ran the press office and the land mines campaign for the Red Cross, travelling extensively to Bosnia, Afghanistan and Rwanda during the conflicts. She worked as a consultant on media relations for Greenpeace and other worthy causes before embarking on "The Hatton and Roumande Mysteries" series for St Martin's Press (Devoured, October 2010, The Devil's Ribbon, October 2011).

For an adaptation of Hatton and Roumande’s latest adventure, here's who Meredith would cast:
Professor Adolphus Hatton. Ed Norton is the right look to play Hatton in that he’s svelte, pale, in need of a good meal and a good woman – I’m thinking Ed Norton in The Painted Veil not The Incredible Hulk. Norton projects a keen intellect and the fastidiousness of an over-achiever. He has an intensity about him which is right for Hatton and I can imagine him doing that “Repressed English Gent” bit brilliantly when he first meets Sorcha. Norton has a strong moral compass, a great sense of right and wrong and this quality is key to Adolphus Hatton. Norton would also capture that troubled side of Hatton, the non-believer, the cutting edge scientist, someone who is pushing up against convention.

Albert Roumande. Javier Bardem is quintessential Roumande, but he’d have to lose the Spanish accent and do a French one. Roumande is a great bear of a man, swarthy and has enormous presence and so does Bardem. Roumande, as Chief Diener (that’s Chief Morgue Assistant) quickly established himself as a father like presence in the morgue. He’s always first to give emotional support to Hatton, to the new assistant, Patrice who’s like one of his children to him. He’s not afraid to show his feelings and Roumande also has a strong sense of right and wrong. He’s believes in people, in ideas and is very passionate. Bardem would be fabulous in this role and win over the ladies, as Roumande seems to be doing!

Inspector Jeremiah Grey. It has to be Michael Sheen. He’s such a versatile actor and we haven’t seen him in a high camp role yet and I’d like to. Jeremiah Grey is a mixed up guy. He’s Welsh, low church, from a poor background but smothers himself in cologne, carries an ivory tipped revolver, is a serious morphine user and is altogether “flamboyant”. His sexuality is hidden, questionable, but we know he loves to dress up in finery and I think Sheen would pull off the camp side of Jeremiah Grey, together with that steely ambition and the sadistic cruelty, simmering just below the surface, very well indeed.

Sorcha McCarthy. Carey Mulligan. Still waters run deep. Sorcha McCarthy is the young woman left behind after her much older husband is murdered. She lives in a beautiful white house on Highgate Hill. She’s married into what the Irish called a “West Brit” family but later reveals she has a poor background. She left Ireland because her dead husband (an Irish MP) had to work in Westminster for the British. We know that Hatton falls head over heels in love the minute he sees her, but it’s not just because she’s exquisite. She’s educated, intense, distracted and seems very interested in Hatton’s work. Lose her trademark bob, give her a long black wig and Carey Mulligan’s perfect. How could Hatton resist such girlish charms? And Mulligan has an intensity about her, a wistfulness. She would make a perfect Sorcha.

And finally, I’d like Eddie Marsan as Mr Tescalini. He’s a wonderful British actor. Perfect for a Victoriana villain, and Stephen Rea has to be Father O’Brian. He’s Irish anyway and would do a brilliantly brooding politico like the Nationalist priest in The Devil’s Ribbon.

So, if anyone reading this blog has contacts with any of the above (especially Norton and Bardem) tell them lunch is on me. They are the perfect team for Hatton and Roumande. And the series isn’t optioned yet, so what exactly are they waiting for?
Learn more about the book and author at Denise Meredith's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Devil's Ribbon.

--Marshal Zeringue