Friday, November 11, 2011

Paul Doiron’s "Trespasser"

Paul Doiron’s first novel, The Poacher’s Son, won the Barry Award and the Strand Critics Award for Best First Mystery of 2010. His second book in his Mike Bowditch series of rural crime novels is Trespasser, which was called “a masterpiece of high-octane narrative” by Booklist and was an Independent Booksellers Association bestseller.

Here he writes about the actors he could imagine playing Maine Game Warden Mike Bowditch and some of the other principal characters in Trespasser:
The first thing I should do is quote my film agent who says that, in his experience, novelists are poor casting agents for their own books.

Having said that, I’ll take a stab anyway. Mike Bowditch should be a great character for an actor to play—he’s brave and intelligent but impetuous and haunted by violence, both his own and others’—but Hollywood seems to have a dearth of promising male actors under the age of twenty-five (which is Mike’s age in this book). For that reason, I’d probably go with someone a little older like Ryan Gosling, who has the acting chops and has shown an inclination recently to play more physical roles. I haven’t seen enough of Charlie Hunnam’s work, but his performance on Sons of Anarchy has intrigued me.

Mike’s girlfriend Sarah is earnest and beautiful, but deliberately a bit bland—she comes from money and can’t imagine being the wife of an underpaid warden living in the back of beyond. Their relationship is based more on their physical attraction than either will admit. For a long time I pictured January Jones in the role. Scarlett Johansson certainly has the animal magnetism to keep Mike from recognizing how little else they have in common. But there are so many great you female actors working now, it would be hard to go wrong.

In Trespasser a rape and killing take place that resembles an incident from seven years earlier, which means that the man already convicted was either railroaded or that a copy-cat is on the loose. The convict, Erland Jefferts, is a highly charismatic guy who has attracted a cadre of defenders (some attracted to his cause by his looks). I think an actor who projects uncomplicated likability, like Ryan Reynolds, might be right for that part.

Jefferts’ chief advocate and public spokesman is a bluff, blunt New Yorker. Dustin Hoffman would have a ball.

Another important character in the book is a slightly menacing Maine State Trooper. He’s a big and beefy guy who doesn’t quite strike Mike as being what he appears to be. One actor who came to mind recently was Josh Holloway, who played Sawyer on Lost, provided he could drop the Southern twang.

Mike’s supervisor, Sergeant Kathy Frost, is fortyish, smart, witty, and profane which leaves a single choice—Sandra Bullock.

I’ve always thought the plum role in my books is the retired Game Warden Pilot Charley Stevens. Charley is wise and folksy, not conventionally educated but the smartest man in any room he enters. He’s also a daredevil in the air, the best woodsman alive, and a bit of a boy at heart. You’d think any number of great male actors would enjoy playing him: Gene Hackman, Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones. (Please no Maine accents.) One unconventional choice would be Harrison Ford who would get to bring character traits from his roles as Han Solo and John Book (from Witness) to a unique character in his sixties.
Learn more about Paul Doiron at his website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Poacher's Son.

--Marshal Zeringue