Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Will McIntosh's "Hitchers"

Will McIntosh is a Hugo award winner and Nebula finalist whose short stories have appeared in Asimov’s (where he won the 2010 Reader's Award for short story), Strange Horizons, and Science Fiction and Fantasy: Best of the Year, and others. His debut novel, Soft Apocalypse, was published in 2011, and his second novel, Hitchers, has just been released. A New Yorker transplanted to the rural south, McIntosh is a psychology professor at Georgia Southern University. In 2008 he became the father of twins.

Here he writes about the actors he could see playing his characters in an adaptation of Hitchers:
A-list actors should be lining up to read for the three central roles in Hitchers. The reason can be explained in one word: Oscar. Actors win Oscars for playing challenging roles, and all three of the starring roles in Hitchers require the actor to play dual parts: The character, and the dead person possessing the character. They’re challenging roles, for sure! Here are my casting choices:

Finn Darby. Colin Farrell gets the role of the tortured cartoonist, partly because he’s Irish. Playing Finn when he is controlled by his ranting, drunken, dead Irish grandfather will require someone who can put on a dynamite Irish brogue. Farrell also has the emotional range to play a tortured soul like Finn. It’s an introspective role -- the character’s face must always carry the weight of his responsibility for the deaths of both his wife and, as a boy, his twin sister. This role has Oscar written all over it.

Summer. The actor playing Summer has to be thin and slight, cute but not stunning. She has to be believable as a poor, struggling single mom working as a waitress. She also has to convince an audience that she is possessed by a voluptuous, flamboyant Latina woman. It’s a tall order. I’d like to cast Carey Mulligan for this role, because she looks like the picture of Summer I have in my head, she’s already taken on quite a few challenging roles for someone who’s only twenty-seven, and she worked as a barmaid once upon a time. The problem is, she’s British. Maybe we can alter Summer’s background a bit to incorporate her being British into the plot. Sure, that wouldn’t be too difficult. Carey Mulligan it is.

Mick Mercury. The aging, hard-drinking, washed-up British rocker must surely go to an aging British rocker. The question is, which one? This rocker must have a magnetic presence, be somewhat roguish, charming, extraverted, a bit blue-collar, in his late 50s or thereabouts. He must still be able to belt out a tune, and, above all, must be able to act, because he’ll be playing two very different roles. Some decent candidates are just too old to be convincing, such as Mick Jagger or Keith Richards. Ozzy Ozborne? A really nice fit, but I’m uneasy about his ability to take on the second persona convincingly. Elvis Costello is an interesting possibility, but he’s not British. I decided to go with David Bowie. Bowie is a bit more cultured than Mercury, but the man can act, and he has the dynamic presence and powerful voice I’m looking for.

That leaves just a few supporting roles. For Finn’s tough as nails grandmother, I’d love to convince Maureen O’Hara to come out of retirement. For Finn’s mom, Sigourney Weaver. There’s a scene where Finn’s furious mom tries to smack Finn’s grandfather right out of him, and I could picture Ms. Weaver bringing the right amount of rage to that scene.

So there it is. If you read this, Mr. Farrell, let's talk. Call me!
Learn more about the book and author at Will McIntosh's website.

My Book, The Movie: Will McIntosh's Soft Apocalypse.

Writers Read: Will McIntosh.

--Marshal Zeringue