Monday, March 5, 2012

Caitlin R. Kiernan's "The Drowning Girl"

Caitlin R. Kiernan's novels include Silk, Threshold, Low Red Moon, Murder of Angels, Daughter of Hounds, and The Red Tree. Her award-winning short fiction has been collected in six volumes, including Tales of Pain and Wonder; To Charles Fort, With Love; Alabaster; and A is for Alien. She has also published two volumes of erotica, Frog Toes and Tentacles and Tales from the Woeful Platypus.

Here she names some possible directors and actors for a big screen adaptation of her new novel, The Drowning Girl: A Memoir:
This is a game I always play with myself, as I'm writing a book and afterwards. But in the case of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, it's much more difficult than usual. There are, I think, multiple reasons for this. For one, it's such a quiet book, and so personal. But, no reason here to get into all the reasons, those specifics. My dream director would almost certainly be Lars Von Trier. especially looking at what he did in Melancholia and Antichrist. Alternately, Terrence Malick and Darren Aronofsky, they'd be almost spot on. Any of these three directors could nail the mood of the film. That quiet desperation and mounting tension, the way it is always on the edge of and finally spirals into the surreal.

It's much, much harder to imagine casting the film. I see a tremendous number of films every year, and so I'm very familiar with probably hundreds of actors, but I think that actually makes it more difficult. It would be an all-female cast, I know that. The closest thing the novel has to an antagonist is a very strange woman named Eva Canning, a character who may, or may not, be a supernatural creature of some sort. She'd have to be able to combine vulnerability and threat. Kristen Stewart might make a wonderful Eva. Though I hate those wretched, silly Twilight films (and books), I've seen her actually act, in The Runaways and Adventureland. She can project the menace and the weaknesses of Eva Canning. The antagonist, India Morgan Phelps, or Imp, she's a lot harder to pin down. For one, she's schizophrenic and has an oddly contradictory worldy innocence about her. I very much want to say Hailee Steinfeld, who played Mattie Ross in the Cohen Bros. adaptation of True Grit, but she's too young. It seems like a little bit of a stretch, but possibly Jennifer Lawrence could pull it off. If she could get a New England accent down. This game is usually fun, and far easier, but The Drowning Girl: A Memoir is a very different book for me.
Watch The Drowning Girl trailer and visit Caitlin R. Kiernan's website and journal.

--Marshal Zeringue