Thursday, May 10, 2012

Simon Lewis's "Border Run"

Simon Lewis studied Art at Goldmiths College in London, then worked as a travel writer in Asia. He researched the Rough Guides to China, Beijing, and Shanghai as well as writing for newspapers and magazines.

His first novel Go (1999), a travel thriller about backpackers, was written in a village in the Himalayas. His second novel, Bad Traffic (2008), is a crime thriller about people smugglers, featuring Chinese policeman Inspector Jian.

Here Lewis dreamcasts an adaptation of his latest novel, Border Run:
If Border Run was to be filmed, it would be a contained thriller - all the action takes place over a single day, in (pretty much) one location - the remote forest that lies on the border between Burma and China. As well as bringing to life some dramatic talky scenes, the actors would be required to do a lot of tricky physical work - jumping over waterfalls, fighting with knives, and hunting one another with homemade crossbows.

For my lead, naive young British backpacker Will, I would want Robert Sheehan. I was lucky enough to watch him play another part I wrote for him - that of a grieving pickpocket in the TV drama Dip - and I think he is a superb actor. He brings a mesmerising mix of angst and strength to the role. It helps that he's beautiful too, in a soulful way.

I think it is a challenging part: over the course of one day he has to turn from one of life's natural witnesses - rather self conscious, hiding behind his camera - into a ruthless hunter who must drop the trappings of civilisation and turn on his best friend, in order to do what he thinks is right.

For the second backpacker, Jake, I would cast Dominic Cooper - sportier and more extrovert, with more classical good looks. Something more of a jack- the-lad quality about him. Again, his role is a tough one: he has to be stripped of his conceited confidence and descend into paranoia and desperation.

The third character - the seedy middle aged smuggler who acts as their guide - is psychopathic, middle aged and American - so would have to be played by whoever the new Dennis Hopper is - perhaps Nicolas Cage. Certainly a character actor who can bring some intensity and danger to the part. As the guide, he runs rings around his young charges, being icy, manipulative and fast talking - and, ultimately, unhinged and pretty scary. For an actor, it's probably the best role; he gets a good death scene too...
Learn more about the book and author at Simon Lewis' website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Bad Traffic.

The Page 69 Test: Border Run.

--Marshal Zeringue