Saturday, June 16, 2012

Jeff Salyards's "Scourge of the Betrayer"

Jeff Salyards's debut hard-boiled fantasy novel, Scourge of the Betrayer, is now out from Night Shade Books.

Here he dreamcasts a big-screen adaptation of the book:
Like many writers, I've fantasized about what it would be like if someone turned my book into a film, so I've spent some time (OK, an inordinate amount of time) dreaming up the ideal cast for that adaptation. Time I should have spent writing, especially since even if a studio purchased the rights the movie would probably get shelved indefinitely, or if it did make it out there, Justin Bieber would get cast as Braylar.

I won't run through the entire cast, but here are some of the major players:

Captain Braylar Killcoin: The man is lean, cold, calculating, with a biting sense of humor, and yet somehow still sympathetic. He is also a haunted man, in more ways than one. Ten or 15 years ago, Daniel Day Lewis would have been absolutely perfect. He could have walked in, read one line, and I would have called off the auditions. But he's a bit older than the role calls for now, so looking at the younger generation of actors, Christian Bale would be a fine choice. He has mad range, he can obviously play haunted (see The Machinist), and he can project dark undercurrents and still manage to be charming and even endearing.

Lloi of Redsoil: The actress playing this part needs to capture Lloi's rough edges (really, rough most of the way through), blunt and sometimes profane delivery, matter-of-fact demeanor (even when describing horrific and unsettling topics), and yet still have an almost Zen take on all the awful crap that's come her way. And it's critical that even as some of her lines serve as comic relief, the character's humanity always trumps any ridicule she might encounter. Robin Weigert (Calamity Jane in Deadwood) would nail the role. Of course, Lloi should look a bit exotic, so that rules Robin out. Michelle Rodriguez could get the job done. Yes, she's too pretty for Lloi most days, but if Hollywood magic can make Charlize Theron ugly as hell, they can do it for anybody, and Rodriguez has the requisite grit and toughness, as exhibited in Girlfight.

Arkamondos (Arki): This one is tricky--the young actor playing Arki has to convey both naiveté and still be somewhat alert and perceptive; uncertain, sensitive, and wildly out of his depth, and still doggedly persistent. He also needs to pull off being both repelled by his new violent company and fascinated by them at the same time. This requires some deft subtlety and an absence of overacting. Craig Roberts (Jane Eyre, Submarine) is an up-and-comer with a young Dustin Hoffman vibe who could play vulnerable and still not get dwarfed by the other big names on set (he's in Red Lights with Robert De Niro).

Matinios (called Hewpsear): As far as Syldoon go, Hewspear is refined, cultured, and somewhat stately (even if no less skilled at bloodletting than the rest of the company). He is older than the rest of the crew, a counterpoint to his hot-headed cohort, Mulldoos, and generally accepts circumstances with a twinkle in his eye or a knowing wink. If I didn't tick him off by passing earlier, Daniel Day Lewis would be great, but if he walked, Laurence Fishburne or Jeremy Irons would be fantastic.

Mulldoos: On the surface, Mulldoos is all foul-mouthed, tough as boot leather, fist-clenched badassery. Not only does he not suffer fools, he might backhand them or stab them in the face, depending on his mood. A real tough customer. And beneath that, he's meaner still. But beneath that, he is also fiercely loyal, boldly honest, and would lay down his life for his comrades without question. If he could be coaxed into a non-lead role, Russell Crowe would own this part.
Learn more about the book and author at Jeff Salyards's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue