Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Keith Brooke's "Harmony"

Keith Brooke writes science fiction, fantasy and other strange things.

He also runs infinity plus ebooks, publishing the work of Eric Brown, Anna Tambour, John Grant, Kaitlin Queen, Paul di Filippo, Iain Rowan, Neil Williamson and others.

Here Brooke dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, Harmony:
I know some writers find this a natural game to play; they might even have actors in mind as they write. But for me it's quite difficult: I spend months with my characters - I can visualise them, hear them speak, I know their quirks and habits. Choosing an actor changes that: the actor will never be a perfect match, so I have to force myself to sit down and think hard.

The first one that comes to mind is Saneth, an elderly alien who plays a key role in the novel. Andy Serkis is the actor I think of for Saneth, at least partly for the motion capture work he's done with The Lord of the Rings and so on: that mapping of an alien morphology onto human features would be perfect, and Serkis is a master at it. Also, he's opening a motion capture studio in London, and already has the rights to one of my earlier novels, so it's a good match!

Just to contradict myself, while writing Harmony I had one of those very rare - for me - moments when I suddenly realised who one character was based on. Frankhay is a gang-leader who doesn't so much cross-dress as simply doesn't care about gender and clothes - he wears what he likes. There was a lot of Eddie Izzard about him, but worryingly there was also a lot of the eccentric British DJ and TV presenter Jimmy Savile about him, too. Maybe some Richard Harris, too. But given that Harris and Savile are no longer with us, I reckon it's down to Izzard, who would be brilliant in the role.

What about the two main characters?

The female lead, Hope, is a good example of where the author has to just let go. In the book she's young and blonde; but in my mind, the actor I see playing Hope is Christina Ricci: quirky, attractive, and able to convey the spooky edge we'd need so that we're never quite sure if Hope is good, bad, or mad as a box of badgers.

I've left the male lead, Dodge, to last because I really don't know what to do with him. He's quite intentionally a bit of an everyman: young, bright, engaging, a bit crafty and able to dig himself out of situations but just as likely to dig himself deeper. I'd like to think they'd take a risk with him: find exactly the right actor rather than just a name. My fear is that they'd make it a star vehicle and get in someone entirely inappropriate.

So for the final - and central - character, I can't come up with anything, as yet. I think we need to hold auditions...
Learn more about the book and author at Keith Brooke's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Harmony.

Writers Read: Keith Brooke.

--Marshal Zeringue