Friday, August 24, 2012

Charity Shumway's "Ten Girls to Watch"

Charity Shumway received an MFA in Creative Writing from Oregon State University and a BA in English from Harvard University. After graduate school, she spent nine months reporting on the 50th anniversary of Glamour’s "Top Ten College Women" contest. Her writing has appeared in Glamour, Ladies Home Journal, Fitness, and Garden Design, and her short fiction has been honored by Glimmer Train and Slice magazine, among others. She lives with her husband in Brooklyn, New York.

Here Shumway dreamcasts an adaptation of her new, debut novel, Ten Girls to Watch:
Long before Ten Girls to Watch was a book, back when it was just a few chapters on my computer, I indulged in regular daydreams about the movie premier—publishing a book already felt like an outlandish fantasy. Why stop there?—so I’ve been thinking about who I’d cast in the fantasy film version for years. Funnily enough, the leads weren’t the first people I thought of.

In the novel, Dawn interviews hundreds of women who’ve won Charm Magazine’s “Ten Girls to Watch” contest over the past 50 years (That sounds exhausting, but don’t worry -- the book isn’t an endless stream of interviews). Those women are my favorites to dream-cast.

Here are a few ideas:

Helen Thomas is a 1975 winner who also happens to have been Dawn’s college thesis advisor. She’s a scholar, an artist, and wildly stylish. Helen Mirren will do quite nicely. I’ll take Diane Keaton too!

Gerri Vans, 1984 winner, is a media mogul. Sort of like fake Oprah. Who better to play her than Maya Rudolph? (I thought of this even before Up All Night, I swear).

Jessica Winston, 1987 winner and opera diva has to be played by Renée Fleming. So what if she doesn’t really do movies? She can do this one!

Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon, Jodie Foster, Jane Fonda, Angela BassetEmma Thompson, Shirley MacClaine, Michelle Yeoh, Phylicia Rashad, Tilda Swinton, Lily Tomlin... I’ve got parts for all of them.

For the rest of the characters, I’ve done some dreaming as well. Dawn, the novel’s narrator, is 23, trying to pretend she’s more confident than she is, and pretty goofy when you wipe away her thin layer of faux-sophistication. I say Emma Stone!

Lily, who is Dawn’s ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend (got all that?), is a sort of lovably brazen well-to-do Texan. Dawn wants to hate her, but can’t ever get there. Rooney Mara, would you like to play her?

Dawn’s ex-boyfriend needs to be played by Andrew Garfield (Don’t you want to see him and Emma in more movies together? I do!)

The charming-but-can-you-trust-him journalist Dawn starts dating just has to be James Franco.

I’m casting Nicole Kidman as Dawn’s Mary-Kay-Saleslady Mom.

And of course there is the part of Charm’s Editor in Chief, Regina Greene. Tina Fey or Kristen Wiig, will one of you ladies please do it?

Last but not least, I obviously cast myself as an every scene.
Learn more about the book and author at Charity Shumway's website.

--Marshal Zeringue