Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Enid Shomer's "The Twelve Rooms of the Nile"

A widely published fiction writer and poetry, Enid Shomer is the author of seven books. Her work has been collected in more than fifty anthologies and textbooks, including POETRY: A HarperCollins Pocket Anthology, Best American Poetry, and New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best.

Here Shomer shares some suggestions for the lead actors and director of an adaptation of her new novel, The Twelve Rooms of the Nile:
Since the protagonists of The Twelve Rooms of the Nile —Florence Nightingale and Gustave Flaubert—are well-known historical figures, I’m sure every reader will have his or her own idea about which actors could ideally tackle these roles. But in my mind, Emily Blunt would make a perfect Nightingale. She has the right kind of face and coloring and, more importantly, a great gift for intensity as well as comedy. Nightingale had a killer wit, a mischievous streak that surfaced regularly as part of her rebelliousness. She was also incredibly passionate and probably the best-educated Englishwoman of her day. Blunt has the glamour and the grit for this role.

It is more difficult to imagine who might portray Gustave Flaubert. My current fantasy is that the role should go to a sexy unknown with a great deal of animal magnetism. Since there are only two photographs of Flaubert (he detested having his picture taken), the public doesn’t have a preconceived notion of what he looked like. One of the extant photos of him was taken by his traveling companion, the journalist Maxime Du Camp, on the trip through Egypt described in my novel. Flaubert is wearing native garb and his face is covered by a hood with pom-poms. Whoever the actor is, he should be slightly fleshy and sensuous-looking, with a mobile face to convey the alternately sensitive and lewd thoughts Flaubert was entertaining at any given time. A young Marlon Brando is the sort of man I have in mind.

As for directors: a novel set in the ancient monuments of Egypt and on the Nile calls out for a team like Merchant and Ivory, who are, alas, no longer with us or making films. If I could pick anyone in the world, it would probably be Jane Campion, whose films have the visual beauty that this story cries out for. Egypt should be as much of a character in the movie as it is in the novel. I’d also love to see what Werner Herzog could do with this story. He has the intensity and genius to match the characters’.
Learn more about the book and author at Enid Shomer's website and Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: The Twelve Rooms of the Nile.

Writers Read: Enid Shomer.

--Marshal Zeringue