Monday, September 10, 2012

Mischa Hiller's "Shake Off"

Mischa Hiller is a winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize in the Best First Book Category for South Asia & Europe. Raised in London, Beirut, and Dar El Salaam, Hiller lives in Cambridge, England.

Hiller's acclaimed, first thriller Shake Off has been called "deadly, poignant, and powerful" (The Economist),"Smart and tense and real enough to be scary" (David Morrell), and "A spy thriller of the highest class" (Charles Cumming).

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of the novel:
When I was writing the book I had an actor from The Battle of Algiers in my head as the protagonist Michel but since that was made in 1966 he seems an unlikely candidate. However, I did come across a Lebanese-American actor called Haaz Sleiman, who was in a UK TV series about Israel-Palestine called The Promise and who I've also seen in the US series Nurse Jackie. My wife is insistent that she meet him should he be cast.

For Helen, Michel's love interest, I had Helena Bonham Carter in mind when writing, in terms of the characters she plays, but she is too old to play Helen, and doesn't look like her. However, after reading Shake Off someone pointed out that Rebecca Hall (The Awakening, Vicky Cristina Barcelona) would make an ideal Helen. Having watched her a few times I have to agree, she has that certain English quality that I envisaged when writing.

Abu Leila, Michel's mentor, could quite easily be played by Israeli-Iraqi actor Yigal Naor, who excelled as Saddam Hussein in House of Saddam and was also in Rendition and Green Zone. He has enough gravitas and sensitivity to play him, but could steal the show.
Learn more about the book and author at Mischa Hiller's website.

The Page 69 Test: Shake Off.

--Marshal Zeringue