Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Antoine Wilson's "Panorama City"

Antoine Wilson is the author of the novels Panorama City and The Interloper. A contributing editor of the literary quarterly A Public Space, he lives and surfs in Los Angeles.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of Panorama City:
Oppen Porter, the narrator of Panorama City, is an open-hearted, bicycle-riding, binocular-toting self-described “slow absorber.” After his father's death, he has to leave his idyllic small-town life in Madera, CA to live with his watchful and sharp-tongued Aunt Liz in Panorama City, CA, a suburb of Los Angeles. He's 27 years old, terribly naïve, and functionally illiterate. He believes that this is his opportunity to become a man of the world.

The real question when casting Oppen is who is (or could be) today's Chauncey Gardner (Being There) or Navin R. Johnson (The Jerk). My money's on Jake Gyllenhaal. He's only 6'0” to Oppen's 6'6”, but his acting chops and finely tuned sense of vulnerability win the day.

Oppen's Aunt Liz, brittle yet well-meaning, set in her ways, will be played brilliantly by Laura Linney. I can see her now, driving from one notary public appointment to another, sitting right up against the steering wheel, hands at 11:55 and 12:05. (Okay, she's only 48, but by the time anyone greenlights this thing, she'll be perfect.)

Oppen's bus-ride friend and genius manqué Paul Renfro will be played by a rumpled Philip Seymour Hoffman. A solid 50/50 blend of delusion and brilliance.

At the Lighthouse Christian Fellowship, charismatic leader Scott Valdez will be played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, with Mos Def as the perpetual Prodigal Son, JB. Eva Mendes will play the bewitching Maria, an alluring Psychic occupying the space a few doors down from the Lighthouse.

At the Fast Food Place where Oppen gets a job, Kevin Spacey cameos as mustachioed manager Roger Macarona.

Did I mention that Oppen is on what he believes is his deathbed, recording his adventures onto cassettes for the benefit of his unborn son? By his side in the hospital room, his pregnant girlfriend Carmen, a retired prostitute, will be portrayed by a deglammed Rosario Dawson. That spot of casting against type will be sure to yield her a supporting actress nod or two.

Awesome. But I hear the book is better.
Learn more about the book and author at Antoine Wilson's website and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue