Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Iris Anthony's "The Ruins of Lace"

Iris Anthony is a pseudonym. The writer behind the name is an award winning author of ten novels.

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of The Ruins of Lace, her first novel with Sourcebooks:
My novel, The Ruins of Lace, has seven point-of-view characters (one of them a dog), so there are quite a few roles to cast. The story takes place in seventeenth-century France, so part of my casting goal is to achieve the right look, not only in terms of actors having ‘European’ faces but also an aesthetic appropriate to the seventeenth century.

My lacemaker, Katharina Martens, is thirty years old, but she’s been locked away in an abbey making lace from a young age. The actress would have to show her years, but be able to also manifest a youthful, innocent aura. Emily Blunt would fit this role well.

The lacemaker’s sister, Heilwich Martens, is several years older than Katharina and much more care-worn. She’s been working for years to save enough money to buy her sister back from the abbey. The actress playing this part would need to exhibit steadfast loyalty as well as be someone who looks like she could be related to Emily Blunt. Joséphine de Meaux would be perfect.

Lisette Lefort is a nineteen year-old French noblewoman whose childhood indiscretion has brought her family to ruin. The actress for this part would need to almost display the opposite qualities of Katharina. She would need to appear youthful, but also display the debilitating burden that guilt and shame have placed on the character. Clémence Poésy could play this part.

The dog is one of thousands who were used to smuggle lace across the border between Flanders and France. Tradition has it that poodles were used for this purpose. My poodle would need to look a little ragged around the edges and would also have to be apricot-colored.

Denis Boulanger is the border guard who never manages to find any lace in spite of the fact that hundreds of lengths of it probably crossed the border every day. He has a very literal way of viewing the world. I imagine him as having Asperger’s syndrome. This part needs a very intelligent, unassuming actor who can portray a believable awkwardness; I think Freddie Highmore would do a wonderful job with it.

Alexandre Lefort is Lisette’s cousin and would-be suitor. He journeys to Flanders to buy a length of illegal lace in order to extricate the family from the debt they’ve been blackmailed into paying. This character really comes into his own during the course of the book, so the actor would need to be someone who could be easily overlooked but who has an underlying strength of character. Gaspard Ulliel would be a good match.

The Count of Montreau is one of the story’s villains. Lisette describes him as the most beautiful man she’s ever seen so sheer physical beauty is quite important for this role. If this character hadn’t been so marked and wounded by his past, he would be the perfect, distinguished gentleman, but there’s a terrible struggle going on inside of him that he rarely ever gives voice to. This actor won’t be able to just coast by on his good looks, he’ll have to allow some self-loathing to show through. It’s the kind of part that needs the subtle, voiceless sub-texting that Colin Firth is known for; unfortunately Firth doesn’t have the right look. I’m thinking of someone like Jonathan Rhys Meyers or even Ezra Miller (he’d be absolutely perfect if he weren’t so young).
Learn more about the book and author at Iris Anthony's website and blog.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Iris Anthony and Larry.

--Marshal Zeringue