Saturday, February 2, 2013

Cassandra Rose Clarke's "The Mad Scientist's Daughter"

Cassandra Rose Clarke is a speculative fiction writer living amongst the beige stucco and overgrown pecan trees of Houston, Texas. She graduated in 2006 from The University of St. Thomas with a bachelor’s degree in English, and in 2008 she completed her master’s degree in creative writing at The University of Texas at Austin.

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, The Mad Scientist's Daughter:
I’m enough of a movie nerd that I picked out a dream director to go with my dream cast, so let’s start there. I would love to see The Mad Scientist’s Daughter movie directed by Wong Kar-wai, a Hong Kong director I’m sort of obsessed with. His films depict repressed longing and separated lovers beautifully, and he captures intense, subtle emotions through a blend of music and striking imagery. I would be thrilled to see how he’d adapt my book.

Next up is casting. The novel follows the main character, Cat, over the course of about thirty years, with a sizable chunk of time spent on when she’s in high school and college. For young Cat, I can’t think of anyone more perfect than Kara Haywood, the actress who played Suzy Bishop in Moonrise Kingdom. I love her intensity and subtle melancholy.

I think Kate Winslet would be wonderful for adult Cat. Again, she can generate the right intensity and melancholy, and she does a good job with flawed, often unlikeable characters (like Clem in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. She’s also beautiful in the way I pictured Cat — a blend of classical and quirky and a little vulnerable, all at once.

Finn, the android Cat falls in love with, was a difficult character to cast. I finally decided on Danny Pudi, best known for playing the robotic Abed on Community — so he could certainly pull of Finn’s personality. He also has Finn’s large dark eyes. Win.

Richard Feversham, the human man Cat eventually marries, could be played by any one of the strong-jawed, handsome blond men currently working in Hollywood. I’d probably go with Chris Pine.

Finally, we have the titular mad scientist, Cat’s father Dr. Novak. I struggled a bit with this one, too. At first I wanted to go with Lance Henriksen, partially because it amused me (Bishop!) and partially because, fifteen years ago, he would have been pretty perfect. If I have to choose an actor who’s the right age now, I pick Jeff Bridges. He’s a pretty different sort of actor, I guess, but he has that affable distant quality that works well for Dr. Novak. Plus, I liked him as a computer genius dad in Tron: Legacy.
Learn more about the book and author at Cassandra Rose Clarke's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue