Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Robin Burcell's "The Black List"

Robin Burcell, an FBI-trained forensic artist, has worked in law enforcement for over two decades as a police officer, detective and hostage negotiator. The Black List is the latest installment in her series featuring Special Agent Sydney Fitzpatrick.

Here Burcell dreamcasts an adaptation of The Black List:
An interesting notion... When I start a novel, I don’t always give much thought about the men and women I’d cast, but the longer I’m working on a piece, the more I tend to have specific images in my head without even realizing it. In talking to readers, I find they have similar experiences with the characters as they delve into a book. But their images of actors they see in the roles don’t always match mine. They’ll tell me who they see as a certain character, and I nod and smile, telling them that’s a great idea, when the truth is that it’s not who I envisioned at all. Of course, once someone puts me on the spot, asking me whom I would cast, I discover it’s not that easy to turn my mind’s eye into something more concrete. (Anyone know a good sketch artist?)

The worst part of casting for me is that I really don’t retain names. (Really! Even names of people I’ve known for years. It’s a running joke at my house. I know faces, but that’s it.) Naturally I turned to the internet and started looking at photos of leading actors, whether TV or the big screen. It felt a bit like looking at mug shots for a police lineup. “Ma’am, is this who you saw?” Well… no. He’s too young, tall, thin-faced, eyes too close together, dark, light… and the list of faults goes on.

But occasionally I’ll run across a photo of someone and think, yes… that could be him. Or her. Of course I’d have to see them in action, hear them talk to know for sure. But based on photos alone, here’s who passed my mug shot test.

Special Agent Zachary Griffin is one of those rather quiet guys with a past that not everyone knows. He doesn’t share his feelings openly, but one thing I do know about him is that you don’t want to be on his bad side. Christian Bale, now that he’s aged up a bit, lost some of that prettiness, would make a standup Griffin.

Special Agent James “Tex” Dalton can deliver one liners with the best of them. Timothy Olyphant of Justified looks great in a cowboy hat and boots, which is what Tex prefers to wear. Of course, I’m torn. I think Olyphant would also make a great Griffin…

Special Agent Sydney Fitzpatrick: I have no idea… Jennifer Lawrence, who recently won an Oscar for Best Actress is a bit too young, but in a few years I could see her in the role. But I also like Alison Brie. Sydney isn’t one of those frou-frou pretty girls. She’s been around the block and knows how to take care of herself. And do not tell her she can’t do something. To her, that’s like a direct challenge.

Of course, ask me again in a month who I’d cast, and I’ll have changed my mind completely!
Learn more about the book and author at Robin Burcell's website.

--Marshal Zeringue