Friday, April 5, 2013

James Thompson's "Helsinki Blood"

With his first internationally published novel, Snow Angels, James Thompson proved himself Finland’s best and most popular representative in the rise of Nordic noir. It was selected as one of Booklist’s Best Crime Novel Debuts of the Year and nominated for an Edgar Award, an Anthony Award, and a Strand Critics Award. His novel, Lucifer’s Tears, has received critical acclaim from all quarters, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus, and was selected as one of the best novels of the year by Kirkus. Helsinki White was released to critical acclaim in 2012. The fourth book in the series, Helsinki Blood, was published in March, 2013. Thompson is also a reviewer for The New York Journal of Books and holds a Master’s degree from The University of Helsinki. The first three books in his Inspector Vaara series have been optioned for film.

Here Thompson shares some ideas for casting an adaptation of Helsinki Blood:
My problem with this exercise is that many of the actors I think would do a good job with characterizations in the book are the wrong ages. Also, it’s important that all the actors be intelligent, as they’ll need to absorb foreign languages to varying degrees. My protagonist is Kari Vaara. He is now, in the present, forty-four years old. He’s a complex man, intelligent, sometimes ruthless, sometimes compassionate. Matt Damon, I think possesses all the right qualities, including linguistics, and would do a good job, and is forty-two.

I can picture Jessica Alba doing a good job as Vaara’s wife. She’s beautiful, the right age, seems smart and charming, and as an actress could negotiate the difficulties of loving a man who does things she often doesn’t approve of. She also has an air about her that makes me think she would portray a good mother.

Milo and Sweetness, Vaara’s subordinates, collaborators and friends, are the problems. Milo is twenty-eight, has an extremely high IQ. He’s unpredictable and prone toward violence. I could imagine Giovanni Ribisi, Judd Nelson, or Johnny Depp in the role, but it would be difficult to portray any of them as that young.

Same with Sweetness. He’s twenty-three, huge—a monster-sized man—baby-faced, easy-going and good-natured, but extreme violence means nothing to him. No one who could pull that off comes to mind.
Learn more about the book and author at James Thompson's website and blog. Helsinki Blood is the fourth novel in the Inspector Vaara series.

The Page 69 Test: Snow Angels.

The Page 69 Test: Helsinki White.

Writers Read: James Thompson (April 2012).

My Book, The Movie: Helsinki White.

Writers Read: James Thompson.

The Page 69 Test: Helsinki Blood.

--Marshal Zeringue