Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Joanna Hershon's "A Dual Inheritance"

Joanna Hershon is the author of Swimming, The Outside of August, and The German Bride. Her writing has appeared in One Story, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Post Road, the literary anthology Brooklyn Was Mine, and was shortlisted for the 2007 O. Henry Prize Stories.

Here she shares some ideas for the cast of an adaptation of her new novel, A Dual Inheritance:
A Dual Inheritance spans about 50 years, which is always a challenge for a movie, though some wonderful films (Iris with Kate Winslet and Judi Dench) comes to mind) solve the casting issues brilliantly. I never write with a movie actor in mind, nor do I think about the book as a film while I’m writing. I’m also a film lover and I used to act, so I take my casting seriously!

When we meet the three main characters they are seniors at Harvard. There are honestly no current actors that spring to mind for a young Ed Cantowitz, but maybe Andrew Garfield? Shia LeBeouf? I’m sure there are some amazing “unknowns” who’d be perfect; a younger Liev Schreiber would have been good; maybe he could still pull it off. For a young Hugh Shipley, I see Alexander Skarsgård. I was dazzled by his performance in Lars Von Trier’s apocalyptic Melancholia. As the young Helen Shipley? Maybe Mia Wasikowska? Kirsten Dunst?

For Ed’s father, Murray Cantowitz, Fred Ward could be perfect. I’ve always had a thing for him.

Dustin Hoffman could be good as older Ed, I’d love to see Sam Shepard play an older Hugh. Meryl Streep is for sure the older Helen but I’d also love to see the actress Laila Robins, who I’ve admired in various roles, including Dr. Paul Weston’s (Gabriel Byrne’s) first girlfriend on In Treatment.

Rebecca (Ed’s daughter) has to age as well, and I think Natalie Portman could carry off playing her from a teenager to a woman in her late thirties. Vivi (Ed’s Daughter) has the same acting demands and could be played beautifully by Jemima Kirke.

This is a sweeping saga and heavily populated, so there are many fun casting opportunities but these characters are the heart of the story. I’d love to hear what other readers come up with.
Learn more about the author and her work at Joanna Hershon's website.

The Page 69 Test: The German Bride.

My Book, The Movie: The German Bride.

Writers Read: Joanna Hershon.

The Page 69 Test: A Dual Inheritance.

--Marshal Zeringue