Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sally Cabot's "Benjamin Franklin's Bastard"

Sally Cabot lives in Brewster, Massachusetts, with her husband, Tom. A lifelong resident of New England, she is active in the local historical society and creates tours that showcase the three-hundred-year history of her village.

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Benjamin Franklin's Bastard:
Benjamin Franklin’s Bastard, the movie? Hm. I have a problem. The book takes place over a span of forty years – do I select young and old versions of each character, or do I rely on the fabled Hollywood make-up/technology to age them? (Thinking Little Big Man, and yes, showing my age here). But okay, let’s do both. As few people know or remember, the young Benjamin Franklin was, handsome, strapping, intelligent, bold, witty, and possessed of both a full head of hair and a lethal charm. I’m thinking the remade Star Trek’s Captain Kirk -- Chris Pine -- might capture the young Franklin well, and Jeff Bridges might pick up on the older Franklin with ease. (Going back a way, again, but Bridges’s The Fabulous Baker Boys role is speaking to me here).

Benjamin Franklin’s bastard son William was described in the press of the day as “the handsomest man in America,” and maybe someone like Jake Gyllenhaal could carry that off. I’d want to use Sam Shepard for the older bastard, although he doesn’t look a thing like Jake, but I just have to work Sam Shepard into my movie somewhere. Maybe I should cast another favorite, Edward Norton, as the younger William, and stretch the “handsome” point – I see him evolving into Sam well.

Anne, the “low woman” who fathers the bastard, possesses a seductive innocence that I read clearly in Scarlett Johansson’s Lost in Translation role, and with The Fabulous Baker Boys still lurking in the back of my mind, why not go with Michelle Pfeiffer as the older version?

Franklin’s common-law wife, Deborah Read, wasn’t a traditional beauty, and her personality has been described as “turbulent.” As with Sam Shepard I’d love to work Meryl Streep into my film, so this leads me to her equally talented daughter, Mamie Gummer, as the younger version. They tried this, with a twist, in Evening – Mamie played another character’s daughter – but at least we know that this family can work together.

And I guess you’ve figured out by now that I haven’t been to the movies in a while.
Learn more about the author and her work at Sally Cabot's Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue