Thursday, October 31, 2013

G. R. Mannering's "Roses"

G. R. Mannering is an English writer and international author. She signed up with literary agency Creative Authors when she was eighteen and secured her first UK publishing deal when she was nineteen.

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of her first fantasy novel Roses, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast:
I think choosing someone to play my main character, Beauty, is the most difficult. Whoever they are, they would have to be happy to go through a few hours of make-up (Beauty has silver skin and white hair). She ages over the course of the book too so there would have to be a younger version and an older version. But I guess that right now, I get to choose, so I think that I would go for someone ethereal-looking like Saoirse Ronan or maybe Dakota Fanning.

The Beast would spend most of the movie as... a beast, so I think that I would have to focus on his voice and in an ideal world I'd go for someone like Richard Armitage for the deep tone and the fact that he's slightly older. The kindly stable manager, Owaine, would be someone like  Brian Blessed, while the creepy, handsome character of Eli could be Ed Westwick (because, why not).

It would be pretty amazing if  Emma Thompson was Asha and then I think that Jamie Foxx would most accurately fit the picture of The Sorcerer that I have in my head.

If only all of that could actually happen!
Learn more about the book and author at G. R. Mannering's website, blog, Facebook page and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Maria T. Lennon's "Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child"

At fifteen Maria T. Lennon left Santa Barbara to study at The American School in Switzerland. She continued her studies at Brillantmont in Lausanne, got kicked out, then went on to London to complete her A levels. She was accepted to the London School of Economics and studied International Economics and Politics of International Aid. After graduating, she moved to Italy where she ate and drank enormous quantities. She also taught summer school at The American School in Genova, an elementary school. Lennon later moved to Paris and wrote her first novel. When she returned to Los Angeles, she quit all bad habits and continued working on her novel, Making It up as I Go Along, which was published in 2004.

Lennon’s screenplay about the Red Brigade was a third place finalist in Francis Ford Coppola's screenwriter's competition. Today, she lives in Laurel Canyon and has four children and a dog named Frida. Her most recent book, Confessions of a So-called Middle Child, was released by Harper Collins in August 2013 and she is currently working on the series. When not driving one of her four children to school or volunteering at school libraries, Lennon can be found sitting in a parked car, a café or a library writing novels, travel articles or just passed out.

Here the author shares some ideas about an adaptation of Confessions of a So-called Middle Child:
Who Do I Want to Star in my Book?

A Tragic Question.

The movie business is weird. Way weirder than the publishing business that’s for sure. When Harper Collins bought the manuscript, Hollywood agents came calling the same week. They loved Charlie. And what’s not to love?

She’s a major pain in the butt. Got kicked out of school in Malibu. She bullies her way through life to get her way. She’s got a gifted older sister and an angel of a baby brother.

She lives in the Houdini Mansion while her dad rebuilds the original house that burnt down in 1953.

She actually finds the tunnels that go under Laurel Canyon Blvd. and have been rumored to exist for decades.

It would make a great movie right?

Jaden Smith for Bobby.

Hailee Steinfeld for Charlie.

And For Marta… well, by the time I got close to coming up with my dream girl the agents told me they were interested in TV and not film.

What? I cried.

No! I screamed.

And they want others to write it for you!

What? I cried.

No! I screamed.

Visions of Hannah Montanas and I Carlies in my head. What sadness. No, thanks, I said.
Visit the Confessions of a So-called Middle Child website, and follow Maria T. Lennon on Facebook and Twitter.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Maria T. Lennon and Frida.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Robert Klara's "The Hidden White House"

Robert Klara is the author of the critically acclaimed 2010 book FDR's Funeral Train, which historian and author Douglas Brinkley called “a major new contribution to U.S. history.” Klara has been a staff editor for several magazines including Adweek, Town & Country and Architecture. His freelance work has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Daily News, American Heritage, and The Christian Science Monitor, among other publications.

Here Klara dreamcasts an adaptation of his new book, The Hidden White House: Harry Truman and the Reconstruction of America's Most Famous Residence:
If they make my book into a film (and if they do, sweethearts, you’ll all be invited aboard my steam yacht), the casting director is in for a monstrous time: It took many, many people to rebuild the White House, and many of them are recurring characters in my book. So we’ll stick with the top few. I won’t let mortality get in my way nor, as you will note, will I let probable lack of financing do the same.

President Harry Truman should be played by the late Harry Morgan. Best known as Col. Potter in the M*A*S*H TV series, Morgan actually did play Truman—with uncanny brilliance—in the 1979 miniseries Backstairs at the White House. So I’d simply like a return engagement.

I would love to see what Meryl Streep could do with the role of First Lady Bess Truman, whose quiet, simple grace served as a counterpoint to her iron resolve. If you saw Streep in The Iron Lady (2011) or you’re old enough to remember how she played Danish plantation owner Karen in Out of Africa (1985), you’ll have an inkling of how well she’d channel this enigmatic, indomitable first lady.

To play the playful and feisty twentysomething Margaret Truman, I nominate Rashida Jones, whose blend of humor and intellect is perfect for the First Daughter.

Sean Connery would be magnificent as the erudite and brilliant chief architect Douglas Orr. I can see Connery in Orr’s round glasses, bow ties, and Yale tweeds, training a practiced eye on mountains of blueprints.

Lorenzo Winslow, the government architect who drew up the plans for the renovated mansion (and spent much of his spare time communicating with ghosts) is a role I would love to see what Donald Sutherland could do with, just for the hell of it.

Remember how incredible Daniel Day Lewis was as the volcanic Daniel Plainview in There Will be Blood? I’d put Lewis in the role of the White House’s tempestuous and powerful builder John McShain—another self-made man presiding over an empire with no heir.

White House maître d'hôtel Alonzo Fields was a quietly influential force in the White House—insightful and articulate, he was the eyes and ears of the domestic staff and an informal confidant of Truman’s. I can’t see anyone other than the late Scatman Crothers in this role with his deep, knowing smile, and a head full of kept secrets.

Resourceful and fussy, Usher J.B. West—a man whose ability to manage the ever-changing stage set that is the modern White House—was an indispensable force in the book’s narrative. Ben Kingsley would bring a kind of quirky magic to that role, which Mr. West has earned.

General Glen Edgerton—who supervised the entire day-to-day mess of the rebuilding effort—was a stark and steely man. Not only could Robert Downey Jr. play him, he looks like him.
Visit Robert Klara's website and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Mike Maden's "Drone"

About Drone, the first book in Mike Maden's new thriller series:
Troy Pearce is the CEO of Pearce Systems, a private security firm that is the best in the world at drone technologies. A former CIA SOG operative, Pearce used his intelligence and combat skills to hunt down America’s sworn enemies in the War on Terror. But after a decade of clandestine special ops, Pearce opted out. Too many of his friends had been sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. Now Pearce and his team chose which battles he will take on by deploying his land, sea, and air drones with surgical precision.

Pearce thinks he’s done with the U.S. government for good, until a pair of drug cartel hit men assault a group of American students on American soil. New U.S. president Margaret Meyers then secretly authorizes Pearce Systems to locate and destroy the killers sheltered in Mexico. Pearce and his team go to work, and they are soon thrust into a showdown with the hidden powers behind the El Paso attack—unleashing a host of unexpected repercussions.
Here Maden dreamcasts an adaptation of Drone:
This is a tough question. For the series lead, Troy Pearce, I’d cast Gary Sinise. He has the quiet swagger and thoughtful demeanor that Troy possesses. In Mr. Sinise’s private life, he does a lot of great things for the right people and mostly he does it quietly. On his recent television series, you never heard him raise his voice, but would you ever want to get into a knife fight with that guy? I think not. Troy is wicked smart and ruthlessly dangerous when finally provoked into action and I see Gary Sinise all over that.
Read more about Drone, and follow Mike Maden on Facebook and Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Kristan Higgins's "The Perfect Match"

Kristan Higgins is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and two-time winner of the Romance Writers of America RITA Award. Her books have been praised for their "genius level EQ, whippet-fast, funny dialogue and sweet plots with a deliciously tart edge" (USA Today).

Here Higgins dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, The Perfect Match:
I’m not going to pretend here—Tom Hardy was the inspiration for the hero of The Perfect Match to the point where I now own a Tom Hardy calendar. I even named my hero Tom, which I thought was a solid blue-collar name. Tom Barlow is from Manchester, England, the only son of a butcher, and put himself through school on a boxing scholarship. I have a thing for the movie Warrior, as well as 124 pictures of young Mr. Hardy on my computer. Tom Hardy has such appeal as a romantic lead—when I saw This Means War, I was a little stunned that the heroine goes with the other guy (not that there’s anything wrong with Chris Pine, but please! He’s no Tom Hardy.)

What I love about Tom Hardy is that he can convey both a smokin’ alpha male and a very adorable boy-next-door. In my book, Tom Barlow is some of both—he’s trying very hard to stay close to his “unofficial stepson,” a teenage boy whose late mother was Tom’s fiancée. What woman could resist giving him a green card by way of marriage? But Tom’s got quite an edge, too, which was very fun to write.

For Honor, it was a little harder to choose an actress, but in the end, I went with Laura Linney. She was so magnificent in Love Actually (and everything she does, really), and I like that she’s a bit underappreciated. Honor is the person in her family who gets things done, but she’s got a romantic heart and a whole lot of yearning. Laura Linney is just fantastic at conveying ten emotions at once…to me, she’s second only to Meryl Streep in terms of acting chops. Honor doesn’t suffer fools gladly, and she doesn’t let Tom get away with his usual shtick, so I think Ms. Linney would do a great job portraying her.
Learn more about the book and author at Kristan Higgins's website, blog, and Facebook page.

My Book, The Movie: Somebody to Love.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tina Connolly's "Copperhead"

Tina Connolly lives with her family in Portland, Oregon, in a house that came with a dragon in the basement and blackberry vines in the attic. Her stories have appeared all over, including in Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

Here Connolly dreamcasts an adaptation of Copperhead, the sequel to her Nebula-nominated historical fantasy debut, Ironskin:
I always find this a challenging question – I think because I spent so much time in the theatre myself that my first instinct is always: well, I'd like go hold some auditions ... I bet there'd be some good unknowns out there ... also it takes so long to get a movie rolling into production that surely anyone I pick would have aged out by the time we're ready to cast!

Still, here are some random picks for Copperhead:

Helen – Carey Mulligan. I love Mulligan's work, and she brings such complexity to her roles that I think she would be great with Helen, who tries to pass herself off as superficial, but is actually warm-hearted, stubborn, and capable of much change over the course of the book.

Jane – Keira Knightley. I liked Mulligan and Knightley together in Never Let Me Go. The first book in the series, Ironskin, was Jane's journey, and Copperhead is Helen's. But plenty of interesting things happen to Jane in Copperhead. I think Knightley would look the part, and do a good job with angry, cursed Jane.

Rook – Mm, good question. A young Robert Downey Jr. would be a lot of fun for this quirky, funny, passionate young man with a past full of secrets.

Frye – Frye's a tall, flamboyant theatre actress, a bit of an Auntie Mame type. I'd love some great character actor like Allison Janney—someone who'd have fun swanning around a bit.

Alberta – someone with a lot of strength. Gina Torres would be nice here. And I believe she's a musician, which would be perfect for the character.

Grimsby – I'll go for a classic and say Alan Rickman for the biting, cold-hearted leader of the Copperhead party. Grimsby's got tragedy in his past, so Rickman would have some interesting levels to play.
Learn more about the book and author at Tina Connolly's website, blog, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Gina Linko's "Indigo"

Gina Linko has a graduate degree in creative writing from DePaul University and lives outside Chicago with her husband and three children. Linko teaches college English part-time, but her real passion is sitting down at a blank computer screen and asking herself the question, "What if...?"

Here Linko dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Indigo:
It is so difficult for me to picture my book as a movie. I know that usually is not the case for authors, but for some reason, I don't think that way. I create the main characters in my head and so they kind of seem like real people to me. So for me to place that entire personality and history onto an actor, well, I don't know. I take my characters way too seriously, as you can see. Anyway, here goes.

The main character in Indigo is Corrine Harlowe. She is broken in a very big way at the beginning of this book, but she has a quiet strength. Dark haired, serious, and formidable. I think I could see Hailee Steinfeld as Corrine. She has that steely kind of resolve to her. She could take on Corrine's curse/power and do what she has to do.

Rennick Lane is Corrine's love interest in Indigo, and he is not your typical hero. He's kind of your nerdy/artist-type trapped in the body of a rock star. But he doesn't even know it. Plus, his hair. Swoon. So. These are some big shoes to fill. Black converse to be specific. Anyway. I think Logan Lerman could do justice to the part.
Learn more about the book and author at Gina Linko's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 18, 2013

Paul Conroy's "Under the Wire"

Paul Conroy, author of Under the Wire: Marie Colvin's Final Assignment, is a former British soldier. As a photographer and filmmaker whose work spans 15 years, he has reported on the conflicts in Iraq, Congo, Kosovo, Libya, and Syria.

Here Conroy dreamcasts an adaptation of Under the Wire:
On February 22, 2012, I was seriously injured in a rocket attack whilst reporting the Syrian uprising. The same explosion that caused my injuries, killed my good friends and colleagues, Marie Colvin and French photographer, Remi Ochlik. It was nine days before I would receive proper medical treatment to the fist sized hole in my thigh and the multiple shrapnel wounds that peppered my body.

After the most harrowing of escapes, I was confined to bed in London for three months. While surgeons patched me up, I was approached by Annabel Merullo of the PFD literary agency, to write an account of events in Syria.

Initially I never saw it as a book, let alone a film and I was happy just being alive in the immediate weeks after my escape. To begin with the writing was difficult, I was on large doses of morphine for my injuries and finding a balance between pain and the haze of drugs, was a real challenge. Purely by accident I woke at 4am one morning, the pain was tolerable, my head was sharper and more focused as the effects of the morphine wore off. I turned on my laptop, wrote till 9am and then passed out as the pain levels rose and the morphine kicked in again. That's how I wrote the book, a daily ritual from 4am to 9am.

On completion people immediately talked about the possibilities of a film adaption. 'Jolly good,' thought I, still intensely relieved to have delivered the manuscript -- almost on time.

Inevitably, people started asking,"Who play you in a film?" "Who will play Marie?" To be honest, I thought they were all crazy, however, as the concept of a film grew legs and started to take shape, I started to think up the actors who would best capture mine and Marie's relationship.

To be honest, it was easy picking an actor to portray Marie -- Meryl Streep, without doubt. Meryl, a fantastic character actor would, I'm sure, find capturing Marie a rewarding adventure. Marie had a larger than life personality, a gift for any actor who enjoys a challenging roll.

It was far more difficult when It came to thinking of an actor to portray myself. We all have preconceived ideas of how others see us, probably optimistically inflated but, nonetheless, we all posses a sense of self image which we keep safely tucked away. That's fine, until someone asks, "Who would play you?"

Well, after months of deliberation, the jury has returned a verdict -- Colin Farrell. I contemplated the rather flattering ideas of George Clooney or Brad Pitt, both fantastic actors but, paired with Meryl Streep, Colin Farrell, I believe, could inject that magical spark that epitomised mine and Marie's relationship.

Farrell has the most fantastic, 'What the hell is going on' facial expression, a look I have spent half of my life trying to hide while reporting from the frontline. Being Irish helps too, I'm pretty sure he would understand and portray the black, Liverpudlian humour, that runs through the book.

So there you have it, the elegant and sophisticated Meryl Streep as Marie Colvin, and an unwashed, slightly baffled and wisecracking Colin Farrell as me.
© 2013 Paul Conroy
Learn more about Under the Wire, and follow Paul Conroy on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Graeme Simsion's "The Rosie Project"

Graeme Simsion is a former IT consultant with an international reputation. His screen adaptation of The Rosie Project won the Australian Writers Guild/Inscription Award for Best Romantic Comedy Script. Simsion lives in Australia with his wife, Anne, and their two children, and is currently working on a sequel to The Rosie Project.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of The Rosie Project:
A big caveat here: I originally wrote The Rosie Project as a screenplay, and Sony Pictures have optioned it. If they go ahead, they’ll doubtless engage a professional casting director, who (experience tells me) will do a much better job than I would. I’ve made a bunch of short films, and have been amazed by what inspired casting can do. Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind. Who’d have thought it? Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. Jack Nicholson in As Good as it Gets (OK, that one feels like a natural, but perhaps only in retrospect.) The Rosie Project takes us into not dissimilar territory. And, of course, anything I say here does not reflect the views of Sony Pictures, its agents, etc, etc.

That said, rather than second-guess Sony’s choices, I’ve cast my mind back to when I expected that if the movie was made, it would be in my home country of Australia, and imagined an all-Australian cast.

How about:

Eric Bana as Don. He’s known internationally for dramatic / action roles but he started off in comedy.

Melissa George as Rosie. Loved her in In Treatment.

Anthony LaPaglia as Gene. My wife assures me he has the “bedroom eyes” necessary for the role.

Toni Collette as Claudia – great comedy credentials as well as the heart to be the moral center.

Cate Blanchett as the Dean. Because I can.
Learn more about the book and author at Graeme Simsion's website and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tim O’Mara's "Crooked Numbers"

Tim O’Mara has been teaching math and special education in the New York City public schools since 1987. Sacrifice Fly, his top-selling debut mystery introduced the series hero Raymond Donne, a Brooklyn public schoolteacher who was once an up-and-coming police officer until a tragic accident destroyed his knees and the future he envisioned on the force.

In the newly released second book in the series, Crooked Numbers, Donne draws on his past as a cop to find the truth when one of his former students is found stabbed to death under the Williamsburg Bridge.

Here O’Mara dreamcasts an adaptation of the series:
It took me too long to finish Sacrifice Fly to get my dream cast.

I’ve thought mostly of Damian LewisHomeland—as an actor I’d love to see play Raymond. Not only is he good, but you could drop him into one of my family get-togethers (Ray looks like me) and no one would bat an eye. Steve Buscemi would make a wonderful Edgar, but now he’s a leading man due to the success of Boardwalk Empire. I recently saw Coppola’s The Conversation again and got chills when I saw the John Cazale character. He would’ve been perfect for Edgar and I can’t help but thinking he was somewhere in the back of my mind when I created the character.

As for Uncle Ray, hands down, Brian Dennehy, but since it took me so long to finish the book, Mr. D’s a bit on the older side now. Currently, I think David Morse—most recently of Treme—would do a fine job in the role. Wendell Pierce—also of Treme and The Wire—would inhabit the role of Detective Royce. As for Rachel, Ray’s sister, I’d go with either one of the Mara girls, Kate or Rooney. Good actors both, easy on the eyes, and I might get some Giants tickets out of them.
Learn more about the book and author at Tim O'Mara's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 14, 2013

Nate Kenyon's "Day One"

Nate Kenyon is the author of Bloodstone, a Bram Stoker Award finalist and winner of the P&E Horror Novel of the Year, The Reach, also a Stoker Award Finalist, The Bone Factory, Sparrow Rock, StarCraft: Ghost Spectres, and Diablo: The Order.

Here Kenyon dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, Day One:
Who should play lead John Hawke in a movie version of Day One? This one is easy. It needs to be someone who is likeable but with a bit of an edge. He's smart, got just a bit of geek in him, and he's a strong personality who doesn’t do well with authority. He's done some things in his life he's not proud of and broken a few laws, but he's trying to go straight now. He's got a family and he would do anything to keep them safe. But there's something deeper in him, something that keeps him up at night, a secret that very few people can share.

My choice for this role would be Ryan Gosling. He's perfect for Hawke--he's strong and likeable but he's got a darker side that simmers close to the surface. His performance in Drive was one of my favorites of the past few years. I couldn't ask for a better fit and I'd love to see what he would do with the role.

For Hawke's wife Robin, I'd like to see someone like Anne Hathaway. And to direct this blockbuster? That one is easy too. James Cameron.
Learn more about the book and author at Nate Kenyon's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Anne Hillerman's "Spider Woman's Daughter"

Anne Hillerman's debut novel, Spider Woman's Daughter, is a mystery set in the Southwest, including the Navajo Nation and Santa Fe. The book follows the further adventures of the characters Tony Hillerman made famous: Jim Chee, Joe Leaphorn and Bernadette Manuelito. Anne Hillerman also is the author of the award-winning Tony Hillerman's Landscape: On the Road with Chee and Leaphorn and eight other books.

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of Spider Woman's Daughter:
I'd love to see an actress with charm, brains, and athletic ability play Bernadette Manuelito. A Navajo actress would be best, of course. I loved Adam Beach and Wes Studi in the Robert Redford/PBS movies that were made of my Dad's Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee stories and I'd enjoy them again in Spider Woman's Daughter.

Other roles? Because New Mexico, my home state, has a growing movie industry it would please me to see as many locals, especially American Indians, hired as possible. And because the setting plays a big role in my book, locations will have a crucial part in making the movie a blockbuster. It would be cool to have it filmed on location in Santa Fe, Gallup, Shiprock and Toadlena, New Mexico, in Windowrock, Arizona, and the beautiful country near Cortez, Colorado. Chaco Canyon World Heritage Site, (home of 53 acres of ruins!), also in New Mexico, should have a leading role. That place takes my breath away and reverberates with its own unsolved mysteries.
Learn more about the book and author at Anne Hillerman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Lynn Cullen's "Mrs. Poe"

Lynn Cullen is the author of Reign of Madness, a 2011 Best of the South selection by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and 2012 Townsend Prize finalist, and The Creation of Eve, named among the best fiction books of 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and an Indie Next selection. She is also the author of numerous award-winning books for children, including the young adult novel I Am Rembrandt’s Daughter, which was a 2007 Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection and an ALA Best Book of 2008.

Here Cullen dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Mrs. Poe:
If my novel, Mrs. Poe, rolls through your mind like a movie as you read it—thank you. My work is done. I would love for you to experience the same armrest-clutching thrill while reading the book as I had in writing it. As I pounded the keyboard, I was cheering with the good guys and booing the bad. I gasped when the action took a twist; I worried when my people got in a jam. If you cry at the end, know that I was sobbing into my Kleenex, too. When I finished the writing, I felt as haggard as a salmon that had swum up the Columbia. I don’t necessarily want you feeling like that.

From the start, the leading man in my mental movie was Ralph Fiennes as he appeared in the 1992 BBC Films version of Wuthering Heights. With his magic Fiennes touch, he made Heathcliff smolderingly sexy and dangerous, yet vulnerable underneath, just like my Edgar Allan Poe. Just like the real Poe, I might add. Honestly. The baggy-eyed ugly madman we know as Poe is a product of the vilest smear campaign in literary history. In a bizarre twist of fate, the man who despised Poe for not only getting his writing gigs but his girl was made Poe’s literary executor. Poe was hardly cold in his grave when this enemy, Rufus Griswold, set out to make Poe look bad. Griswold doctored Poe’s letters and wrote a libelous biography that is the basis of the image of Poe that we still hold today. I promise, Poe was not the crazed druggy you think. He should not be confused with the eerie characters in his tales. He wrote the dark stuff because it sold. The poor man (literally) needed the money.

Mrs. Poe tells Poe’s story during the year he wrote ‘The Raven,’ 1845. Poe was a sexy thang then and his literary success only turned on the ladies more. Since Mr. Fiennes has moved on to other roles, Robert Downey Jr. should feel free to step into the role. Johnny Depp, sans special make-up, would be a smokin’ Poe, too. Or, if Mark Ruffalo wanted to take on Poe’s magnetic persona, all he’d have to do was to comb back his hair and sizzle.

The object of Poe’s true love, both in life, I believe, and in Mrs. Poe, was the poet Frances Osgood. As the narrator of the book, she had hijacked my mind so I wasn’t always conscious of her exterior. Now that I have recovered from the writing, I can see that Kate Winslet is the perfect Frances. Oh, please, film gods, let the movie be made and with Kate Winslet in it! Bring on Jennifer Lawrence in the role of Virginia Poe and that would be a thriller. At least for me. Any other ideas, m’dears?
Learn more about the book and author at Lynn Cullen's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Natalee Caple's "In Calamity's Wake"

Natalee Caple’s novels Mackerel Sky and The Plight of Happy People in an Ordinary World earned high international praise. Her collection of poetry, A More Tender Ocean, was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. Caple’s work has been optioned for film and nominated for a National Magazine Award, the Journey Prize, the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award, and the Eden Mills Fiction Award.

Here Caple dreamcasts an adaptation of her latest novel, In Calamity's Wake:
My new novel In Calamity’s Wake is a literary Western set in the badlands of the North American west in the late 1800s. In Calamity’s Wake tells the story of orphaned Miette’s quest to find her mother, the notorious Calamity Jane. Miette is reluctant to meet the woman who abandoned her—whom she knows only as an infamous soldier, drinker and exhibition shooter—but she sets out nonetheless across a landscape peopled with madwomen, thieves, minstrels and ghosts, many of whom add a thread to the story of her famous mother.

Casting In Calamity’s Wake would be very fun. It would be a huge cast though, with a lot of famous historical figures. For the sake of brevity I guess I’ll stick with the main characters.

Carey Mulligan as Miette and the young Calamity Jane. You’d have to do some messy work to make her look more intense as Calamity Jane in her twenties but Miette is supposed to be recognized on sight as Calamity’s Jane’s daughter and Mulligan has the right poignancy for Miette.

A French Canadian Simon Baker type as Miette’s wandering bishop adoptive father. Something sweet, intelligent, complicated and tired about him seems essential.

Elaine Miles as Zita. Miles is Nez Perce and it would be nice to have a Canadian actor, a Blackfoot actor (Blackfeet in the US), but Miles looks like the image of Zita I have in my mind, and she has some of the centred stillness, the calm intelligence, I want for Zita.

Don Cheadle for Lew Spencer the “negro minstrel” who travels the States and befriends Calamity Jane and marries brothel keeper and theatre owner Mollie Johnson and is so aware of politics and art. Why? Because Don Cheadle is awesome. Don Cheadle can do no wrong. And he can manage the many levels of Lew with respect.

Holly Hunter as Mollie Johnson (married to Don Cheadle as Lew Spencer). She has the mad energy I would like to see in Mollie and both Hunter and Cheadle have a gift for balancing complex characters who are simultaneously dramatic and comedic.

Frances McDormand as Dora Dufran, Calamity Jane’s best friend, the owner of the Green Front Hotel/brothel a very sympathetic figure with a complicated accent. McDormand has a mastery of voice that I think is necessary to really capture the practical tenderness (and the half British/half Southern accent) of Dora Dufran. She has a very expressive face and she conveys a strength of character in her performance of women that I think makes her the ideal best friend for my anti-hero, Calamity Jane.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Charlie Utter. In contrast to how you usually see him in film Charlie Utter was young and handsome when he was friends with Wild Bill Hickok. He was known for his “bizarre habit of bathing daily” and for being extremely well-groomed. I would like to see the pair portrayed as two good-looking close friends joined at the hip at times, with Bill as the heavier drinker, prone to fights, and Charlie as extremely protective of Bill. Also, showing Charlie and Bill as two halfs of a whole makes the death of Bill more heartbreaking on a personal level for Charlie.

Jake Gyllenhaal as Wild Bill. Wild Bill Hickok was a dashing man, only 39 when he was killed. He had long features and beautiful hair. He needed his friend Charlie, who worked hard to keep him out of trouble. I would like to see Hickok’s usual regal presentation tempered a bit by need and human frailty.

The older Calamity Jane is the hardest one for me. Robin Weigert performed the most authentic version of Calamity Jane on HBO’s Deadwood that I have seen. Her Jane was a complicated human Calamity. And I’d love to see her as Calamity Jane again. The issue in some ways is lining up the many ages at which Calamity Jane would be shown. She had an intense gaze and very light eyes. She was lean and somewhat rough looking. But most importantly the character should be as credible howling drunkenly at the sky as she is risking her life caring for the deathly ill.

She would probably have to be shown at age 12 for a few scenes, as a tall, scruffy girl. She would appear again at around age 24, when she arrived in Deadwood for the first time with Wild Bill Hickok and Charlie Utter. There should be also be one a very stylized, completely different version, played by a different actress, to show the disorienting film versions of her. And then, finally, someone who can play her in her late forties/early fifties at the end of her life.

OK, so the youngest one should be brand new and intensely observant.

Maggie Gyllenhaal could be the impossible film version/movie star who plays her.

And maybe Lili Taylor as the older Calamity Jane. She has the ability to play a character who is in a devastated state with a kind of skinned humanity. Though, I say again, Robin Weigert performed Calamity Jane with such remarkable care that I’d love to see her again.
Learn more about the book and author at Natalee Caple's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 7, 2013

Ronald H. Balson's "Once We Were Brothers"

Ronald H. Balson is a trial attorney in Chicago, where he has practiced for the last 40 years, and has taught business law at the University of Chicago for twenty-five of those years. Once We Were Brothers is his first novel, which was inspired by several trips to Poland in connection with a telecommunications law suit. The Polish monuments, the memorials and the scars of the war he saw on his trips, motivated him to write his World War II novel. He lives with his family and a couch-eating dog in a Chicago suburb.

Here Balson dreamcasts a big screen adaptation of Once We Were Brothers:
The film rights to Once We Were Brothers has been optioned to a Hollywood production company, but the casting remains on the “to-do list.” The fast-paced novel is a natural for the big screen – dialogue predominates. The story dramatically begins at the Chicago Lyric Opera’s opening night, where a prominent civic leader, Elliot Rosenzweig, is publicly accused of being a former Nazi SS officer and the “Butcher of Zamosc, Poland.” His accuser, Ben Solomon, engages attorney Catherine Lockhart to bring Rosenzweig to court. Over a number of sessions, Solomon tells Lockhart about his family and their struggles to survive in war-torn Poland. He tells her that Rosenzweig (then known as Otto Piatek) and he grew up in the same household--and grew close, like brothers -- only have Otto betray him and his family during the war. Now, sixty years later, Solomon seeks to hold Piatek responsible for what he has done.

As an eighty-two year old survivor of the Holocaust, I think that Dustin Hoffman would be perfect for the role of Ben Solomon. Clearly, a different and exciting dramatic role for an actor who has spent a career in several different genres.

Jennifer Connelly is perfect for Catherine. She is capable of showing fragility and sensitivity, yet is capable of carrying out the strong resolve that sole-practitioner Catherine needs to confront a billionaire and his team of high-priced attorneys. Catherine’s boyfriend is Liam Taggart, a tough Irish private investigator and Ben Solomon’s friend from the neighborhood. The book says he’s got more miles on him than his forty-one years would show. I see Liev Schreiber in the part.

Elliot Rosenzweig is polished, wealthy and arrogant. He is above reproach. He has been given the key to the city by the Mayor of Chicago. Yet he is called upon to defend the most heinous of charges: participation in the Nazi regime. Anthony Hopkins can carry it off.

When Solomon recounts his family’s struggles to Catherine, he relives his early years in Poland, the years in which he and Piatek were like brothers. Young Ben is kind, intelligent and shy. Yet he finds the courage to protect his family and join the Polish underground. Andrew Garfield looks the part and has that inner courage. Young Otto Piatek must be handsome and strong, but he is also cold and slick. I think Ryan Gosling could pull it off. His girlfriend is a Polish girl named Elzbieta. I think Leelee Sobieski would be right.

The love of Ben’s life is Hannah. She is gentle, wise and supportive. Through all of Ben’s efforts to rescue his family and his forays with the underground, she is by his side. Natalie Portman would be perfect. Beka is Ben’s sister. She is carefree, lively and full of spunk. At a dramatic moment, she shows extraordinary courage. I see Jennifer Lawrence as Beka.

Note to my production company. Get your wallets out. This is a three hundred million dollar cast. The movie better do well!
Learn more about the book and author at the official Once We Were Brothers website and Ronald H. Balson's Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Suzanne Redfearn's "Hush Little Baby"

Suzanne Redfearn, like her protagonist, is an architect. She is an avid surfer, golfer, skier, and Angels fan. She and her husband own Lumberyard Restaurant in Laguna Beach, California.

Here Redfearn dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Hush Little Baby:
Hush Little Baby tells the story of Jillian Kane, a woman who appears to have it all—a successful career, a gorgeous home, a loving husband, and two wonderful children. The reality behind closed doors is something else entirely. For nine years she has hid the bruises and the truth of her abusive marriage in order to protect Addie and Drew, knowing, if she left, Gordon would destroy her—destroy them.

When, in an act of desperation, she flees, her worst nightmare is realized and she finds herself on the run with her two young children, no money, and no plan. With Gordon in hot pursuit, there is only one inescapable certainty: No matter where she goes, he will find her. Kill her. And take her children.

A riveting page-turner, Hush Little Baby exposes the shame and terror of domestic violence as well as the disturbing role manipulation and sabotage can play in the high-stakes game of child custody. It is a novel about the unbreakable bonds of family and the astounding, terrifying devotion of a mother’s love.

Publishers Weekly described Hush Little Baby as "cinematic," which certainly got me fantasizing about a big screen adaptation, and the cast in my dreams is amazing.

Jillian, the narrator and protagonist, was easy, Reese Witherspoon. She's the right age and has that wonderful feminine strength, that seems both fragile and invincible. She's a little quirky and totally loveable. Physically she fits the bill, petite and pretty but not extravagantly gorgeous. A real person who seems both smart and tenacious enough to be a high-powered architect, yet soft and sensitive enough to be a devoted mother. She's also a mom of three kids and is fierce about protecting them and their privacy, so she would relate to Jillian and her struggles.

Kevin McKidd (Owen Hunt on Grey’s Anatomy) would be my choice for Gordon. He's handsome, tall and strong, and has a good guy face, but he can turn ugly. Kevin McKidd's portrayal of post-traumatic stress disorder when he first came to the cast of Grey’s Anatomy was amazing, a true Jekyll and Hyde transformation that would be perfect for the heroic Gordon, who behind closed doors is an abusive dangerous man.

Jillian's dad would be Robert Duvall, because I would totally want Robert Duvall to be my dad. He's tough but also sweet in a rascally sort of way. Nick Cancelleiri is one of my favorite characters in the book, Jillian's broken hero.

Diane Keaton would play Jillian's mom, because I'd love to see her lock horns with Robert Duvall. Plus she brings amazing emotional range to every part she plays, the drama always believable as well as the humor.

I'm in love with the half-Native American, half-white Paul who jumps in the river to save four-year-old Addie then offers Jillian and her kids a safe-haven where they can hide from Gordon. I'm also in love with Keith Urban. Both Paul and Keith have kindred spirits, a soulfulness that is both mystical and tragic, sensitive and spiritual, yet irreverent and self-destructive like they are not made to live within the confines of this world. Keith Urban's rugged handsomeness, sinewy toughness, and tattoos fit the role perfectly.

Reese Witherspoon, Kevin McKidd, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, and Keith Urban—how's that for an all-star lineup? What a wonderful dream!
Learn more about Hush Little Baby at Suzanne Redfearn's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Suzanne Redfearn and Cooper.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 3, 2013

John Ferling's "Jefferson and Hamilton"

John Ferling is a leading authority on late 18th and early 19th century American history. He is the author of many books, including Independence, The Ascent of George Washington, Almost a Miracle, Setting the World Ablaze, and A Leap in the Dark.

Here Ferling dreamcasts an adaptation of his latest book, Jefferson and Hamilton: The Rivalry That Forged a Nation:
A movie has been made about Thomas Jefferson (Jefferson in Paris), but none about Alexander Hamilton so far as I know. But is it outlandish to contemplate a movie about their rivalry at the time of the nation’s founding? They were colorful figures and opposites in most respects. They offered competing visions of the shape and character of the new United States. Their intensely partisan struggle polarized the American people in much the same fashion as American politics has been polarized in recent years, and some things that divided them – the size of government, for instance – continue to cause political divisions today.

Jefferson was quiet, reflective, and hated personal confrontation. The perfect actor to portray him would be Colin Firth, who has already played young George VI and Johannes Vermeer. Impetuous Alexander Hamilton dominated every room that he entered, liked nothing better than confrontation, was given to intrigue, and was an inveterate risk taker. Donnie Wahlberg, the tough detective on CBS’s Blue Bloods, a cop who never shrank from defying danger or ducked out on a fight, would be a perfect Hamilton. Besides, it would be worth it just to see him don a powdered wig.

Jefferson’s wife Martha died a dozen years after they married. She was bright, attractive, and polished, but not strong-willed, and by all accounts Jefferson was devoted to her. Scarlett Johansson is the hands-down choice to play Martha. Four years after Martha’s death, while abroad on a diplomatic assignment, Jefferson met the alluring Maria Cosway, well-educated, a renowned artist, and sexually liberated, a woman unlike any that Jefferson had ever encountered. Carey Mulligan, English like Maria and most recently the fetching Daisy in The Great Gatsby, would be an ideal choice for playing her. On his return from Paris, Jefferson commenced a lengthy intimate relationship with Sally Hemings, one his slaves who was described by many witnesses as extraordinarily attractive. Kerry Washington is that to be sure, and she enhanced her credentials by appearing in the ABC series Scandal. She wins the role in a jiffy.

Hamilton said that his wife Elizabeth was “not a genius,” but added that she had a “lovely form, sweet softness and innocent simplicity,” much like Rachel McAdams, the dark-eyed and (sometimes) raven-haired star of The Notebook. While Treasury Secretary, Hamilton became embroiled in an affair with Maria Reynolds, a grifter who together with her husband subsequently blackmailed her supposed lover. Rooney Mara, the face of Calvin Klein, could bring Maria to the screen in a flash.

Jefferson and Hamilton interacted with a bevy of bigger than life figures. There was George Washington. No one has gotten him right on the screen, but I’ll bet Liam Neeson could. Aaron Burr was like Hamilton in many ways and eventually killed him in their 1804 duel. John Leguizamo, a soldier in Casualties of War as Burr actually was in the Revolutionary War, is just right for playing this shrewd, calculating, ahead-of-his-times New York politician. Leguizamo can even look ornery, which makes him a dead ringer for Burr. Hamilton never hated any man more than John Adams and Jefferson never loved any political compatriot/foe more than Adams. John Malkovich would be perfect as the cantankerous and acerbic old Adams. Besides, anyone with the mettle to fight all the terrorists in Red 2 could stand up to Hamilton, just as President Adams did. Bruce Willis would nail the daring and combative Benedict Arnold, the traitor that both Jefferson and Hamilton wanted to hang.
Learn more about the author and his book Jefferson and Hamilton at John Ferling's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tom Leveen's "Sick"

Tom Leveen is the author of Party, Zero, and manicpixiedreamgirl. Zero was named to YALSA’s list of Best Fiction for Young Adults.

Here Leveen dreamcasts an adaptation of Sick, his first foray into the horror genre:
I don’t get out much anymore. There, I’ve said it. Who’s hot, who’s not? No clue. But here’s what I’d love to see happen with Sick, the movie:

Brian, played by a young River Phoenix. That would have been awesome.

Kenzie, played by Vanessa Marano or Mae Whitman. (Both are technically too old now, but it’s good base to work from.)

Jaime, played by a young Lou Diamond Phillips! That would be so kick ass.

But really, if it was up to me (and it never would be), I’d push for a cast of unknowns. That way they’re free to invest in the story and the characters.

Also…I just don’t watch enough TV or see enough movies to know who else to pick from! Everyone I’d choose was probably hot in the eighties, that much I know. I suppose if I watched Glee, I’d have a better idea…? #showingmyage

Having said that, I do know that if either Aaron Sorkin or Joss Whedon wanted a crack at adapting the novel for a screenplay, I could probably be talked into that…
Learn more about the book and author at Tom Leveen's website.

My Book, The Movie: Zero.

--Marshal Zeringue