Monday, November 4, 2013

Jason Vanhee's "Engines of the Broken World"

Jason Vanhee lives in Seattle, Washington.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of Engines of the Broken World, his first novel:
This is probably a topic I’ve spent too much time thinking about: not in the particulars really, just in the imagining what it would look like. Engines of the Broken World has a very small scope. There’s just a few locations, just a few characters, a very short time span, and a reasonably well defined sense of place. So I can picture the book as a movie in my head already, and I do. But who’s in that movie? Well, that’s one of the odd things, mostly the characters when I picture them are just blanks, snatches of clothes, and hints of faces. That may have something to do with my tendency to be light on description, or it may just be that I don’t want to fit anyone into my characters.

But if we’re talking casting, I do have one notion that I adore. The two main characters are Merciful, who’s 12, and her brother Gospel, who’s not quite 15. And at least at this moment, there’s a pair of acting siblings who match up with those ages and that gap very well. I’m thinking of Willow and Jaden Smith, neither of whom has really done a lot of acting, but who I’d love to see in the roles. Not that the characters in the book are African-American; they’re white, in so far as they’re described as anything. But the first time someone asked me who I’d like to see in the movie, that was what flew into my mind immediately. I think that the dynamic of real siblings playing the siblings in the book would work very well. I can’t imagine it could ever happen, but the idea alone intrigues me incredibly.

As far as directors, I’m not nearly so informed. The mysteries of direction always elude me. But if I were to pick someone, it might be Debra Granik, who directed the grim, horrifying, small scale, rural Winter’s Bone, which strikes me as surprisingly analogous to what I’d want my book’s movie to end up feeling like. It’s a dark movie she made, with a great performance from a young actress, and I think that would matter a lot.
Learn more about the book and author at Jason Vanhee's blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Engines of the Broken World.

--Marshal Zeringue