Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Giano Cromley's "The Last Good Halloween"

Giano Cromley was born in Billings, Montana. His writing has appeared in The Threepenny Review, Literal Latte, and The Bygone Bureau, among others. He is a recipient of an Artists Fellowship from the Illinois Arts Council. He teaches English at Kennedy-King College and lives on Chicago's South Side with his wife and two dogs.

Here Cromley dreamcasts an adaptation of his debut novel, The Last Good Halloween:
The success of the movie version of The Last Good Halloween hinges on the casting of its central character, fifteen-year-old Kirby Russo. Casting children is hard because there's such a narrow time window wherein they look the right age, yet still have the acting chops to pull off a serious dramatic and comedic role. As for finding the right Kirby, I'd turn to Wes Anderson and the team he's used to cast the leads in both Rushmore and Moonrise Kingdom. In casting Jason Schwartzman as Max Fischer, and Jared Gilman as Sam Shakusky, he managed to find actors who could put up the prickly façade troubled kids often evince, while simultaneously depicting the vulnerabilities and fragilities that cause that prickliness in the first place.

Finding the right actress for Debbie Russo (the harried single mother of Kirby) is key to setting the right tone for the film. In the wrong hands, Debbie could come off as being self-centered and that was never my intention when I wrote her. At the same time, she's got to have enough grit to stand up to Kirby when he pulls some of his smartass maneuvers. Chloë Sevigny has the right mixture of tenderness and moxie to pull off this delicate balance. If there's anyone who doubts this, they just need to take a look at her work in the series Hit & Miss. Besides, I think her sense of humor is underappreciated, and I'd be excited to see what she'd bring to some of Debbie's juicy dialogue.

Like the casting for Kirby, selecting the proper actress to play his closest friend and love interest, Izzy, is both crucial and impossible, given my limited knowledge of youngish teenage actresses. The ideal person would be calm and outwardly confident, with a sense of being a bit wise beyond her seventeen years. In the novel, Kirby describes her as having an unconventional beauty and as possibly being part Native American. Those would be good places to start when throwing out the net to find someone to fill Izzy's shoes.

The role of Bradley Kellogg (Debbie's estranged husband) would best be played by Paul Rudd, someone who is classically handsome, is generally likeable, yet also can summon an undercurrent of selfishness. Rudd is one of those actors who seems perpetually caught between childhood and adulthood – this would serve him well as Bradley comes to terms with the life he's always led and the life he feels compelled to live.

When I wrote the character of Uncle Harley (Debbie's current love interest) I pictured Mark Ruffalo in that role. He has a kind of lumberjack's bonhomie, but with a subtle layer of heart-on-his-sleeve earnestness that would suit Uncle Harley. His work in the film The Kids Are All Right shows he's able to relate to child actors in a genuine way. I, for one, would love to see him square off in a battle of wits with Kirby over the breakfast table.
Visit Giano Cromley's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Giano Cromley & Kaiya and Tanka.

--Marshal Zeringue