Thursday, February 20, 2014

Jason Porter's "Why Are You So Sad?"

Jason Porter writes fiction. He is a graduate of the Hunter College MFA program. His novel, Why Are You So Sad?, was shortlisted for the Paris Literary Prize.

Here Porter dreamcasts an adaptation of Why Are You So Sad?:
This question is tricky for me. I regularly speculate about these things, but from the standpoint of a skeptical filmgoer who believes most Hollywood movies are awful, and one element of that awfulness is the terrible casting choices they make that always insert either the most beautiful person or Tom Hanks into any role. So when I think of who would star in the adaptation of my novel, it’s hard not to assume the worst.

The narrator is about forty. He’s sad but not without a sense of humor, though sometimes he doesn’t intend to be making a joke when he is, and other times he tries and it falls flat. I think Hollywood would try to plug in one from the following list: Will Ferrell, Steve Carrell, Paul Rudd, Jason Bateman, Paul Giamatti, or John C. Reilly. I like all of them, but I am so aware of them as celebrities it seems like they would overshadow or replace entirely the character who currently lives in my mind. I would love it if they chose Louis C.K., not because he’d be the best for it, but because then maybe somehow I would get to meet him. But he’s smart enough to write something much better than this so what would motivate him to play this role? One of my favorite people to look at on the screen is Luis Guzman. Why not use him? He’s a little bit older than the character, but I would prefer that to somebody younger. Seeing Mr. Guzman in a leading role would get me to the theater. And there’s no reason Ray can’t be Latino.

For the wife Brenda let’s choose Michaela Watkins. She’s very talented, but I choose her because we went to music camp together when I was a teenager. And the more famous she gets the more I get to name drop about how we went to music camp together. Plus I imagine that Hollywood will assume that if the main character is Latino than his wife’s ethnicity has to match. And Ms. Watkins is Jewish, so problem solved.

For the mysterious woman in the bar she needs to have silver hair, which is fairly easily achieved with wigs. Few people would look better in silver hair than Tilda Swinton. And she is good at acting. I always like it when they are good at acting.

For the boss I will only accept Dabney Coleman. There can be no other. He’s a little old for the part, but Hollywood made Brad Pitt look like a baby man. It can be done.

There are other characters and they will all be played by Michael Shannon and Kristen Wiig.
I began this post with ambivalence, but now I am getting excited to see it in 3-D. Let’s make this happen, Robert Zemeckis!
Visit Jason Porter's website.

--Marshal Zeringue