Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Peter Mountford's "The Dismal Science"

Peter Mountford’s debut novel, A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism, won the 2012 Washington State Book Award and was a finalist in the 2012 VCU Cabell First Novelist Prize. In its full-page review, The Seattle Times wrote: “Debut novels don't come much savvier, punchier, or more entertaining...the work of an extraordinary talent.”

Here Mountford dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, The Dismal Science:
I have not really thought of this book as a movie, truth be told. But it does have a sort of filmic shape, I realize now, a three act thing. Not terribly Hollywood in its tone, mind you. This is not exactly X-Men. For Vincenzo, I suppose I’d like to use a time machine and go get F. Murray Abram back when he played Salieri in Amadeus. Maybe Robert De Niro could do it? Whatever happened to him, though? I know everyone’s supposed to be in awe of his acting abilities, but hasn’t he just been making schmaltz for decades?

Lenka was in the first book, and I had a hard time thinking of who might play her for my post in My Book The Movie back then, and I still have that problem, now. It would appear that Hollywood’s race problem has not improved much in the last couple years. Or maybe it’s my fault for watching too many American movies. Yeah, it’s probably that.

The sketchy pseudo-CIA agent Ben could be Mekhi Phifer, maybe. That’d be a fun role for an actor, I think. He’s this mysterious guy—very friendly and very menacing person. Vincenzo’s friend Walter would be another fun role. Some incredibly waspy man in his fifties or sixties? Surely they’re a dime a dozen, right? But who’s sufficiently wicked and smart and wounded? Albert Finney, but a little younger. Vincenzo’s daughter Leonora could be Ellen Page or someone. And her boyfriend Sam would clearly have to be Alex Karpovsky.

Actually, writing this, I’m seeing how it could be a cool movie. A reviewer compared it to About Schmidt, which seems an inapt comparison in a number of ways, but I could see how tonally that’s sort of right. Hey, do you happen to have Alexander Payne’s phone number?
Learn more about the book and author at Peter Mountford's website.

The Page 69 Test: A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism.

My Book, The Movie: A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism.

Writers Read: Peter Mountford.

The Page 69 Test: The Dismal Science.

--Marshal Zeringue