Saturday, April 12, 2014

Ann Weisgarber's "The Promise"

Ann Weisgarber is the author of The Promise and The Personal History of Rachel DuPree. She lives in Sugar Land, Texas, close to Renée Zellweger’s hometown.

Here Weisgarber dreamcasts an adaptation of The Promise:
True confessions. I’m not up on the latest when it comes to movie stars. But when I was writing The Promise, a novel set in Galveston, Texas, in 1900 at the time of a historic hurricane, I visualized Renée Zellweger as my Nan Ogden character. Nan is rough around the edges, prides herself on being self-sufficient, and can’t bear fussy manners. Renée Zellweger played a similar no-nonsense woman in Cold Mountain. Whenever I was stuck, I’d picture Renée Z. waging her finger at me for moaning about writer’s block. “You think you have it hard,” I could hear her saying. “My daddy run off when I wasn’t nothing but a little thing and I’ve just wrung the neck of a chicken for supper. Try that for hard.”

My Nan character has a very different life story but she’s not above a little finger wagging. Renée Zellweger could slip into the role just fine. It also helps that she’s from Katy, Texas, a two-hour drive from Galveston.

Nicole Kidman was my image for the other narrator, Catherine Wainwright. Catherine is a college-educated pianist who guards her feelings. You might call her buttoned up. She’s also a well-mannered beauty whose smile charms men. Nicole Kidman has played several period piece roles where she’s a gracious but cool woman who struggles to keep up appearances. When writing The Promise, I visualized Nicole Kidman sitting on the edge of a parlor chair with her back straight and her chin up while holding a tea cup with her little finger out. This is my Catherine. Miss Kidman, the role is yours.

The other main character in The Promise is Oscar Williams, a dairy farmer who marries Catherine. I didn’t have an image of an actor in mind for him since he sprang from my imagination. But that’s not a problem. We’ll have a casting call. Somewhere, there’s an aspiring actor waiting for a break. The Promise might be it.

All we need is a producer and a director, and we’re ready to go to production!
Visit Ann Weisgarber's website.

--Marshal Zeringue