Friday, May 9, 2014

Tania Unsworth's "The One Safe Place"

Tania Unsworth is a British writer living in Boston. She is the author of two books for adults published in the UK.

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of The One Safe Place, her first book for children:
I wrote The One Safe Place almost as if it was a movie running in my head. That’s not something I normally do, but the technique worked for this particular story and so I went with it. I didn’t have specific actors in mind, but I had a very clear idea of the setting. So it’s no surprise that I think it would make a terrific movie! My main character – the boy Devin – has a condition called synesthesia which causes his senses to overlap. Colors have sounds for example and noises bring physical sensations. This creates a surreal - and sometimes nightmarish - aspect to the story which could be wonderful translated to the screen.

In terms of actors, Tilda Swinton would be perfect as the icy, pitiless Administrator and I could see Bill Nighy making a sinister appearance as Gabriel Penn. He has just the right amount of sorrow behind his eyes. As for the children, one of my hopes would be that the actors were the same age as the characters they played (am I the only person who thought the main characters in the movie of The Hunger Games looked far older than their counterparts in the book?).

Performances from child actors that I’ve loved include Alexander Nathan Etel in The Water Horse, River Phoenix in Stand By Me, Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine and Christian Bale in Empire of the Sun, among many others. All prove that even quite young kids can be devastatingly good actors. I’d be really excited to see what talent might be discovered if The One Safe Place really was made into a move.

Of course the book also has animals, some of whom play pivotal roles in the story. There’s a performing pig and a downtrodden parrot to name just two. If working with children or animals is something to be avoided, working with both might be a recipe for disaster.

Or it could be a lot of fun!
Visit Tania Unsworth's website.

The Page 69 Test: The One Safe Place.

Writers Read: Tania Unsworth.

--Marshal Zeringue