Monday, September 22, 2014

Celine Kiernan's "Into the Grey"

Celine Kiernan is an award-winning author of fantasy novels for young adults. Her critically acclaimed work combines fantasy elements with the exploration of political, humanitarian and philosophical themes. She is best known for The Moorehawke Trilogy, a dark, complex trilogy of fantasy YA books set in an alternative renaissance Europe. First published in Kiernan’s native Ireland in 2008, the trilogy has since been published in 15 different territories, and translated into 10 different languages.

Kiernan’s fourth novel, Into the Grey (aka Taken Away) – a YA ghost story set in 1970′s Ireland – won the 2012 CBI Book of the Year (formerly The Bisto award) and the CBI Children’s Choice Award. It is the first book to have won both categories. It won the RAI Book of the Year 2013, and has been shortlisted for the Sakura Medal (English High) 2014. In 2013 the Irish Times named it as one of the best children’s books of the past 25 years.

Here Kiernan dreamcasts an adaptation of Into the Grey:
I’m never too great at casting my own books because the characters are too strongly visualised in my head, so in the past I’ve left it up to my readers (as you can see in this illustration of all the fan selections for the 2010 Moorehawke Casting Competition.

Into the Grey is a particularly tough one for me. I think the thing that makes casting it so difficult is the fact that its set in 1974. No-one these days looks the way we did in 1974. Everyone now is so shiny and neat when compared to then – everyone has such wonderful hair! Nevertheless, I’ve done my best with all the main peripheral characters and I hope you like my choices.

This is an all Irish cast, by the way, which I think is perfectly appropriate to a film set in Ireland.

OK. So, here is the fantasy casting:

Pat and Dom: (had we a time machine) The wonderful Robert Sheehan.

I found it impossible to cast the main characters of 15 year old identical twins Dom and Pat. I think we might have to go with an unknown actor for this very demanding role. I have included a nice photo of a very young Robert Sheehan though, had he been young enough he would have been physically perfect to play the boys with his dark curly hair and slim build (not to mention his Dublin accent!) He would have to darkened his big eyes with contacts, though, as Pat and Dom have very dark brown eyes.

Olive Finnerty (Pat & Dom’s Ma):

Frustrated, loving, fierce and kind all in one, we need an actor capable of portraying a believable, nuanced mix of emotions to show the boy’s mother to her full depth. I would love to see Aoibhinn McGinnity try her hand at the role. Her performance as gangster wife Trish in the hit series Love/Hate was outstanding (also – she does a great Dublin accent).

Dave Finnerty (Pat & Dom’s Dad):

We need someone to bring the right mix of distraction, kindness and resignation to Dave. There’s only one man for the role, really, and that’s Colin Farrell. Though physically he’s not exactly what I had in mind when writing Dave, he’s close enough to please even me (those big brown eyes! that dark potentially curly hair!). Acting wise I’m a huge fan of CF’s work and I think he’d bring a sense of solidity and warmth to Dave’s soft spoken character.

Cheryl Finnerty:

I had no trouble casting the fey, romantic, beautiful Cheryl. She is and always will be the great Fionnula Flanagan. If you’ve never been lucky enough to witness this woman act there’s a whole host of films out there for you to enjoy – I highly recommend her moving & spirited performance in The Guard.

James Heuston:

Dear, troubled, brave and gentle James. Next to the boys he’s the backbone of this story. I’d quite like to see a lesser known actor take on this role so that the character can live for himself. Another older man, and one whose performance must match Ms Flanagan’s for subtly and charisma. I think it would be a real meaty challenge that any actor would love to get their teeth into. One of my top preferences? Aidan Jordan.

As you can see, I didn’t even try to cast the ghosts. I see them too clearly in my head to make that possible. If you read the book, however, and think of someone you might like in the roles, I’d be delighted to hear from you!
Visit Celine Kiernan's website.

The Page 69 Test: Into the Grey.

--Marshal Zeringue