Thursday, September 11, 2014

Elizabeth Little's "Dear Daughter"

Elizabeth Little was born and raised in St. Louis and graduated from Harvard University. She has written two works of nonfiction: Biting the Wax Tadpole: Confessions of a Language Fanatic and Trip of the Tongue: Cross-Country Travels in Search of America's Languages.

Here Little dreamcasts an adaptation of Dear Daughter, her debut novel:
Dear Daughter is the story of Jane Jenkins, an ex-Hollywood It Girl who was convicted of killing her mother. Ten years later, released on a technicality, she adopts a new identity, gives the media the slip, and heads to a tiny town in South Dakota to try to uncover the truth about what really happened the night of her mother’s murder.

In many ways, Dear Daughter is a riff on a classic noir setup—that of The Wrong Man—so instead of casting the roles with modern actors I thought I’d look instead to the greatest actors of the golden age of Hollywood noir.

Keeping in mind that I made my choices based on spirit and not physicality, here is my All-Star Dear Daughter Noircast:

Rue, a sharp-eyed and sharp-tongued seventeen-year-old, is beautiful and devious ... but maybe not quite as good at planning as she thinks she is: Lana Turner

Renee, the local shop owner who seems to know everything about everyone—not that she’s telling—is brassy, brainy, boozy, and funny as hell: Myrna Loy

Kelley is a cute, caring bookworm with a backbone, and she may just be Jane’s most important ally: Dorothy Malone

Noah, Jane’s long-sufferingly loyal lawyer, would probably be better at his job if he weren’t far too romantic for his own good: Dana Andrews

Leo, the shady, smart-mouthed police chief, doesn’t know what Jane is up to, but he suspects it’s No Good. He’s simultaneously noble and self-serving—although he’d only admit to the latter: Humphrey Bogart

... and finally Jane, my prickly, haunted heroine: Lauren Bacall, the woman who once said, “There are a lot of people who don’t like me at all, I’m very sure of that. But I wasn’t put on earth to be liked.” Whether people loved her or hated her, though, none of them could take their eyes off her. I hope readers feel the same about Jane.
Visit Elizabeth Little's website.

--Marshal Zeringue