Saturday, February 28, 2015

Auston Habershaw's "The Iron Ring"

On the day Auston Habershaw was born, Skylab fell from the heavens. This foretold two possible fates: supervillain or scifi/fantasy author. Fortunately he chose the latter, and spends his time imagining the could-be and the never-was rather than disintegrating the moon with his volcano laser. He lives and works in Boston, MA.

Here Habershaw dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, The Iron Ring: Part I of the Saga of the Redeemed:
The Iron Ring was just released by Harper Voyager Impulse early this month, so perhaps discussions of who will play whom in the movie are premature, but, hell, this is the Internet, dammit! Why shouldn’t I indulge in delusions of grandeur?

Tyvian Reldamar—played by Damian Lewis

Lewis has the right look, the right charm, and I have no doubt he can sport a devilish grin if he needs to. Whoever plays Tyvian needs a certain arrogance about him—he’s a guy who is supremely confident in himself and supremely disdainful of everyone else. I’m pretty sure Lewis could pull this off.

Artus—played by Currently Unknown

Tyvian’s sidekick/constant annoyance should be played be a newcomer—a fresh faced kid with a lot of potential, just like Artus. I want the next Daniel Radcliffe or similar here. Somebody who can mature with the role and make it their own.

Hool—voiced by Viola Davis

Hool is a giant gnoll—a furry, dog/lion/person who would obviously be a work of CGI. As for the voice, I want a strong, authoritative female voice. When she speaks, she brooks no nonsense. Viola Davis seems the logical candidate.

Myreon Alafarr—played by Lauren Lee Smith

I don’t know her work that well, but Ms. Smith caught my eye in SyFy’s Ascension as the no-nonsense investigator. She is tall, imposing, and has the capacity to play a good cop, I think, and an ideal foil to Tyvian’s plotting and moral ambivalence.

Carlo diCarlo—played by Nathan Lane

Carlo needs to seem foolish, even when he is not foolish. He needs to seem slow and uncoordinated, even when he is not slow or uncoordinated. Most of all, he needs to be able to smirk. All you, Mr. Lane.

Zazlar Hendrieux—played by Adrien Brody

Hendrieux is thin, strung-out, nervous, and can turn cruel on a dime. I think Brody can fit the bill admirably. At the same time, there needs to be a certain competence there that would indicate why Tyvian would have associated with the guy in the first place.

Banric Sahand—played by Rutger Hauer

The big bad needs to be somebody who knows how to be big and bad. He also needs the look of an aging warlord—He Who Is Not To Be Messed With. That’s Hauer to a T.

Well, that covers the big players. I didn’t exactly have these people in mind while I was writing, but rather afterwards—long after the book was done—I’ve found myself wondering about what a movie version would look like. I’ve found these people after the fact, and I think they fit pretty well. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy my book!
Visit Auston Habershaw's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Iron Ring.

Writers Read: Auston Habershaw.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 27, 2015

Leanna Renee Hieber's "The Eterna Files"

Leanna Renee Hieber is an actress, playwright and the award winning, bestselling author of Gaslamp Fantasy‎ series such as the Strangely Beautiful saga, the Magic Most Foul saga and the new Eterna Files saga for Tor Books.

Here Hieber dreamcasts an adaptation of The Eterna Files:
May I introduce you to the very large cast that is The Eterna Files!

I’m a professional, classically trained actress as well as a playwright and author, so of course I’ve had possible cast options in my head all along!

First, a little bit about The Eterna Files, from the publisher (Tor Books):
Welcome to The Eterna Files, written by Leanna Renee Hieber, “the brightest new star in literature” (

London, 1882: Queen Victoria appoints Harold Spire of the Metropolitan Police to Special Branch Division Omega. Omega is to secretly investigate paranormal and supernatural events and persons. Spire, a skeptic driven to protect the helpless and see justice done, is the perfect man to lead the department, which employs scholars and scientists, assassins and con men, and a traveling circus. Spire's chief researcher is Rose Everhart, who believes fervently that there is more to the world than can be seen by mortal eyes. Their first mission: find the Eterna Compound, which grants immortality. Catastrophe destroyed the hidden laboratory in New York City where Eterna was developed, but the Queen is convinced someone escaped—and has a sample of Eterna.

Also searching for Eterna is an American, Clara Templeton, who helped start the project after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln nearly destroyed her nation. Haunted by the ghost of her beloved, she is determined that the Eterna Compound—and the immortality it will convey—will be controlled by the United States, not Great Britain.

Senator Rupert Bishop – Richard Armitage
Clara Templeton – Kirsten Dunst or Amanda Seyfried
Franklin Fordham – Chris Evans
Evelyn Northe-Stewart – Meryl Streep or Jessica Lange
Effie Bixby – Gina Torres
Louis & Andre Dupris – Jesse Williams
Josiah – (a young African American kid who needs his big break into film!)
Lavinia Kent – Holliday Grainger


Harold Spire – Martin Freeman (my choice) or David Tennant (my editor’s choice, both, amazing choices)
Lord Denbury – Ben Barnes
Rose Everhart – Ruth Wilson or Anne Hathaway
Mr. Blakeley – Tom Mison
Miss Knight – Lara Pulver
Moriel (The Bad Guy) - Aidan Gillen
Queen Victoria – Imelda Staunton
Mr. Moseley – Aneuriun Barnard
Lord Black – David Bowie (David Bowie, you guys)
Reginald Wilson – Patrick Wilson
Adira Wilson – Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Gabriel Brinkman – Tom Hiddleston

So, basically, a cast of awesome. If all these people were on screen presenting my characters and my work, I would die of happiness.

Enjoy The Eterna Files with these fine actors in mind!
Visit Leanna Renee Hieber's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Writers Read: Leanna Renee Hieber.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Shari Goldhagen's "In Some Other World Maybe"

Shari Goldhagen is a journalist, eggroll enthusiast, and author of the novels Family and Other Accidents (2006) and In Some Other World, Maybe (2015). She lives in a very tiny (but normal for NYC) apartment in Manhattan with her husband and daughter.

Here Goldhagen dreamcasts an adaptation of In Some Other World, Maybe:
Several of the characters in In Some Other World, Maybe are themselves actors or writers, so I suspect that they would actually have thought about this quite a bit...even if they wouldn’t admit it.

Phoebe is someone whose early life is defined by the fact that she’s conventionally beautiful—something she uses to her advantage, even if she isn’t quite comfortable with that. There are several contemporary actresses who I think would work well—Gemma Arterton, Natalie Portman, maybe Rachel Weisz (who is technically a little old for the character, but never seems to age). In my head though she kind of looks like a young Elizabeth Taylor.

So while we’re doing my dream cast of Phoebe as Liz, I’d love to see Paul Newman—circa Cat on a Hot Tin Roof—as Adam. But if we’re keeping things confined to this world, maybe, Ben McKenzie from Gotham for Adam—bonus points because Gotham is very much like the show Adam ends up working on in the book.

For Sharon, who is more introverted, I’d want someone who isn’t necessarily the first person you would notice when you walk into a room, but someone who becomes more attractive the closer you get to her—both physically and emotionally. Maybe Ellen Page or Thora Birch?

And I think that Eddie Redmayne would make a great globe-trotting Oliver.
Visit Shari Goldhagen's website and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Elliot Ackerman's "Green on Blue"

Elliot Ackerman is a writer based out of Istanbul. His fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, and Ecotone among others. He is also a contributor to The Daily Beast, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He served as a White House Fellow in the Obama Administration. Prior to this, he spent eight years in the military as both an infantry and special operations officer.

Ackerman is a decorated veteran, having earned a Silver Star and Purple Heart for his role leading a Rifle Platoon in the November 2004 Battle of Fallujah and a Bronze Star for Valor while leading a Marine Corps Special Operations Team in Afghanistan in 2008.

Here Ackerman shares some thoughts about casting an adaptation of his debut novel, Green on Blue:
If Green on Blue were turned into a movie, I think, by definition, most of the actors would be relative unknowns. Nearly the entire cast would have to be of Afghan or at least of South Asian decent. For any writer, if you’re lucky enough to have your work adapted for film, you’re ceding your story to another’s interpretation of it. The possibilities for that interpretation are endless, but I can tell you who I hope wouldn’t be cast in the film: Chuck Norris, Jackie Chan, Julia Roberts. Aside from that, I’ll just hope to score some complimentary popcorn at the premiere.
Visit Elliot Ackerman's website.

The Page 69 Test: Green on Blue.

Writers Read: Elliot Ackerman.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

William Klaber's "The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell"

William Klaber is a part-time journalist. He lives in upstate New York on a hill overlooking Basket Creek, a short way upstream from where Lucy Lobdell lived 160 years ago.

Here Klaber shares an idea for the lead in an adaptation of his new novel, The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell:
I was with Brenda, my future editor at St Martin’s. It was the first time we met and we were sitting down for lunch to discuss Rebellion, Lucy Lobdell’s purported memoir. Brenda was chirpy and out popped the question. Who should play Lucy? A good conversation starter, but not a role for just any actress. Sharp with a rifle, Lucy passed for three years as a man on the western frontier before she was discovered and put on trial for the crime of wearing men’s clothes. Back east she ran a dancing school, so convincing as a man that women started falling for this new guy, and Lucy started liking them back. Big trouble. And a challenging movie role.

Brenda proposed that for fun we each write down who should play Lucy, fold the paper and hand it across the table. We did this. We passed the ballots and laughed, because we had each picked Jennifer Lawrence. Turns out, neither of us had thought about who would be best for the part, Jennifer Lawrence was simply the person in movies we most wanted to meet. So if you ask me that question now, I give the same answer. Jennifer Lawrence.
Visit William Klaber's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Kristen Ghodsee's "The Left Side of History"

Kristen Ghodsee is Professor of Gender and Women's Studies at Bowdoin College and a former Guggenheim Fellow. She is the author of several books and over two dozen articles, including The Red Riviera: Gender, Tourism and Postsocialism on the Black Sea and Muslim Lives in Eastern Europe: Gender, Ethnicity and the Transformation of Islam in Postsocialist Bulgaria, which won the 2010 Barbara Heldt Book Prize, the 2011 John D. Bell Book Prize, the 2011 Harvard Davis Center Book Prize, and the 2011 William Douglass Prize for Best Book in Europeanist Anthropology.

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of her latest book, The Left Side of History: World War II and the Unfulfilled Promise of Communism in Eastern Europe:
The Left Side of History has all of the ingredients for a big screen World War II political thriller. But it would be an unconventional film since all of the protagonists are left-wing guerillas fighting against the Nazi-allied Bulgarian monarchy in the Balkan theater of the War. The actors would have to work hard to challenge the pervasive cultural stereotypes of communists as deluded revolutionaries. The book revolves around two sets of leftist dreamers: one British and one Bulgarian.

On the British side, the hero is Major Frank Thompson, a British Special Operations Executive officer who parachuted deep behind enemy lines in January 1944 to organize and support the Bulgarian partisans. Frank Thompson was a young idealist who joined the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1938 at the urging of his Oxford classmate, the writer Iris Murdoch. He enlisted to fight against the Axis powers two days before the official British declaration of war, and spent 1939-1943 in North Africa, the Middle East, and Italy before his final mission in the Balkans. Frank Thompson was the older brother of the famous labor historian, E.P. Thompson, and the Winchester schoolmate of the mathematician Freeman Dyson, both who also fought in WWII (E.P. Thompson in Italy and Dyson at British Bomber Command in London). I’d feel compelled to cast British actors, and I’d want some Himalayan acting talent.

My first thought for the role of Major Frank Thompson was Benedict Cumberbatch, but as Frank Thompson smoked a pipe I think it would be impossible for audiences to look at Cumberbatch with a pipe in his mouth and not think “Sherlock.” So my second choice is Tom Hiddleston because Frank Thompson was also a poet and a polyglot (he spoke nine languages), and I think Hiddleston could play the perfect sensitive action hero. David Tenant could play Frank’s younger brother, Edward Palmer Thompson, and Eddie Redmayne would be a perfect young Freeman Dyson. Kate Winslet could reprise her role as young Iris Murdoch.

On the Bulgarian side is a family of partisans. The story revolves around Elena Lagadinova, who became the youngest female partisan at the age of 14. Her three older brothers (Kostadin, Assen, and Boris Lagadinov) were fighting in the mountains from 1941, and she was already risking her life to help them when she was 11. Finding a good child actor to play the role of an idealistic girl communist guerilla would present a challenge, but perhaps Isabelle Allen (who played the young Cosette in Les Miserables) could handle the role. For her older brothers, I could not resist the possibility of casting the real-life-brothers acting trio of Liam, Chris, and Luke Hemsworth. Liam would play Kostadin, the eldest brother, and Luke would play Boris, the youngest. Chris Hemsworth would shine in the role of Assen, the hot-tempered middle brother who was ambushed and decapitated by the Bulgarian gendarmerie in the summer of 1944.

The book also contains scenes from the present day based on interviews that I conducted with the now octogenarian Elena Lagadinova. I’m not sure that the film version of the book would include these scenes, but if they did Dame Judi Dench would make an excellent older Elena.

As far as directors go, Oliver Stone is my first choice. He’s the only director I trust to accurately convey the book’s central message: that those who fought on the left side of history were not all unthinking Marxist zealots. They were motivated by the dream that a more just and equitable world would emerge from the ashes of World War II.
Learn more about The Left Side of History at the Duke University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Victoria Scott's "The Collector"

Victoria Scott is a teen fiction writer represented by Sara Crowe of the Harvey-Klinger Literary Agency. She’s the author of the Fire & Flood series published by Scholastic, and the Dante Walker trilogy published by Entangled Teen. Her first stand-alone young adult title, Titans, will be published by Scholastic in spring 2016.

About The Collector, the first book in the Dante Walker trilogy:
Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence have made him one of Hell’s best—a soul collector. His job is simple: weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag.

Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal-opportunity collector and doesn’t want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment:

Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within ten days.

Dante doesn’t know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of Hell. But after Dante meets the quirky Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect, he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector…and uncover emotions deeply buried.
Here Scott dreamcasts the lead for The Collector:
Out of all the books I've written, I most often imagine The Collector on the big screen. I think Zac Efron could do an outstanding job as the egotistical and sexy Dante Walker. Anybody playing Dante would need to pull off swagger in spades, and have more than a touch of darkness to him, and I really think Efron could really nail the role.
Visit Victoria Scott's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Mark Wisniewski's "Watch Me Go"

Mark Wisniewski's new novel, Watch Me Go, has already earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly, made the Most Anticipated Books List for 2015 by The Millions, and received advance praise from Salman Rushdie, Daniel Woodrell, Ben Fountain, Rebecca Makkai, Dan Chaon, Christine Sneed, Tim Johnston, and Ru Freeman.

Here Wisniewski dreamcasts an adaptation of Watch Me Go:
Watch Me Go is the candid and insightful storytelling of two love stories turned tragic by racism, sexism, and economic injustice. Two narrators, black and white, male and female, risk their lives by admitting how their pursuits of the American Dream soon fated their futures to betrayal, double-dealing, and proximity to horrific death. But as these narrators, Deesh and Jan, come to trust each other enough to admit rather personal secrets and regrets, they sense their two stories have always been one — and that, by speaking up and listening, they've woven a new, realistic, and far stronger hope.

If the current rumors are true that Watch Me Go will be made into a film, here's my wish list regarding who could play whom:

Emma Stone--Jan
Jamie Foxx--Deesh
Zac Efron--Tug
Sam Shepard--Tom
Mary-Louise Parker--Colleen
Naomi Watts--Cindy
John Goodman--Gabe

And, yes, I realize that would be a lot of power on the screen--but, hey, when you get down to it, Watch Me Go is all about power.
Visit Mark Wisniewski's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wendy Lee's "Across a Green Ocean"

Wendy Lee is the author of the novels Across a Green Ocean (Kensington) and Happy Family (Black Cat/Grove Atlantic). Happy Family was named one of the top ten debut novels of 2008 by Booklist and awarded an honorable mention from the Association of Asian American Studies.

Here Lee dreamcasts an adaptation of Across a Green Ocean:
In Across a Green Ocean, there are three main characters in the Tang family: the mother, Ling; the daughter, Emily; and the son, Michael.

There are a number of Asian American actresses that could play Emily, but I really like Constance Wu, who plays Eddie Huang’s mother in the new ABC sitcom Fresh Off the Boat. Constance puts on an accent in the TV show, but in reality she was born in the U.S. She doesn’t look quite like the way Emily is described in the book, as having inherited “her father’s dusky complexion, his wide-set eyes and generous mouth,” but she displays a distinct inner strength.

I’m picturing a younger Wang Leehom, who was in Ang Lee’s film Lust, Caution and more recently in Michael Mann’s Blackhat, as the character of Michael. While Wang rose to stardom as a pop singer in Taiwan, he actually grew up in the U.S. He’s now in his late thirties, but he still looks young enough to play Michael, who’s twenty-six in the book and is described as being “tall and thin and pale, with delicate features.”

Ling is the hardest character for me to cast, because I’m having a hard time picturing Asian or Asian American actresses who are in their late fifties. Joan Chen is in her early fifties, but she will forever remain the glamorous empress from The Last Emperor and the mysterious Josie Packard from Twin Peaks. She did, however, play the mother of a grown-up daughter in the 2004 romantic comedy Saving Face, so maybe she’d work after all.

For the supporting characters, I’m envisioning Jason Segel as Emily’s ineffectual husband Julian, Chris Messina as her coworker/crush Rick, and Dan Stevens as Michael’s boyfriend David. Okay, maybe Dan Stevens is a bit of a stretch, but he has to do something after Downton Abbey.
Visit Wendy Lee's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Brenda Chapman's "Butterfly Kills"

Brenda Chapman began her writing career in children’s fiction. Her YA novel Hiding in Hawk's Creek was shortlisted for the CLA Book of the Year for Children. Her first adult mystery, In Winter's Grip, was published in 2010. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

Here Chapman dreamcasts an adaptation of Butterfly Kills, the latest novel in her Stonechild and Rouleau mystery series, and reported the following:
I was intrigued but somewhat stymied by the idea of casting the lead characters in Butterfly Kills for a movie. I've had little time the past few years to watch movies, and besides that, I'm terrible at remembering names of friends let alone actors on a screen. To add to the challenge, I'd not written the novel with specific actors in mind. Luckily, I had a big ace up my sleeve.

One December afternoon, I enlisted the help of my good friend and movie aficionado Susan Rothery to help as my casting agent. Sue attends the Toronto International Film Festival every year and waits in line to take photos of up-and-coming and established stars. Movies are her passion and she has a memory for movie trivia for which I can only marvel. She'd also read my first Stonechild and Rouleau novel Cold Mourning and had a feel for my characters. She jumped at the task and over the course of the afternoon, narrowed down lists with several strong suggestions for each actor. My job was to check them out on Google and YouTube and weed down the list until I arrived at an award-winning cast of characters.

Selecting the director was easy. Sue and I immediately agreed on David Fincher, who created three spooky and suspenseful movies that I'd actually seen: Gone Girl, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (American version) and Zodiac. Movies, like books, are all about the setting and feel, so he was the natural choice to bring the dark suspense to life in Butterfly Kills.

We then set about choosing actors to play the three lead cops.

Jacques Rouleau is the staff sergeant and described as a man in his early fifties, bald, lean and green-eyed with the trace of a French accent. Vincent Cassel who played in Black Swan wins the role of Rouleau and hopefully won't balk at shaving his head. Cassel has the interesting, craggy face that I envisioned and the French heritage intrinsic to the character.

Kala Stonechild is in her early thirties, of Aboriginal descent, high cheekbones, five foot seven, attractive but not beautiful. After finding a trailer of Annie Galipeau playing the lead opposite Pierce Brosnan in Grey Owl, Annie brings the same quiet intensity and intangible mesmerizing quality as Stonechild.

Stonechild's partner Paul Gundersund is described in the book as a six foot two cop of Swedish descent who wears his blond hair too long and has a scar on his cheek. He's in his mid-thirties and slightly out of shape, but has the look of a Viking warrior. Alexander Skarsgard gets the nod for this role, currently playing a Viking vampire on the television series True Blood. He'll need to roughen up his handsome looks a bit and add that scar to his face and maybe put on a few pounds, but judging from his acting credits, this shouldn't be a problem.

So now, the hard work has been done. The winning team has been assembled. The champagne corks are popping.

Over to you, Hollywood.
Visit Brenda Chapman's website.

The Page 69 Test: Butterfly Kills.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 16, 2015

Diane Stanley's "The Chosen Prince"

Diane Stanley is the author and illustrator of more than fifty books for children, noted especially for her series of award-winning picture book biographies. Her novels for older readers include Saving Sky, Bella at Midnight, The Mysterious Matter of I. M. Fine, and the Silver Bowl Trilogy, The Silver Bowl, The Cup and the Crown, and The Princess of Cortova.

Here Stanley dreamcasts an adaptation of her latest book for young readers, The Chosen Prince:
People are always suggesting new careers for me, as in, “Wow, you could be (an architect, chef, radio announcer)!” But no one has ever, ever said, “Wow, you could be a casting director!” Not only have I not kept up with the latest batch of young Hollywood stars and starlets, as in, “Is Channing Tatum a man or a woman?” Half the time I can’t even pull up the names of the old ones I know and love. But if you will allow me magical powers so I can cast actors at different moments in their lives, I will give My Book, The Movie a try:

Alexos is my main character and will have to carry the movie. He must be intense and vulnerable with a sharp intelligence and lots of charisma. The only person I can imagine who could play him to my satisfaction is a teenaged Benedict Cumberbatch (with the Sherlock hair but not the attitude).

Aria, my heroine, needs to be unforgettable (certainly Alexos can’t forget her). She should be just pretty enough, but in an unusual way. Mostly she has to be strong and independent. I think a slightly younger Jennifer Lawrence would be just right.

Pyratos, my villain, could be played admirably by Joaquin Phoenix at about twenty-five.

Suliman is a no-brainer: Omar Sharif, from around the time he made Lawrence of Arabia.

And for my dream Claudio, I would choose Derek Jacobi, aged about fifty-five (and it has nothing to do with the fact that he played Claudius).

Finally, having just seen the incredibly subtle and historically dead-on Mr. Turner, I would like my movie to be directed by Mike Leigh.
Learn more about the book and author at Diane Stanley's website and Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: The Princess of Cortova.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Michael Sears's "Long Way Down"

Michael Sears spent over twenty years on Wall Street, rising to become a managing director at Paine Webber and Jeffries & Co., before leaving the business in 2005.

Here Sears dreamcasts an adaptation of Long Way Down, his second novel featuring Jason Stafford and his son:
Oh, I do squirm when asked who would I want to play Jason Stafford in the movie. I am all too aware that nothing a writer wishes for ever comes about when dealing with Hollywood. However, back in my college days, I spent many a liquid night with fellow students casting the Iliad, or Shakespeare, or even Huck Finn (though by the time I was working on the American, late 19th century authors I would have been inhaling rather than imbibing). Maybe if I look at the cast from the angle of pure fun….

I must start with Roger, Jason’s uncouth and comedic friend, a semi-retired clown with a bottomless capacity for cognac. He knows no conversational boundaries, freely, and publicly, discussing his unpredictable prostate, or his disdain for poseurs. He is diminutive with a body given to curves and bulges rather than planes and sharp angles. Who else could it be, but Danny DeVito? He is the right age and he is a producer with the weight to get the picture financed. And, I picture Danny when writing. The part is made for him.

I’d like to see Margo Martindale in the role of Mamma. Margo can play a lot younger than her age and would have fun with the blend of down home Southern comfort, and dizziness, that help her cope with all the trials that life has brought her.

Okay, okay, okay. I know I am avoiding the biggies. Ben Affleck for Jason. He’s George Clooney Light, but he can project competent, and Jason has always been able to take what comes his way and make something of it. He may not always make the best decisions, in fact he makes some terrible ones, but he does succeed wherever he finds himself. I wouldn’t mind having Affleck double as director. I really liked Argo.

Skeli – aka Wanda – is a tough one. I describe her as handsome in a striking way, like Chrissie Hynde, and it’s tough to find a Hollywood actress with the right look. A young Angelica Huston would have been good, but they don’t seem to make too many of those. She is unique.

Of course, the toughest of all to cast would be the Kid. I have seen some impressive acting by children, but even more that was dreadful. The Kid is also an Everyman for autism, so that every parent or grandparent can read the book and put their charge in his place. Once a movie puts a face to the Kid, there begins to be a disconnect. A great actor could make up the difference, but the risk is great.

That’s it. Almost. I think Tommy Lee Jones would make a great Deeter. Deeter is a character we first see in Long Way Down. He is ethically ambivalent. I like him. And I love Tommy Lee Jones. You could put him in a Depends commercial and I’d watch it. He’s a national treasure.

I wish I had written someone for Michael Caine to play, though.
Visit Michael Sears's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 13, 2015

Michael Morse's "Mr. Wilson Makes it Home"

Michael Morse is a retired firefighter who received the Robert and Margaret MacColl Johnson Fellowship from the Rhode Island Foundation this past year. He is the author of Rescuing Providence and Responding as well as numerous essays. He is a monthly columnist on the websites Fire Engineering and EMS World. He resides in Warwick, Rhode Island.

Here Morse dreamcasts an adaptation of his new book, Mr. Wilson Makes It Home: How One Little Dog Brought Us Hope, Happiness, and Closure:
Mr. Wilson Makes it Home began as a dog rescue story but became kind of a love story between two complex people surviving a thirty year (so far) relationship. The main characters are My Wife, Myself and Our Dog, Mr. Wilson. The book is comprised of three parts, The Past, The Present and The Future.

If my book is made into a movie:

My Wife will be played by Evangeline Lilly, who also was Kate on Lost, as well as the Elf Tauriel in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and The Desolation of Smaug. Kate (as I will always think of Evangeline as,) like my wife, Cheryl has the ability to drive me wild with desire, make me crazy, fill me with dread and convince me that there is absolutely nothing on earth as mysterious, charming, frustrating and capable as a good woman.

Myself has to be played by Will Ferrell. The scene in Old School where Frank the Tank, played by Will streaks through a college campus, totally nude, his love handles and skinny fat man body flapping in the breeze perfectly recreates the image I see every time I look in the mirror. There have been far too many times during my life that I have to stop what I am doing, reflect for a moment and think; “what would Will Ferrell do.”

Our Dog’s Voice needs to be done by James Spader, whose most recent role is "Red" in The Blacklist. James, like Mr. Wilson has the same tilt to his head when he thinks deeply, which is most of the time.

The rest of the cast could be filled in with cameo performances by Hollywood greats: Jason Statham will be Jeff, the truck driver who rescues and delivers the abandoned dogs through the Rt. 95 corridor; Cheri, the lady who fosters Mr. Wilson in Arkansas will be played by Kathy Bates; and Denise, the lady who runs the pet store, will be played by Drew Barrymore.

Michael Corrente (Outside Providence) will produce and direct the movie due to his familiarity with the Rhode Island culture, and his uncanny ability to capture the absurd in everyday life.
Visit the Mr. Wilson Makes it Home blog.

Coffee with a Canine: Michael Morse & Mr. Wilson.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Amy Helen Bell's "Murder Capital"

Amy Helen Bell is Associate Professor of History at Huron University College in London, Ontario, Canada. Her research interests focus on the social history of London and the history of forensics and crime scene photography.

Here Bell dreamcasts the lead for an adaptation of her new book, Murder Capital: Suspicious Deaths in London, England, 1933-53:
Murder Capital doesn’t have one main historical actor. It’s a study of how the investigation of murders and other suspicious deaths in London changed during the Second World War and its aftermath, and how the social upheavals and physical changes in the city affected who was committing deadly violence and why. One of the main themes that came out of this research was the use of crime scene photography by the Metropolitan Police and public prosecutors as a tool to document crimes and to give judges and juries a visual context for the cases being considered. In the film version of the book, I’d make the main character a young police photographer, just starting out in 1934, taking pictures of a murdered bookie in a Kensington workhouse. The film would trace his fictional career along with the actual history of the cases which were photographed , ending with the unsolved case of a schoolgirl stabbed on a street corner in Brixton in 1953. I’d have him played by Martin Freeman, who can convey the stoicism and responsibility necessary for a police detective, mediated by a core of compassion and feeling that the photographs continue to evoke in the viewer today.
Visit Amy Helen Bell's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Tom Cooper's "The Marauders"

Tom Cooper’s work has recently appeared in Oxford American, Boulevard, Gulf Coast, Mid-American Review, Willow Springs, and dozens of other magazines and journals. He lives in New Orleans, where he writes and teaches.

Here Cooper shares some ideas about casting an adaptation of his first novel, The Marauders:
I think it would have to be a cast of unknowns. Time and again Hollywood fucks up big time, casting people who are just hideously, hilariously, wrong for their parts. I haven’t seen it, won’t see it because life’s too short, but there’s this new movie out---I think it’s called The Delivery Boy, something like that---with Janelle Lopez. And she plays this classics professor, this hot classics professor, and to make sure this fact isn’t lost on the audience, she wears horn-rimmed glasses and a t-shirt that says “You Had Me At Herodotus”. She’s sitting around in her underwear reading Flavian poetry, rubbing lotion on her legs, and she has a crush on the pizza delivery boy. Things get racy and dangerous. Extra pepperoni. Dumb as hell.

Yeah, so unknowns. Local unknowns. Low budget, indie. I like to think The Marauders would make a great movie, but it would have to arrive from a certain sensibility. Recent movies, I’m thinking Blue Ruin, Stakeland, Cold in July, You’re Next, Mud, Joe. Stuff like that.
Visit Tom Cooper's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Sally Hepworth's "The Secrets of Midwives"

Sally Hepworth has lived around the world, spending extended periods in Singapore, the U.K., and Canada, where she worked in event management and Human Resources. She is the author of Love Like The French, published by Random House Germany in February 2014. She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and two children.

Here Hepworth dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, The Secrets of Midwives:
Oooh, this is fun!

Okay, for the role of Neva, the youngest midwife, I think Jennifer Lawrence would be great. Neva uses humor and sarcasm as a shield to intimacy—with everyone, but most especially with her mother, Grace. She keeps herself to herself and the only time she lets her guard down is when she coaches her clients in labor. I also think Scarlett Johansson would do a great job in this role, as would Amy Adams.

Grace, Neva’s mother, is a home-birthing hippie. Fond of flagrant displays of emotion, she drives her conservative daughter crazy. As soon as I started writing this character I started visualizing Susan Sarandon in the role. Goldie Hawn would also be great.

Lastly, there’s Floss, the retired English midwife, who continues to run classes on natural birthing at the local community center and dole out sage advice to her daughter and granddaughter. For this part, if Judi Dench wasn’t available, the shooting of the film simply couldn’t go ahead.
Visit Sally Hepworth's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: The Secrets of Midwives.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Cat Hellisen's "Beastkeeper"

Cat Hellisen is an author of fantasy for adults and children. Born in 1977 in Cape Town, South Africa, she has also lived in Johannesburg, Knysna, and Nottingham.

She sold her first full-length novel, When the Sea is Rising Red in 2010. Her children’s book Beastkeeper, a play on the old tale of Beauty and the Beast, is now out from Henry Holt and Co.

Here Hellisen shares some reflections on adapting Beastkeeper for the big screen:
I've never really understood the whole “which actors would I want to play my characters” thing. I'm not a huge mainstream movie watcher (wow, and now I sound like the most pretentious human on the planet hahaha) but that's mainly because I find many Hollywood films very same-y. I love when a film captures a book in tone and style, rather than banking on huge names and a Wham-Bam plot that barely resembles the source material. I loved the Swedish film version of Let the Right One In, for example; even though it deviated from the story, it still felt in touch with the original.

So if Beastkeeper had to be made into a film, I'd love to see actors who captured the core of Sarah and Alan, who worked their own magic into the story, rather than a collection of names-of-the-moment. I don't think what the characters look like is as important as the feel of them – Sarah needs to be determined and brittle, and Alan a collection of sharp edges and shadows. I'd actually be really interested in seeing the story done in an interesting animated format, like Michel Ocelot's Azur et Asmar.

I think CGI for the Beast(s) could be amazing though, and I'd probably love a film that had all the whimsy and darkness of the Harry Potter films, or the eeriness of Pan's Labyrinth. If a live-action film had to be done, I'd want it filmed in the UK, perhaps with something of the feel of the series adaptation of Ghormenghast for the parts set in the forest and castle – with that air of hyper-reality.

Hmm, wait, I never thought I could get excited about a film adaptation of my book, but now I kinda am.
Visit Cat Hellisen's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 6, 2015

Dennis Palumbo's "Phantom Limb"

Formerly a Hollywood screenwriter (My Favorite Year; Welcome Back, Kotter, etc.), Dennis Palumbo is now a licensed psychotherapist and author. His mystery fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, The Strand and elsewhere, and is collected in From Crime to Crime (Tallfellow Press). His acclaimed series of crime novels (Mirror Image, Fever Dream, Night Terrors and the latest, Phantom Limb) feature psychologist Daniel Rinaldi, a trauma expert who consults with the Pittsburgh Police.

Here Palumbo dreamcasts an adaptation of Phantom Limb:
As before, regarding my previous Daniel Rinaldi novel, Night Terrors, I still favor Anthony LaPaglia for the lead role in the movie version of my latest, Phantom Limb. He’d be perfect for the driven psychologist who consults with the Pittsburgh Police. But I could also see Robert Downey, Jr., for his mixture of intelligence and wry humor. Plus, now that he’s gotten into super-hero shape, I could believe he’s both a veteran therapist and a former amateur boxer.

For the role of Lisa Campbell, one-time Playboy Playmate turned Hollywood horror movie scream-queen, and now a mature woman unhappily married to a ruthless tycoon, my first choice would be Susan Sarandon. She has just the right combination of seasoned sexuality and smart-ass attitude. I think Sharon Stone would also fit the bill quite nicely.

Lastly, for the role of one of the main bad guys, an emaciated, bone-thin black sheep of a wealthy family, I envision the indie director John Waters. While not primarily an actor, he’d be perfect for the cunning, sleepy-eyed Ray “Splinter” Sykes. Though Crispin Glover would also be fine. Or Billy Bob Thornton.
Learn more about the book and author at Dennis Palumbo's website.

My Book, The Movie: Night Terrors.

The Page 69 Test: Phantom Limb.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Peter Swanson's "The Kind Worth Killing"

Peter Swanson is the author of two novels, The Girl with a Clock for a Heart, and The Kind Worth Killing, available from William Morrow in the United States and Faber & Faber in the United Kingdom. His poems, stories and reviews have appeared in such journals as The Atlantic, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Epoch, Measure, Notre Dame Review, Soundings East, and The Vocabula Review. He has won awards in poetry from The Lyric and Yankee Magazine, and is currently completing a sonnet sequence on all 53 of Alfred Hitchcock’s films. He lives with his wife and cat in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Here Swanson dreamcasts an adaptation of The Kind Worth Killing:
There are many important characters in The Kind Worth Killing, but the most important, by far, is Lily Kintner, a very practical sociopath. I'd love to see Amy Adams play this role. She'd look perfect, but she also has great range as an actress. Although she's often cast as someone with a bubbly personality, I think she'd excel at playing a chillier version of herself.

To round out the rest of my cast, I'd go with Michael Fassbender as Ted, Olivia Munn as Miranda, Joseph Gordon Levitt as Detective Kimball, and Zoe Saldana as Detective James.

As for a director, how could I not pick the most stylish, brilliant director of thrillers working today: David Fincher.
Visit Peter Swanson's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Jamie Mason's "Monday's Lie"

Jamie Mason was born in Oklahoma City, but grew up in Washington, DC. She’s most often reading and writing, but in the life left over, she enjoys films, Formula 1 racing, football, traveling, and, conversely, staying at home.

Here Mason dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Monday's Lie:
Oh boy, this task is right up there with all the things I cannot do. Take dancing. I can’t do it. My brain doesn’t speak to my feet like that. In the case of assigning actors to characters I’ve written, it’s the same brand of desperate – mostly because I don’t see my invented people while they’re doing what they do on the page. At best, they’re watercolors. I know some writers see them to the hair of their chinny-chin-chins, but I don’t. I don’t need to. I just need to think them clearly.

I love movies and there are so many fine actors who can peel characters off a page and wear them like masks. I would love to see Monday’s Lie on a screen. I’m just the last person to ask who should do it.

For instance, the mother in my story, Annette Vess, is both a badass covert ops asset and a brilliantly nurturing, cul-de-sac mom. So who to put the swing in her stride and her cookies into the oven? I could imagine perhaps Sela Ward, or equally Uma Thurman if she were older. See? I’m terrible at this.

The only one in the book who even sketched-in at all toward an actual actor while I was writing him was the agent who reappears in the main character’s life after nineteen years. His watercolor looked a little like Clive Owen. But Brian’s not English.


At any rate, it is so much fun to hear from readers when they let me know who they saw in their mind’s eye as they were reading. Let the casting begin!
Visit Jamie Mason's website.

The Page 69 Test: Monday's Lie.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 2, 2015

Lynn Chandler Willis's "Wink of an Eye"

Lynn Chandler Willis has worked in the corporate world, the television news business, and the newspaper industry. She was born, raised, and continues to live in the heart of North Carolina within walking distance of her children and their spouses and her nine grandchildren. She shares her home, and heart, with Sam the cocker spaniel.

Here Willis dreamcasts an adaptation of her latest novel, Wink of an Eye:
I've had many readers say they can visualize Wink of an Eye on a screen, whether it's a big one in a theater or a small one in a home entertainment center doesn't matter. They can see the story. Which, to me, is a good thing because it means I've succeeded at bringing these characters to life. When a reader can see the character, or hear the soundtrack, or even hear the character's voice, I've done my job.

All writers have different methods to their madness and mine involves casting characters. Some writers only have a basic idea of what their characters look like, how they talk, or walk. I get an image stuck in my head and that's the character. From the beginning to the end, I seldom waver on blonde hair or brown hair, tall or short. I know exactly what that character would look like if they were to leap off the page and onto a screen. Whether a reader shares my vision or not, doesn't matter. They have their own vision and until the role is actually cast, they can envision who they'd like to see play the part just as I do.

From the very beginning of Wink of an Eye, from initial concept, I had the following actors in mind to play the major roles.

Private Eye Michael “Gypsy” Moran: Gerard Butler
Claire Kinley Sellers: Julie Bowen
Sophia Ortez: Eva Longoria (with short hair)
Rhonda Walker: Jean Louisa Kelly
Rodney Walker: Kevin James
Burke McCallen: Barry Corbin
Angie Moran: MariLu Henner
Gram: Cloris Leachman

And one weird thing about this is I want Gerard Butler's look as Gypsy Moran, but I want Keith Urban's voice, minus the accent. I hear Gypsy with that sort of raspy, slightly high pitched voice.

So how about you? Who would you cast as Gypsy?
Visit Lynn Chandler Willis's website.

--Marshal Zeringue