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