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