Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Alexis Landau's "The Empire of the Senses"

Alexis Landau studied at Vassar College and received an MFA from Emerson College, and a PhD in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California.

Here Landau dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, The Empire of the Senses:
I envision Jude Law to play the character of Lev Perlmutter because of his changeable nature and appearance—Law can appear refined and sophisticated while at the same time, suddenly transform into a rougher more earthy version of himself, which is in some ways for Lev the tension he struggles with in the novel. In terms of Lev’s wife Josephine, my friend and actress Laura Regan was an inspiration while I was writing. Laura Regan is a classic beauty and her elegance combined with her quickness and grace made me immediately think of Josephine every time I needed to describe her physically. Of course psychologically there’s no resemblance at all, but sometimes the way into a character is through their basic physicality; how they move, walk, and talk—how they exist in the world in a material sense. And when thinking about Vicki’s character, I actually used my own daughter, Lucia, who is only four years old, but she has this clear white skin contrasted with very dark eyes and hair. Lucia’s mischievous and rebellious nature also contributed to how I wrote Vicki—she is a young woman who challenges the status quo and finds the new freedoms of Berlin in the late 20’s exhilarating. Leah’s character, the Russian peasant Lev falls in love with on the Eastern Front, I often thought of Rachel Weisz because she exudes earthiness and sexuality, and a feeling of melancholy. And for Lev’s young closeted homosexual son, who joins the Brown Shirts in the late 1920s, I envision an actor such as Aaron Taylor Johnson because he has these perfect Nordic features and has conveyed in other performances a certain stiltedness and discomfort which I think fits Franz’s character perfectly.
Visit Alexis Landau's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Empire of the Senses.

Writers Read: Alexis Landau.

--Marshal Zeringue