Saturday, May 30, 2015

Sarah Elizabeth Schantz's "Fig"

Sarah Elizabeth Schantz grew up in a bookstore named The Rue Morgue—one of the first mystery bookstores in the US. She is an accomplished short-storyist, with many awards under her belt. Schantz holds an MFA in Writing & Poetics from Naropa University. She currently lives with her family in an old farmhouse on the outskirts of Boulder, Colorado, where they are surrounded by open sky, century-old cottonwoods, coyote, and screech owls.

Here Schantz dreamcasts an adaptation of Fig, her first novel:
Unfortunately, the actress, Mia Wasikowska who I always imagined playing Fig is probably too old to do so now. Maybe not? Maybe Elle Fanning could pull it off? Otherwise, it might have to be a newcomer. I’m also not entirely sure how they would address the span of the particular thirteen years that unfolds in this book since it is six to nineteen. There might need to be a child actress for the early years and then someone like Mia or Elle for the older Fig. The little girl, Coco Willett, who played Fig in the book trailer I made with some friends, would do a most excellent job for ages 6-11 (if we made the movie right now).

After a long time brainstorming all the possible Mamas I am almost entirely positive that Amy Adams should get the role. For a while I’d considered Tilda Swinton (especially after her role as the mother in the film, We Need to Talk About Kevin), and then Jessica Chastain, but I think Adams has the warmth necessary to be Fig’s mother. It’s because of Mama’s tenderness that our hearts break like they do as we watch this poor woman come undone by mental illness. That said Kate Winslet is a decent contender. Aside for their cold edges, Tilda and Jessica are too thin to ever portray Mama after she gains weight from her medication.

Without a doubt, Robert Downey Jr. is the perfect Uncle Billy (or rather he was around the time he was in The Wonder Boys with Michael Douglas). According to the guidelines, I don’t have to worry about the constraint of time, so I’ll just stop being so realistic and say a younger version of Robert (by 15-20 years) would play Uncle Billy. And Mia would be Fig.

Moving on, I think Mark Ruffalo from The Kids Are All Right would be a good Daddy (he’d get to work with Mia again), and I’m beginning to think Angelica Huston is the only way to go for Gran, although Susan Sarandon would be a fascinating choice (she’d have to dye her hair black). But now I’m wondering about a younger Tim Robbins playing Daddy, although I think I might have to draw the line there as it would be too weird for Susan to be the mother of her real-life ex-partner, right? No matter what time traveling universe this might be.

Let’s make Sissy Baxter an age appropriate version of Emma Stone and the same for Sarah Michelle Geller when she plays Candace Sherman. As for Mrs. Sherman, I’m actually surprised by myself, but I think it’d have to be Charlize Theron. She can do mean, right? Or rather small town passive-aggressive? I think she can. Plus, Mrs. Sherman’s not all cruel—after all, Daddy did once love her, didn’t he?

As for the director, I’m not sure. I’d like to see someone new (a woman) get to make a name for herself. That said, I’d be looking for an aesthetic that echoes the following films: Tim Burton’s Big Eyes, Lee Daniel’s Precious, Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko, Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, Terry Gilliam’s Tideland, and Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone. Furthermore, to create the appropriate set, I’d insist that everyone necessary for mood, atmosphere, and style study the work of Andrew Wyeth, but also the essence of 1980s Midwestern America, and it’d be pretty cool if Brian Eno, Laurie Anderson, and Nick Cave collaborated for the soundtrack.
Visit Sarah Elizabeth Schantz's website.

The Page 69 Test: Fig.

--Marshal Zeringue