Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Robert Goddard's "The Ways of the World"

Robert Goddard is the Edgar Award–winning, internationally bestselling author of The Ways of the World; Long Time Coming; Into the Blue, which won the first WHSmith Thumping Good Read Award; and Past Caring. He teaches history at the University of Cambridge and lives in Cornwall.

Here Goddard dreamcasts an adaptation of The Ways of the World:
As a member of a generation that grew up with television (even if I had to go to a neighbour’s house to see it in the earliest years) my imagination is fed on pictures. We writers of the TV age see stories unfolding before us as we write them. In that sense, they’re movies even before we start envisaging how they’d look and play out on the big (or small) screen.

Casting the ideal film version of my book is tricky work, because I describe the physical appearance of characters and see them in my mind as I write about them. They’re never identical to a particular actor. But the skill of the casting agent is to see who fits a part for a whole variety of reasons, so here goes.

The two principal characters in The Ways of the World and the books that will follow it, Max and Sam, need to be played by unknowns (soon to become famous, of course) so that their individual personalities are unique from the start. They’re both wonderful acting opportunities.

I have big names in mind for some of the supporting roles, however. As Schools Morahan, towering Irish-American soldier of fortune, there could be no-one better than Liam Neeson. As Travis Ireton, his shady partner, I think Robert Downey Jr. would be perfect. And as Ireton’s secretary, I already begin to see Cate Blanchett behind Malory Hollander’s horn-rimmed spectacles.

The beauty of this particular trio would be that such casting gives a clue to their later importance and bigger roles in the following books (and films) in the trilogy which The Ways of the World inaugurates. The same would be true of the former lover of Max’s mother, Lionel Brigham. Timothy Dalton would fit the part like a glove. And he too would have more to do later.

Max’s veteran Secret Service contact, Horace Appleby, has seen it all, but has his principles intact. I can see this part suiting David Suchet wonderfully well. As for Max’s mother, Lady Maxted, a woman of mystery as well as convention, need we look further than Kristin Scott Thomas? And her late husband, Sir Henry Maxted, who will undoubtedly feature prominently in flashbacks, please step forward Robert Lindsay.

This leaves unanswered the question of which part Russell Crowe will play. I’m not sure yet, but my wife insists that he must appear, so maybe we’ll just let him choose. I’m inclined to say the same myself about Juliette Binoche. Well, the book is set mostly in France!
Visit Robert Goddard's website.

--Marshal Zeringue