Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Sophie Jaff's "Love is Red"

A native of South Africa, Sophie Jaff is an alumna of the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, and a fellow of the Dramatists Guild of America. Her work has been performed at Symphony Space, Lincoln Center, the Duplex, the Gershwin, and Goodspeed Musicals.

Here Jaff dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Love is Red:
I can’t tell you whom I would cast, but I do know that the actor cast for Sael de Villias would have to be devastatingly sexy and the actor playing David Balan, utterly charming. Katherine Emerson would be the trickiest to cast, as I deliberately never describe her physically. I wanted the reader to form their own impressions from her conversation, choices, wit and inner monologues. It would be a challenge to pin her down.

However I know exactly whom I’d love to score my work. This comes, no doubt from my musical theatre writing background. When I was writing Love is Red, I would walk down the streets of New York listening to the film scores of Vertigo, Taxi Driver, Fahrenheit 451 and Cape Fear, composed by the legendary Bernard Hermann. Hermann’s film scores are by turns; epic, gritty, raw, seductive, wistful, dangerous, primal, and heartbreaking. For me, they capture the very essence of New York in a sweltering summer.

Unfortunately, I have yet to raise the dead.

I think my book captures many different genres so I would want a director who could portray a world with a rich sense of color and movement and who could deliver the essence of a vibrant living city caught in the grip of terror of a terrifying serial killer. I see my book as a blend of psychological horror thriller and romance. If I got to choose a director I would actually shy away from a director of specifically of horror. The film Beautiful Creatures directed by a young Peter Jackson is the closest I can get to the kind of eerie ‘other world’ aesthetic.

I would also have to practice the dark arts of necromancy for some of the directors I have in mind like Hitchcock (basically anything he did) and Roman Polanski (Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown, Repulsion).

I would also be interested in directors who deal with the dark magical surrealism interweaving with reality so delicately and wonderfully such as Guillermo del Toro Gómez (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Devil’s Backbone) and Alejandro Amenábar (The Others).

There are other fabulous directors such Adrian Lyne with Jacob’s Ladder, Fatal Attraction, Mary Harron who directed American Psycho and Jonathan Demme whose classic Silence of the Lambs haunts me still. Finally the amazing Martin Scorsese who can capture the essence of New York, terrifying and compelling characters and their epic stories with so much raw wonder and terror (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Cape Fear).

Love is Red would have to be shot in my hometown, New York. Which would make my life.
Visit Sophie Jaff's website.

--Marshal Zeringue