Thursday, July 30, 2015

Jane Lindskold's "Artemis Invaded"

Jane Lindskold is the bestselling author of the Firekeeper series, which began with Through Wolf’s Eyes and concluded with Wolf’s Blood, as well as many other fantasy novels. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Here Lindskold shares some ideas for an adaptation of her new novel, Artemis Invaded, the second book in the Artemis Awakening series:
Several times in the past, I’ve cheerfully participated in the The Page 69 Test and discussed what I’m reading for Writers Read. However, I’ve always dodged the My Book, The Movie.

There’s a reason for this... I don’t know the names of very many actors. If I’ve liked an actor in a role, I fall for the role, not the actor…

So when people say “Who would you like to play…” I can never think of anyone. My characters look like themselves, not like Humphrey Bogart or Audrey Hepburn.

There’s an added complication to playing the casting game. Artemis Invaded, like many of my works, has animal characters. The two primary ones are Sand Shadow the puma and Honeychild the bear. Even with the increased use of CGI, the most effective non-human characters have been those who are more or less human-shaped and, therefore, are, in essence, still being played by a human.

Let me stress, these are animal characters not sidekicks, pets, or fashion accessories. So, after meditating if I were going to cast Artemis Invaded as a movie, I think I’d want it animated. That way animals and humans alike could be done in the same format and there wouldn’t be that jar-jar, uh… I mean jarring failure when a CGI character interacts (or fails to interact) with a character played by a live human actor.

I’m a fan of animation, especially Japanese anime. Despite the common misconception, anime encompasses a lot more than characters with big eyes, tiny mouths, brightly colored hair, and outrageous outfits. Those elements are certainly present but, as works like Hayao Miyazaki’s Whispers of the Heart demonstrate, more realistic portrayals exist, too.

(Don’t know Whispers of the Heart? It should be required viewing for anyone who wants to follow their heart into an impossible career choice – like being a writer or musician. I highly recommend.)

After mulling and musing, if I think that I’d choose either Miyazaki or Rumiko Takahashi (Inuyasha, Ranma ½) to be in charge of an anime Artemis movie, Both of them have shown sensitive handling of non-human characters. In Princess Mononoke, Miyazaki not only had giant wolves, but also a kudu-like elk as major secondary characters. Overall, he handled four-legged characters with a lot of grace.

Much as I like Miyazaki’s work, though, for Artemis Invaded I have a slight preference for Rumiko Takahashi. Her work almost always includes animals, so I suspect she likes them as much as I do. Inuyasha had a large cat character, Kirara. Kirara’s moods and “conversation” were handled almost entirely through body language. This would help with showing Adara and Sand Shadow’s non-verbal communication. As I’ve tried to get across in the books, even when they “talk” telepathically, it’s image-based, not chatting with words.

Takahashi is also very good with rendering oddball characters. I could see her doing a great job with the precognate Ring, or with some of Griffin’s odder brothers… And anime would be a great format to get across how Adara’s lithe grace is little more than human.

And Artemis herself, with her manifestations in various forms of fungi… I imagine that would animate with eerie beauty.

So, yeah… I can’t help with casting Artemis Invaded the movie in a conventional sense, but I think I’d have a lovely time working with character design for an animated version.

Any takers?
Visit Jane Lindskold's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Artemis Awakening.

Writers Read: Jane Lindskold.

The Page 69 Test: Artemis Invaded.

--Marshal Zeringue