Saturday, July 25, 2015

Taylor Stevens's "The Mask"

Taylor Stevens is the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of The Informationist, The Innocent, The Doll, The Catch, and the novella The Vessel. The series featuring Vanessa Michael Munroe has received critical acclaim and the books are published in twenty languages.

Here Stevens dreamcasts an adaptation of The Mask, the latest Vanessa Michael Munroe novel:
Vanessa Michael Munroe is a quasi-psychotic, knife-wielding, butt-kicking, mercenary information hunter cut from the same cloth as characters like Jason Bourne and Jack Reacher. She’s tall, lithe, and androgynous and, because she spends most of her time working in developing and despot run countries, she sometimes spends more time under the guise of a male than she does as a female. This makes her a difficult character to cast.

Also at issue is the way Hollywood typically presents female action heroes—not so much as characters or people who own their choices or bodies, but as fantasy objects sewn up in tight, pleasing and teasing outfits, put there for eye candy. A phrase I once heard that accurately summed up this type of character was “Fighting F_ck Toy.” And Vanessa Michael Munroe is not, by any stretch of the imagination, an FFT—unless, of course, you’re her mark and a fighting f_ck toy would get her into your head faster than any other guise. In that case she’ll be that FFT until she’s gotten everything she wants from you, and then she’ll vanish.

Readers do love to play the “who should be Munroe in the movies” game and often send me suggestions, all of them fun, all of them fantastic actresses. The closest representation to Munroe that I’ve ever personally seen on screen is Carrie-Anne Moss in her role as Trinity in The Matrix. If I had my druthers (to clarify: I have absolutely no say-so in casting decisions), I’d want an unknown actress to claim this role so that she could own the character completely in a way that a “star” just couldn’t.

James Cameron and Jon Landau, through their production company Lightstorm Entertainment, currently hold film option rights to Vanessa Michael Munroe. James Cameron has a long history of bringing strong women to film, and he’s never made a bad movie. If Vanessa Michael Munroe does hit the big screen, it will be as much of a surprise to me to watch her come to life as it will be to the many readers who love her, but the one thing I know for sure is that there’s no one else’s hands in which I’d prefer she be.
Visit Taylor Stevens's website.

--Marshal Zeringue