Monday, December 7, 2015

Triss Stein's "Brooklyn Secrets"

Triss Stein is a small-town girl who has spent most of her adult life living and working in New York City. This gives her the useful double vision of a stranger and a resident which she uses to write mysteries about Brooklyn, her ever-fascinating, ever-changing, ever-challenging adopted home. Brooklyn Graves is the second Erica Donato mystery, following Brooklyn Bones.

Here Stein dreamcasts an adaptation of Brooklyn Secrets, the third Erica Donato Mystery:
Cast a fantasy movie of Brooklyn Secrets? That’s much more my speed than fantasy sports. And it’s all mine, so I can play with actor’s ages, ignore their unlikely interest and summon up the best of the best. This has not been part of my writing process but I may just have to keep these names/faces/personalities in mind for the work-in-progress.

Erica, my protagonist, is a Brooklyn girl through and through, but whose life has brought her a long way from the old neighborhood. She is a single mother of a teen-age daughter, a grad student in urban history (Brooklyn!) endlessly writing her dissertation, always pressed for money and time. She is gutsy, determined, a little too impulsive, and a bit of a smart aleck. (Brooklyn!)

So. Amy Brenneman fifteen years ago. She is easily convincing as smart, conscientious, perhaps impulsive, perhaps overwhelmed. She can be humorous. She is attractive but real, not excessively glam, and could be less attractive- Erica having a hard day! - as needed. I think she would be (would have been) perfect.

Chris, Erica’s daughter is fifteen. Need I say more? She is a wise, maturing young lady one minute, trying to take care of her mother. And the next she is a kid who still sometimes sleeps with her stuffed animals. She is intellectually curious and stubborn just like her mother. In her first romance. Done right, it’s a role with a lot of shading. Of course Kiernan Shipka, Shailene Woodley and Abigail Brennan could all have both the acting chops and the personality. Sarah Hyland of Modern Family plays a cute ditz in a comic role but they are giving her more to do lately. I suspect there is a deep vein of untapped talent there.

Joe is Erica’s long-time friend, contractor and biking buddy. He is a little older and steadier, has his own life of bachelor fun but is a rock for both her and Chris. In fact, Chris is actively promoting him as a romance for her mother. He’s both a working guy and smart enough and smooth enough to deal with his high-end clients. And he is ahead of Erica on the idea that there is more than friendship here.

Let’s go for my ultimate dream casting: Liev Schreiber. I have seen him play a cross-dressing ex-Marine, a violent fixer for criminals, a good-hearted young husband. I am convinced he can do anything and make it real, make it subtle, make it memorable. Plus, he has the believable physical appearance for the part.

Leary, Erica’s elderly, grumpy friend and information source? The one and only John Goodman. No one, but no one, could do it better. Though if Mr. Goodman was unwilling, we could go another way, and cast Steve Buscemi. I think he’d be hilarious. And he is a real Brooklyn guy himself; I’ve seen him in the neighborhood.

Erica’s dad is tough. He needs to be someone who can establish a real presence, but not so much star power he would over shadow the character. Alan Arkin would bring a surprising twist or two. Martin Sheen would fully inhabit the role, checking his star persona at the door. Hector Elizondo has the fatherly air and the urban background and is never less than believable.

Now, how can I find a part for me in this fantasy film? I’m not missing out on all this fun. Perhaps we need a scene with an advisor for Erica, or a school principal for Chris. An older woman with glasses and a bookish air. I know I’d be perfect for that.
Visit Triss Stein's website.

The Page 69 Test: Brooklyn Secrets.

--Marshal Zeringue