Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Nicholas Searle's "The Good Liar"

Nicholas Searle grew up in the southwest of England and studied languages at the University of Bath. He spent more years than he cares to remember in public service before deciding in 2011 to leave and begin writing fiction. He lives in the north of England.

Here Searle shares some ideas about adapting The Good Liar, his first novel, for the big screen:
The writer who says that they’ve never considered their book as a movie is lying. I’ve thought so many times of people who could play this or that role in the film of the book. It’s great fun.

Anyone who’s read The Good Liar will, though, very quickly recognise the difficulty in casting the lead actors. Which exactly would the lead roles be? The specific issue is to do with the span of time covered by the book as it reveals its secrets. But to explain that particular problem any further would run the risk of giving spoilers. And I’m not about to ruin the reader’s fun by doing that.

So let’s stick with the two people we meet at the very beginning of the book: Roy and Betty. They are, after all, genuinely the central people in the narrative. And here we run into a problem of a different order, the kind of nice problem you’d like to have, to be sure, but no less vexing for that. There are just so many high quality British actors of a certain age (and beyond) performing out of their skins at the moment. In TV and the movies grey seems to be very much the in thing. Do I choose Tom Courtenay or Terence Stamp? Maggie Smith or Charlotte Rampling? John Hurt? Anthony Hopkins? Bill Nighy? Michael Kitchen? Helen Mirren? Julie Christie? Meryl Streep, actually, with her Margaret Thatcher, showed she can pull off a great English accent. So maybe they don’t have to be Brits.

I should be so lucky. I would give my eye tooth to have any of these people even consider a role as Roy or Betty. If I have to make a choice, though, I guess it might be Michael Caine, with that basilisk stare, as Roy, and Judi Dench, with that warmth and simmering intelligence as Betty.

Well, it was a nice day-dream anyway!
Follow Nicholas Searle on Twitter.

The Page 69 Test: The Good Liar.

--Marshal Zeringue