Thursday, March 10, 2016

Jeff Zentner's "The Serpent King"

Jeff Zentner lives in Nashville, Tennessee. He came to writing through music, starting his creative life as a guitarist and eventually becoming a songwriter. He’s released five albums and appeared on recordings with Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Thurston Moore, Debbie Harry, Mark Lanegan, and Lydia Lunch, among others.

Now he writes novels for young adults.

Here Zentner dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, The Serpent King:
Let me first say that even though I write young adult novels and am a huge lover of movies and TV shows, I’m a little out of touch when it comes to the young actors. You ask me to cast my main character off the top of my head? I’ll come up with someone who was big when I was a young adult, but who is now currently in his fifties and has adult children.

I was very impressed with Ezra Miller in both Whip It and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and I think he’d make a great Dill. And I had Mae Whitman in mind while writing Lydia. I think she’s got the perfect look and attitude. Travis is more difficult. There are very few red-haired, 6’6”, 250-pound teen actors out there. So I think he’d have to be an unknown.

For help with this, I turned to my friend, Lygia Day Peñaflor, who works with young actors and has a phenomenal debut, Unscripted Joss Byrd, also coming out in 2016. She cast The Serpent King thusly:

Dill- Zach Page

Lydia- Stefania Owen

Travis- Riley Griffiths

Those would all be fantastic picks too.

I can very easily tell you, though, right off the top of my head, who should direct a film adaptation of The Serpent King. Jeff Nichols. Hands down. Nichols did Mud and Shotgun Stories, two of my favorite movies of all time. He really understands the melancholy beauty of the rural South in a deep way and he’s captured it in a manner I’ve never really seen anyone else accomplish.

Would I love to see a film adaptation of The Serpent King? Absolutely. I’m a huge fan of film in general and of book-to-film adaptations specifically.
Visit Jeff Zentner's website.

Writers Read: Jeff Zentner.

--Marshal Zeringue