Friday, June 10, 2016

Gina Wohlsdorf's "Security"

Gina Wohlsdorf was born and raised in Bismarck, North Dakota. She triple majored at Tulane University. Following graduation, she lived in northern Florida, southern France, and Minnesota. She held a variety of jobs that afforded her time to write, including bookseller and massage therapist. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Virginia. She currently lives in Colorado.

Here Wohlsdorf dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Security:
The Head of Security is trickiest. Without him, the movie doesn’t work. I need an actor who can convey an entire performance of widely varying contrasts without the use of his voice or his body. Pretty much all he has is his eyes, so I’m asking the impossible. Luckily, I can think of two actors who could do it.

1) Bradley Cooper had scenes in American Soldier where he got a feeling across in perfect stillness. He excels at seemingly minor shifts in emotional tone — they view as human and organic rather than actorly and forced — and they add up incrementally, so you don’t even realize how good he was until the movie’s over. He’d see the Head of Security as an interesting exercise in craft, I think. He’d for sure make it fascinating to watch.

2) Nestor Carbonell of Bates Motel. In Season 4’s penultimate episode, his character had a moment that was his absolute apex of emotional experience. We’d never seen Sheriff Alex Romero behave in this particular way, though we’d watched 38 episodes that made the behavior inevitable. Calibrating a years-in-the-making reaction like that correctly (not overdoing, not under-doing) is practically asking an actor to jump off a cliff and fly. And Carbonell soared.

Tessa needs a strong, intelligent actress with a marked, acerbic practicality about her. I’ve got a two-way tie here, too.

1) Megan Fox did a stint on New Girl recently, and her comic timing is incredible. She comes at really tricky material with a preternatural self-assurance, a fierce self-respect. You cannot shake her. I saw it when she starred in Jennifer’s Body as well— she’s got this dry, wry, droll (but never dull) delivery that bespeaks almost spooky competence. That’s Tessa: spooky competent.

2) Anna Kendrick has this wonderful ability to communicate her work ethic without making the performance appear effortful. She’s sly, wily, and tough with her readings — she doesn’t have a B-game. You get the feeling that anybody who got in a fight with her, even if they won, they’d lose a vital body part in the process. That’s Tessa, too.

Brian’s a good guy, but it’s unwise to push him. The danger with casting this role is getting the good-guy part but missing that edge underneath. Two ideas:

1) Joseph Gordon-Levitt could play basically anybody, but what makes him great for Brian is, he can take a line and get it to do any of a thousand different things. This character is a lot of talking. He’s got a long expositional speech. Those can get boring very, very easily — but it must not; it’s a pivot point for all three principles. Gordon-Levitt wouldn’t shrink from the challenge.

2) Grant Gustin plays The Flash with a lot of heart, a deeply resonating likability. But he also played a sociopath on Glee. And in the few episodes of The Flash where he’s gotten to skew the superhero evil, he sells it so eerily well it gets your head tilting at the screen: who is this guy? That’s a savvy choice for Brian — wild card, mysterious stranger.
Visit Gina Wohlsdorf's website.

The Page 69 Test: Security.

Writers Read: Gina Wohlsdorf.

--Marshal Zeringue