Sunday, July 24, 2016

Bill Broun's "Night of the Animals"

Bill Broun was born in Los Angeles to an English machinist and an American nurse. He was educated at University College London and Miami University (Ohio).

He also holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Houston. He is Associate Professor of English at East Stroudsburg University.

Here Broun dreamcasts an adaptation of Night of the Animals, his first novel:
If Night of the Animals were made into a film, I don’t think anyone could more relish seeing how the casting unfolded than I. It’s something I’ve thought about way too much, actually. I would be oohing and aahing at every little scrap of a development. I’d probably coronary-out before the movie were finished, such would be my exhilaration.

Michael Caine is someone I’ve often fantasized about in protagonist Cuthbert’s role. He’s a little short, at only six foot, and at age eighty-three, a tad young, but if he could be coaxed from retirement, he would be my first choice all day long.

No question that, for me, a close second would be English comic genius, Stephen Fry. At six foot four inches, he’s got the stature and heft, and he has been able to hit the portly girth a Cuthbert needs, at times. And he’s got that sweetly open face.

The main co-protagonist in Night of the Animals is a British-Catholic police officer and recovering drug addict named Astrid. Irish actress Kerry Condon adopted two dogs from the streets of Los Angeles, reportedly, and that almost says it all for me. But she also has a look I’ve associated with Astrid in my mind, especially in her eyes – determined, intense, stronger than she realizes.

British actress Antonia Thomas would need to take the role of super-intelligent Police Constable Jasmine Atwell. In her very different role on British TV’s Misfits, she shows the quick-thinking astuteness of a longtime Londoner.

Kunal Nayyar (Big Bang Theory – a show I confess I’ve never seen a single episode of) isn’t Sikh, but his face has a kindness and vulnerability I imagine in Cuthbert’s long-suffering physician, Dr. Bajwa. He’d need to work out and bulk up. Dr. Bajwa is muscly. I think that Khaled Abol Naga (see below) would also be just about perfect.

The vast majority of other major characters are animals, which means voice actors. The incredible English actor who does the audiobook for Night of the Animals, Ralph Lister, could cover several roles, but he’s the main lion, Arfur, in my mind.

Egyptian heart-throb and brilliant actor Khaled Abol Naga would work well as the garrulous sand-cat character, Muezza, although he would make an excellent Dr. Bajwa, too.

For direction, there’s only one choice for me, and that’s Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Life of Pi). Few directors show quite the breadth of talent and topical experience, compassion, and ground-breaking skill in bringing animals realistically to life.

And do I get a cameo? There’s a wily black-market street vendor, Gadge, who makes a brief appearance in Camden Town in a greasy, food-stained suit jacket. That’s definitely me, and I’d be hawking underground novels or something.
Visit Bill Broun's website.

Night of the Animals is among five top books that find beauty in the apocalypse.

--Marshal Zeringue