Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Catherine Egan's "Julia Vanishes"

Catherine Egan grew up in Vancouver, Canada – a beautiful city nobody in her right mind would ever leave, but leave she did, and you may draw the obvious conclusions about her mind. Since then, she has lived on a wee volcanic island in Japan (which erupted during her time there and sent her hurtling straight into the arms of her now-husband), Tokyo, Kyoto, Beijing, an oil rig in the middle of China’s Bohai Bay, New Jersey, and now Connecticut, where she writes books and defends the Eastern seaboard from invading dragon hordes alongside her intrepid warrior-children.

Here Egan dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Julia Vanishes:
It must be incredibly strange (and exciting, of course!) for authors to watch screen adaptations of their books, the settings and characters reimagined by somebody else and surely deviating wildly from the author’s own vision.

The idea of “casting” my book stumps me almost completely; my characters are so themselves in my head that it’s impossible to imagine them any other way. However, I was able to think of actors for the older members of Julia’s gang of crooks. Csilla and Gregor, the glamorous con artist duo, are the easiest to cast, since I always imagined them as a kind of “golden age of cinema” dreamy-looking pair. I’d say Gregory Peck for Gregor and Jayne Mansfield for Csilla. Esme, the crime boss who adopted Julia and Dek after their mother’s death, is trickier. She’s a large, powerful presence, somebody capable of being tender but also turning on a dime to be truly menacing. Maybe an even-taller-than-she-really-is Glenn Close, looking sort of like her Albert Nobbs incarnation, but with a serious edge.

The younger characters – Wyn, Dek, Frederick, Julia herself – would have to be played by charismatic young unknowns with amazing chemistry who look and behave exactly like the characters in my head. The movie would launch their careers and I’d follow them ever after with a sort of maternal eye, clucking over their tabloid-reported love affairs and bad behavior, and always sending a card full of unsolicited bad advice on their birthdays.

I’d like Claire Danes to be in the movie, because I’d like Claire Danes to be in everything, but I can’t imagine who she’d play. Next time I’ll write a book with a character for Claire Danes.
Visit Catherine Egan's website.

The Page 69 Test: Julia Vanishes.

Writers Read: Catherine Egan.

--Marshal Zeringue