Thursday, August 18, 2016

Kodi Scheer's "Midair"

Kodi Scheer teaches writing at the University of Michigan, where she earned her MFA. She was awarded the Dzanc Prize for Excellence in Literary Fiction and Community Service. As a fellow of the Sozopol Fiction Seminars, she traveled to Bulgaria to engage with an international community of writers, translators, and readers. Her stories have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The Iowa Review, The Florida Review, Quarterly West, and Bellevue Literary Review.

Here Scheer dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Midair:
The main plot of Midair follows four girls on their renegade French Club trip to Paris. A game of Truth or Dare spirals out of control and becomes life-or-death.

The protagonist, Nessa, is a brooding teenager in 1999, when most of the action takes place. There are also a number of brief flash-forward scenes, so the actress who portrays her must play a guilt-ridden 35-year-old woman as well as a vengeful 18-year-old girl. I think Kristen Stewart showed her acting chops in Clouds of Sils Maria and Still Alice--she'd be a good choice for the role. And I love that Stewart refuses to smile and be "likable." I'm fascinated by female characters with interesting motivations who don't feel the need to please everyone. Novelist Claire Messud said, "If you're reading to find friends, you're in trouble." I don't read books (or watch movies, for that matter) to make friends.

Nessa's frenemy, Kat, is blunt, beautiful, cunning, and hypersexual. I think Emma Roberts would be a good fit for this role--she's such a great villain in American Horror Story and Scream Queens.

Kiran is the sweet ingénue of the group. She's also athletic and upbeat. Sadly, there aren't many teen actresses of South Asian descent in Hollywood (or more likely they're just not being cast in major roles). I imagine Parminder Nagra in her Bend It Like Beckham years playing Kiran.

The last major character, Whitney, is worldly in some ways but quite naïve in others. She's a blonde, all-American type of girl (whatever All-American means or used to mean). I think Chloe Grace Moretz would be ideal for the role.

In the right hands, Midair could make for an interesting film. The novel features a lot of action and dialogue, not to mention a shocking twist at the end. In my dreams, Reese Witherspoon would read the book and produce the film version. I'd love for her to be my fairy godmother!
Visit Kodi Scheer's website.

--Marshal Zeringue