Friday, November 18, 2016

Zana Fraillon's "The Bone Sparrow"

Zana Fraillon was born in Melbourne Australia, but spent her early childhood in San Francisco. She has written two picture books for young children, a series for middle readers, and a fictitious book for older readers based on research and recounts of survivors of the Forgotten Generation. She lives in Melbourne, with her three sons, husband and two dogs.

Here Fraillon dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, The Bone Sparrow:
Ooooh! How exciting. My book as a movie! My only problem tackling this question is of course that having three young(ish) kids, the last movies I saw are probably a few decades old now and I have absolutely no idea of current actors. However! I did recently see a wonderful film directed by Benh Zeitlin called Beasts of the Southern Wild, and it reminded me of The Bone Sparrow. I love the way he used previously undiscovered talent instead of known actors, (similar to the way that Stephen Daldry did with Trash), and Zeitlin’s use of magical realism is superb.

So, if The Bone Sparrow was made into a film, firstly I would like Benh Zeitlin to direct it, and then I would like to follow that and cast non-actors in the roles of Subhi and Jimmie. Subhi, born into an immigration detention centre, is full of a kind of raw innocence that I think a non trained-actor could more convincingly convey. Likewise with Jimmie, a local girl struggling with her own issues and who discovers a way into the centre, I think her character would suit the ‘roughness around the edges’ that a non-trained actor could bring. (Or perhaps the characters are so firmly their own people in my head that I can’t bare to put a face to them…?)

While I’m using all the ideas from Beasts of The Southern Wild, I’ll cast Quvenzhan√© Wallis as Queeny – she did such a wonderful job playing Hushpuppy who is such a strong and spirited character, and reminded me a lot of Queeny. Queeny is angry and impassioned and furious at the injustice of the world, but she is also a vulnerable kid desperately searching for a way out. I think Wallis would be able to capture that balance brilliantly.

And now moving away from the only film I have watched in years, I thought Kim Bodnia who plays Martin in The Bridge would be an excellent Harvey, sweet and well meaning…and if I am going to stick with TV series actors, I would have to go to The Wire (one of my all time favourite series) and cast Tristan Wilds as Eli. I am desperately trying to think of a role for Michael K. Williams (Omar from The Wire), but I can’t think of who he could be…I might have to save him for my next ‘book to movie’…

And finally, I think Robert Patrick from Terminator 2 and multiple other films would make a fantastic Beaver. Patrick still gives me nightmares, as does Beaver.

I wonder if I will ever be able to see the characters in my head now as they were, or if they will forever be ‘played’ by these actors as I read. At least I can now convincingly imagine that I have watched The Bone Sparrow – The Movie. Excuse me while I put the popcorn on…
Follow Zana Fraillon on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue