Monday, January 9, 2017

Kathleen Rooney's "Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk"

Kathleen Rooney is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press, a publisher of literary work in hybrid genres, and a founding member of Poems While You Wait, a team of poets and their typewriters who compose commissioned poetry on demand. She teaches English and Creative Writing at DePaul University and is the author of eight books of poetry, nonfiction, and fiction, including the novel O, Democracy! (Fifth Star Press, 2014) and the novel in poems Robinson Alone (Gold Wake Press, 2012). With Eric Plattner, she is the co-editor of René Magritte: Selected Writings (University of Minnesota Press, 2016 and Alma Books, 2016). A winner of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from Poetry magazine, her reviews and criticism have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times Magazine, The Rumpus, The Nation, the Poetry Foundation website and elsewhere. She lives in Chicago with her spouse, the writer Martin Seay.

Here Rooney dreamcasts an adaptation of her second novel, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk:
Two words for my ideal actor to play the lead: Ellen Burstyn. Lillian, my protagonist, is an 85-year-old woman who was once the highest paid female advertising copywriter in America in the 1920s and 1930s. Burstyn is a stunning performer who is now 83 years old and who is sadly on the record as saying that she can’t make a living in Hollywood any longer because the industry is so focused on young male audiences who they think want to see action films. “'Young boy jumps out of a window, goes through an explosion and is saved by a dragon, or something,” as she put it in an interview.

The movie version of Lillian would have parts for all different sorts of people, young and old, but would need a gifted and powerful older female actor to play the main character in the 1984 sections and Burstyn could carry it off beautifully.
Learn more about the book and author at Kathleen Rooney's website.

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--Marshal Zeringue