Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Bren McClain's "One Good Mama Bone"

Bren McClain was born and raised in Anderson, South Carolina, on a beef cattle and grain farm. She has a degree in English from Furman University; is an experienced media relations, radio, and television news professional; and currently works as a communications confidence coach. She is a two-time winner of the South Carolina Fiction Project and the recipient of the 2005 Fiction Fellowship by the South Carolina Arts Commission. McClain won the 2016 William Faulkner–William Wisdom Novel-in-Progress for “Took” and was a finalist in the 2012 Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Award for Novel-in-Progress for One Good Mama Bone, her first novel.

Here McClain dreamcasts an adaptation of One Good Mama Bone:
I had no one in mind to play the roles as I wrote the book. But, now that I think about it, Reese Witherspoon would play an awesome Sarah Creamer, my main character, a woman in her late 20s, from the deep rural South and with a fierce determination soaked in tenderness. Reese is Southern, a mom, and one smart actress, who loves to play strong women. The cool thing is, when we meet Sarah, she doesn’t know she is strong, but the reader does. Part of the joy of writing the book was to see that light bulb come on for Sarah.

My antagonist is Luther Dobbins, a hard, crusty, bigshot wannabee cattle farmer, in his 40s. I’d love to see Russell Crowe play him. Why? Because Russell can carry the macho swagger component but also, like Luther, he can access his inner life of deep, deep insecurity. I think of Luther as having a false bravado, and I think Russell Crowe can embody that on the screen.

Ike Thrasher is another main character, a man in his 40s, who yearns to be considered a real man -- this, in order to earn his father’s love, even though his father has been dead for 25 years. It’s that deep in Ike. To play him, I see Toby McGuire, who has Ike’s boyishness, yet is capable of showing depth of real feelings.

Luther’s wife is Mildred, a woman in her 40s, a refined, suppressed woman, who eventually breaks out of her shell and confronts Luther. I see Nicole Kidman playing her. A woman who wakes.

Sarah’s husband, Harold, is a man in his early 30s when he dies. What he has done, his affair with his wife’s best friend and the subsequent baby born, has aged him. I would like to think that Jake Gyllenhaal would play him. Jake’s eyes carry a well of depth, and this would serve his playing Harold, a man who did the right thing and married a woman he did not love but was carrying his child.

As for Sarah’s mother, Teeniebelle, I want to play her. I want to sit in that wheelchair in the climactic scene and play her, run my finger over my lips and be dialed into Sarah but try to stay aloof. I want to walk that balancing line between desperately wanting Sarah there and not one iota showing it so.

Finally, Mama Red, the mother cow. She can play herself. She is 25 years old and still alive. Thank God!
Visit Bren McClain's website.

--Marshal Zeringue