Friday, April 28, 2017

Alexis L. Boylan's "Ashcan Art, Whiteness, and the Unspectacular Man"

Alexis L. Boylan is an Associate Professor of Art History with a joint appointment in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Program at the University of Connecticut. Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of her new book, Ashcan Art, Whiteness, and the Unspectacular Man:
Movie pitch: Six men, all artists, find their way to New York City at the turn-of-the-twentieth century and find friendship and love. They are also crushed emotionally and creatively by capitalism.

On the one hand, this book would be super tricky to adapt into a movie because so much of what I argue is happening in the paintings, which is not very cinematic. It is also part of the point of the book that in this historical moment, we need to remember that different media (painting, illustration, film, and photography) are vying for cultural dominance. Photographers want to prove their work can be fine art, illustrators are trying to not be edged out by photographers, and painters are going to silent films and trying to reimagine what they could add to narrative now that pictures move. So perhaps it is blasphemous to make these painters and their attempts to stay modern and relevant into a movie.

On the other hand, I think this could be a very interesting story about male friendship and competition. In movies male friendships tend to be highlighted through some kind competition over a woman, a love triangle. Or, we are introduced to men as friends but then the story turns one into a villain and one into the hero. But these six Ashcan artists were friends in ways that were less overtly dramatic, but definitely complex. They competed for work and visibility, but they also helped each other. They shared studios, swapped teaching gigs, gossiped, wrote about art, and went drinking and carousing together. They got good reviews and bad reviews. They wanted to be rich and famous and have followers, and they struggled and hustled to make that happen. Some were luckier than others. I guess the crux of this tale would be about men, friendship, ambition, and aging. It would also be a different kind of representation of artists; not as super emotive and raging but as people with jobs. People who had to keep working for money. In that way, maybe this could be a great film, both in terms of giving complexity to men and their friendships and to explore the limitations of those friendships.


Robert Henri: He is often called the “leader” of the Ashcan Circle, but I argue against this in my book. He’s got vision and he’s a supportive friend. He’s a young widower and has a deep restlessness. Henri was not the traditional “good-looking” guy, but he was handsome. Erza Miller is young for the role, but he has the look and sad undercurrent.

Everett Shinn: He’s the jerk of the group. And super good looking. But basically an ass of a person. Armie Hammer.

John Sloan: I think art historically he gets to play the hero of the Ashcan Circle, but not in my story. No heroes here. He is tall, wears glasses, is a bit nerdy. Drinks too much. Insecure. Andrew Garfield.

George Luks: So again, art historically he is typically remembered as a big drinker, party guy, fighter. The “fun” one. I say take a look at the photograph Alvin Langdon Coburn took of him (page 60) and rethink this image. He is a sad man trapped in his body. Jonah Hill.

William Glackens: Sort of a cream puff of a person. Nice. Boring. Chris Evans.

George Bellows: He is the youngest of the artists. And I think he is the most ambitious. Nicholas Hoult.
Learn more about Ashcan Art, Whiteness, and the Unspectacular Man.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Jane Corry's "My Husband's Wife"

Jane Corry is a writer and journalist and has spent time as the writer in residence of a high-security prison for men–an experience that helped inspire My Husband’s Wife, her suspense debut.

Here Corry dreamcasts an adaptation of My Husband’s Wife:
If they make my book into a film, here’s who I’d like to play the lead role.

I actually had a variation of Cate Blanchett in my head when I wrote Lily who is one of my two main characters. But the other day I spotted a picture of the actress Rose Byrne and thought - that’s my Lily! She has exactly the same bone structure. Strangely, I don’t have a particular actress for Carla (my other main character). In my head, I see her as a feisty, fairly tousle-haired little Italian girl who then grows into any of those amazingly beautiful chic Italian women who you see in the street. I only wish I had their poise!

Rather than name a particular director, I’d rather say that I would like someone who understands my characters as much as my publisher did. It’s a wonderful feeling when the people you have created are taken seriously by others.

I can’t tell you how excited I would be if My Husband's Wife became a film. There are some ‘irons in the fire’ as we speak. In other words, my agent is in discussions with a big production company so I am keeping my fingers crossed. My second husband and I live near a wonderful little cinema in our seaside town in the UK. If my book did hit the big screen, I would invite everyone I know to come along. It makes me tingle just to think of it!
Learn more about My Husband's Wife. Follow Jane Corry on Twitter and Facebook.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 24, 2017

Tobin Miller Shearer's "Two Weeks Every Summer"

Tobin Miller Shearer is Associate Professor of History and African-American Studies Director at the University of Montana.

Here Shearer shares his idea for a film based on his new book, Two Weeks Every Summer: Fresh Air Children and the Problem of Race in America:
So, here’s the pitch.

Two Weeks Every Summer is not about children. It is not about the city. It’s not even about fresh air. The book is about sex and violence and mystery. Those three themes will make this movie sizzle.

First, the sex. In the movie, we will dramatize the sexual tensions present in white families hosting children of color as they approach dating age. We show a white middle class family at dinner – father, mother, daughter, son – discussing the sleeping arrangements after their long-time Fresh Air guest – an African-American twelve-year old from the Bronx – arrives the following day. The tension is understated but palpable when the twelve-year-old daughter notes how handsome their guest is and that she can hardly wait to see him.

A second major scene will dramatize the violence associated with the programs. The camera will pan across the aftermath of one of the hundreds of rebellions that broke out after Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in 1968. Switch to a press conference where the director of the Fresh Air Fund, played by Meryl Streep, declares how sending children to the country for two-week summer stays will forestall future urban unrest. Fade to a sylvan scene as reporters call out questions.

Finally, the mystery. The narrative arc of the film will turn on the mystery of why hundreds of thousands – indeed more than a million by mid-twentieth century – of urban children travelled in some cases hundreds of miles away from home communities where they were known and loved to visit strange suburban and rural families who had never before set eyes on them. Over the course of the 115 minute story line viewers will receive clues to the answer: a chance to travel, the host’s desire to be viewed as racially progress, white perceptions of the country as morally superior, the children’s love of swimming, multi-million dollar endowments. Only at the end, when an intrepid, superficially cynical but ultimately compassionate reporter, played by Forest Whitaker, sits down with a Fresh Air Alum, played by Lupita Nyong'o, does the full story of courageous civil rights action, joyful independence, and conflicted relationship come to a complete and satisfying conclusion.

Two Weeks Every Summer – coming to a theater near you.
Learn more about Two Weeks Every Summer at the Cornell University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Allen Steele's "Avengers of the Moon"

Allen Steele worked as a freelance journalist before becoming a prolific, award-winning science fiction writer.

Here Steele shares some ideas about adapting his new novel, Avengers of the Moon, for the big screen:
Generations of SF fans have been waiting to see a Captain Future movie. In fact, he's one of the few major pulp heroes of the 30's and 40's who didn't get a feature film, a movie serial, or at least a radio show. But Curt Newton and the Futuremen didn't follow his contemporaries Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon to the screen; his adventures ended in the early 50's, just as the Saturday afternoon serials were being replaced by TV.

Well, not quite. In 1978, the Japanese anime series Captain Future came out. Produced during the post-Star Wars space opera craze, it was a two-season adaptation of Edmond Hamilton's classic pulp novels. It's crude by today's animation standards, and clearly meant for kids, but nonetheless it was a big hit at the time ... everywhere except the U.S, that is. In France it was called Capitaine Flam, in Spain it was Capitan Futuro, in Saudi Arabia it was Space Knights, but in the country where Captain Future was created it was, "Who?" A couple of badly edited and translated VHS tapes eventually appeared in the U.S., but otherwise the series -- a mainstay for kids in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, generating countless graphic novels, toys, games, pajamas, and so forth -- remained obscure in America.

So now I've published the first new Captain Future novel since 1946, and of course I'd love to see Avengers of the Moon made into a movie ... but I think it ought to be done as anime. I'd like to see Japan's Toei Studios do an updated Captain Future series that would adapt my novel as its source of inspiration. The current state of the art of anime is light-years away from where it was decades ago, so a more realistic look is possible.

They also could get the characters closer to Hamilton's original creations. Greg would no longer be dumb, Otho wouldn't look like Popeye's second cousin, the Brain wouldn't talk like a robot, and Joan would be neither blonde nor helpless. And as for Captain Future himself, he would no longer be infallible, but instead would occasionally make mistakes, a character trait that made Curt Newton stand out among pulp heroes of the time.

If all went well, perhaps this time kids (and adults) in the U.S. would get to enjoy what kids (and adults) elsewhere in the world grew up watching. It's really a shame that Captain Future was forgotten in the country where he was created. Perhaps a new anime series would change that.
Learn more about the book and author at Allen Steele's website.

My Book, The Movie: V-S Day.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 17, 2017

Steph Post's "Lightwood"

Steph Post is the author of A Tree Born Crooked (2014) and Lightwood (2017) as well as a short story writer, reader, teacher and dog lover (among many other things...).

Here Post dreamcasts an adaptation of Lightwood:
Please, for the love of God, someone look at this casting list and decide to turn Lightwood into a film or television series just so I can see Margo Martindale and Chris Cooper fight it out in the church…

That being said, here’s the official cast list for Lightwood. Martindale and Cooper are perfect as is, but many of the characters are paired with actors from specific movies or refer to performances the actor delivered ten years ago. So perhaps not all of the selections are entirely realistic, but I hope this list can give you a visual approximation of who I see when I think about the characters of my novel.

Sister Tulah- Margo Martindale

This is the only character-actor pair I actually had in mind while writing Lightwood. As far as I’m concerned, there is no one else who could pull off Tulah. Absolutely no one.

Brother Felton- John C. Reilly

Felton was a hard one, because I can see picture his character so clearly in my mind. However, I think John C. Reilly could definitely embody the kind of self-deprecation that would be needed for this role.

Judah Cannon- Sam Rockwell

Judah was the hardest character to cast of them all, most likely because he is the main character. Casting “character actors” in more over-the-top roles is always easier and so I really struggled with this one. I settled on Sam Rockwell, but I also considered Gary Oldman, John Hawkes, Josh Hartnett, and Edward Norton. All younger versions of themselves, of course.

Ramey Barrow- Jessica Biel

This is one of those choices that refers to a specific performance. Jessica Biel is certainly not the obvious pick for Ramey, but her role in Power Blue (an otherwise terrible movie aside from her part) won me over.

Sherwood Cannon- Chris Cooper

Come on, can’t you see Cooper and Martindale staring across the table from each other in the back of the Mr. Omelet? This match needs to happen!

Benji Cannon- Gustaf Skarsgard

For some reason, casting Benji proved almost as hard as finding an appropriate actor for Judah. Skarsgard might not leap to most peoples’ minds for the role of Benji, there is the whole Swedish thing going on for one thing, but I think this could actually be one of those genius casting moments. Vincent Cassel and Dominic Monaghan were also considered for the part and, as with Judah, I’d need all of the actors to roll back a few years.

Levi Cannon- Joaquin Phoenix

This was another choice that seemed odd at first, but now I can’t imagine anyone else playing Levi. I think Phoenix’s dead-eyed scowl matches perfectly with Levi’s temperament.

Jack O’ Lantern- Toby Stephens

Okay, this was mostly a “what redhead actors would work” pick, but then the idea of Stephens grew on me. I’d like to put Stephens and Davies in a room together and see what happens.

Slim Jim- Jeremy Davies

Davies might have to tone it down to play the more reserved character of Slim Jim, but I would love to see this casting. Hell, I’d put Davies anywhere in Lightwood just to see how he would navigate the story.

Shelia- Juliette Lewis

A lot of people are surprised to find that Shelia is actually one of my favorite characters from Lightwood. She’s so much fun to write and she’s one of those characters who just runs off the page once you set her down. Shelia needs an actress who can really pop on the screen and Lewis has the attitude to pull her off.
Visit Steph Post's website.

Writers Read: Steph Post.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Lee Irby's "Unreliable"

Lee Irby teaches history at Eckerd College and lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. He is the author of the historical mysteries 7,000 Clams and The Up and Up.

Here Irby dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, Unreliable:
This won’t be easy because I didn’t base any characters on actors or actresses, but instead on real people from my life or pieces of them anyway. But let me get out my gently used casting couch and see who wants the part the most.

Edwin: Joel McHale. Someone who can be charming, erudite, but a little creepy. Looks the part in my mind.

Lola: Here you want to pluck a rising star, someone from the Nickelodeon/Disney colossus who wants to re-define their career. Probably of that group, of whom I know almost nothing, the actress who most looks the part of Lola is Olivia Holt.

Gibson: Hailee Steinfeld, not only because she could pull off the being beautiful part but also because she will get a chance to sing.

Leigh Rose: A Southern belle pushing 40 but still a head-turner, but a woman who also might be having a complete nervous breakdown. I see Elizabeth Banks in this role (she is a native of Tennessee).

Graves: Liam Hemsworth. The right combination of tortured and idealistic.

Bev: Jessica Alba has the right exotic look that so bewitched Edwin...but Bev also can become very self-righteous and can see into Edwin’s black heart.
Learn more about Unreliable.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Stacey Madden's "Touching Strangers"

Stacey Madden holds a BA from the University of Toronto and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Guelph. He lives in Toronto.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, Touching Strangers:
One of the most common responses I get from readers of Touching Strangers is, “I can totally see it being a movie!” If I were ever so lucky, here are some thoughts on how my ideal cast might look.

First: directing. Touching Strangers is a quirky dark comedy with some thriller elements, so naturally the Coen brothers leap to mind. However, I think the project might work better as lower-budget film, directed by somebody like David Robert Mitchell (It Follows), or Kerem Sanga (First Girl I Loved). Both of these directors really know what to do with plots involving young people in peril.

In terms of casting, the roles of main characters Samantha Riske and Aaron Cordic are the most important. Samantha is a raven-haired agoraphobic porcelain doll, and Aaron is a neurotic germophobe trapped in a California surfer’s body. In the Coen brothers version of the film, I can see Samantha being played by Lily Collins or Hailee Steinfeld, but I would love to see her played by Olwen Kelly, who was fantastic in her non-speaking, non-moving role as a corpse in The Autopsy of Jane Doe. As for Aaron, it’s hard for me to see anyone in the role besides Evan Peters of American Horror Story fame. He brings the perfect blend of aloofness and charm that I had in mind while writing Aaron’s scenes.

The villain of the novel is a drug dealer and pervert named Zack Pike. I’d love to see what British actor Will Poulter would do with the role, after his appearance as young Bridger in The Revenant. I can also see Canadian actor Atticus Mitchell from TV’s Fargo in Zack’s gangster get-up.

For the role of Dr. Rosamund Sedgwick – the only medical professional in the book who seems to know what she’s doing – I can see nobody else in the role but Phoebe Waller-Bridge from such shows as Fleabag and Broadchurch.

Last but certainly not least, for the role of Claire, the character who in many ways brings the whole book’s plot together, I would cast Jamie Clayton, best known for playing Nomi in the TV show Sense8 – because roles for transgender characters should go to transgender actors!
Visit Stacey Madden's Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: Poison Shy.

My Book, The Movie: Poison Shy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Marcia Butler's "The Skin Above My Knee"

Marcia Butler was a professional oboist for 25 years, until her retirement from music in 2008. During her musical career, she performed as a principal oboist and soloist on the most renowned New York and international stages, and with many high-profile musicians and orchestras. She lives in New York City.

Here Butler dreamcasts an adaptation of her new memoir, The Skin Above My Knee:
The Skin Above My Knee is a New York City story set from the mid 1970’s into the late 1990’s. After surviving an abusive father and a profoundly distancing mother, I was able to transform my childhood experiences into art through the power of music. The rigor and discipline required to become a successful oboist in the New York City freelance scene helped me to live with what happened when I was young, and also manage what came my way as an adult. Music truly saved my life. The casting I suggest below is, admittedly, a fantasy. But it’s good to dream a little. Anybody out there listening?

Young Marcia: A younger Dakota Fanning. She’s just adorable and I loved her in The Secret Life of Bees. Innocent, wide eyed, determined.

Adult Marcia: A much younger Amy Irving. I admired her in the 1988 film, Crossing Delancey, in which she reminds me of myself back in those days. Suspicious, but very vulnerable.

My mother, who I longed for but was not available: Who else, but Mary Tyler Moore? Because: Ordinary People. Taut, and blind to reality.

My father, who presented himself as an everyday family man, and was anything but: A cross between the face of a young Jimmy Cagney and the élan of a tall Cary Grant. Catch my drift? Good looking, yet dangerous.

My sister Jinx, who lived an emotionally compromised life, and for whom I always felt compassion: Michelle Pfeiffer, the tall blond head turner of a woman in Scarface. In her heyday, my sister actually looked a lot like Michelle. Severe. Too thin. Trapped.

Mrs. S, the socialite I lived with during my first semester at music conservatory: An impeccable and somewhat sexless Tippy Hedren, in Marnie, The Birds. Blond chignon, of course. Pearls, always. She’d never cry; rather, she’d mist.

Steve, my dangerous boyfriend during college who went to jail while we were together: A weary and craggy George Clooney like at the end of Michael Clayton. Yet, a man who cleans up very well on The Red Carpet. Always a tad unshaven, in either case.

Bruce, my short-lived husband: A young Clint Eastwood from the Dirty Harry days. Bruce actually a lot looked like Clint, which he reminded everyone within earshot whenever he saw an opening in the conversation. Squinting somehow makes a man more attractive.

Donna Summer: Beyoncé would do just fine. Both are icons.

Oboist for the sound track: Albrecht Mayer, the principal oboist in the Berliner Philharmoniker. Trust me.

Director: Damien Chazelle from Whiplash. Or the Coppola clan – any of them would be great. Because: The Godfather, Apocalypse Now. I’m not picky but I aim high.
Visit Marcia Butler's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Skin Above My Knee.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 7, 2017

Keith Yatsuhasi's "Kokoro"

Keith Yatsuhasi is inspired equally by The Lord of the Rings and Toho’s Godzilla movies. He is Director of the US Department of Commerce Export Assistance Centre in Providence, Rhode Island. A long time ago, in a world far, far away, Yatsuhasi was a champion figure skater.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, Kokoro:
When Marshal first asked me to come up with a dream cast for Kokoro, I thought it would be a piece of cake. The reality turned out a bit differently. Trying to find the right people to put in each role is daunting. Yes, you can play with hair and eye color, but the intangibles? Those are much harder. I’m not a casting director, and honestly, I’m flailing a bit with this question. Kojiki, the first book in the series, was easier – not sure why, it just was. With that said, here’s who I think would make a good Kokoro cast.

Keiko: Karen Fukuhara

Keiko is the heart and soul of my books. Every event revolves around her in some way. Interestingly enough, she was the easiest character for me to cast. The whole flack over Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell made me vow to select a Japanese-American actress. I’d seen Karen Fukuhara in Suicide Squad last year and remember wondering if she’d make a good Keiko. Her SS character is as different from Keiko as you can get. I dug a little deeper for this post, watched her interviews on YouTube. Those sold me. She has the optimistic, sunny personality that defines Keiko. If she can bring enough depth and complexity to the role, she’d be perfect.

Juno: Olivia Holt

Juno was a hard one. She’s young, just twenty, but she’s also steel. Her age proved to be the biggest hurdle. Whenever I came up with a name, the actress was usually outside the age range I was looking for. Sure, I thought of the Fannings, and Chloë Moretz, but ultimately, those three, like so many others, just weren’t right. I like their work and think they’re great, but the movies I saw them in didn’t make me think of Juno. Olivia Holt did. I first saw her in a commercial for Nivea, I think. I went to IMDB and looked up her roles, watched a few, and was even more convinced. She’s that all American girl, the typical college student. I’m curious about what she could do with the role.

Baiyren: Liam Hemsworth
Kaidan: Chris Hemsworth

Who better to play Kokoro’s broken brothers than two real brothers? Yes they’re well known, and yes I might be typecasting, but really? Watching these two fight each other while searching for forgiveness would be magical.

Miko: Sarah Bolger

The obvious choice for Miko would be either Jennifer Lawrence or Margot Robbie. Unfortunately, they’re too well known. I’d prefer a fresh face. Which brings me to Sarah Bolger. She’s terrific in Into the Badlands. I don’t watch The Tudors, but that show’s produced some really great actors. I’m confident she could pull of this complex character. Miko is arrogant but conflicted. Any actress playing her has to walk the line between being hated and misunderstood. Not easy.

Regan: Regan was always Aishwarya Rai. Always.

King Toscan Tallaenaq: Peter Capaldi. Uh-huh. This Doctor Who fan had to include him. He rocks.
Visit Keith Yatsuhasi's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Samantha Evans's "Darwin and Women"

Samantha Evans is an associate editor of the Darwin Correspondence Project at the University of Cambridge.

Here she dreamcasts a film based on her new book, Darwin and Women: A Selection of Letters:
It's odd you should ask about who would play my characters -- or really, correspondents -- in a film, as I've always had a strong idea that my Emma Darwin would be Kathy Bates. She has exactly that mix of shrewdness, practicality, and serenity that I associate with Emma. There aren't many images of Emma in circulation and most people probably have only seen the watercolour of her as a very pretty young girl. In her letters she's intelligent (she was particularly interested in politics), funny, and has sometimes has an extremely sharp tongue.

I'm always stumped by who would play Charles Darwin though. Paul Bettany did a fine job in the film Creation, but somehow I feel that there's still room for another Darwin. Benedict Cumberbatch, however, may have been a definitive J. D. Hooker: he was a man with a great deal of character, some of it not pleasant, but always compelling!

For Henrietta Darwin, you'd need someone intense to the point of being slightly alarming: possibly Nicole Kidman or Marianne Moore? And for Elizabeth Darwin, Darwin's other daughter, someone who could be a little self-contained and aloof: Anna Maxwell Martin would be perfect.
Learn more about Darwin and Women at the Cambridge University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 3, 2017

Ira Bloom's "Hearts & Other Body Parts"

Ira Bloom used to be a teacher of junior high English, ESL, and Japanese for the Los Angeles Unified School District. He and his wife currently operate a fashion and vintage kimono business, and he is something of an expert on Japanese textiles. Bloom lives in Northern California with his family and an assortment of furry beasts.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of his debut novel, Hearts & Other Body Parts:
If Hearts & Other Body Parts were to be made into a movie, who would I pick to play the lead characters? This is a pure fantasy: as unlikely as it is that someone would make my book into a movie, it’s a lot more unlikely anyone would allow me to be the casting director. Fortunately, I write fantasy. I’m going to set the ground rule here that the actor for each role has to be alive and of suitable age now. Though if the film industry moves as slowly as the publishing industry, the younger actors here will likely age out of consideration. No matter. We’ll just freeze time.

There are five principal roles, all teens: witch sisters Esme Silver (oldest, the protagonist, AKA the brains), Katy (middle sister, the talent) Veronica, the youngest (beauty and tenacity), Franklin Norman Stein (Frankenstein’s monster type), and Zack Kallas (sexy vampire).

Saoirse Ronan has the looks, range and talent to play any of the three sisters, but I’m going to play my trump ace and cast her as Esme, because she occupies the most screen time. I’m a huge fan of Chloë Grace Moretz, and she’s already had her chance as a vampire, so we’ll cast her as Katy, a witch who falls in love with a vampire. She has this great face that the director can photograph from all different angles to get completely different moods, which suits Katy, a bit of a kook. For Veronica, billed as a great beauty, I’m thinking Mackenzie Foy, who also has a history of vampirism (Renesmee Cullen). Miles Teller will be Norman, with a lot of CGI. These days, you can’t make a movie about teenagers without Miles. I think they passed a law. And I let my daughter pick Douglas Booth to play Zack. I’m not familiar with his work, but he’s British like Zack, and smoking hot, which is our go-to description.

Of the other major characters, the most important is Kasha, the corpse-eating Japanese demon cat who slums as Esme’s familiar. This is pure CGI, so we only need a voice, and I pick Kevin Spacey. He’s an extremely versatile and inexplicably under-utilized voice talent, and he can be scary as hell. For Shikker, Kasha’s Yiddish-speaking demonic lawyer, we’re going with the CGI again. I usually think Mel Brooks or Billy Crystal for Yiddish, but I’ve never heard either of them do anything as angry or menacing as Shikker. Lewis Black could pull it off.

The one role that’s set in stone is Carol Kane (Valerie in The Princess Bride) as Aunt Becky, the raspy-throated ghost. Julianne Moore will play Melinda Silver, mom to the three sisters. She can do tough and tender and conflicted at the same time; she would nail this. Louis C.K. will play Barry Silver, the dad: best look of exasperation in the business. And for Norman’s dad, the mad scientist Dr. Frederick Stein, I’m casting myself, and buying a jumbo bottle of anti-depressants for the director, because his life will be hell trying to get a performance out of me.

That leaves only Drake Kallas, the evil vampire antagonist. We need someone who can be charming with underlying menace, and scary as hell. Another budget buster here, but what the hell, it isn’t my money: Christoph Waltz.

This is the most fun I’ve ever had talking about Hearts & Other Body Parts.
Visit Ira Bloom's website.

--Marshal Zeringue