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