Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Jillian Medoff's "This Could Hurt"

Jillian Medoff is the acclaimed author of I Couldn’t Love You More, Hunger Point (both national bestsellers) and Good Girls Gone Bad. Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, This Could Hurt:
I love movies. To me, there’s nothing more satisfying than sitting in a darkened theater and losing myself in a story. And yet, although all my novels have been optioned by Hollywood at one point or another, I rarely, if ever, consider potential screen adaptations while I’m writing. As a novelist, my goal for each book is to create a unique self-contained universe, one that’s separate from real life, so thinking about current events and celebrities throws me off.

Once I’m finished, however, it’s a whole different story. I love to speculate. My first novel, Hunger Point, was optioned for a feature film and then eventually adapted into an original cable film in 2002 (Hunger Point, starring Barbara Hershey and Christina Hendricks); to see the book acted out by living, breathing human beings was a truly gratifying experience. But again, the movie came long after the book was finished. Plus, I didn’t have any say in the casting, though the director, Joan Micklin Silver, did a great job of pairing up actors with their book counterparts.

Full disclosure: This Could Hurt is currently under consideration with a prestigious production company, so I’m hoping it gets the same wonderful treatment as Hunger Point. Casting This Could Hurt is even more fun because the characters are so diverse. The book examines the relationships among several employees in an HR department, so there’s a wide range of ages, genders/sexual orientation, marital status and other demographics. Unlike large financial companies in New York where the staff skews white, male and young, Ellery Research takes pride in their diverse hires. To this end, Rosa Guerrero, the Chief of HR is a Latina woman in her mid-sixties who’s facing the end of her career, and she’s determined to make sure Ellery’s staff reflects the larger world. So here’s who I envision in the lead roles:

Rosa Guerrero, HR Chief, mid-sixties: Rosie Perez, Elizabeth Peña, or Mercedes Ruehl

Peter Dreyfus, VP Operations, early sixties, bachelor, silver fox type: Ted Danson

Lucy Bender, VP Communications, late thirties, funny and high strung: Elizabeth Banks, Amy Adams or Isla Fisher

Leo Smalls, VP Benefits, mid-forties, Rosa’s right-hand man, chubby and lonely: Bobby Cannavale

Rob Hirsch, VP Training, mid-forties, burned out Gen-X: Greg Kinnear or John Cusack

Kenny Verville, Director of Compensation, early thirties, cocky, self-assured: Donald Glover

Katie Reynolds, Rosa’s assistant, mid-twenties, caring and compassionate: Dakota Fanning
Visit Jillian Medoff's website.

--Marshal Zeringue