Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Jody Gehrman's "Watch Me"

Jody Gehrman is a native of Northern California, where she can be found writing, teaching, reading, or obsessing over her three cats most days. She is also the author of eleven novels and numerous award-winning plays.

Her YA novel Babe in Boyland was optioned by the Disney Channel and won the International Reading Association's Teen Choice Award.

Gehrman's plays have been produced in Ashland, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and L.A. She and her partner David Wolf won the New Generation Playwrights Award for their one-act, Jake Savage, Jungle P.I.

She is a professor of English and Communications at Mendocino College.

Here Gehrman dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Watch Me:
I obsess about the “casting” of my books quite extensively, so this question is right up my alley. I started as a playwright and I’ve written a lot of screenplays, so casting feels like a natural part of the writing process for me. Seeing and hearing the characters is so essential, and assigning a specific actor to the role really helps flesh out their possibilities.

My suspense novel, Watch Me, centers around Kate Youngblood, a thirty-eight-year-old writing professor who fears she’s disappearing. Her husband left her for a younger woman. Her second novel tanked. Her best friend’s having a baby, something she dreads more than she’d like to admit. She feels men’s eyes on her less and less, which is messing with her confidence. All of this forms a perfect storm of vulnerability, making her easy prey for a charming sociopath, Sam Grist. Sam also happens to be her star writing student. He’s stalking her, and he’ll do anything to ensure their future together.

I realize these casting choices would require a time machine, but no matter. They’re useful archetypes.

Kate Youngblood is Cate Blanchett, no doubt. I even borrowed a bit of her name. She has the acting chops to pull off a character who’s both bitingly cynical and hopelessly romantic. Blanchett’s range is so impressive, and her poise remarkable. She would be the hands-down most elegant choice for Kate.

Sam Grist is a young Wes Bentley, circa American Beauty. Bentley has the creepy-charming thing down pat. Sam must be sexy and also deranged; this is not an easy combination to pull off. Bentley would give him just the right edge, while keeping him weirdly likable.

Those are my primary casting choices. If I could get Patty Jenkins to direct, I’d be in heaven. If you know her you should forward her this blog right now. Ditto for Cate and Wes.
Visit Jody Gehrman's website.

Writers Read: Jody Gehrman.

The Page 69 Test: Watch Me.

--Marshal Zeringue