Monday, April 2, 2018

Jamey Bradbury's "The Wild Inside"

Jamey Bradbury's work has appeared in Black Warrior Review (winner of the annual fiction contest), Sou’wester, and Zone 3. She won an Estelle Campbell Memorial Award from the National Society of Arts and Letters. She lives in Anchorage, Alaska.

Here Bradbury dreamcasts an adaptation of The Wild Inside, her first novel:
I don’t like describing characters. I figure, my job is to give the reader the emotional lives of the characters and to supply whatever physical details are important; the reader’s imagination is going to do the rest. So I don’t spend a lot of time describing Tracy’s physicality, other than to tell readers that she is a little short for her age, but broad and very strong. Her strength is the most important detail about the way she looks.

This means that, physically, Tracy doesn’t resemble most Hollywood actresses—she’s not a thin little wisp. I’d love to see some new actress discovered for the part of Tracy, but if we’re limiting options to known actresses, Anya Taylor-Joy from The Witch might be a good pick. From that movie, it’s clear she can do a lot by saying little, and in Split, she demonstrated a surprising physical presence—at first she seems like just a girl, but over the course of that film, she shows herself to be solid, this body that won’t back down. My other selection would be Brianna Hildebrand, who is usually sarcastic and sharp in her roles (in Dead Pool and television’s The Exorcist), but who, I think, could also be quiet and intense. Plus, I just love her face.

This is a spoiler for the book, but I think it’s also important to talk about: I would want to see a transgender actor playing the role of Jesse, who is a trans man who has become adept at keeping secrets and negotiating the wilderness. I think it’s important for a trans character to be played by someone with that lived experience, so I would love to see someone like Tom Phelan (who had a recurring role television’s The Fosters) play Jesse. Phelan is a little young for the role, so we’d have to wait a while to see him grow into this part, which would require someone who looks fairly young but has the aura of having lived many difficult years. Phelan has an incredibly expressive face, so it would be interesting to see him play someone who only rarely lets his emotions show.

For Tracy’s dad, Bill, I pictured someone like Jason Clarke, who was wonderful in Everest as Rob Hall: He looked like a strong, solid guy in that movie, but he also radiated a gentle kindness and a predisposition for caretaking. That’s Bill—a big, quiet guy who might come off at first as a little gruff, but whose main motivator is to make sure he’s doing right by his family.

And for Helen, you need someone who is immediately likable, since she enters the story late, and it’s important for the viewer/reader to know that while Tracy is suspicious of Helen, Helen is good for the family. Helen is kind, but tough—she’s made a life for herself in rural Alaska as a single woman, and that takes a kind of determination and resourcefulness. I pictured someone like Amy Ryan, or maybe even Carla Gugino, who was incredibly tough and resourceful in Netflix’s Gerald’s Game this year.
Visit Jamey Bradbury's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Wild Inside.

--Marshal Zeringue