Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Prentis Rollins's "The Furnace"

Prentis Rollins has over twenty-five years of experience working as a writer and artist in the comics industry.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of The Furnace, his debut full-length graphic novel:
When I was writing the script for The Furnace, I was picturing Nick Nolte as the protagonist Walton Honderich—in fact, for a while I was planning to basically draw Honderich as Nolte. Nolte (I’m thinking of Nolte at about 45 years of age here) is handsome, affable, masculine—but I always found him able to project a sense of helpless, floundering desperation really well (just watch 15 or so minutes of Cape Fear if in doubt). And that’s Walton Honderich. I ended up designing Honderich without referring to Nolte, precisely because I wanted the character to not be so handsome—I wanted him to appear to be a squishy, bespectacled middle-aged nebbish (he’s a physicist wracked with guilt over his youthful involvement with a nefarious government scheme to house prisoners in a really horrible new way).

Okay, we’re blue-skying it here, so let’s go for broke.

Walton Honderich: Brad Pitt (if he did a De Niro and packed on 30 pounds). Brad Pitt is (I think) quite a fine screen actor, and he can project damaged-goods desperation mightily when he sets his mind to it (check out Troy and Seven!) I know he’s (of course) handsome—but age and weight could go a long way in masking that out.

Piper Honderich (Walton’s wife): Jennifer Connelly. She’s the perfect age, she’s gorgeous, smart, projects empathy, devotion, and the patience of a plaster saint. Her turn in House of Sand and Fog is unforgettable. And she looks like the character as drawn.

Marc Lepore: Ben Whishaw. He’s young, he’s English, and he can be positively Mephistophelean when he wants to—and that’s Lepore. Whishaw’s tour de force turn in Cloud Atlas (in which he plays multiple characters) is proof positive that he could project Lepore’s cunning, ambition, and visceral (but thwarted) need for human contact supremely well.

And my dream director? Denis Villeneuve. Arrival, his filmed realization of Ted Chiang’s ‘Story of Your Life’, is the kind of cerebral yet ultimately rooted-in-the-human-situation science-fiction that I love best and that you see so little of on screen these days. It was a seamless blend of craft and substance, form and function—and his directorial style is quiet, submerged, the opposite of the show-boating gimmickry other contemporary auteur directors could be accused of.

Yes indeed, we can all dream.
Visit Prentis Rollins's website.

--Marshal Zeringue