Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Constantine J. Singer's "Strange Days"

Constantine Singer grew up in Seattle and earned his BA from Earlham College and his Masters from Seattle University. He currently lives in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles with his family and teaches history at a high school in South LA.

Here Singer dreamcasts an adaptation of Strange Days, his debut novel:
I live in Los Angeles and I’m married to a screenwriter, so I think about these things a lot. With adult-oriented manuscripts it’s pretty easy to come up with the faces that’ll go well with your names, but YA means finding kids and that means either watching a lot of children’s television or scouring IMDB by birth year.

Fortunately, I have a teenage daughter and I happen to love YA television so I didn’t have much trouble doing this.

My main character was a bit of a puzzle for me when it came to casting because there just weren’t that many Latinx actors in Hollywood yet while I was writing Strange Days. Outside of Jane the Virgin and East Los, there wasn’t much to pick from, but then came On My Block, which is a fantastic Netflix series you should watch. Alex Mata would be played perfectly by Jason Genao. He has the right combination of vulnerability, arrogance, and people-pleasing fear that Alex needs to have.

I would cast Alex’s best friend, Julio Santos, from the same show. Diego Tinoco would be ideal for the role.

Corina Hollifield was a little harder for me, but I finally settled on Skai Jackson. She’s mainly known for being the adorable scamp on Disney’s Jessie, but I think there’s a lot more available in her range and she has the right look and general feel for Corina.

Paul Dunn and Damon Johnson were a lot harder and I ended up just searching IMDB until I found Ty Simpkins and Toby Nichols respectively. By look at least, they fit the bill. Jordan Castle was also difficult but I finally settled on Morgan Lilly for the job.

Cassandra Mitas-Barnes was in many ways the easiest and also the only one for whom a Major Hollywood Star comes to mind. She should be played by Chloe Grace Moretz.

I’ve had Aiden Quinn in mind for Jeffrey Sabazios from the beginning, and I wrote John Bishop for Phillip Seymour Hoffman because he had just died and he was on my mind. I don’t know who would take his place now. Maybe David Morse would be good.

For Richard Beeman, I wanted someone believably smart and who could also be a believable camp counselor. I think Grant Gustin would be perfect.

And obviously President Vincent Castle will be played by Mike Pence.
Visit Constantine J. Singer's website.

The Page 69 Test: Strange Days.

--Marshal Zeringue