Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Thelma Adams's "Bittersweet Brooklyn"

Thelma Adams is the author of the historical novel Bittersweet Brooklyn, the bestseller The Last Woman Standing and Playdate, which Oprah magazine described as “a witty debut novel.” In addition to her fiction work, Adams is a prominent American film critic and an outspoken voice in the Hollywood community. She has been the in-house film critic for Us Weekly and The New York Post, and has written essays, celebrity profiles and reviews for Yahoo! Movies, The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine,, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Parade, Marie Claire and The Huffington Post. Adams studied history at the University of California, Berkeley, where she was valedictorian, and received her MFA from Columbia University. She lives in upstate New York with her family.
In honor of Rachel Brosnahan's return in Season 2 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon this week, I'm casting her in my novel Bittersweet Brooklyn:

Brosnahan is my ideal actress to play my leading lady Thelma Lorber, the big-hearted younger sister of the Brooklyn Jewish mobster, Abie "Little Yiddle" Lorber. During the 1920s, she's a vivacious neighborhood girl who loves to go dancing and to the movies. She falls in love, has a son and then tumbles straight into the narrow straits of the 1930s – and the dead body of Pretty Amberg that her favorite brother is chopping up in his kitchen.

The pride of Peaky Blinders, my favorite historical crime drama, Cillian Murphy would be my dream pick for Abie "Little Yiddle" Lorber. He's Thelma's older brother and protector-in-chief. All of five feet two inches, he makes up for his height in chutzpah. Tossed into an orphanage along with his younger brother, Louis, when he was just getting his first whiskers, he's makes the papers for the first time in 1915 under the headline: "'Toughest Kid' Proves It: Newsboy Stabs Lad, Who Doubted Title Given Him."

After binging on Bodyguard with Richard Madden, I'm all in for the Game of Thrones' King of the North Robb Stark to play the quieter middle brother, Louis. Tossed into the orphanage as a boy alongside Abie, he emerges with a love of guns to match his brother's fondness for knives. Although he supports his brother in crime, on his 21st birthday he enlists in the U.S. Army and becomes a hero, a Rock of the Marne, in the famed 38th Infantry that turned the tide of WW1. Strong, silent, faithful, cares for his sisters, looks good in a uniform: I cast the dimpled, buff Madden.

Put Timothee Chalamet, now 24, into a full-grown man's role as Thelma's beloved husband Philip Schwartz. Phil shows Thelma great times – dancing madly to the house band at the Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan, strolling through Coney Island on a Sunday, snuggling at the local movie palace with Valentino on the screen. The romantic, handsome and empathetic boyfriend-turned-husband has a cavern in his heart. His wife believes she can fill it, and then tries to anchor the family with the birth of a son, but can she?

Saoirse Ronan would crack the code playing Thelma's older sister and nemesis Annie. Annie's the hero of her own story, trying to create a stable future for her mother and children safe from her brother's life of crime. And if his ill-gotten gains pay the mortgage, it's a sacrifice made in the present to protect the family's future. Annie's a powerful character and to make her a stock villain would be a mistake; Ronan would find her humanity and still be true to the character's cruelty.

And, if Brosnahan is busy, Ronan could dance-step in as the lead.
Visit Thelma Adams' website.

The Page 69 Test: Playdate.

My Book, The Movie: Playdate.

The Page 69 Test: Bittersweet Brooklyn.

--Marshal Zeringue