Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Soraya Lane's "The Spitfire Girls"

Soraya M. Lane graduated with a law degree before realizing that law wasn't the career for her and that her future was in writing. She is the author of historical and contemporary women's fiction, and her novel Wives of War was an Amazon Charts bestseller.

Lane lives on a small farm in her native New Zealand with her husband, their two young sons and a collection of four legged friends. When she's not writing, she loves to be outside playing make-believe with her children or snuggled up inside reading.

Here Lane dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, The Spitfire Girls:
I am very visual when I start writing a new book, and I like to be able to “see” my characters, so I actually spend time “casting” my characters, which usually involves scanning the internet for images to match with each character, and then I create a Pinterest board. For my new release, The Spitfire Girls, I would love to see Emilia Clarke (of Game of Thrones & Me Before You fame) as my petite, gutsy pilot Ruby; Jessica Biel as capable leader May; and Jennifer Lawrence as brazen, gorgeous American pilot Lizzie. And my favourite hero in the story is Benjamin, and I’ve always imagined him as Tom Hardy.

Last year, one of the most exciting moments of my career happened when I signed with film agent Addison Duffy at United Talent Agency. We had a very surreal phone call about my books, and she wanted to know my dream list of producers/directors/actors. So now I’m always writing thinking “imagine if this was turned into a film”. It may never happen, but a girl can dream!
Visit Soraya Lane's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 25, 2019

W. K. Stratton's "The Wild Bunch"

W.K. Stratton is the author of several books of nonfiction and poetry. He has written for Sports Illustrated, Outside, GQ, and Texas Monthly, and was named a Fellow of the Texas Institute of Letters in 2017. He is a longtime resident of Austin, Texas.

Here Stratton dreamcasts an adaptation of his latest book, The Wild Bunch: Sam Peckinpah, a Revolution in Hollywood, and the Making of a Legendary Film:
As I wrote Sam Peckinpah, a Revolution in Hollywood, and the Making of a Legendary Film, it actually did play out like a movie in my mind, though my book is a nonfiction work about, well, the making of a movie. My book had a definite story arc built around this question: Could an artist, in this case Sam Peckinpah, be able to achieve a second act in American life after squandering his first? Peckinpah had been blacklisted in Hollywood during the mid-1960s, not for political reasons, but because of his “difficult” personality and alcoholism. It was not clear at all whether he would be given a chance to return to the director’s chair for a big screen production. When, through almost a fluke set of circumstances, he wound up with the opportunity to direct The Wild Bunch, it was a make it or break it proposition. He had to succeed in order to have a career as a director.

The Wild Bunch is an outlaw picture, a story concerning the complicated relationships among men on the edge, set along the U.S.-Mexico border during the Mexican Revolution. Peckinpah felt kinship to the characters in his greatest movie. Yet he was also a soft-spoken man with a somewhat slight build who was well educated and very well read. He put himself through enormous hardships in Mexico during the filming of his movie.

Years ago, I kicked around the notion of a movie about the making of Peckinpah’s notorious Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. For that dream picture, I saw Tommy Lee Jones playing Peckinpah. But now, for a movie about the making of The Wild Bunch, I think I’d choose Sam Rockwell to play Sam. Rockwell has the body type of Peckinpah, and he looks somewhat similar in the face to the director. Peckinpah had his moments of intensity, sometimes insanity, and when I watch Rockwell in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, I think, yes, he has the right stuff to capture that aspect of Sam as well.

As for the star of The Wild Bunch, William Holden? Holden was once Hollywood royalty, but time had passed him by. Plus he’d abused himself through over-drinking for decades. He would have to work on his voice some to do it, but Sean Penn (yes, Sean Penn) comes to mind as Holden. There is enough similarity in the two stars’ faces to allow Penn to pull it off visually, I think. And I believe that Penn might have a sense of what it was like to once have been at the top of the heap and now, well, not so much so, which could help him inform the role.

For Ernest Borgnine, I have another eccentric choice: Leonardo DiCaprio. He would have to age himself a bit for the part, and it would be a character unlike any I’ve seen him play, but I’d like to see him take on the challenge. It would be entertaining to see DiCaprio reenacting Borgnine’s maniacal giggle.

As for the role of Robert Ryan, I’m thinking Matthew McConaughey. He has that gaunt toughness that a portrayal of Ryan would require. For the role of Jaime Sánchez, who played Angel, the young Mexican member of the outlaw gang, I’d go with Gael Garcia Bernal, who was so impressive in both Y Tu Mama Tambien and The Motorcycle Diaries. The role would require an actor who can be both tough and sensitive simultaneously. Bernal would nail it.

For the part of Sonia Amelio, who had The Wild Bunch’s most significant female role, Teresa, the young actresss Yalitza Aparicio is my overwhelming number-one choice. The Amelio role would be small but important and would require an ability to emote much through facial expressions. Aparicio is the one. She blew me away with her performance in Roma. She has the skills to pull it off.

And as for who would play Strother Martin, well, there’s really only one choice, isn’t there? Billy Bob Thornton.
Visit W. K. Stratton's website.

Writers Read: W. K. Stratton.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 22, 2019

Jo Perry's "Dead Is Beautiful"

Jo Perry earned a Ph.D. in English, taught college literature and writing, produced and wrote episodic television, and has published articles, book reviews, and poetry.

She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, novelist Thomas Perry.

They have two adult children. Their three cats and two dogs are rescues.

Here Perry dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Dead is Beautiful:
In case your readers don't know, my protagonists are a murdered man and a dead dog he encounters in the afterlife.

That said, being alive should not disqualify any human (or canine actors) from the parts. I have always thought that Jonah Hill before he lost weight would have made a perfect Charles, but now that he's slim, I nominate Seth Rogen.

Dead Is Beautiful also features Charles's living sibling whom he refers to as his "shit brother." Joaquin Phoenix could play shit brother very well.

I have no dog actors in mind for Rose.
Visit Jo Perry's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Jo Perry & Lola and Lucy.

The Page 69 Test: Dead is Beautiful.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

A.F. Brady's "Once a Liar"

A.F. Brady is a New York State Licensed Mental Health Counselor/Psychotherapist. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Brown University and two Masters degrees in Psychological Counseling from Columbia University. She is a life-long New Yorker, and resides in Manhattan with her husband and their family, including Maurice the canine.

Here Brady dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Once a Liar:
Peter Caine: I would love to see Jon Hamm or Tom Hardy play Peter. Both actors are exceedingly good looking, and both play evil so well. I have heard that they are really nice guys in real life, and that’s exactly the kind of person I’m after. Someone who is playing a sociopath, and doing it convincingly, because that taps into the nuances of Peter’s own struggles within himself.

Juliette: I would love to have someone who personifies grace, elegance and kindness, but packs a heavy dose of “not gonna take your shit.” Either Katharine or Audrey Hepburn would have done glorious work with Juliette. As far as living actresses, I think Cate Blanchett or Charlize Theron would be excellent choices.

Sinan: I absolutely adore Sinan, and I fear I can’t find anyone I know of who is perfect. I would love it if he were played by a member of the LGBT community, and if he were really Turkish, British or any combination of the two.

Marcus: Jack Nicholson. Please. While I love Jack Nicholson, and I don’t love Marcus, I think he is the only person who can pull it off perfectly. Marcus is conniving, manipulative, brilliant, and cold. He is callous, and morally bankrupt yet charming. If Melvin Udall, R.P. McMurphy, the Joker and Jack Torrance were crammed into one human, Jack Nicholson’s Marcus Rhodes would be born.

Claire: I would love Marion Cotillard, or Kate Winslet. They’re both such forces, and Claire has to be strong and resourceful to manage being in a relationship with Peter.

Jamie: Alex Pettyfer or Dave Franco. Jamie is a teenager, so my age range may be flawed, but I feel like these guys can do a brooding, charismatic, conflicted teenager with the best of them.

Harrison Doyle: John Goodman. I just love when John Goodman plays someone unlikable.

As a woman writing from the perspective of a man, I would love to continue that theme and have a female director. I think Kathryn Bigelow would be an excellent choice.
Visit A.F. Brady's website.

Coffee with a Canine: A.F. Brady & Maurice.

The Page 69 Test: Once a Liar.

Writers Read: A.F. Brady.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 18, 2019

Robin Blake's "Rough Music"

Robin Blake is the author of acclaimed works on the artists Van Dyck and Stubbs. He has written, produced and presented extensively for radio, and is widely published as a critic.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of Rough Music, his latest Cragg & Fidelis mystery:
To have the luxury of personally screen-casting the characters in my novels! A prospect as delightful as it is unlikely, but here goes.

Titus Cragg is in his early forties – a strong but not overbearing character, capable of great courage, even foolhardiness, but also a man of tender feelings, particularly towards his wife. He can be grumpy, and is on occasion really angry, about the kind of injustices that he frequently faces in his job as coroner. But he is also humorous, tolerant and rarely vindictive. His greatest interest – outside family and work – is his library, and it is to books that he often turns when needing guidance. So: a bookish, uxorious, strong-minded, liberally inclined, justice loving, middle-aged lawyer. Who could take that role?

Sir Ian McKellen would have been perfect for the part, as he was born in Wigan just down the road from Preston. Unfortunately he is now more at home playing white-bearded wizards older than time, rather than forty-something lawyers. I have recently been admiring the BBC television adaptation of Les Miserables in which Dominic West makes a very good job of playing Jean Valjean. Watching him I thought more than once that he would make a pretty good Cragg. Perhaps there is a slightly over-solemn quality in his manner, but if he can lighten up a little I will settle for him.

Elizabeth Cragg is fifteen years younger than Titus. Of course she is pretty, but she is never flighty. Indeed her common sense is legendary and she more than once puts her husband right when his usually reliable judgement lets him down. She also lights up the Cragg family home in Preston with her laughter and sense of fun.

The laughter and the down-to-earth wisdom would be effortlessly provided by Olivia Colman, but I need a younger actor (sorry Olivia), so I’m going for the woman who played opposite Colman in the hit film The Favourite, Emma Stone. Her fine turn as Abigail Masham shows she is well capable of doing a period role and she looks marvellous in silk gowns and garters.

Dr Luke Fidelis is in his mid-thirties. He is cool, tall, rather athletic and impulsive, and possesses an acute analytic intelligence. But he can lose his cool altogether at the sight of a pretty wench. Physically I want someone tall, strong , intense and unorthodoxly attractive – someone like the young Daniel Day-Lewis . Benedict Cumberbatch perhaps but, even at 43, he is a shade too old (sorry Benedict). There must be someone out there…

Robert Furzey, Cragg’s clerk, is a rambunctious piece of work, always complaining about his working conditions though, at the bottom, a loyal employee. Tony Robinson, so memorable as Baldrick in Blackadder, could do it (very much cleaned up compared with Baldrick of course). The same goes for Ron Cook, who was in the TV Les Mis as ‘Hair and Teeth Dealer’, but who I also recently saw on stage in the London season of one-act Pinter plays. I’m sure either actor could project the right paradoxical mixture of burning resentment and tenacious loyalty.
Visit Robin Blake's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Adele Parks's "I Invited Her In"

Adele Parks was born in Teesside, North East England. Her first novel, Playing Away, was published in 2000, and since then she's written well over a dozen international bestsellers, translated into twenty-six languages.

Here Parks dreamcasts an adaptation of her latest novel, I Invited Her In:
When I wrote I Invited Her In, I did not dare envisage any particular movie stars to play the roles. I guess I think it’s tempting fate because I secretly long for a movie deal and don’t want to appear presumptive to the capricious fates who can, you know, somehow secretly read my mind and then perhaps deny me my greatest wish! But what the heck, let's throw caution to the wind and have some fun casting!

OK first off, I’d love to cast incredible Amy Adams as Mel. Adams has tremendous range and I can see her as a struggling, desperate, young mum as well as a fierce tiger ready to defend her family against any threat. She’d bring enormous sympathy and warmth to Mel.

I’d cast the utterly beautiful and equally talented Anne Hathaway as Abi. She’d slip between seductive siren and best friend ever with irresistible poise.

Chiwetel Ejiofor would make the perfect Ben. He’s got everything I hope Ben has. He has that illusive and desirable combination, as he appears to be wise, kind, humorous and dependable – all that combined with smoking hot.

I feel extremely uncomfortable casting Liam, considering everything…All I would say is he has to be young, fresh, naive yet delicious. I’ll leave that to your imaginations.
Visit Adele Parks's website.

The Page 69 Test: I Invited Her In.

Writers Read: Adele Parks.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Darius Hinks's "The Ingenious"

Darius Hinks works and lives in Nottinghamshire, England. He spent the nineties playing guitar for the grunge band, Cable, but when his music career ended in a bitter lawsuit, he turned to writing. His first novel, Warrior Priest, won the David Gemmell Morningstar award and, so far at least, none of his novels have resulted in litigation.

Here Hinks suggests a lead--and a director--for an adaptation of his new novel, The Ingenious:
One of my influences when writing the novel was Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s brilliant Fleabag series. My favourite heroes are the ones who tumble headlong through a story being erratic and unpredictable and always looking like they’re about to implode. So, if I was going to cast someone as Isten, Phoebe Waller-Bridge would be a good option. Isten’s pretty tough though, so maybe Waller-Bridge with a little Eva Green thrown in for good measure. If I could choose the director, my first choice would be David Lynch on account of him being an unalloyed absolute bloody genius. I can’t imagine his version of The Ingenious would in any way resemble the book, but I’m sure it would be incredible, so if anyone is on coffee-drinking terms with him, please let him know that he’s safe to crack on and we can sort out contracts later. In the unlikely event that David Lynch isn’t available, Terrence Malick would be my second choice. I think we’d end up with some long, lingering shots of sunlight breaking through trees and a mumbled monologue or two, but it would be a thing of such profound beauty that it wouldn’t matter.
Visit Darius Hinks's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Ingenious.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Brian Freeman's "The Crooked Street"

Brian Freeman is a bestselling author of psychological thrillers, including the Frost Easton and Jonathan Stride series.

Here Freeman dreamcasts the latest Frost Easton thriller, The Crooked Street:
I’ve written the entire Frost Easton series – starting with The Night Bird and The Voice Inside and now continuing with The Crooked Street – with television and movies in mind. Yes, I mean you, film agents. Get busy.

So what would that look like?

Start with the fact that I love the romance and drama of the San Francisco setting in the books. I was a huge fan of Hitchcock’s Vertigo growing up, and I think you’ll find echoes of that tone in how I approach the city. I like to play up its natural beauty and also take advantage of its mystery: the fog, the crazy-steep streets (remember Bullitt?), the high bridges and the cold depths of the bay. I try to give readers a “you are there” feel in all of my settings, and that would play out perfectly in bringing these books to the screen. The scenes are written visually to make them come alive in your head.

Who would play the leads?

Okay, I’ll let you in on a secret. I actually wrote the character of Frost with Justin Timberlake in mind. Read the descriptions, and I think you’ll picture him in your head. (JT, are you listening? Time to pick up a copy of the books.) There’s something about his combination of youthfulness, sex appeal, and “Boy Scout” charm that fits naturally with Frost. I’d love to see him tackle the character.

And the other characters? Well, Frost’s love interest is a redhead named Tabby Blaine, and I can’t imagine a better redhead to play the part than Emma Stone. She’d have a lot of chemistry with JT, too, don’t you think? Sounds like a good combination to me.

Those are my ideas. Now you tell me yours! I know readers always have ideas of their own about which actors should play their favorite characters. Plus, I deliberately paint my characters in watercolors, so that readers can fill in the gaps with their own imagination. As a result, your perfect Frost may look very different than mine. That’s okay.

Don’t tell Justin, though. I really want him to tackle the movie.
Visit Brian Freeman's official website and follow him on Facebook.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Padma Venkatraman's "The Bridge Home"

Padma Venkatraman was born in Chennai, India, and became an American citizen after attaining a Ph.D. in oceanography from The College of William and Mary.

She is the author of A Time to Dance, Island's End, and Climbing the Stairs.

Venkatraman lives in North Kingstown, Rhode Island.

Here she shares some ideas for the director of a big-screen adaptation of her new novel, The Bridge Home:
There are so many brilliant actors and actresses out there - and so many amazing directors - I think, if The Bridge Home were made into a movie, I'd love for it to be directed by someone like Aparna Sen (Mr. and Mrs. Iyer) or Mira Nair (Salaam Bombay) or Deepa Mehta (Fire) or Gauri Shinde (English Vinglish) or Gurinder Chada (Bend it Like Beckham)... really, just any of the amazing up and coming desi (South Asian) women directors we have in the world of film, these days.
Visit Padma Venkatraman's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Bridge Home.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 8, 2019

Jane A. Adams's "Kith and Kin"

Jane A. Adams is a British writer of psychological thrillers. Her first book, The Greenway, was nominated for a CWA John Creasey Award in 1995 and an Author's Club Best First Novel Award. She has a degree in Sociology and was once lead vocalist in a folk rock band.

Here Adams dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Kith and Kin:
Having finally got around to watching The Hateful Eight, I have to wonder what Tarantino would do with Henry Johnstone…

Or maybe Jim Jarmusch. I’d love to know how he’d film a Henry Johnstone book… I’ve a real fondness for both Ghost Dog and Broken Flowers in particular (Ghost Dog inspired an as yet unfinished novella) and though I’m sure I’d end up with a very different Henry, it would certainly be interesting.

So, who would play Henry… Cary Grant would have been nice…

John Light has the right kind of look but I didn’t have a particular person in mind. Henry kind of appeared in a fragmentary way and the first scene I really wrote for him – quite a way into the first book, The Murder Book, and taking place when Henry arrives in the village of Thoresway – I wasn’t actually sure I liked him very much. He has pale grey eyes that can turn really hard and a certain coldness, on occasion, but I think John Light would work really well.

Mickey Hitchens, so my daughter tells me, looks like Jerome Flynn who was recently in Ripper Street and I think she’s probably about right – though Mickey is stockier and more solid.

Inevitably though, if a Henry Johnstone book was ever made into a film, that would then become an entity in its own right and whatever vision I might have would undoubtedly be different, as film is a whole different animal. I once tried to adapt my first book, The Greenway, into a screenplay and found it very difficult – though also fascinating. What the experience taught me, though, is that the decision making process is utterly different and what works on the page when writing a novel often has to be approached from a totally different perspective.
Visit Jane A. Adams's website.

The Page 69 Test: Kith and Kin.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Simon Ings's "The Smoke"

Simon Ings is the author of novels (some science fiction, some not) and non-fiction, including the Baillie Gifford longlisted Stalin and The Scientists. His debut novel Hot Head was widely acclaimed. He is the arts editor of New Scientist magazine and can often be found writing in possibly the coldest flat in London.

Here Ings dreamcasts an adaptation of his newest novel, The Smoke:
No one in their right mind would make a movie of The Smoke, a story that ends more or less where it begins. TV could work, though: there's enough science-fictional fol-de-rol here to last at least six seasons.

One major point in The Smoke's favour is that it's a love story, and a fairly classic one at that: a conscientious young man trying and ultimately failing to hold onto a woman who's too bright for him.

Our protagonist, then, needs to be someone who can do awkward. Enter Domhnall Gleeson. He was Caleb in Ex Machina. For a real fish-out-of-water performance, though, you need to reach for Richard Curtis's ghastly 2013 romcom About Time. Is Gleeson playing a 21-year-old or a fourteen-year-old, or what? Add to this Gleeson's rabid, off-his-trolley General Hux in the new Star Wars movies and you have a drably wrapped little nail bomb just waiting to go off. Perfect.

His lover, Fel, is a hard one: not only do her smarts outweigh her looks, she's also funny, damn it. So Keira Knightley's out.

How about Maisie Williams -- Arya Stark in HBO's Game of Thrones? She has that corvid quality. She'd peck out your eye if she thought it was shiny enough.
Visit Simon Ings's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Smoke.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 4, 2019

Jane Corry's "The Dead Ex"

Jane Corry is the author of The Dead Ex, published by Pamela Dorman Books. Her previous books, My Husband’s Wife and Blood Sisters, were international bestsellers.

Here Corry dreamcasts an adaptation of The Dead Ex:
Last year, My Husband’s Wife (my first book for Penguin) was optioned for television by Big Talk and Mr Mudd. So exciting! When I write, I always see the plot and characters visually, rather like a film. Lots of readers have contacted me, saying they’d love to see The Dead Ex on screen. I do hope that will happen one day! If it does, I’d love the following characters to play the leads. However, I should add a note here to say that I’m more familiar with actors of my generation than the younger ones. So I have taken that into account as you will see from below!

Vicki, the aromatherapist with a dark past: Nicole Kidman. She would give Vicki that vital combination of edginess and vulnerability.

Scarlet, the little girl who is connected in some way with Vicki (I won’t spoil the plot by revealing how!): A female young Macaulay Culkin.

Helen, the young woman who has set her sights on David: Daisy Ridley. By coincidence, I was in the same class as Louise, her mother – our parents used to share the school run - and Daisy is the spitting image of my old contemporary in looks! Every time I see Daisy on screen, I feel as though I’m in school uniform again….

David, the no-good husband of Vicki: Dominic West. I can’t decide if he terrifies me or whether he’s just devastatingly attractive. Maybe a bit of both which is why he would be perfect for the part.
Follow Jane Corry on Twitter and Facebook.

My Book, The Movie: My Husband's Wife.

My Book, The Movie: Blood Sisters.

The Page 69 Test: The Dead Ex.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 2, 2019

James Brabazon's "The Break Line"

James Brabazon is an author, journalist, and documentary filmmaker. Based in the UK, he has traveled to more than seventy countries, investigating, filming, and directing in the world’s most hostile environments. He is the author of All Fall Down, The Break Line, and the international bestseller My Friend the Mercenary, a memoir recounting his experiences of the Liberian civil war and the Equatorial Guinea coup plot.

Here Brabazon dreamcasts an adaptation of The Break Line:
The audio book of The Break Line was read by the brilliant Irish actor Jason O’Mara. He’s exactly the right age, and he’s from the right place in Ireland to get the accent absolutely spot on. He did the read so well that his voice has become Max McLean’s voice in my head as I write the sequel. I as so thrilled when he agreed to do the read, and he’s been very supportive of the book. He’d be great as Max McLean.

Ana María would have to be played by Ana Ularu. I’d never seen her on screen before and then I watched Matthew Ross’s film Siberia. It was as if my Ana María had walked in shot…

Sonny Boy? Liam Neeson. General King? Charles Dance, for sure. Commander Frank Knight is a tricky one. Stephen Rae, perhaps… or Gary Oldman. And the MI6 bigwig David Mason would have to be played by Colin Firth, naturally.

Ezra Black is another tricky one because… well, let’s just say he’s the least fictional of all the characters in The Break Line. I think it has to be Tzachi Halevy though, probably best-known outside of Israel for playing the Special Forces operator Naor in the Netflix series Fauda.

Juliet was practically written for Emma Stone. And the brilliant Roberts, who is the character I would most like to sit and have a beer with, would, I think be a perfect role for Jimmy Akingbola.

And the director? Paul Greengrass or Martin Campbell.
Visit James Brabazon's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Break Line.

--Marshal Zeringue