Saturday, June 29, 2019

Richard Zimler's "The Warsaw Anagrams"

Richard Zimler's novels include The Search for Sana, The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon, and The Seventh Gate. He has won many prizes for his writing and has lectured on Sephardic Jewish culture all over the world. He now lives in Porto, Portugal, where he teaches journalism and writes.

Here Zimler dreamcasts an adaptation of his novel, The Warsaw Anagrams:
The Warsaw Anagrams is a noir mystery set inside Warsaw’s Jewish ghetto. The narrator, Erik Cohen, is an elderly psychiatrist, except that the reader discovers right away that he is already dead. Erik is an ibbur – a ghost – who has failed to pass over to the Other Side. Why? He theorizes that it is because he still has a duty to fulfill in our world. Except that he doesn’t know what it is. He tells the story of his last year in the Warsaw ghetto in the hopes of discovering what it is.

A little context… In the autumn of 1940, the Nazis sealed 400,000 Jews inside a small area of the Polish capital, creating an urban island cut off from the outside world. Erik is forced to move into a tiny apartment there with his niece and his beloved nine-year-old nephew, Adam.

One bitterly cold winter day, Adam goes missing. The next morning, his body is discovered in the barbed wire surrounding this Jewish ghetto. For what possible reason has his body been murdered?

Erik fights off his crushing rage and despair by vowing to find his nephew’s killer – and take revenge. His childhood friend Izzy – whose quick courage and wicked sense of humor keeps Erik from losing his nerve – joins him in the desperate and dangerous search.

A Portuguese producer is currently trying to secure funding for the film, but I don’t know where the projects stands (the author is always the last to know!). The role of Erik would have to be played by a very charismatic and talented actor. Erik isn’t a demonstrative man, so the actor would have to be able to capture the viewer’s attention through small and telling gestures – and through modulations in his voice. One actor that the producer and I have discussed is Jeremy Irons. Another possibility would be Mandy Patinkin. I think both of them could do a great job (and get an Oscar nomination!). For Izzy, the other main role, I would like Mark Rylance. I saw him in Bridge of Spies and was very impressed. I think that he and Jeremy Irons or Mandy Patinkin would make an incredible duo.
Visit Richard Zimler's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Catherine Chung's "The Tenth Muse"

Catherine Chung was born in Evanston, IL, and grew up in New York, New Jersey, and Michigan. Writing has been her life-long passion, but as an undergraduate she indulged in a brief, one-sided affair with mathematics at the University of Chicago followed by a few years in Santa Monica working at a think tank by the sea.

Eventually she attended Cornell University for her MFA, and since then she and her books have been given shelter and encouragement from The MacDowell Colony, Jentel, Hedgebrook, SFAI, Camargo, The University of Leipzig, VCCA, UCross, Yaddo, Civitella Ranieri, The Jerome Foundation, the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, and the Constance Saltonstall Foundation. Her brother, Heesoo Chung, has also given her a bed and fed her lots of ice cream at criticał times.

Chung is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and a Director’s Visitorship at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. She was a Granta New Voice, and won an Honorable Mention for the PEN/Hemingway Award with her first novel, Forgotten Country, which was a Booklist, Bookpage, and San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2012. She has published work in The New York Times, The Rumpus, and Granta, and is a fiction editor at Guernica Magazine. She lives in New York City.

Here Chung dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, The Tenth Muse:
When I was growing up, my white friends would sometimes ask each other who they'd want to play them in the movie of their lives. As a child, I was always at a loss: there were no Asian American child actresses I knew by name. I don't know when the first time I saw one was, but to be honest, it's not something I likely would have wanted to commemorate: the Asian American onscreen characters of my childhood were the foreign exchange students in the goofy clothes who spoke with accents, or the nerds everyone else made fun of and picked on, who carried calculators and protractors, whose noses were buried in giant books. It's not that these depictions didn't reflect my experience: they did, in the most painful ways. I wanted nothing to do with them.

When my first book came out, people would ask me who I wanted to play the Korean American family in my novel. "When was the last time you saw a movie about an Asian American family?" I deflected--refusing to play along. "How many Asian American actors and actresses can you even name?" The Joy Luck Club had come out when I was in middle school, and almost two decades had passed by that point. I had loved that movie: had loved seeing beautiful, complicated Asian American women living a range of different lives whose stories were treated with compassion and love and whose mothers' backstories, also lovingly told, were equal parts glamorous and tragic. That whole movie was filled with a tortured longing I understood: the yearning of the second generation to immerse itself fully in the New World in tension with the desire to hold on to history, to culture, to family, to love.

And then, for a long time, there was nothing that even compared. I loved Lucy Liu and Sandra Oh and Margaret Cho, but I wanted more for them, and more for myself. I wanted them in leading roles, I wanted them surrounded by other Asian faces, for the focus to be on the full range of their experiences as Asian American women--something I hadn't seen enough of, something I was hungry for.

The last two years in Asian American cinema and television have been a revelation, to say the least. When I think of Crazy Rich Asians, To All The Boys I Loved Before, and Always Be My Maybe I am filled with devoted, celebratory, gleeful pride, as if someone in my family had made them. For the first time, this question of who would play the lead role of my protagonist Katherine in the movie of my book feels like a joyous one to answer. And since I'm new at this, since it's my first time really allowing myself to ask this question, I find that I am greedy. I want everyone. Setting aside practicalities of age, etc, I want the first Asian American actress I ever fell in love with, the one whose face I've missed for so many years--Ming-Na Wen with her soulful eyes and quiet depth, I want Lucy Liu and her radiant energy and sparkling charm, Sandra Oh with her charisma, range, and humanity. I want Gemma Chan for her angelic beauty, and even more for the way her thoughts telegraph across her face and the intelligence that shines through everything she does (she could also play the young version of Katherine's mother with heartbreaking clarity)--and Olivia Munn with her sharp, forceful, unapologetic and charmingly eccentric personality, and who is also the only actress on this list who's biracial, as Katherine is. Any of these phenomenally talented actresses could inhabit Katherine--a math genius struggling to find a place for herself in the male dominated world of higher mathematics and simultaneously trying to come to an understanding of her family's history and her own identity--in different and beautiful ways, and I love daydreaming about the different ways they'd play her. And I love, too, daydreaming about the actresses whose work I don't know yet, the actresses I know are coming for us, ready to finally embody the stories we've been waiting with such hunger to see, and the stories we have yet to tell.
Visit Catherine Chung's website.

Writers Read: Catherine Chung.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 24, 2019

Season Butler's "Cygnet"

Cygnet is Season Butler's debut novel.

About the book:
As rising sea levels advance toward The Kid’s cliff-front home, her old-age-separatist neighbours grow less patient with her presence and her parents are nowhere to be found. Cygnet‘s teenage protagonist confronts the dilemmas of coming-of-age in a time of personal and global uncertainty; leaving her island home means risking losing her parents forever, but staying becomes less possible with each passing day. It’s a story about identity, loyalty and survival in a historical moment when our dependable structures are being undone, vanishing and evolving faster than we can reckon with the old world’s loss. And sometimes it’s funny…
Here Butler dreamcasts an adaptation of the novel:
Amandla Stenberg is The Kid. No question. I’m a great admirer of Stenberg as a thinker and activist as well as a performer, so she would be the ideal embodiment of an intersectional protagonist.

Cygnet’s flashback scenes would be irresistible with Donald Glover and Lupita Nyong'o as The Kid’s parents, and Nichelle Nichols (the original Star Trek’s Commander Uhura) as Lolly.

Oprah Winfrey would bring wise-woman realness to the role of Rose. This might be controversial, but I can see Mrs Tyburn played by Dolly Parton in conservative drag. If she’s not available, Madonna could bring a similar power and glamour to the part. And there would be a poetic eeriness to casting Betty White as The Duchess.

Bette Midler has the perfect presence to play Suzie-Q (remember her 1979 take on Janice Joplin?), with Rutger Hauer, or maybe an aged-up Forest Whitaker, as her Johnny-Come-Lately. The truth-telling Earl – who saw it all coming decades ago – would be a great cameo for Sidney Poitier or Morgan Freeman.

I’d ask Timothée Chalamet to take a stab at Jason.

Swan Island itself would be played by its real-life inspiration, Star Island, with its stunning, peaceful landscape (and sublime seascape), plus landmarks like the Oceanic Hotel and Gosport Chapel, which I borrowed for my book.

But the final say in all of this would go to the film’s director, Barry Jenkins.
Visit Season Butler's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Binnie Kirshenbaum's "Rabbits for Food"

Binnie Kirshenbaum is a novelist and short story writer. She has twice won the Critic's Choice Award and the Discovery Award. She was one of Granta's Best Young American Novelists and one of Paper magazine's Beautiful People. Her books have been selected as Favorite Books of the Year by The Chicago Tribune, The San Francisco Chronicle, Newsweek, Vogue and National Public Radio. Her work has been translated into seven languages. She is a professor and Fiction Director at Columbia University Graduate School of the Arts.

Here Kirshenbaum dreamcasts an adaptation of her latest novel, Rabbits for Food:
There’s no costume nor any amount of make-up to transform Ricky Gervais into an attractive forty-three year old woman, but he’d be pitch perfect in the role of Bunny. While many fine actresses could be entirely convincingly as a clinically depressed woman—Keira Knightly was amazing as the severely mentally Sabine Spielrein in A Most Dangerous Method —but Bunny is not only deeply depressed. She is acerbic, anti-socially honest, and she has deep compassion for all animals and oppressed people. As Gervais does in his stand-up routines, and when he hosted the Oscars, Bunny wields her wit like a machete. She is wincingly funny. This willingness to speak truth as she sees it coupled with her anguished vulnerability results in comic excruciation; a state of being of which Ricky Gervais is the master. When my husband and I binge-watched The Office we laughed ourselves sick but by the end, I was weeping. I asked my husband, “Why am I crying?”

“How could you not be crying?” he said. “This is the saddest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Gervais’s character could not conceal his desperation to be loved by everyone; a desperation that thwarted any chance of fulfilling that need. Bunny’s desperation is better concealed, but the bottom line is the same. He wants to be loved. She wants to be special. His attempts to mask his humiliation fail, as do Bunny’s efforts to bury her shame.

For the obvious reasons, Gervais will never be cast as Bunny. In the terrific film Will You Ever Forgive Me, the extraordinarily versatile Melissa McCarthy as Lee Israel was hilariously acerbic, anti-socially honest rude, and unbearably lonely. She’d make for a great Bunny, but to risk a comment of the sort Rickey Gervais might make, she’s too plump for the role. I say this only because it matters that Bunny is thin, too thin.

As to the right director, I haven’t a clue, but some years ago I gave a reading in Florida, after which an older woman marched up to me and asked, “Do you know my son?”

Her son was Todd Solondz, and I told her that I loved his films, but no, I didn’t know him.

“I thought you’d know each other,” she said, “because you’re both kooky.”
Learn more about the book and author at Binnie Kirshenbaum's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Scenic Route.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Roselle Lim's "Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune"

Roselle Lim is a Filipino-Chinese writer living on the north shore of Lake Erie.

She loves to write about food and magic.

When she isn't writing, she is sewing, sketching, or pursuing the next craft project.

Here Lim dreamcasts an adaptation of her debut novel, Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune:
If my book were turned into a film, I would love Lulu Wang to direct. As a Chinese filmmaker, director, and writer, I think she would capture the essential essence of the book. Her film, The Farewell, looks beautiful. I can't wait to watch.

For the lead, I’m open to anyone. I feel I haven’t yet found the right fit.

Ming-Na Wen would be ideal as Miranda, Natalie’s mother. (If the film had been made circa The Joy Luck Club, she would have been perfect as the lead. She portrayed the kind of vulnerability Natalie possesses.) I love her range for comedy, action, and drama. Her current stint as Melinda May on Agents of SHIELD is one of my favorite characters. I am confident she can portray Miranda and the complexities of agoraphobia, anxiety, and depression.

Old Wu to me has always been James Hong. I never pictured anyone else in the role. James is an amazing actor and he brings the gravitas and complexity to the hardened, unforgiving restauranteur.

When I was writing the book, I always pictured Daniel Henney as Natalie’s love interest. I can also see Lewis Tan or Simu Liu for the role. Daniel Lee is dreamy, charming, and romantic, qualities all three actors possess.

Celia was written with the late Lydia Shum in mind. A comedienne who exuded the kindness and warmth of the best friend you wish you had.

For Evelyn Yu, the fortuneteller, I’d love to see the legendary Michelle Yeoh. Her versatility is perfect for the mysterious, enigmatic teashop owner. In an ideal world, the part is more of a cameo, so I hope she can squeeze it into her busy schedule.

The Chius are the married couple of the neighborhood. Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Jean Yoon (Appa and Umma from Kim’s Convenience) have the type of chemistry I’d love to see. We need to feel the decades together as a couple and the strain and tension from a failing business.
Visit Roselle Lim's website.

The Page 69 Test: Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 14, 2019

Robyn Arianrhod's "Thomas Harriot: A Life in Science"

Robyn Arianrhod is Adjunct Research Fellow at the School of Mathematical Sciences at Monash University. Her previous works include Seduced by Logic and Einstein's Heroes.

Here Arianrhod dreamcasts an adaptation of her latest book, Thomas Harriot: A Life in Science:
The long-lost Elizabethan scientific genius Thomas Harriot lived a dramatic and extraordinary life. Arriving in London as a brilliant young Oxford graduate from the wrong side of the tracks, he was soon swept up in the most glamorous of Elizabethan circles. His first boss – who became a lifelong friend – was the brilliant, impetuous Sir Walter Ralegh, favorite of Queen Elizabeth I.

Harriot is a mysterious character, and I have more to say about him. But first, who better to play the larger-than-life Sir Walter than Ioan Grufudd: tall, dark, handsome, and with the beard he sports in the TV series Harrow, he even sort of looks like Ralegh! And for Elizabeth I, the fabulous Fiona Shaw is terrific at playing powerful, morally ambivalent women – need I say more than Killing Eve? Or the legendary Helen Mirren, who’s already played Elizabeth I (and II) marvelously.

Harriot was Ralegh’s navigational advisor, and sailed to America as part of Ralegh’s First Colony. He also learned the American (Algonquian) language, and enjoyed the indigenous way of life even as he unwittingly helped sow the seeds of its tragic destruction. There’s a host of fascinating minor characters in this part of the story, and I’d love to take the time to cast them if this were not just a fantasy (sigh) – so let me move on.

A few years later, Ralegh incurred the queen’s wrath by secretly marrying the charismatic, fiercely determined Bess Throckmorton. The wonderful Kate Winslett would be a terrific Bess – or, on the theme of Killing Eve and charismatic women, the extraordinary Jodie Comer. Or the remarkable Tilda Swinton…

This clandestine marriage was just the beginning of Ralegh’s troubles – and of Harriot’s, too, although he soon attracted a second patron, the earl of Northumberland. The earl was a wealthy, aristocratic playboy-scholar who recognized Harriot’s genius, and encouraged him to freely explore science and mathematics. Who should play the generous, complex earl? Well, James Norton (Grantchester, War and Peace) is eminently watchable in whatever he does.

Ultimately, Harriot and his benefactors couldn’t take a trick – in the early 1600s first Ralegh and then the earl were locked away in the Tower of London on false charges of treason. Harriot himself ran foul of the authorities. It was a dangerous and tumultuous time – a time of deadly religious wars and dastardly political rivalries, of plague and superstition. Mathematics and science seemed so arcane to most people that its practitioners were often regarded as ungodly astrological and magical conjurors. Speaking of which, the famous Dr Dee was a friend of Harriot – how about the edgy Benedict Cumberbatch for Dee?

Despite all the adventures and dramas in his life, Harriot left behind thousands of unpublished manuscript pages, which lay lost or forgotten for centuries. Today they show him to have been “England’s Galileo”, and the greatest British mathematical scientist before Newton.

Who should play the publicity-shy genius? Ben Whishaw: is there any actor today who can better convey the subtle range of emotions that he does? Perfect for the enigmatic Harriot, who so often had to juggle his passion for science, his evident if understated love of life, and his loyalty to his beleaguered patrons.
Learn more about Thomas Harriot: A Life in Science at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Seduced by Logic.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Becky Masterman's "We Were Killers Once"

Becky Masterman grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and received her MA in creative writing from Florida Atlantic University.

Here she dreamcast the leads for an adaptation of her new novel, We Were Killers Once:
Despite being purchased last year by a production company, my first book Rage Against the Dying has yet to flicker onto a screen of any size. Since it was published I've fantasized about many an actress to play my aging yet powerful series protagonist, Brigid Quinn. Holly Hunter, Glenn Close, Emma Thompson, and Jamie Lee Curtis are all possibilities. But whenever I speak of the actor to play Brigid's husband Carlo DiForenza, I get disbelieving stares. Okay, so Carlo is an ex-Catholic priest who mildly quotes Bonhoeffer. But why not Jeff Goldblum? Goldblum is tall and has those soulful Mediterranean eyes. Sexy without being self-aware. And while no one seems to get this, I know there's an irony underlying everything that Carlo says, even when he appears at his most earnest. That's signature Jeff Goldblum right there.

My fourth book in the series, We Were Killers Once, puts Carlo in mortal danger from a killer no one, especially Truman Capote, ever thought existed.
Visit Becky Masterman's website.

My Book, The Movie: Rage Against the Dying.

My Book, The Movie: Fear the Darkness.

My Book, The Movie: A Twist of the Knife.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Elizabeth Goldring's "Nicholas Hilliard: Life of an Artist"

Elizabeth Goldring is an honorary associate professor at the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance at the University of Warwick and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of her new book, Nicholas Hilliard: Life of an Artist:
Nicholas Hilliard: Life of an Artist tells the story of Nicholas Hilliard, portrayer of Elizabeth I, James I, and their courts. Born into a family of Devon goldsmiths at the tail-end of Henry VIII’s reign, Hilliard lived an exceptionally long and rich life, notable for the wide range of people he met and portrayed, as well as for his own journey to the heart of the English court – and, indeed, to the heart of the French court, where he spent about two and a half years as a court painter (in all probability doing a bit of spying for Elizabeth I on the side).

Hilliard’s fame derives chiefly from his exquisitely detailed portrait miniatures: tiny images painted in watercolour on vellum using a brush made from squirrel hairs set in a bird quill. Most are no bigger than the lid of jam jar, though some are as small as a watch-face. In an era long before the invention of the photograph – much less the instantly communicable imagery of the mobile telephone – portrait miniatures had the great virtue of being easily portable and thus of helping to create intimacy (or the illusion thereof) across long distances. Hilliard was the first native-born English artist to acquire a reputation for excellence both at home, where poets such as John Donne sang his praises, and abroad, where his paintings were admired by the Medici, the Valois, and the Habsburgs. In addition to kings and queens, Hilliard’s sitters included royal favourites the earls of Leicester and Essex; Shakespeare’s patron the earl of Southampton; the explorers Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Ralegh; and members of the aspirational middle class from which Hilliard himself hailed.

My book traces Hilliard’s rise to fame, his personal struggles and quest to become the social equal of his aristocratic sitters, his role as teacher to the next generation of English painters, and his influence on writers such as Donne. In addition, it brings to life the political and religious upheavals of the age. But a film adaptation – rather than trying to recount all seventy-two years of Hilliard’s turbulent life and times – would perhaps be most effective if it focused on the thirty-two-year relationship between Hilliard and Elizabeth I.

Prior to Hilliard’s appearance on the scene, Elizabeth had been highly self-conscious about her image, particularly when exchanging portraits with Mary Queen of Scots, a legendary beauty who had some of the most gifted painters at the French court at her disposal. But Hilliard gave Elizabeth a makeover and, virtually overnight, emerged as her most trusted portraitist. Between 1571, the year in which he first portrayed Elizabeth from the life (a time-consuming business which meant spending three or four days together), and 1603, the year in which she died, Hilliard produced hundreds of portraits of Elizabeth. Hilliard knew how to flatter. All the portraits that he painted of Elizabeth towards the end of her life – by which stage she had lost most of her teeth and hair – depict her as an eternally youthful, wrinkle-free maiden, with glorious golden-red ringlets. Yet in spite of Hilliard’s many years of faithful service, Elizabeth was slow to pay – which, when coupled with Hilliard’s expensive tastes (to say nothing of the fact that he and his wife had seven children), meant that he frequently found himself on the run from creditors or doing business with less-than-salubrious characters.

My dream casting would be Benedict Cumberbatch as Hilliard and Gillian Anderson as Elizabeth I. Both are gifted actors and particularly good in period pieces. There is also, in each case, a strong physical resemblance to the historical figure to be portrayed – something which, though not essential, is always a bonus.
Learn more about Nicholas Hilliard: Life of an Artist at the Yale University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Jennifer Ryan's "The Spies of Shilling Lane"

Jennifer Ryan grew up in Britain and moved to Washington, DC fifteen years ago. Previously a non-fiction book editor, she now writes novels set in Second World War Britain and inspired by her grandmother’s stories of the war.

Her second novel, The Spies of Shilling Lane, tells the tale of a woman who heads into the London Blitz to see her daughter, only to find her missing.

Here Ryan dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel:
The Spies of Shilling Lane is about female spies in Second World War London. It combines a thriller with the devastation of London in the Blitz, with British humor and warmth woven throughout. It’s with this in mind that I create a fantasy cast list.

Mrs. Braithwaite has to be played by Julie Walters (Donna’s friend Rosie in Mamma Mia, the Weasley’s Mom in Harry Potter). I think she could convey the blend of bombastic yet loveable, the bumbling un-self-consciousness of the middle-aged mom.

Betty Braithwaite, the young, fearless spy, would of course be Emma Watson (Hermione in Harry Potter). She has the perfect blend of astuteness and quiet confidence. She could, in fact, be her!

Betty’s landlord, the timid accountant Mr. Norris, should be played by Ralph Fiennes (Monsieur Gustave H. in The Budapest Hotel, Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter series, Justin Quayle in The Constant Gardener). He would be master of the pensive, stilted turns and deep heart.

Good-looking and raffish, Mr. Baxter would be Matt Smith (Prince Philip in The Crown), for his continual smirk and all that intensity packed inside.

Florrie, the pretty and harebrained roomie of Betty’s, would be played by the striking Lily James (the young Donna in Mamma Mia 2, Lady Rose in Downton Abbey). She combines sweetness and chaos all in one.

For Betty’s other roommate, the beautiful, haughty Cassandra, I see the wonderful Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary in Downton Abbey). Her proud, condescending manner would be perfect for the role.
Visit Jennifer Ryan's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Rachel Barenbaum's "A Bend In The Stars"

Rachel Barenbaum is a graduate of Grub Street’s Novel Incubator program. In a former life she was a hedge fund manager and a spin instructor, before moving to the New Hampshire woods to write. She has an MBA from the Harvard Business School and an AB in Literature and Philosophy from Harvard College.

Here Barenbaum dreamcasts an adaptation of A Bend in the Stars, her first novel:
A Bend In The Stars is set in 1914 Russia. The novel is focused on the brother and sister duo of Miri and Vanya. The two are snared by the Czar’s army as his forces tighten their grip on the local Jewish community in preparation for war with Germany. While the catalyst for Miri and Vanya’s journey is Vanya’s drive to beat Einstein, to be the first to prove relativity – Miri is the hero. She is one of Russia’s first female surgeons, a trailblazer and her courage is epic. So too is her love for her fiancé… and for a soldier she rescues from a river. This love triangle dominates the plot just as much as science, relativity and history. With that in mind, there are four central characters that my readers love most – four characters that I would want to cast first if Bend was made into a movie.

Miri: One of Russia’s first female surgeons, she is brave and powerful. Obvs - Gal Gadot would be perfect. She’s strong, a force to be reckoned with but also someone who wears her heart on her sleeve, who falls in love but relies on her intellect above all.

Yuri: Miri’s fiancé. He has a dark past and a brilliant mind. He’s madly in love with Miri but also possibly broken by whatever secret he’s holding. Anderson Cooper – if only he were an actor! Or Benedict Cumberbatch.

Sasha: This is the hardest one. He’s a soldier who’s killed and fought to stay alive. He’s penniless and a wanted man. He’s also in love with Miri and not afraid to let her have the spotlight, to admit that she’s smarter than him. Armie Hammer because he was so good in On The Basis of Sex.

Vanya: A brilliant physicist who is also a little absent minded. Jesse Eisenberg. He’s perfect.
Visit Rachel Barenbaum's website.

--Marshal Zeringue