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