Saturday, August 31, 2019

E.R. Ramzipoor's "The Ventriloquists"

Evan Roxanna Ramzipoor is a writer based in California. She also works as a content marketer, writing about cybercrime and online fraud. She studied political science at UC Berkeley, where she researched underground literature in resistance movements and discovered the forgotten story of Faux Soir. Her writing has been featured in McSweeney's and The Ventriloquists is her first novel. She lives with her partner and a terrier mix named Lada. She is never far from a notebook or a pair of running shoes.

Here Ramzipoor dreamcasts an adaptation of The Ventriloquists:
When I was pitching The Ventriloquists, I described the book as Ocean’s Eleven meets All the Light We Cannot See. It’s the real-life story of ragtag resistance fighters who risk everything to pull an elaborate prank on the Reich. Needless to say, I think it would make an amazing movie!

Casting my stories helps me flesh out the small but crucial traits that bring a character to life: quirks, mannerisms, habits, speech patterns. For The Ventriloquists, this was especially important; like Ocean’s Eleven, the novel features a large ensemble cast. To ensure nobody got short shrift, I tried to make each character distinct and easy to imagine. Here’s who I had in mind.

Marc Aubrion - Sacha Baron Cohen. Aubrion is the mastermind who decides to die for a joke—writing a satirical newspaper that pokes fun at the Nazis. He’s disheveled, brilliant, funny, and a little mad. Cohen has the soul of a jester, but also a penetrating intelligence. That’s Aubrion.

Gamin - Millie Bobby Brown. “Gamin” is Aubrion’s sidekick: a young girl who survives on the streets of Belgium by disguising herself as a boy and selling newspapers. She’s haunted by the death of her parents, and since therapy wasn’t really an option at the time, she sets fires. I mean, who else but Millie Bobby Brown?

Lada Tarcovich - Rachel Brosnahan. Lada is Aubrion’s unwitting accomplice, a practical smuggler and prostitute who just wants to survive the war. I would absolutely love to work with Rachel Brosnahan; The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is probably the best thing on TV right now. But more than anything, Brosnahan is just a great fit for the wry, no-nonsense Lada.

Andree Grandjean - Sarah Paulson. Andree is a powerful judge who gets sucked into this mad scheme when she falls for Lada Tarcovich. Paulson is a queer icon and would make an amazing Andree.

David Spiegelman - Adrien Brody. Spiegelman is a literary ventriloquist. He can write in the voice and style of anyone from Winston Churchill to his own mother. When the Nazi head of propaganda hears about his talents, he presses Spiegelman into service. But Spiegelman, a gay Jewish man, is desperate to aid the resistance—even if it comes in the form of Aubrion’s crazy capers. Adrien Brody is brilliant at playing tormented, soulful characters, so he’d be excellent here.

August Wolff - Jason Isaacs. August Wolff is the Nazi who presses Spiegelman into service. Ambitious and loyal to the Nazi ideology, he’s nonetheless conflicted about the atrocities he must commit. Isaacs seems perfect.

Helene - Helen Mirren. The novel is narrated by an older Gamin (Helene is her real name), alive in a world she no longer recognizes. Helen Mirren would bring the necessary gravitas and spark of humor to this role.

Director - Armando Iannucci. When I saw The Death of Stalin last year, I knew I wanted to see Iannucci’s take on The Ventriloquists. He’s really nails the dark, poignant absurdism that makes this story what it is.
Visit E.R. Ramzipoor's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Evan Ramzipoor & Lada.

--Marshal Zeringue