Thursday, December 12, 2019

Jacqueline Firkins's "Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things"

Jacqueline Firkins is a writer, costume designer, and lover of beautiful things. She's on the fulltime faculty in the Department of Theatre & Film at the University of British Columbia. When not obsessing about where to put the buttons or the commas, she can be found running by the ocean, eating excessive amounts of gluten, listening to earnest love songs, and pretending her dog understands every word she says.

Here Firkins dreamcasts an adaptation of her new YA rom-com, Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things, a modern retelling of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park:
I work in film and theatre as a prof and designer. I loosely based the appearances of my teenage characters on some of the acting students I was working with while I wrote the first draft. However, if a movie was made, I know star power would hold weight. So for my central trio, I’d propose the following:

-Edie Price: Millie Bobby Brown. As seen in Stranger Things, she’s brilliant at conveying a lot with silence, which works well for a character who likes to observe others. She can be angry but vulnerable at the same time. Strong but self-doubting. She does complicated well.

-Sebastian Summers: Asa Butterfield. He nails adorably awkward, sensitive, earnest, and self-deprecating. He’s the guy you can’t help but root for, no matter what role he plays. And he has amazing blue eyes that can fill a frame.

-Henry Crawford: Jacob Artist. He’s good at playing sensitive guys, but I think he can pull off a bad boy, too. He’s drop-dead gorgeous and he does a great job emitting rock-solid confidence. He’d give Henry emotional complexity.

While it may be type casting, I have two dream directors. One is Amy Heckerling, who adapted Austen’s Emma into the incomparable Clueless. She gets the sweetness of love without shying away from sexuality or the embarrassments we undergo when we're figuring ourselves out. The other director would be Patricia Rozema, who did such an amazing job adapting Mansfield Park for the screen within its period setting. Both directors know how to merge Austen’s wit and social scrutiny with big mushy feelings and a contemporary sensibility.

And of course, I’d want to design the costumes.
Visit Jacqueline Firkins's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Jacqueline Firkins & Ffiona.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Ronni Davis's "When the Stars Lead to You"

Ronni Davis grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where she tried her best to fit in—and failed miserably. After graduating from The Ohio State University with a BA in Psychology, she worked in insurance, taught yoga, and became a cat mom.

Now she lives in Chicago with her husband Adam and her son Aidan. By day she copy edits everything from TV commercials to billboards, and by night she writes contemporary teen novels about brown girls falling in love. When she’s not writing, you can catch her playing the Sims, eating too much candy, or planning her next trip to Disney World.

Here Davis dreamcasts an adaptation of her debut novel, When the Stars Lead to You:
If they When the Stars Lead to You into a film, here’s who I'd like to play the lead role(s).

Of course, this depends on timing. It takes so long for these things to come to fruition, if at all, and because my book stars teenagers who grow up really fast, I know that true casting would be super tricky, simply because teens change so much.

But I’d want Chloe Coleman to play Devon. Chloe just turned ten years old, so again, timing, but she has the exact skin color and precociousness I see in Devon. Also, her hair is magnificent and exactly what I pictured when I was writing the book.

The actual person I pictured when I was writing the book is a model named Rose Bertram. I’ve been following Rose’s career for many years now and she’s one of my favorite models ever. Of course, Devon had to be based on her.

As for Ashton… well, he was based quite a lot on the actor Theo James, who is obviously way too old to play an 18-year old. So, I’d likely want to do a casting call and get an unknown for that role, but one who is similar to Theo. (For reference, here is the Theo James I had in mind when I was writing the story.)

Both of my fan casts are the wrong ages and way too far apart in age, but maybe the stars will align and I will be able to find lead actors who will fit the bill! I can dream about it, anyway.
Visit Ronni Davis's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 8, 2019

A. R. Moxon's "The Revisionaries"

A. R. Moxon is a writer who runs the popular twitter handle @JuliusGoat. He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Here the author shares his vision for an adaptation of his new novel, The Revisionaries:
When I think of movie I tend to think of directors, not actors—in fact, a movie by a director I admire with unknown or little-known actors can frequently provide an experience a more familiar face, due solely to familiarity, can’t deliver. So, I’m going to make some perhaps unorthodox choices by focusing on “casting” not only on director, but a filmic style. The movie of my dreams based on The Revisionaries would be directed by Richard Linklater, made in the mode of his movies Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly—both of which (see them if you haven’t) utilize an advanced rotoscoping method to create a dreamlike sense of highly naturalistic performance other animation styles can't capture, coupled with a constant dreamlike sense of shift and flow well-suited to my book’s shifting viewpoints, perspectives, and realities, utilizing an artistic style that match the book’s own themes and motifs like none other I can imagine. Linklater’s own style, which I’d describe as laconically cerebral, also seems a nice fit for the strangeness to come—in which a man might believably turn to a pile of salt, or to sandals, in which a circus might hide a cult, or vice versa, in which a scratch-off lottery ticket might be more than it seems…

Once I have Richard Linklater and the rotoscoping, the rest will fall nicely into place. Perhaps Linklater could attach a big name as our hero, the anti-orthodox street priest Father Julius, who could draw studio dollars and audience interest (I think Jeff Bridges would make a good pick), and then fill the ranks of the other characters—Bailey, Donk, Boyd, Jane Sim, her daughter Finch, Morris Love and his wicked ancestor Isaac, the stammering loon Tennessee, the mysterious Landrude Marskson, and of course Gordon Shirker, the elusive flickering man of Loony Island—with a diverse cast of talented unknowns. I’d buy popcorn for that movie.
Visit A. R. Moxon's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Kimberly Gabriel's "Every Stolen Breath"

Kimberly Gabriel started writing in fourth grade when she wrote, bound, and gave away books of terrible poetry to family and teachers as holiday gifts. Today she is an English teacher, who still squanders all free minutes to write and uses it as the best scapegoat for her laundry avoidance issues. When she is not teaching or writing, Gabriel is enjoying life with her husband and her three beautiful children in the northern suburbs of Chicago.

Every Stolen Breath is her debut novel and a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection.

Here Gabriel dreamcasts an adaptation of the novel:
When I wrote Every Stolen Breath, the scenes played out in my head in a very cinematic fashion and I pictured actors playing each of these roles. However, because I don’t watch a lot of television, almost all of the actors I had cast would be too old to play my teen characters. Many of my answers include the younger teen version of the actors I listed below.

Lia, my main character: For Lia, I pictured a teen version of Jessica Chastain with whitish blonde hair. While writing, I would often think of Chastain’s portrayal of Maya in Zero Dark Thirty as a smart, serious woman with an unstoppable drive, which is very similar to Lia’s character in Every Stolen Breath. Chloë Grace Moretz might be perfect for Lia.

Ryan, the mysterious boy who may or may not have been responsible for her father’s death: I pictured a younger (more vulnerable) version of Channing Tatum like the Dear John version of Channing Tatum. Because there is so much mystery surrounding Ryan, the actor would need to have both the vulnerable side but also someone who is physically capable of fighting off attackers similar to Theo James’s portrayal of Four in the Divergent series.

Adam, Lia’s unapologetic best friend: Adam looks like Adam Lambert in my mind. Daniel Doheny might be a good fit for him, or the teenage version of Max Greenfield.

Emi Vega, the perhaps unethical reporter: I picture Eva Mendez for Emi.

Lia’s mom: Gwyneth Paltrow would be a perfect fit for Lia’s mom.

Katie, her introverted friend with a flair for art and protesting: Katie was very much based off of a student I had in my classroom. Liu Yifei would play Katie well.

Mayor Henking, Chicago’s smarmy politician: George Clooney.

Richard, the mayor’s right-hand man: Jeremy Piven.
Visit Kimberly Gabriel's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Steve Robinson's "The Penmaker's Wife"

Steve Robinson is a London-based crime writer. He was sixteen when his first magazine article was published and he’s been writing ever since. A love for genealogy inspired his first bestselling series, the Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mysteries, and he is now expanding his writing to historical crime, another area he is passionate about.

Here Robinson dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, The Penmaker's Wife:
I’ve had several social media discussions about this over the years with my earlier books, about who might play the characters if a TV or film adaptation was made. It’s always fun to imagine such things. The main character in The Penmaker’s Wife is a femme fatale called Angelica Chastain. I chose the surname for its French origins because Angelica was born in France, although she moved to England when she was quite young. The person I would choose to play her in the movie, shares the same surname, and perhaps this also helped to guide my choice. The actress is Jessica Chastain. She always seems to exude such confidence in her roles on screen, and is often portrayed as a strong woman who knows exactly what she wants. That’s the kind of character I was looking for when I imagined Angelica.

Another key character in the book is called Effie Wilmington-Reed, whom I see as Angelica’s opposite in many ways — a young and naive ‘English rose’ type of character that I can see someone like Emilia Fox (as she was in Pride and Prejudice) playing. There’s also a rather officious character in The Penmaker’s Wife called Violet Cosgrove, and my inspiration for her was drawn from the 1940 adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. I just couldn’t get the the movie’s opening scenes in Monte Carlo out of my head as I was writing Violet. The character from Rebecca is called Edythe Van Hopper, played by Florence Bates.

For Stanley Hampton, the lead man of the story and the pen maker himself, who quickly becomes besotted with Angelica, I can see Benedict Cumberbatch fitting right in. Minus the pipe and deerstalker from his role in Sherlock of course.

It’s an all-star cast! Anyone got the budget?
Visit Steve Robinson's website and Facebook page.

Writers Read: Steve Robinson.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Declan Burke's "The Lammisters"

Declan Burke is the author of Eightball Boogie (2003), The Big O (2007), Absolute Zero Cool (2011), Slaughter’s Hound (2012), Crime Always Pays (2014), The Lost and the Blind (2014), and The Lammisters (2019). Absolute Zero Cool was shortlisted in the crime fiction section for the Irish Book Awards, and received the Goldsboro Award for Best Humorous Crime Novel in 2012. Eightball Boogie and Slaughter’s Hound were also shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards. Burke is also the editor of Down These Green Streets: Irish Crime Writing in the 21st Century (2011) and Trouble is Our Business (2016), and the co-editor, with John Connolly, of Books to Die For (2013), which won the Anthony Award for Best Non-Fiction Crime. Burke was a UNESCO / Dublin City Council writer-in-residence for 2017-18. He blogs at Crime Always Pays.

Here Burke dreamcasts an adaptation of The Lammisters:
It’s been my experience that when readers like a book, they tend to say, ‘That would make a great movie.’ For some reason, with The Lammisters, people have tended to say that it would make a good play. Maybe that’s because The Lammisters is effectively a behind-the-scenes comedy of what happens when a group of characters, abandoned by their author, are cut loose from their expected story and left to fend for themselves.

The book is set in Prohibition-era Hollywood, and features bootleggers and movie stars from the period; in my mind, Vanessa Hopgood, aka the most shimmering star in Hollywood, bears a strong resemblance to what I imagine the young Norma Desmond – played as a fading star by Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard – would have looked like in the early 1920s. Vanessa’s beau, the Irish-American bootlegger Rusty McGrew, is possessed of a piratical mien and a big bushy head of curly red hair – a craggy, carrot-topped version of Douglas Fairbanks Snr would fit the bill nicely. The movie mogul Samuel L. Silverstein is physically modelled on a more rotund version of the young Louis B. Mayer, while the Anglo-Irish aristocrat Sir Archibald ‘Archie’ l’Estrange-B’stard is described as ‘an exquisitely coopered barrel’ – if you can imagine Wallace Reid with plummy vowels and a pumpkin-shaped head, that’s Archie.

I love caper comedies, and especially those about lammisters, or characters who are on the lam. If the Coen Brothers could be persuaded to reprise the arch style and surreally anarchic tone of O Brother, Where Art Thou?, they’d be perfect to direct The Lammisters.
Learn more about the book and author at Burke's Crime Always Pays blog.

Writers Read: Declan Burke.

--Marshal Zeringue