Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Liv Constantine's "The Wife Stalker"

Liv Constantine is the pen name of bestselling authors Lynne Constantine and Valerie Constantine. Their debut thriller, The Last Mrs. Parrish, was a Reese Witherspoon book club selection, a People Magazine book of the week, a Target book club selection, and is in development for television.

Their second novel, The Last Time I Saw You, is in development for film.

Here the authors dreamcast an adaptation of their new novel, The Wife Stalker:
Every author has more than likely imagined sitting in a darkened movie theatre and seeing the characters they’ve created walk off the page and onto the screen. To hear them speak and watch them interact would be a thrilling experience, and so it is an amusing game the author plays––the game of choosing the actors who would be perfect for each role. Because our stories are equally plot and character driven, our process involves simultaneously fleshing out our characters and loosely outlining the plot, and so from the very beginning we have fun identifying an actor we feel has the qualities and appearance of that character.

The three main characters in The Wife Stalker are: Piper, a young and beautiful mystery woman who moves to Westport, Connecticut after leaving California and a past she wishes to hide; Joanna, a woman committed to caring for her family, and Leo, a high-powered criminal attorney with whom both women are in love. Piper is young, hip, west coast, into yoga, meditation and all things new age. The actor who seems to fit the bill for her is Margot Robbie. Joanna is little older than Piper, settled, down to earth, and fiercely devoted to Leo and children Evie and Stelli. Maggie Gyllenhaal is our choice for Joanna. Leo is smart, decent and going through a rough patch. He’s a character we have warm feelings for, and so the actor we chose needed to be someone we felt the same way about. As we went down the list of possible candidates, we both smiled and nodded when we got to Robert Downey, Jr. Perfect.

But what if we were making this movie 50 or 60 or even 70 years ago. Who would be the perfect players? And would the era and the stars of old give the story a different bent?

From the 1950s we would have chosen Audrey Hepburn for Piper, Bette Davis for Joanna and Gary Cooper for Leo. Audrey would have brought more innocence to Piper and Bette more fearsomeness to Joanna. Gary would have turned Leo into a more brooding and distant Leo. This film would have been at the top of the melodrama scale.

In the 1960s, Doris Day would have made an interesting Piper, turning her into a sunshiny and warm Pollyanna, one the audience would love and root for. Joanne Woodward would have made a strong and determined Joanna, but one who would seem too invincible for Doris to go up against. The Leo of the 1960s could have gone to one of two actors. Paul Newman (Joanne Woodward’s real life husband), if we wanted the audience to root for Joanna, or Rock Hudson, who obviously would absolutely have to end up with Doris Day, turning the film into a romantic comedy.

For the 1970s production of The Wife Stalker, Joanna would be played by Barbra Streisand, and Leo––yes, you guessed it––Robert Redford. In this case there would be no need for Piper or the film The Way We Were. This film would have been a certified tearjerker.

Lastly, we thought about what the choice of director might mean in how our story would be brought to life. So for example, if Quentin Tarantino directed, Joanna would be played by Uma Thurman, Kill Bill style. The role of Piper would go to assassin Lucy Liu with bad guy David Carradine as Leo, turning the story into “grindhouse cinema”––the term for low-budget, horror and splatter movies.

We think we’ll stick with the 2020 cast.
Visit Liv Constantine's website.

--Marshal Zeringue