Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Nancy Star's "Rules For Moving"

Nancy Star is the author of the bestselling novel Sisters One, Two, Three, a Publishers Weekly top ten print book and Amazon Kindle bestseller of 2016. Her previous novels, which have been translated into several languages, include Carpool Diem, Up Next, Now This, and Buried Lives. Her essays have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times, Money, and Family Circle. Before turning to writing fiction full-time, Star worked for over a decade as a movie executive at the Samuel Goldwyn Company and the Ladd Company, dividing her time between New York and London.

Here Star dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Rules for Moving:
Often when I’m writing, it feels as if I’m watching a movie in my head. Scenes unspool, stakes rise, characters reveal secrets. The ending can be as much of a surprise when I write it, as it is to the reader who reads it. So dreamcasting my novel is my idea of fun!

A bit about the book: Rules For Moving is the story of online advice columnist Lane Meckler, adored for the wise, witty advice she gives to her readers, but an ill at ease odd duck in her actual life. A social distancer before there was a word for it, Lane is okay with her outsider status until the day her son Henry stops speaking to everyone but her. To help her son, she finally needs to figure out the reason that she’s always felt other than.

The perfect director for this book to screen translation: Lisa Cholodenko. I bet you know her work: she directed the HBO adaptation of the novel Olive Kitteridge and the award-wining limited series Unbelievable. She also directed one of my favorite films, The Kids Are All Right, starring the luminous team of Annette Bening and Julianne Moore.

Why Lisa Cholodenko? She’s brilliant at finding the sweet spot between heartbreak and humor, and a genius at revealing what’s true in a character. She’s perfectly suited to portray the tensions in Lane’s life as pressure builds at work and home and she would totally get both Lane’s single-minded devotion to her son, and Lane’s mother’s peculiar strategies for avoiding what’s difficult.

Who are the actors in this dream movie? For Lane Meckler, imagine Amy Adams. I’m thinking particularly of her work in Sharper Things, where her character, like Lane, was great at her job (in her case, a journalist) but had to work hard to keep it together in her private life. Like Lane, that character also has vague haunting memories which she tries hard to ignore. Plus Amy Adams can do anything! But so can Reese Witherspoon, who would also be wonderful in the part! And because there is humor as well as heartbreak in this novel, I’ll hedge my bets by saying either Kristen (Kristen Wiig or Kristen Bell) would be fantastic in bringing a different slant to the material, which has room for them to show their comic brilliance and their dramatic chops.

On to the fun of casting Lane’s mother, Sylvie, a woman who’s lived her life making sacrifices no one understands, and whose solution for what to do when things get tough is to move house. Sylvie has a novel’s worth of depth and secrets and Meryl Streep, the job is yours if you want it! Also, Annette Bening: you would be divine! As for Lane’s father, the gruff but misunderstood Marshall Meckler, Robert De Niro, if you’re free, come aboard!

Last to cast is Lane’s love interest: Nathan. There are a lot of great choices here for actors who are terrific at playing regular guys who are slightly worn around the edges, big-hearted fellows with good souls who aren’t completely perfect. Nathan has his share of secrets too. For Nathan, I see Mark Ruffalo, or Steve Carrell, or Kevin Bacon. But Brad Pitt, if you’re interested, let’s talk!

Now that the movie’s cast, I’m going to go make some popcorn. But books don’t turn into movies overnight, so I recommend you make some popcorn and pick up the book! Did you know eating popcorn goes very well with reading too! Either way, have fun!
Visit Nancy Star's website.

Q&A with Nancy Star.

--Marshal Zeringue