Thursday, June 18, 2020

Emily Temple's "The Lightness"

Emily Temple holds a BA from Middlebury College and an MFA in fiction from the University of Virginia, where she was a Henry Hoyns fellow and the recipient of a Henfield Prize.

Here Temple dreamcasts an adaptation of her first novel, The Lightness:
The Lightness is a novel about a teenage girl who follows her missing father to a meditation center in the mountains—a place famous for its supposed connection to feats of levitation. She doesn’t find him there, but she does find a mysterious group of girls hell-bent on achieving transcendence (both literal and metaphysical) themselves. It’s a book about desire, obsession, magic, female friendships, bodies, and belief—and it includes a very strange scene involving menstrual blood. So obviously my dream director is Sofia Coppola. I imagine the final product being somewhere between The Virgin Suicides and The Bling Ring, with just a hint of The Beguiled.

As far as casting goes, it’s tougher, because most of the main characters in the book are teenagers, and I admit that I am old and don’t know who the cool teenage actors are. But for Luke, the sexy, lecturing, possibly-enlightened gardener with a man bun, I can’t help but imagine Jared Leto. Luke’s in his early 20s, so Leto is much too old at this point (though who knows with Hollywood magic), but let’s say a Jared Leto type. Or maybe this is just because Jordan Catalano ruined my childhood. Actually, Timothée Chalamet might do the trick if he grew his hair out—and if it wouldn’t hurt too much to see him as a villain.

If we agree to stretch the boundaries of who could play a teenager, Florence Pugh would make an excellent Serena—the ringleader of the group of girls, manipulative, smart, and alternately alluring and terrifying. (My Lady Macbeth, if you will.) Anya Taylor-Joy would be another good choice—both of them are beautifully strange. Maybe they have younger sisters.

Finally, my narrator’s father is this sort of distant, wandering blonde dharma bum—for him, I feel obligated to say Matthew McConaughey. For her mother, a passionate Italian immigrant who takes up all the space in the room, I must choose Monica Bellucci. And as for my narrator herself? I think she’d have to be played by someone brand new.
Visit Emily Temple's website.

--Marshal Zeringue