Friday, July 10, 2020

C. T. Rwizi's "Scarlet Odyssey"

Debut author C. T. Rwizi was born in Zimbabwe, grew up in Swaziland, finished high school in Costa Rica, and got a BA in government at Dartmouth College in the United States. He currently lives in South Africa with his family, and enjoys playing video games, taking long runs, and spending way too much time lurking on Reddit. He is a self-professed lover of synthwave.

Here Rwizi dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, Scarlet Odyssey:
If someone decided to make my book into a film, they would probably need to cast a lot of completely or relatively new actors for the job. Why? Because I’m not sure there are many well-known options on the table to fill even a fictional cast. Let’s take a look.

The main character, Salo, would need to be a young black man in his late teens. He would need to be surrounded by several other young black men of a similar age, from his brothers to his friends. Five black women, also of a similar age, would need to play the roles of Ilapara, Isa, Kelafelo, Alinata and Nimara.

If they were white, this list would be very easy to fill, as there are many well-known white actors in this demographic to choose from. As it is, I’m struggling to find suitable dreamcasts without resorting to “that black girl I saw on that one tv show.”

I’d probably just end up borrowing the entire cast of Dear White People and every other young black actor who has ever appeared on tv to be honest. That said, the closest to what I envision Salo looking like is a young Alfred Enoch, who plays Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter films.

The older characters are somewhat easier. Lupita Nyong'o would be a good fit for the Maidservant. Salo’s father is a lean giant of a warrior with a stoic temperament, so I’d go for Idris Elba or Will Smith for his character. The queen of Salo’s tribe is a statuesque woman with a breathtaking presence so I’d nominate Beyoncé or Kerry Washington for the role. The high mystic who appears in the book would be someone with a striking and yet severe countenance, akin to Lance Reddick.

For the part of the Enchantress I’d go for Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt, while the mysterious wanderer Tuk could be played by Timothée Chalamet, who will be starring as Paul Atreides in the upcoming movie Dune.

As for the director of this hypothetical movie, it should come as no surprise that I’d go for Ryan Coogler, who directed the hugely successful Black Panther. It’s the only movie I can think of even remotely comparable to what a film adaptation of the Scarlet Odyssey might look like, and I believe he would do a fantastic job of it.
Learn more about Scarlet Odyssey, and follow C. T. Rwizi on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue