Monday, July 27, 2020

Jay Stringer's "Marah Chase and the Fountain of Youth"

Jay Stringer was born in 1980, and he’s not dead yet. He’s the author of crime fiction, action thrillers, and dark comedies. Stringer’s work has been shortlisted for two Anthonys, the McIlvanney Prize, and a Derringer award. He is dyslexic and learned the sound of storytelling long before he could read the words.

Here Stringer dreamacasts an adaptation of his latest book, Marah Chase and the Fountain of Youth:
Note: This article is soundtracked by It’s a Good Day to Save the World by Danger Twins.

In Marah Chase and the Fountain of Youth, rogue archaeologist Marah Chase is in a race to find the mythical Fountain before a group of modern Nazis, who want the water to further their eugenics plan.

Talking about my book as a movie is an interesting challenge. Both easy and difficult. Easy because the book -and character- grew out of movies. But at the same time, as a writer I don’t like to give the reader too much description of the main character.

I can tell you Chase is somewhere around 36 or 37 in this book. She grew up on a farm in Washington state, with an American father and Scottish mother. She’s Jewish and gay, and I think that should be reflected in the casting.

For some reason I have less problems talking about supporting cast. On the previous book I played a game with myself as I wrote it, casting supporting spots for all of the actors who’ve played the Doctor in the modern era of Doctor Who. For the new book, I had certain actors in mind as I was figuring some of the characters out. (As a fun little side game, I also wrote one minor character as if he were being played by Beetlejuice, from the Tim Burton movie. I wonder if readers can spot him.)

August Nash, a former CIA agent-turned relic runner (the name for the Indiana Jones-like profession in my fictional universe) used to be Marah Chase’s mentor, but now they’re competitors. The two very best in the field. Legends. He becomes one of the main antagonists in the book, and as I was writing I could picture his dialogue delivered by either Timothy Olyphant or Chris Evans.

The other antagonist is Lauren Stanford, the billionaire heir to a global soda corporation. Her family have always been Nazis. Like, even before there were Nazis. Their brand of hatred dates back to London in the 1800’s, and they’ve been hiding in plain sight ever since, in business suits and political donations. She needs to be played by someone who can control the screen, but be both interesting and scary at the same time. I could see Madelaine Petsch or Samara Weaving in the role.

Chase’s main ally in the book is a trans man, named Hass. He’s from Somalia originally, but spent so long living in America that his accent has changed. He’s described loosely in the book as looking like both Doc Savage and Dwayne Johnson, but those comparisons are really based on his size. He’s a big strong action hero. Just as I think it would be important for Chase to be played by someone of the right ethnicity and sexuality, I think in my dream movie Hass would be played by a trans man, preferably of Somali descent.

As for director, the recent Harley Quinn movie wasn’t a hit, but I thought Cathy Yan was bold and creative with her handling of action. She’d be a great choice to helm the film.
Visit Jay Stringer's website.

--Marshal Zeringue