Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Donis Casey's "Valentino Will Die"

Donis Casey is the author of the Alafair Tucker Mysteries, an award-winning series featuring the sleuthing mother of ten children, set in Oklahoma during the booming 1910s. Her first mystery, The Old Buzzard Had It Coming, was named an Oklahoma Centennial Book. Casey is a former teacher, academic librarian, and entrepreneur.

Here Casey dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Valentino Will Die, the sequel to The Wrong Girl:
After writing ten Alafair Tucker Mysteries, I was energized and excited to plunge into an entirely new series that takes place during the roaring 1920s. The Bianca Dangereuse Hollywood series features a headstrong girl who ran away from home in 1920 and by sheer will and a lot of good fortune reinvented herself as silent movie star Bianca LaBelle, the heroine of the wildly popular silent movie serial The Adventures of Bianca Dangereuse. The first episode of the series, The Wrong Girl (2019) details Bianca's rise to stardom. The second episode, Valentino Will Die, opens in 1926 and finds Bianca and megastar Rudolph Valentino, who have been friends for years, finally making their first picture together, a steamy romance called Grand Obsession. One evening after dinner, a troubled Rudy confesses that he has been receiving anonymous death threats. In a matter of weeks Rudy falls deathly ill and Bianca rushes to New York to be by his side as he lies dying. Rudy is convinced someone is trying to kill him, and Bianca promises him she will find out who is responsible. Was it one of his many lovers? A delusional fan? Or perhaps Rudy has run of afoul of a mobster whose name Bianca knows all too well. With time running out, Bianca calls on Private Detective Ted Oliver, the one man she believes can help her find who killed the world's greatest lover.

The character Bianca plays in her movies, Bianca Dangereuse, is a Perils of Pauline type adventuress.While researching 1920s silent movies, I was heavily influenced by a particular 1921 flick called Something New, starring a fabulous actor/writer/producer named Nell Shipman and a Maxwell automobile. If you haven't seen it, you're missing something. The Bianca LaBelle character was heavily influenced by Nell's looks, manner, and independence.

Bianca is very young. We first meet her at 15, but by the time Valentino Will Die opens, she is 21, tall, elegant, and beautiful. The first young actress I thought of to play Bianca is Hailee Steinfeld, who played 14-year-old Mattie Ross in the 2010 version of True Grit. I've followed her career since and she's grown up quite nicely, tall, dark-haired, and slinky. Yes, she'd do very well as Bianca. But who is pretty enough to play Rudolph Valentino, a real person and an honest-to-God heartthrob? If we can pluck actors out of time, Tyrone Power would be good choice. As for actors working today, Poldark himself, Aiden Turner, has just the smoldering good looks to fit the bill. For detective Ted Oliver, a basically decent man who's caught up in something he never intended and can't get out of, I like Ryan Gosling. He has the requisite brains and self-depreciating wit - with just a touch of haplessness. Another true life character in the book is silent star Pola Negri. I'd have to pluck 1970s era Sally Field out of time in order to have someone with the chops to play the five-foot tall Polish actress whose histrionics at Valentino's funeral ruined her career in the United States. For the ruthless Irish godmother K.D. Dix, whose sweet face and dimples belie her murderous heart, who else but Judi Dench?

I'd like John Wells to direct. He directed Autumn, Osage County, that tour-de-force with Meryl Streep. He also wrote for and directed several seasons of West Wing. His work has intelligence and heart, humor, and the right amount of bite for the situation - sometimes a mere nip and sometimes a rip-your-arm-off attack.
Visit Donis Casey's website.

My Book, The Movie: Hell With the Lid Blown Off.

My Book, The Movie: All Men Fear Me.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 29, 2021

Adam Mitzner's "The Perfect Marriage"

Adam Mitzner is the acclaimed Amazon Charts bestselling author of Dead Certain, Never Goodbye, and The Best Friend in the Broden Legal series as well as the stand-alone thrillers A Matter of Will, A Conflict of Interest, A Case of Redemption, Losing Faith, and The Girl from Home. A practicing attorney in a Manhattan law firm, Mitzner and his family live in New York City.

Here Mitzner dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, The Perfect Marriage:
I do not think about actors when writing my characters. Mainly that’s because the characters exist for me on the inside, and so I’m less interested in what they look like. Also, I read early a tip about writing that if you say as character looks like George Clooney, the reader now imagines George Clooney, whereas if the description is how you would describe George Clooney – handsome, dark complexioned, strong jaw, dark hair, devilish smile – the reader can make that character his or her own.

Of course, it is my dream, like every novelist’s, that someday my characters will be brought to life by actors. But is only after the book is written that I think about that.

Here’s my dream cast for the lead roles of The Perfect Marriage.

James Sommers: Forties, handsome. Ben Affleck, although I say that in part because he’s Batman. Now that I think of it, maybe Christian Bale for that same reason.

Jessica Sommers: Forties, beautiful. Jennifer Garner, although I realize that she might not want to star opposite her ex-husband, but I think in light of the story that might be fun to see.

Wayne Fiske: Jessica’s first husband. He needs to be less attractive than both Jessica and James, and look like a high school teacher. I see a Zach Galifianakis type in the role.

Hayley Sommers: James’ first wife. Thirty, very beautiful, a banker. I’d cast the most beautiful woman I could find in this role, so long as you get a sense that they’re very capable beyond their looks. Nina Dobrev could hit this part out of the park.

Reid Warwick: James’ business partner. I see him as more handsome than James, which is a tall order. Also more than a little slippery. Rege-Jean Page from Bridgerton.

Gabriel Valesquez: The police detective. He also appears in my Broden Trilogy (Dead Certain, Never Goodbye, The Best Friend), and so I’ve thought about his actor-doppleganger before, and he always looks a bit like Michael Pena to me. Also a big fan of Oscar Isaac for the role.
Learn more about the book and author at Adam Mitzner's website.

My Book, The Movie: A Conflict of Interest.

My Book, The Movie: A Case of Redemption.

My Book, The Movie: Losing Faith.

My Book, the Movie: A Matter of Will.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Paula Munier's "The Hiding Place"

Paula Munier is the USA Today bestselling author of the Mercy and Elvis mysteries. A Borrowing of Bones, the first in the series, was nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award and named the Dogwise Book of the Year. Blind Search was inspired by the real-life rescue of a little boy with autism who got lost in the woods.

Munier credits the hero dogs of Mission K9 Rescue, her own rescue dogs Bear, Bliss, and Blondie—a Malinois mix as loyal and smart as Elvis—and a lifelong passion for crime fiction as her series’ major influences.

She’s also written three popular books on writing: Plot Perfect, The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings, and Writing with Quiet Hands, as well as Fixing Freddie and Happier Every Day.

Munier lives in New Hampshire with her family, the dogs, and a torbie tabby named Ursula.

Here she shares some thoughts on casting the canine characters in an adaptation of her new Mercy and Elvis mystery, The Hiding Place:
If you saw the remake of The Call of the Wild with Harrison Ford, you may know that the canine character Buck was played by a CGI version of a rescue named Buckley. Director Chris Sanders had not yet cast the role of Buck when his wife Jessica Steele Sanders found Buckley on Petfinder. Buckley is a St. Bernard and farm collie mix, just like Buck in the book. Jessica packed up their 14-year-old rescue Brody and drove all the way to Kansas to meet Buckley—and the rest is movie history.

If The Hiding Place were a film, I’d want all of the real dogs who inspired the characters to land the starring roles. Susie Bear, the Newfoundland-retriever mix trained in search-and-rescue, would be played by Bear,
our own Newfie mutt. Service dog Robin, the Great Pyrenees and Australian shepherd mix, would be brought to life by our own rescue Bliss. And Sunny, the golden retriever—yes, there’s a golden in this story!—could only be played by one of Vermont poet Jerry Johnson’s goldens. (Jerry’s campaigning for his favorite breed to appear in a Mercy Carr mystery finally paid off in The Hiding Place.)

When I first wrote Elvis—the lead dog in the series, and Mercy’s main Malinois—I created a composite canine based on several working dogs I’d met at a Mission K9 Rescue fundraiser. The make-believe Maligator became so real to me that I wanted my own Elvis—and we had the opportunity to rescue a Malinois mix, we jumped at the chance. (Well, at least I did, and my husband humored me.) As it turns out, our pandemic puppy Blondie is as fierce and fearless as her fictional counterpart. She’d rule the screen as Elvis.

Even in CGI.
Visit Paula Munier's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Paula Munier & Bear.

My Book, The Movie: A Borrowing of Bones.

My Book, The Movie: Blind Search.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Tanya Boteju's "Bruised"

Tanya Boteju is an English teacher and writer living on unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations (Vancouver, Canada). She completed her English and Education degrees at the University of British Columbia, then spent time in New York attaining her Master of Arts through Columbia University’s Teachers College. Most recently, Boteju received a Creative Writing Certificate through Simon Fraser University’s Writer’s Studio. Her writing life has mostly consisted of teaching writing for the past eighteen years in Vancouver, where she has continually been inspired by the brilliant young people in her midst.

Her novel, Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens (2019), was named an Indie Top 10 Pick of the Summer by the American Booksellers Association, a starred review on Shelf Awareness, a Barnes & Noble best YA book of May, a Best Teen Book of 2019 by Indigo, and a Rainbow List selection for 2020. Her short story “Floating” appears in the anthology Out Now (2020).

Here Boteju dreamcasts an adaptation of her new YA novel, Bruised:
Bruised is a novel about grief, strength, and community. My protagonist Daya loses her parents in a car accident that she survives and takes to bruising herself as a way to cope (or avoid coping) with her grief. She’s been instilled with a particular view of strength from her father and believes toughness will bring her success, while softness is a form of weakness. When Daya is introduced to roller derby, she sees the brutal sport as a way to collect more bruises, but soon realizes that there’s so much more to be gained through roller derby’s sense of community and teamwork. The book includes both serious themes as well as colourful, action-packed roller derby scenes and some over-the-top characters. Though Daya is a tough nut, many of the people around her challenge that hard shell with humour, kindness, and care.

I could see Bruised as both a movie or a TV series. Daya’s family is from Sri Lanka, and I would love Daya to be played by a South Asian character who is full-bodied. We haven’t seen a lot of South Asian actors in the mainstream, but I’d be happy to see a lesser-known actor play her, kind of like how Maitrey Ramakrishnan in the Netflix series Never Have I Ever was fairly new to the scene (Ramakrishnan is also Sri Lankan and I was so excited to see her very brown name on the screen when I watched the show!).

Two central characters in the book are Kat and Shanti—sisters who connect with Daya in very different ways. Kat is tough as hell while Shanti is much softer and also more of a romantic interest for Daya, but she’s got her own kind of strength. Whoever played these roles would need to learn how to roller skate really well! They’re also both biracial Chinese-Canadian, and I’d want it to stay that way for the movie. Some possibilities might be: Hayley Kiyoko or Janel Parrish for Kat, and Kelsey Chow or Chloe Bennet for Shanti. It’s tricky to find actors who are or can play teen characters believably, I feel.

Bruised also has a whole cast of secondary characters, some of whom are older folks in their 60s and 70s. Two older women, Bee and Yolanda, who used to play roller derby and who are hilarious, tough chicks, would be great roles for amazing actresses like Susan Sarandon, Julie Walters, Dianne West, or Harriet Walter.

I don’t know a lot about directors, but I would like someone for whom story and character is the focus. In Bruised, roller derby is important and adds excitement to the story, but the heart of the novel is its characters and Daya’s internal struggle. I’d want to see that come through thoughtfully on screen.
Visit Tanya Boteju's website.

Q&A with Tanya Boteju.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Nicola DeRobertis-Theye's "The Vietri Project"

Nicola DeRobertis-Theye was an Emerging Writing Fellow at the New York Center for Fiction, and her work has been published in Agni, Electric Literature, and LitHub. A graduate of UC Berkeley, she received an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, where she was the fiction editor of its literary magazine Ecotone. She is a native of Oakland, CA and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Here DeRobertis-Theye dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, The Vietri Project:
I have to start with a dream director: Greta Gerwig, who is from Sacramento, like my main character. My book is about a young woman’s search, in Rome, to discover the life story of a man she’s never met who ordered hundreds of mystical and esoteric books from her bookstore; it’s also about being twenty-five and learning to make your way in the world. I think her ability to capture intelligent but perhaps a bit wayward young women at a moment when they are searching or striving for something, even if they don’t quite know what that something is, would be the perfect fit. I’ve seen Ladybird twice, and sobbed through most of it both times. There’s a sequence in Ladybird that features a series of clear eyed but lingering, loving shots on some of the nostalgic places in Sacramento for the film’s main character; can you imagine this ability to capture a sense of place turned out on Rome? She also is able to capture character dynamics in a way that would really be able to handle the larger family scenes that come when Gabriele reunites with her large Italian family.

As for my main character, Gabriele, I would cast Florence Pugh, who of course has already worked with Greta Gerwig as Amy in Little Women: her face is so expressive and she has the right self-contained but emotive quality that could really carry a role where there is so much interior character change. She’s also the exact right age—so much of the book is about the difficulties of being twenty-five—and she has the searching quality most important to Gabriele.

For Andrea, her cousin and the first family member she reaches out to, I’d cast Timothée Chalamet. He has the right impish quality for what is at times a difficult relationship between the two cousins, and I could see him capturing the ironic distance and passivity of the young Romans adrift after the financial crisis.

For her two aunts, Giulia and Settimia, they are perfectly different types: I would cast a middle aged Sophia Loren as Settimia and Tracy Ullman as Giulia.
Visit Nicola DeRobertis-Theye's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 12, 2021

Claire Holroyde's "The Effort"

Claire Holroyde is a writer and graphic designer living outside of Philadelphia.

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of The Effort, her first novel:
With its ensemble cast and multiple narrative threads, The Effort would better adapt to an original series. I select Naren Shankar, showrunner for The Expanse, to bring the novel to life. Naren respects science. He holds a PhD in Applied Physics & Electrical Engineering from Cornell University no less. However, he doesn’t let science overshadow meaningful drama. The Expanse is one of the best shows on television, outside of any categorization. It’s a successful adaptation of the book series by James S. A. Corey and features everything I would desire for my own: an epic storyline, a large and diverse ensemble cast, expert screenwriting, and complex production design.

As for casting the international characters of The Effort, let me roll up my sleeves and populate its two main settings: a spaceport at the South American equator and a polar icebreaker on a research expedition in the Arctic.

Spaceport in French Guiana

Dr. Ben Schwartz, a NASA manager turned science lead of the Defense Effort for Comet UD3, would be played by Hugh Dancy of Hannibal and Homeland. Dancy could emanate brilliance, manic intensity, sarcasm, and desperation as the mission’s launch window reduces. Ben’s partner, Amy Kowalski, would be played by Mackenzie Davis of Halt and Catch Fire and The Martian. Davis has proven that she can play an intriguing cyberpunk with pluck and fortitude that is not to be underestimated. Love Mwangi, UN interpreter and renowned linguist, would be played by Lupita Nyong'o of Black Panther and Us. Like Love, Nyong’o was raised primarily in Nairobi. She is worldly and has dual Kenyan and Mexican citizenship. Dr. Zhen Liu would be played by Chinese actress Zhou Xun of Cloud Atlas and The Equation of Love and Death. Zhou has appeared in over 30 films and is the first entertainer to receive the UNEP's Champion of the Earth award.

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy in the Arctic

Jack Campbell, a photojournalist on assignment with National Geographic, would be played by Bradley Cooper of A Star is Born and Silver Linings Playbook. He is older than the character, but he’s too perfect as a golden boy with good looks and easy charm. He could flip on a dime between comedy, drama, and the middle ground. Dr. Maya Gutiérrez, an oceanographer, would be played by Gina Rodriguez of Annihilation and Jane the Virgin. Rodriguez can be endearing but dogged like Maya. Lt. Ned Brandt, Healy’s helicopter pilot and crewmember, will be played by the physically strong, funny, and lovable Chris Pratt of Guardians of the Galaxy and Parks & Rec.

Gustavo Wayãpi, a Nobel Laureate and Indigenous activist, was both my most complicated character and biggest casting challenge. The role requires an Indigenous actor with Amazonian heritage who can also speak English. A friend tipped me off to the Indigenous actor Nilbio Torres of Embrace of the Serpent—the first Colombian film ever to receive a nomination for an Academy Award. Torres worked in a jungle plantation when a film crew arrived, offered him a role, and sent him to acting classes in Bogotá. The new actor is more than 20 years too young to play Gustavo and lacks the language capability, but he exemplifies the right kind of casting decision.
Visit Claire Holroyde's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Kate Quinn's "The Rose Code"

Kate Quinn is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction. A native of southern California, she attended Boston University where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. She has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance, before turning to the 20th century with The Alice Network, The Huntress, and The Rose Code. All have been translated into multiple languages. Quinn and her husband now live in San Diego with three rescue dogs.

Here Quinn dreamcasts an adaptation of The Rose Code:
Every writer dreams their book will someday be a ten-part HBO miniseries, and I'm no exception! If my novel The Rose Code with its trio of Bletchley Park codebreaker heroines were to get the Hollywood treatment, here's my dream cast:

For my effervescent debutante Osla whose fluent German lands her a job translating decoded German intelligence, Holliday Grainger. In The Borgias and CB Strike, she shows Osla's beauty, sparkle, and sense of fun—she's the girl all men fall in love with, and all women want as their best friend.

For my tough-as-nails London shop-girl Mab, who ends up working Bletchley Park's legendary bombe marchines, Cara Delevingne. She has the height, the imperious eyebrows, the resting b*tch face, and shows like Carnival Row showed she can play a woman with a soft center under a hard outer shell.

For Beth, my shy wallflower turned genius cryptanalyst, Anya Taylor-Joy. ATJ proved in The Queen's Gambit that she can play quirky oddball genius women with huge flair and strength.

That's just the heroines—there are plenty of other characters in The Rose Code. Prince Philip (in the days before he was royal consort) shows up in this novel, and after The Crown, I can't think of anyone playing him but Matt Smith. Alan Leech (Branson from Downton Abbey) for Francis Gray, a war poet who will end up as suitor to one of my heroines. Mena Massoud would be terrific as Harry Zarb, an Egyptian-Maltese-Arabic codebreaker who works alongside Alan Turing on the fiendishly difficult German U-boat ciphers. And Anthony Head, after playing such a superb mentor figure in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is the only one I can think of to play Dilly Knox, an absent-minded classics scholar turned codebreaker who recruits Beth for his team!

And soundtrack by Hans Zimmer, please.
Learn more about the book and author at Kate Quinn's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Kate Quinn and Caesar.

My Book, The Movie: Empress of the Seven Hills.

The Page 69 Test: The Rose Code.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Lisa Fipps's "Starfish"

Lisa Fipps is a graduate of Ball State University, award-winning former journalist, current director of marketing for a public library (where she won the Sara Laughlin marketing award), and an author of middle-grade books. Starfish is her debut novel. She’s working on her next novel and several others. She currently lives in Indiana and lived in Texas.

Here dreamcasts an adaptation of Starfish:
Starfish gives readers a true-to-life glimpse into what a fat child’s life is like. The world tries to make Ellie feel small by bullying her relentlessly just because she’s fat. She only has a handful of allies, but they’re accepting, loving, and loyal: her dad; friend Viv (who moves away); her new neighbor, Catalina, who becomes her friend; her pug, Gigi; her therapist, Dr. Wood; the school librarian; and two teachers. Ellie’s resilient and has a great sense of humor as she struggles to keep from drowning in a sea of deep, emotional turmoil caused by fatphobia and anti-fat bias. During her journey, she realizes there’s nothing wrong with her; there’s something wrong with people who are full of hatred and cruelty. Then she realizes a powerful, freeing truth: She has the right to be seen, to be heard, and to take up space in the world.

The answer to who should play Ellie would need to come closer to when the movie came out because kids change so quickly as they age. That said, I would definitely want a fat girl to play Ellie, one who would not need a fat suit or prosthetic makeup. That would be horribly offensive. There are fat children actors. Let them shine as Ellie. Maybe like a young Chrissy Metz from This Is Us. As far as the parents, I’d love to see someone like Matthew McConaughey play Ellie’s dad, someone who could do a true, thick Texas accent. For Ellie’s mom, I’d want an actress who could play the role of being super tough (almost heartless) and make a lot of missteps but only because she has these internal principles she truly thinks are right (even though they’re not) and so she’s trying to do what she thinks is best, like Keri Russell did in The Americans.

I know so little about directing and directors. However, I can tell you about two TV shows and three movies that felt like seamless storytelling to me, which, I think is a sign of good directing: Indian Summers, The Americans, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Shawshank Redemption, and Steel Magnolias. That’s the key to me: seamless storytelling.
Visit Lisa Fipps's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 5, 2021

Mark Edward Langley's "Death Waits in the Dark"

Mark Edward Langley was instilled with a love for the American West by his father at a young age. After visiting it throughout adulthood, his connection to the land became irrevocable. After spending almost thirty years working for someone else, he retired and began to focus on writing.

Here Langley shares some ideas for casting an adaptation of his Arthur Nakai mysteries: Path of the Dead, Death Waits in the Dark, and the forthcoming When Silence Screams:
Normally when I create a certain character--like my lead Arthur Nakai—I try to chose someone, possibly an actor that I admire, to base them on.

In the case of Arthur Nakai and the people that inhabit his world, I looked at many Native American actors in an effort to find the one who most epitomized the character I had created. In Arthur’s case, I chose Zahn McClarnon (in his younger days since Arthur is in his mid-forties.) He embodied what I thought Arthur would look like. He had the rugged look and the muscular frame that fit the character very well.

Next, I looked at someone to base Arthur’s wife off on, and I decided it should be a local news anchor/reporter at the time I was conversing with. I was asking her questions that only she cold answer: what do you have to give up in order to become a news reporter? What do you miss now that you’ve been doing it as long as you have? Is there anything you regret? Her name was Kim Vadis. And, to me, she was Sharon Nakai. From her I learned of the sacrifices that profession asks of you. I learned how much you had to give in order to chase that dream.

For the character of Navajo police captain Jake Bilagody, my main influence was my grandfather on my father’s side. Though not Native American, I chose him for his physique. He was a large, tall barrel-chested man with a booming voice when needed. I didn’t really have any actor in mind when I created him, and I have never really thought about who would play him if a movie or TV show is ever discussed.

I will admit that when I begin to develop characters, I search the internet for ideas. I have in my mind what the person may look like, but until I type those attributes into the search bar, I truly have no idea. They could end up being a photograph that pops up or a conglomeration of a few people. In the case of Sharon’s father, Edward Keonie in Path of the Dead, I searched for an older man and found him. In Death Waits in the Dark, I pulled from my own past when I conjured up Margaret Tabaaha, the mother who lost her husband during Operation Enduring Freedom and now her two sons to an elusive killer. And in the next book in the Arthur Nakai mystery series, When Silence Screams—because it’s a fictional story that tries to enlighten the reader about the true devastating scourge of missing and murdered indigenous women on the reservations of the USA and Canada—I studied every flier that held the young face of a missing Native American girl. Since learning that in 2016 alone 5,712 girls and women went missing, I knew I had to honor them by making the girls in my novel as real as possible.

Some of the other characters that populate my novels tend to be a mixture of people I either worked with or went to school with. I hope that when an old friend of mine reads his nickname in When Silence Screams, he’ll have a big grin on his face. If my books are lucky enough to be picked up for film or TV, I hope I will be consulted when the actors are discussed. But knowing what I do about how Hollywood works, my role may simply be largely symbolic. But I’ll take it!
Visit Mark Edward Langley's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 1, 2021

Marj Charlier's "The Rebel Nun"

Marj Charlier began her writing career at daily and mid-size newspapers before joining the Wall Street Journal as a staff reporter. After twenty years in journalism, she pursued her MBA and began a second career in corporate finance. While she has published ten novels, The Rebel Nun is her first historical novel.

Here Charlier dreamcasts an adaptation of The Rebel Nun:
The Rebel Nun offers everything I love in a great movie: a smart, strong and complex heroine; detestable male and female antiheros; a posse of allies that would make Joseph Campbell proud; a captivating (but unobtrusive) setting; and a fast-paced climactic action scene, all befitting a terrific cast. Since I have an unlimited budget for my movie, my cast is as aspirational as the nuns’ rebellion.

Clotild is a complicated heroine—sometimes impetuous, sometimes cautious, always introspective and analytical. She is of northern Germanic descent—Frank and Thuringian, and perhaps more distantly, Scandinavian. Scarlett Johansson is a perfect fit, bringing her Avengers/Black Widow personality and moxie to the role.

Stellan Skarsgård would be well suited to play Maroveus, the evil Bishop of Poitiers, with a bulbous nose and enervating presence. Skarsgård could reprise his puffed-out pose, ego, and lack of self-awareness of Good Will Hunting, and his smart but manipulable Selvig of The Avengers. And Geoffrey Rush would play Maroveus’s aging colleague, the sometimes helpful, sometimes conniving, always misogynist, Bishop Gregory of Tours.

Lebover, the corrupt and licentious abbess who demeans the nuns, especially Clotild, is a tough role to fill because I can’t imagine anyone would want to be identified with her. I would like a Kathy Bates of twenty years ago, but I have no time machine. Perhaps this would give Melissa McCarthy a chance to show her chops playing a severe, unsympathetic character. Meanwhile Jennifer Lawrence would bring to Basina—Clotild’s weak, mercurial, and unreliable cousin—a flighty yet tragic nature. The two other major roles for nuns would be blessed by Gal Gadot and Eva Longoria.

I see Alboin, the only good guy in the book, as charismatic, good looking and tall, if not also big. He must rock a serious beard and have Germanic blue eyes. Of course, Brad Pitt could do this, but he’s only 5’11”. If Bradley Cooper, at 6’1”, brings his most weighty gravitas to the role, he would be perfect. It’s a small role here but will be much larger in the sequel (to come).

With this cast, there’s no need to worry about a director. My husband prefers Martin Scorsese for his ability to create “buzz,” but I think it should be a woman. Niki Caro loves directing strong female characters, and she has done fabulous work on such films as Whale Rider and McFarland U.S.A. And I want Rachel Portman and Antonio Pinto to collaborate on the music and score.
Visit Marj Charlier's website.

--Marshal Zeringue