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