Monday, May 10, 2021

Erika Montgomery's "A Summer to Remember"

A card-carrying cinephile and native New Englander, novelist Erika Montgomery lives with her family in the Mid-Atlantic where she teaches creative writing and watches an unspeakable amount of old movies.

Here Montgomery dreamcasts an adaptation of A Summer to Remember, her debut novel:
There’s always something fun—and usually irresistible—in casting our characters as we write them, but since A Summer to Remember features the lasting impact of a Hollywood golden couple who move to Cape Cod and the enduring movie festival that starts there as a result, this challenge takes on a particularly significant meaning for me.

The story begins in present day Hollywood with thirty-year-old Frankie who owns a movie memorabilia shop opened with her late mother, Maeve, and whose world is thrown upside down when she discovers a pair of sealed letters to the husband and son of one of the most famous actresses of the seventies, Glory Cartwright—letters that may also finally lead Frankie to the identity of her father.

Amanda Seyfried would be a wonderful casting choice for eternal optimist Frankie, capturing Frankie’s emotional vulnerability and her determination to find the answers to the mystery she’s come across the country to solve, employing that same infectious energy and optimism that Seyfried did in Mamma Mia.

For Gabe, the estranged boatbuilding son of Hollywood royalty, and Frankie’s love interest, I originally had Josh Hartnett in mind. Besides having the tall, rangy build and scruffy/sexy good looks, Hartnett would bring Gabe’s crucial blend of brooding smolder and quiet warmth.

For Glory, the late actress who begrudgingly left Hollywood at the prime of her career to follow her husband, Mitch, back to his Cape Cod hometown, I think Amy Adams would capture both Glory’s larger-than-life glamour as well as her emotional fragility.

Mitch has classic Hollywood good looks. He’s ruggedly handsome and quick to flash a melting smile, but having grown up as a fisherman’s son on Cape Cod, he has a down-to-earth quality that adds to his every-man appeal. For Mitch, I had cast Kyle Chandler from the start. Like Chandler, Mitch has those classic handsome Hollywood leading man looks and obvious charm, but there’s a rawness to him, an emotional availability, that is always dangerously close to the surface that I think Kyle Chandler could play effortlessly, as he did so perfectly in Bloodlines and, of course, always as Coach Taylor on Friday Night Lights.

Russ, the town doctor and Mitch’s childhood best friend is in his seventies in the present storyline and his forties in the back story but both portrayals require someone with quiet strength and calm. In Mitch’s younger years, I’d cast Jude Law or Matt Damon. For an older Russ, David Strathairn would be a perfect choice, since the actor excels at bringing that quiet strength and compassion to his roles, such as he did in Passion Fish and The River Wild.

For Louise, a doctor’s wife who becomes Glory’s dearest friend when the actress moves to small-town Cape Cod, and who we also meet in two time periods, I’d cast real-life mother and daughter Gwyneth Paltrow and Blythe Danner. In comparison to Glory’s larger-than-life personality, Louise possesses a no-nonsense practicality and formality, and a quiet elegance, that I think both actresses would bring to the role.

And finally, for Maeve, Frankie’s late mother, I would cast Elizabeth Olsen to bring Maeve’s earthiness and warmth, as well as her vivacious energy, to the big screen.
Visit Erika Montgomery's website.

--Marshal Zeringue