Monday, June 20, 2022

Mary Anna Evans's "The Physicists’ Daughter"

Mary Anna Evans is an award-winning author, a writing professor, and she holds degrees in physics and engineering, a background that, as it turns out, is ideal for writing her new book, The Physicists’ Daughter. Set in WWII-era New Orleans, the book introduces Justine Byrne, whom Evans describes as “a little bit Rosie-the-Riveter and a little bit Bletchley Park codebreaker.” When Justine, the daughter of two physicists who taught her things girls weren’t expected to know in 1944, realizes that her boss isn’t telling her the truth about the work she does in her factory job, she draws on the legacy of her unconventional upbringing to keep her division running and protect her coworkers, her country, and herself from a war that is suddenly very close to home.

Here Evans dreamcasts an adaptation of the new novel:
Justine Byrne

Either Saoirse Ronan or Anya Taylor-Joy would bring the right mix of intellect and individualism. Like Justine, they are beautiful, but in their own striking way that doesn’t depend on wearing trendy makeup and the “right” clothes. They look like themselves.

Georgette Broussard

I think Florence Pugh would have a lot of fun with Georgette’s Cajun accent and her bold physicality.


Jonathan Groff has Charles’s brainy-but-slightly-dangerous vibe.


Sebastian Stan has Martin’s magnetism and, not to put a fine point on it, his notable brawn.


I have spent a lot of time on the internet trying to answer the question of who should play Jerry. The difficulty I’ve had in finding the right actor just emphasizes the importance of casting him well. Jerry is a polio survivor with limited mobility in his legs, but full mobility in his upper body. He uses a wheelchair and drives a car with hand controls that he designed and built himself, because he is a mechanical genius. To do his job as a factory maintenance chief, he has designed his workshop to accommodate his needs. It is important to me that Jerry be portrayed by someone who uses a wheelchair. I know that there are actors out there who are perfect for this role, but I couldn't find quite the right person. A casting director with access to information on a wide variety of actors could surely do better than I could. I really hope the movie gets made, because Jerry would be such a good role for the right actor.
Learn more about the author and her work at Mary Anna Evans' website.

My Book, The Movie: Strangers.

Q&A with Mary Anna Evans.

--Marshal Zeringue