Saturday, May 18, 2024

Marion McNabb's "Some Doubt About It"

Marion McNabb is a novelist and screenwriter who studied film at the Tisch School at NYU and graduated from Arizona State with a degree in Theater. She lived for many years in Los Angeles but the siren call pulled her back to Cape Cod where she lives with her family looking for mermaids and working on her next novel.

Here McNabb dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Some Doubt About It:

I worked for several years as a screenwriter on a children’s animated preschool program and had an absolute ball. It was amazing to see WRITTEN BY with my name underneath scrolling across my television. My phone’s camera roll will prove just how exciting that felt. Which is to say I have some experience in Hollywood. I spent years toiling away on the craft and in that time wrote three feature films, one was optioned at one point, and several pilots and pitched to, and was working on producing material with, studios all over Los Angeles. Universal, Disney, Apple, Nickelodeon, etc. to name a few. Having honed my skills as a screenwriter I unconsciously perhaps trained myself to write with particular actors in mind.

Writing narrative fiction is a little bit of a different process. I don’t think I fully realize until I’m well into the story exactly who the actor is but once it clicks I see them in my mind’s eye as I continue on and all through edits. This isn’t necessarily the case for all of the characters, sometimes it’s more pronounced for one initially and then a mixture of other actors for the other characters which was the case for my latest.

This novel, Some Doubt About It straddles the Hollywood line in and of itself. Caroline, a self- billed “Success at Life” guru to the stars has a couple of very bad days and must leave the glitz and glamour of LA for stodgy old Cape Cod and in so doing she learns what true success, and love, are really about.

Caroline, our protagonist, is a small town girl who decided she would be rich and famous and she achieved that goal but she felt empty. I think as I wrote she morphed and change from what was in my head to what ended up in the edited final. She is a bit more of an amalgamation of several actors - Jennifer Garner, Reese Witherspoon and maybe a dash of Sandra Bullock and a spritz of Amy Adams. Eclectic, yes. Both the mix and the character.

Once I saw Kathy Bates as my antagonist, the imposing character of Devorah van Buren it was difficult to visualize anyone else. Devorah is a tell-it-like-it-is grand dame who suffers no fools. She is salty, mouthy, a tad unkempt (though I don’t think she fully realizes that because she doesn’t really care) but she is a very nuanced figure. Outwardly she is cantankerous while privately she has moments of great vulnerability. While writing her I knew what a special woman she was. Complicated and lovable and the epitome of an actress of Kathy Bates’s intelligence and skill who could bring her to life. I truly cannot wait to see that manifestation.

Writing for me is always a visual experience. I can see the words line up and the scene laid out, the setting, the characters. I don’t delve too deeply into it however, I like to keep the magic rolling. And, always there’s a sprinkling of me in every character. Even Devorah’s little dog Mary Magdalene. Being able to free my mind of all constraints and delve into the world of the story is so difficult at times as well as rewarding. I daresay casting will be a whole lot easier.
Visit Marion McNabb's website.

--Marshal Zeringue