Friday, November 17, 2017

Rachel Neumeier's "Winter of Ice and Iron"

Rachel Neumeier started writing fiction to relax when she was a graduate student and needed a hobby unrelated to her research. Prior to selling her first fantasy novel, she had published only a few articles in venues such as The American Journal of Botany. However, finding that her interests did not lie in research, Rachel left academia and began to let her hobbies take over her life instead.

She now raises and shows dogs, gardens, cooks, and occasionally finds time to read. She works part-time for a tutoring program, though she tutors far more students in Math and Chemistry than in English Composition.

Here Neumeier dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Winter of Ice and Iron:
Kehera Elin Raëhema – Caitlin Stasey. Kehera would need to be portrayed as a responsible, kind, somewhat serious, girl-next-door young woman; definitely not as a glamorous beauty queen. Caitlin Stasey did a great job as Ellie in Tomorrow, When the War Began – I’m sure she could play an excellent Kehera.

Eilisè – Ingvild Deila. Kehera’s friend as well as her servant, Eilisè takes her duty to her mistress very seriously. The affection between them draws Eilisè into exile with Kehera when duty alone couldn’t have compelled her to go. I think Ingvild Deila would be wonderful for this role.

Tirovay Elin Raëhema – Colin Ford. Tiro, Kehera’s younger brother, shares the Elin character. Like his sister, he’s serious, responsible, and kind. He also has to grow up very fast in this story. He would need to be played by someone who could show the rapid shift of a boy into a man. At 21, Colin Ford is probably young enough to pull this off – and he did a good job playing the right kind of character in Under the Dome.

The Mad King of Emmer – Anthony Hopkins. I doubt Hopkins would agree to play such a small role, but dream cast, right? It’s hard to imagine anybody better for the creepy Mad King.

General Enmon Corvallis – Sean Connery. Can I have my real dream cast? Because the Sean Connery of The Hunt for Red October – which was made nearly thirty years ago – would be exactly right to play an experienced, capable, politically ambitious military general. Corvallis is just the guy who might be able to put the pieces of Emmer back together after the Mad King smashes the country to bits. He certainly wants to be the one to try. Connery in his prime would have been wonderful in this role.

Innisth Maèr Eänetaì – Christian Bale. Who else could bring such dark-edged intensity to the role? The Wolf Duke is all about dark-edged intensity. And chilly pride. And iron self-control. And, most of all, honor. Though he’d probably laugh in your face if someone pointed this last part out to him. Not that anyone would have the nerve, except Kehera.

Gereth Murrel – Ed Harris. The Wolf Duke’s seneschal, but also the closest thing to a surrogate father that Innisth Maèr Eänetai ever had, Gereth modeled kindness and responsibility for Innisth while the boy was growing up and continued to do so later after the young man became duke. Without Gereth’s influence, Innisth might well have followed in the steps of his biological father, with dire consequences for everyone. Gereth continues to play an important role in Innisth’s household all the way through the story.

Tageiny – Mark Wahlberg. Tag’s been around. Bodyguard, thug, maybe a soldier at some time in the past, he’s the kind of guy you want in your corner when it comes down to a dirty fight in a tight corner. It’s a role that would suit Wahlberg perfectly.

Quòn – Jay Ryan. The mysterious Quòn might be difficult to portray. I suspect Ryan could pull it off.
Visit Rachel Neumeier's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Gary Blackwood's "Bucket's List"

http://severnhouse.com/author/Gary+Blackwood/9664Gary Blackwood is the award-winning author of more than thirty novels and non-fiction titles for children and young adults, including the bestselling Shakespeare Stealer series. Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, he now lives in Canada.

Here Blackwood dreamcasts an adaptation of his latest novel, Bucket's List:
To be honest, I cringe a bit at the thought of any of my books being filmed.  I’ve seen far too many failed attempts to adapt novels to the big screen (nonfiction usually fares a bit better).  With a few exceptions—Dances With Wolves comes to mind, and Blade Runner—the movie doesn’t do justice to its source, and perhaps can’t.  The two are just such different animals.

For one thing, novels are open to interpretation.  They invite—require, in fact—the participation of the reader; when we read one, we picture the characters and the settings for ourselves (with a little help from the author).  But movies are so literal; you’re stuck with actors (and their interpretations) and locations that are chosen for you.

So, assuming I got an offer I couldn’t refuse, who would I choose to stick an audience with in the role of Inspector Field?  Well, if I’d written the book a decade or two ago, my hands down choice would have been Bob Hoskins; he has that essential ability to play both menacing and funny.  And if I could resurrect an actor from the past, Sir Ralph Richardson would do nicely.  Picking someone from the current crop of box-office draws (and it would surely be hard to get a movie made without a Name) is a bit trickier.  Liam Neeson would likely be your best bet (though I don’t believe he’s known for his comic timing), but Russell Crowe might be able to pull it off; he did play a detective at least.  And a boxer.

Unless I get to write the screenplay, though, the deal’s off.
Learn more about Bucket's List.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 13, 2017

Michael Stanley's "Dying to Live"

Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Their mysteries are set in Botswana, each against a backdrop of a current issue in southern Africa. Their protagonist is David “Kubu” Bengu, assistant superintendent in the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department (CID). The third novel in the series, Death of the Mantis, was short listed for an Edgar and an Anthony, and won the Barry Award for best paperback original mystery of 2011.

Here the authors dreamcast an adaptation of Dying to Live, the sixth Detective Kubu mystery:
David “Kubu” Bengu is a large man, which gave rise to his nickname.  “Kubu” means hippo in his native language of Setswana.  Our first choice for an American-made film would be Forest Whitaker, who has all the right credentials, including an Academy Award for his role as Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland.  If we could turn the clock back a bit, James Earl Jones would fit the part perfectly.  Both of these actors have bulk, presence, and can be subtly funny.

Kubu’s boss, the irascible but soft-hearted Jacob Mabaku, would be a great role for Morgan Freeman.  Kerry Washington would be wonderful as Kubu’s wife, Joy.

For a British-made film, Nonso Anozie, from Game of Thrones, would be terrific as Kubu.  Thandie Newton would be his lovely wife, Joy, and Director Mabaku’s role could be filled by Paterson Joseph.
Learn more about the book and authors at Michael Stanley's website.

Read: Michael Stanley's top ten African crime novels.

The Page 69 Test: Deadly Harvest.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Dave Connis's "The Temptation of Adam"

https://daveconnis.com/Dave Connis writes words you can sing and words you can read. He lives in Chattanooga, TN with his wife, Clara and a dog that barks at non-existent threats.

About his new novel, The Temptation of Adam, from the publisher:
Adam Hawthorne is fine. Yeah, his mother left, his older sister went with her, and his dad would rather read Nicholas Sparks novels than talk to him. And yeah, he spends his nights watching self-curated porn video playlists. But Adam is fine. When a family friend discovers Adam’s porn addiction, he’s forced to join an addiction support group: the self-proclaimed Knights of Vice. He goes because he has to, but the honesty of the Knights starts to slip past his defenses. Combine that with his sister’s out-of-the-blue return and the attention of a girl he meets in an AA meeting, and all the work Adam has put into being fine begins to unravel. Now Adam has to face the causes and effects of his addiction, before he loses his new friends, his prodigal sister, and his almost semi-sort-of girlfriend.
His dream cast for an adaptation of the novel:
Adam Hawthorne: Finn Wolfhard, Mike from Stranger Things, but give him a few more years.

Addy Hawthorne: Maia Mitchell (with shorter hair).

Dez Coulter: Alani Simone. She's been in a bunch of commercials. Hasn't been in any movies yet.

Trey: Tyler Posey.

Eliot: Noah Munck.

Mr. Cratcher: Man...I don't know. Maybe Jeff Goldblum.
Visit Dave Connis's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 10, 2017

Todd Merer's "The Extraditionist"

In his thirty years as a criminal attorney, Todd Merer specialized in the defense of high-ranking cartel chiefs extradited to the United States. He gained acquittals in more than 150 trials, and his high-profile cases have been featured in the New York Times and Time magazine and on 60 Minutes. A “proud son of Brooklyn,” Merer divides his time between New York City and ports of call along the old Spanish Main.

Here Merer shares his dreamcast for an adaptation of The Extraditionist, his first novel:
In my mind’s eye, when creating characters I view him or her as someone I’ve seen before. Even if I’ve only seen that someone via films. If I were to dream cast The Extraditionist, here are the actors I would love to see in the movie (note that some of my favorite movies are quite old, so my casting spans the decades of Hollywood history).

BENN BLUESTONE.   Bryan Cranston/Robert Mitchum/Robert Ryan
LAURA ASTORQUIZA.   Monica Bellucci
FELIPE MONDRAGON.   Claude Raines
KANDI KAUFFMAN.   Amy Schumer
RIGO.   Peter Lorre
JILLY.   Veronica Lake
FOTO.   Cesar Romero
FERCHO.   Leo Gorcey
TRAUM.   Brian Dennehy
VAL.   Klaus Kinski
GENERAL UVALDE.   Robert Duvall with a brush mustache
JOAQUIN BOLIVAR.   Richard Conte
NATTY GRABLE.   Akim Tamiroff
RAFAEL BORG.   Dennis Hopper
CHAZ SCALLY.   Abe Fish
NELSON CANO.   John Leguizmo
EVGENY KURSK.   Vladimir Putin’s twin brother
Learn more about The Extraditionist.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Stephen R. Bown's "Island of the Blue Foxes"

http://www.stephenrbown.net/biography.phpStephen R. Bown is a critically acclaimed author of several literary non-fiction books on the history of science, exploration and ideas.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation his latest book, Island of the Blue Foxes: Disaster and Triumph on the World's Greatest Scientific Expedition:
Island of the Blue Foxes has many different aspects but there are certain parts of it that would make it an ideal base for an adventure-survival epic. It would start with scenes of the shipwreck and the men crawling ashore and setting up camp on a deserted beach with snow falling. Then it would flashback to the palace of Peter the Great in St. Petersburg, and a discussion between aristocrats of the general plan and of Peter’s burning desire to show Europe the grandeur and sophistication of Russia, which had only recently been transformed, in the estimation of Europe, from a barbarous backwater into a somewhat civilized state. Peter the Great wanted to do away with the perceived insults to Russian pride by contributing to global science and geography by financing a grand expedition – across Siberia to the east Pacific coast, and then by sail across the Pacific Ocean to America – and claim it for the Russian Empire. This scene would also show his choice of Bering as commander. The next scene would return to the island and the attacks of the feral blue foxes, with further flashbacks of the story up until the point of the shipwreck – struggling across Siberia, building the ships before the sea voyage across the Pacific to Alaska and in particular the mighty storms and shipwreck on an uninhabited uncharted island in November. The story of how they survived on the island (making shelter, the hunting of seals and sea lions, etc.), the near mutiny, the interpersonal quarrels, the endless attacks by feral blue foxes, and the dawning realization that they were on an island with no way off – is interspersed with the details of the voyage up until the survivors build a small ship from the wreck and sail home. The commander, the legendary but aging Danish captain Vitus Bering, would be ideal for Russell Crowe while the second lead, of the caustic, abrasive, heavy drinking but perceptive and oddly wise naturalist and physician, would be ideally suited to Benedict Cumberbatch.
Learn more about the book and author at Stephen R. Bown's website and Facebook page.

My Book, The Movie: The Last Viking.

The Page 99 Test: White Eskimo.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 6, 2017

Kelley Fanto Deetz's "Bound to the Fire"

Historical archaeologist and historian Kelley Fanto Deetz is a research associate at the James River Institute for Archaeology, and a Visiting Assistant Professor at Randolph College, in Lynchburg, Virginia. Deetz, who was a professional chef for several years, is a contributor to The Routledge History of Food and Birth of a Nation: Nat Turner and the Making of a Movement. Her work has appeared in National Geographic History.

Here Deetz shares her vision for an adaptation of her latest book, How Virginia's Enslaved Cooks Helped Invent American Cuisine:
Bound to the Fire highlights several enslaved cooks, many of whom have little record of their lives aside from mentions in a will or probate. If this book could translate to a film it would be one of short cameos, small clips that highlight and intertwine with one another. Commonalities of resistance, poisoning, social positioning, and pure talent would make these historical figures fascinating on the big screen. The kitchen as the stage and the food as the evidence of their labor and lives.

I’d imagine silence before each cameo’s scene. The sound of the large open-hearth fire burning in the background, the distant noise of butchering, chopping wood, and foot traffic surrounding the kitchen cabin. The individual scenes would start with the chopping of the first ingredient, or in one case, the ringing of a bell to wake the cook from slumber, and the silent walk into the kitchen to cook food for a guest in the dead of night. Each cameo would focus around a dish; okra stew, peanut soup, pepper pot, fried catfish, ham biscuits, and through each dish the stories of the individuals would come through in the time it took to cook each meal.

In this hypothetical film, the majority of the cooks would be played by unknown actors and actresses, however, Hercules would be played by Gary Carr and James Hemmings would be played by Michael Ealy, and the film would be directed by Amma Asante. Between each scene would be a narration of a recipe, a story, or historical context related to the plantation or kitchen landscape.  Shots of standing plantation kitchens would remind people that these buildings still exist, and are direct reminders of the history and legacy of enslaved cooks. The film would start, as my book does, with Sookey, and end with Hercules’ escape and his portrait in Spain.
Learn more about Bound to the Fire at Kelley Fanto Deetz's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 3, 2017

Craig Schaefer's "Cold Spectrum"

Craig Schaefer's books have taken readers to the seamy edge of a criminal underworld drenched in shadow (the Daniel Faust series), to a world torn by war, poison and witchcraft (the Revanche Cycle), and across a modern America mired in occult mysteries and a conspiracy of lies (the Harmony Black series).

Despite this, people say he's strangely normal. Suspiciously normal, in fact. He practices sleight of hand in his spare time, though he's not very good at it.

Here Schaefer dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, Cold Spectrum:
Casting my own books is a trickier question than it sounds. I rarely envision my characters in terms of specific actors – I see them in a fuzzier, more mutable space – but it’s a fun challenge to try. Of course, when it comes to the Harmony Black series, one character casts herself; specifically, Nadine, one of Harmony’s most dangerous foes. Given that she canonically remodeled her human form to resemble Taylor Swift, that’s one role taken care of (and with it, half the movie’s casting budget, but this is all hypothetical so let’s go big or go home.)

As for Harmony’s other nemesis, the lime-sneaker-clad technophile billionaire Bobby Diehl, one perfect prospect jumps to mind: Tom Hanks. He hasn’t played a ton of villainous parts, but he absolutely has the acting chops to pull it off. And given that Diehl is a closet neo-Nazi and multiple murderer, seeing the nicest guy in Hollywood in the role would be deliciously jarring.

For Harmony’s partner Jessie Temple – gifted with sharp instincts and an acid wit (as well as occasional bouts of feral rage, thanks to the backwoods entity her serial-killer father handed her to as a child) – I can picture one perfect choice. Aisha Tyler does comedy and drama with a deft hand, and her ongoing role on television’s Archer proves she could hit Jessie’s mix of dry humor and general exasperation note-perfectly.

Harmony herself, that’s the tough one for me. I’m so close to her – deeper than the marrow, writing her adventures in first-person – that it’s hard for me to find the perfect actor to match the impression in my mind’s eye. It would have to be a performer who not only fits the physical look but (much more importantly), can hit that perfect blend of ferociously dedicated, driven to the point of self-destruction, and decidedly neurotic.

I polled my friends and got multiple suggestions for Rachael Taylor, and I could definitely see her in the part. That said, I think I’d actually go closer to home and cast someone from my own production team: Susannah Jones, stage actress and the narrator of the audiobook adaptation of my Revanche Cycle series. Susannah is more than a good friend, she’s a tremendous actress and ridiculously talented. I think she could nail the part, and since this is my head-casting, she gets the job.
Visit Craig Schaefer's website.

The Page 69 Test: Cold Spectrum.

Writers Read: Craig Schaefer.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Eryk Pruitt's "What We Reckon"

Eryk Pruitt is a screenwriter, author and filmmaker living in Durham, NC with his wife Lana and cat Busey. His short films have won several awards at film festivals across the US.

Here Pruitt shares his choice of filmmakers he'd like to handle the adaptation of his new novel, What We Reckon:
Enter Jack Jordan. He’s snuck into Lufkin, Texas, in the dead of night with little more than a beat-up Honda, a hollowed-out King James Bible full of cocaine, and enough emotional baggage to sink a steam ship. He’s charming, dedicated, and extremely paranoid.

Summer Ashton, his partner-in-crime. She’s stuck by him through thick and thin, but lately her mind has begun to slip. They’ve told their fair share of lies and she’s having a devil of a time remembering what’s the truth. And recently, she’s been hearing voices. Unfortunately for both of them, she’s the brains of the operation.

Furthermore, they have begun to tire of one another.

For these two career grifters, the sleepy East Texas countryside is but another pit stop on their rampage across the American South.

Will it be their last?
* * *
I've wanted to write television for a long while. However, I'm unwilling to live in Los Angeles. This means that dream may never come true. What We Reckon is my compromise. It's how I scratched that itch.

The novel is structured exactly like a network would structure two seasons of a television show. It's complete with A, B, C, and D story arcs which rise and fall throughout the first part of the book, then again in the second.

I doubt I'd have any input on the actors, but if I were showrunner, I would insist on getting the directing talents of indie filmmakers Meredith Sause and Michael Howard to helm the show's vision. Those two award-winning filmmakers would bring great instinct to the project and all we'd have to do is tune in.
Visit Eryk Pruitt's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 30, 2017

Carrie Jones's "Enhanced"

Carrie Jones is the New York Times bestseller author of the Need series, Time Stoppers series, Flying series, Girl, Hero, Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend, and Love (and other uses for duct tape).

Here Jones dreamcasts an adaptation of her new book, Enhanced: Flying Series (Volume 2):
I almost always see scenes unfold in my head like movies or dreams when I write, but often I experience it from the main character’s point of view, more like I’m inhabiting that character especially when writing in the first person.

For Flying and Enhanced, I envision the character of Mana as mixed race and looking a bit like Maja Salvador or Kim Chiu. The film itself I see as a quirky mash-up between Captain America in terms of action and that buddy-flick feel combined with the ensemble teen aspects of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with some bizarre Men in Black send-ups thrown in.

In a way, Enhanced is a bit of a tongue-in-cheek homage to all of those movies, but mostly it’s a celebration of friendship and loyalty.
Visit Carrie Jones's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Carrie Jones & Tala.

Writers Read: Carrie Jones.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 27, 2017

John Keyse-Walker's "Beach, Breeze, Bloodshed"

John Keyse-Walker practiced law for 30 years, representing business and individual clients, educational institutions and government entities. He is an avid salt- and freshwater angler, a tennis player, kayaker and an accomplished cook. He and his wife divide their time between homes in Ohio and Flordia.

Here Keyse-Walker dreamcasts an adaptation of his latest novel, Beach, Breeze, Bloodshed:
Beach, Breeze, Bloodshed is the second book in the Teddy Creque mystery series. Like the first, it takes place in the British Virgin Islands, specifically on the islands of Anegada and Virgin Gorda. And, as with Sun, Sand, Murder, the location is almost a character in and of itself, so when I think of the books being turned into movies, the principle requirement in my mind is that the film be shot on location in those islands. Who knows, it might be easier to cast the film with quality actors when they know they will be working in a tropical paradise.

Denzel Washington would play main character Teddy Creque, a now older-but-wiser part-time cop, part-time fishing guide. He is the person I think of when I write the character.

Vanessa Williams seems fitting for the role of Jeanne Trengrouse, mother of child-witness Jemmy Trengrouse and Teddy’s love interest in the book. As Jeanne is of mixed African and Cornish ancestry, with striking blue eyes, Williams has the physical attributes in addition to the acting capabilities for the role.

Anthony Wedderburn, aka De White Rasta, would be played by Johnny Depp. Depp is a natural for the part of the ganja-smoking, ex-pat British aristocrat who is Teddy’s sidekick in both books.

The late, great Adolph Caesar would be perfect for the role of Sergeant Isaac Chalwell. Caesar’s talent was unappreciated when he was alive and he died too young at age fifty-six. His bantamweight bluster, gravelly voice, and pencil-thin mustache are Chalwell personified.

Constable Tybee (Bullfoot) George needs a big, amiable actor to play him. Forest Whitaker, he of soft voice and large stature, fits the bill, and could bring a special depth to the supporting but important role.

The right child actor for the role of eight-year-old autistic witness Jemmy Trengrouse is problematic for me. Child actors grow out of roles so quickly. This difficult part may be one for a talented unknown to fill.

The easiest character to cast is that of Deputy Commissioner Howard T. Lane. James Earl Jones’ stentorian voice and skeptical demeanor make him the only possibility to play Teddy’s spit-and-polish boss.
Visit John Keyse-Walker's website.

My Book, The Movie: Sun, Sand, Murder.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Margaret Duffy's "Murders.com"

Margaret Duffy is the author of numerous bestselling books and has also worked for both the UK's Inland Revenue and the Ministry of Defence.

Here Duffy dreamcasts an adaptation of her latest Patrick Gillard and Ingrid Langley mystery, Murders.com:
Murders.com is the latest in a series featuring Patrick Gillard and Ingrid Langley. Each title has been a complete story but also part of the on-going tale of a couple right from when they meet again after divorce to the present when they have re-married and have children. Patrick first joined the police when he left school but it wasn’t exciting enough for him so he enlisted in the Devon and Dorset Regiment, now subsumed into The Rifles. After serious injury he was offered a job with MI5 on the recommendation of a senior officer, now working with that organisation. But, as he was still recovering, his duties would initially involve socialising (spy-hunting at aristocratic social events). He was told to find a female working partner because  a lone man, a somewhat saturnine and dangerous individual at that, was too conspicuous. Having lost all confidence with women as a result of his injuries he approached his ex-wife, Ingrid, for help on the grounds that they had always got on famously in public. In a word, he was desperate. After hesitation, she agreed and that was where it all began. Eventually they work for the National Crime Agency.

An on-going series like this doesn’t lend itself to one movie, a TV series would be better. If this ever happens I would definitely want Paul McGann to play the lead role, he’s absolutely perfect for it.
Visit Margaret Duffy's website.

The Page 69 Test: Murders.com.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 23, 2017

S. Shankar's "Ghost in the Tamarind"

S. Shankar is a novelist, cultural critic and translator. Most recently, he was honored by a Fulbright-Nehru Award (2017-2018) and was appointed the 2016 Scholar-in-Residence at the Center for Critical Race Studies at the University of Houston-Downtown. Among other honors, he is the recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award from the College of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics at the University of Hawai‘i, where he is Professor of English.

Here Shankar dreamcasts an adaptation of his newest novel, Ghost in the Tamarind:
Ghost in the Tamarind is a novel about India—its world is Indian and so are (mostly) the characters, including the two main ones, Ramu and Ponni.

Might, then, a Bombay actor with an international reputation be best as Ramu? The young Amitabh Bachchan (how far the great have fallen) is one of my all time favorites. He was a stupendous actor, with tremendous screen presence, and though in his younger days was known mostly for dark and brooding roles, he was capable of great nuance. Surely, he would have been able to express that combination of anger, guilt and naivety (or is it innocence?) that is Ramu. However, I digress—that Amitabh Bachchan is thirty years in the past.

How about a contemporary American actor of Indian descent? Perhaps Aziz Ansari, who coincidentally is Tamil and even has parents from that part of India (Thirunelveli) that Ramu is from and in which so much of the novel is set! Ansari has perfected a fidgety and annoying comic public persona very different from Ramu; but Ramu’s earnestness might be an opportunity for him to stretch himself in new directions. A more obvious choice is British actor Dev Patel, who has taken on roles like Ramu. He would be very fine in that role.

For Ponni, an even more intense—more conflicted, more angry, more restless—character than Ramu, British-Indian actor Ayesha Dharker would be perfect. She played a similar role to great effect in Santosh Sivan’s little gem of a movie Terrorist (I highly recommend it). Another actor who could do Ponni to great effect: Seema Biswas, amazing in Shekar Kapur’s Bandit Queen as well as Deepa Mehta’s Water. Dharker and Biswas both are capable of a brooding and uncommon beauty that would work well in giving Ponni flesh on the screen.

Of course, the recommendations above for Ramu and Ponni would be best for when they are older. Ghost in the Tamarind takes its main characters from childhood to when they are around forty years of age. Different actors might be needed for the different parts of the story.

Director? Someone with an Indie spirit might work best. There’s (to my mind at least) a contrariness to Ghost in the Tamarind that any film version would have to preserve in casting as well as directorial vision. Santosh Sivan, who has deep experience in the Tamil film industry, would know how to plumb the Indian, and more specifically Tamil, world of the novel. Indo-Canadian Deepa Mehta too would be great, because of her novelistic imagination. And then there are a few others I can think of, including a couple not well known yet.
Visit S. Shankar's website.

The Page 69 Test: Ghost in the Tamarind.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 20, 2017

S.F. Henson's "Devils Within"

S.F. Henson was born and raised in the deep south. She graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Animal Science, which she put to great use by attending law school. Her law degree has gotten some mileage, though, giving her the experience to write about criminals and other dark, nefarious subjects. She lives beside a missile test range in Huntsville, Alabama with her husband, dog, two oddly named cats, and, of course, the missiles that frequently shake her house.

Here Henson dreamcasts an adaptation of her debut novel, Devils Within:
My writing brain works in a strange way. Sometimes the characters appear fully formed. I can see their faces and hear their voices and know exactly who would play them in a move version of the book. And sometimes it takes a little work for me to learn the characters and figure out who they are. The writing process for Devils Within ended up being a mix of these two methods. It took a while to see some of the characters while others popped into my head complete.

The main character, Nate Fuller, is one I had to work to uncover, which pretty much sums him up as a character. Throughout the book, he's figuring out who he is and learning things about himself. If I were able to cast someone to play movie Nate, I would be pretty open to finding the right actor for the role, but I do think that Tyler Young would be a good Nate.

Then there's Nate's friend, Brandon Kingsley. He pushes Nate, but he has his own problems too. I've always pictured Michael B. Jordan as Brandon. In reality, he's a little too old to play sixteen-year-old Brandon, but this is my dream cast so I'm keeping him! (Although, I could also see him as Brandon's older brother, Henry).

Brandon's mother, Iria Kingsley, has been Debbie Allen from day one. From the moment the character popped in my head, it was Debbie Allen's voice, movements, and facial expressions. She's also older than Brandon's mother would actually be, but again, my dream cast!

Nate's uncle and guardian, Dell Clemons, was also fully formed upon creation. He has always been Norman Reedus. Norman has the ability to pull off the balance of withdrawn but resentfully caring that sums up Dell.

For Brandon's father, Dr. James Kingsley, I would cast Taye Diggs. I've always heard Dr. Kingsley's voice very clearly. He's firm but patient, quiet but commanding. Like Nate, I could see a number of actors playing Dr. Kingsley, but I would love to see Taye in the role.

Dell's girlfriend, Bev Liu, was always clear as to her mannerisms, but I couldn't picture her face. Not until I saw a Vogue cover with Liu Wen on it. I knew the instant I saw her that she was Bev. Liu Wen is a model, not an actress, but maybe she could be convinced to cross over.

Finally, there's Kelsey Sawyer, Nate's best friend growing up. His "what if?" girl. I would cast Katherine Langford play her. Kelsey is tough and determined. Like Nate, she's had a hard life and has had to do things that haunt her. I think Katherine could show those layers really well.

For director, absolutely David Fincher, His aesthetic would be perfect for the dark feel of the book. Add in Trent Reznor for the score and I would be over the moon!
Visit S.F. Henson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 19, 2017

David Biespiel's "The Education of a Young Poet"

David Biespiel was born in 1964 and grew up in Houston, Texas.  He is a poet, literary critic, columnist, and contributing writer at The Rumpus, American Poetry ReviewPolitico, New RepublicPartisan, Slate, Poetry, and The New York Times, among other publications.

He is the author of ten books, most recently The Education of a Young PoetA Long High Whistle, which received the 2016 Oregon Book Award for General Nonfiction, and The Book of Men and Women, which was chosen one of the Best Books of the Year by the Poetry Foundation and received the 2011 Oregon Book Award for Poetry.

Here Biespiel shares his idea for casting an adaptation of The Education of a Young Poet:
The cast is going to have to be an ensemble of unknowns. Something like the cast of Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused  meets the cast of John Sayles’ Return of the Seacaucus 7.
Visit David Biespiel's website.

Writers Read: David Biespiel.

The Page 99 Test: The Education of A Young Poet.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Meryl Gordon's "Bunny Mellon"

Meryl Gordon is the author of the New York Times bestselling Mrs. Astor Regrets and Phantom of Fifth Avenue, a Wall Street Journal bestseller. She is an award-winning journalist and a regular contributor to Vanity Fair. She is on the graduate journalism faculty at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. She is considered an expert on “elder abuse” and has appeared on NPR, CNN and other outlets whenever there is a high-profile case.

Gordon's new book is Bunny Mellon: The Life of an American Style Legend.

Here the author dreamcasts an adaptation of the biography:
Years ago I profiled Nicole Kidman, who was delightful in person, and while she is too pretty to play Bunny, she would be perfect to show the regal and vulnerable range of the character.
Visit Meryl Gordon's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Phantom of Fifth Avenue.

Writers Read: Meryl Gordon.

The Page 99 Test: Bunny Mellon.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 16, 2017

Paul Halpern's "The Quantum Labyrinth"

Paul Halpern is a professor of physics at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, and the author of fifteen popular science books, including Einstein’s Dice and Schrödinger’s Cat. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright Scholarship, and an Athenaeum Literary Award. Halpern has appeared on numerous radio and television shows including Future Quest, Radio Times, several shows on the History Channel, and The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special. He has contributed opinion pieces for the Philadelphia Inquirer, blogs frequently on Medium, and was a regular contributor to NOVA’s “The Nature of Reality” physics blog.

Here Halpern dreamcasts an adaptation of his new book, The Quantum Labyrinth: How Richard Feynman and John Wheeler Revolutionized Time and Reality:
I can envision a 1950s film of Richard Feynman and John Wheeler, with Jack Lemmon playing Feynman and Jimmy Stewart in the role of Wheeler.  I think Lemmon’s experience with the jazzy scenes, music, humor, flirtatiousness, and silly antics in Some Like It Hot would have made him perfect for the role.  Wheeler was very quiet, but had a great dry sense of humor, which is why Jimmy Stewart comes to mind.

That said, there is an actual film Infinity with Matthew Broderick as Feynman and James LeGros as Wheeler (which I haven’t yet seen), but there is only minimal overlap with what I wrote in my book.
Visit The Quantum Labyrinth website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 13, 2017

Matthew Kraig Kelly's "The Crime of Nationalism"

Matthew Kraig Kelly is a historian of the modern Middle East. He has served as a visiting professor at Occidental College and the University of California, Los Angeles, and his work has been published in the Journal of Palestine Studies, Middle East Critique, and other academic journals.

Here Kelly dreamcasts an adaptation of his new book, The Crime of Nationalism: Britain, Palestine, and Nation-Building on the Fringe of Empire:
My book concerns the Palestinian Great Revolt of 1936-39, which was an Arab uprising against British policy in Palestine. By 1936, the British had been facilitating open ended Jewish immigration into Palestine for about two decades, with the stated intent of establishing a “Jewish National Home.” The Arabs had resisted this plan to no avail. This led to frustration, and finally to rebellion.

My telling of this story does not feature a protagonist or "lead" per se. For the film, we might therefore toggle between three different perspectives -- British, Palestinian, and Zionist -- attempting to render each as sympathetically as possible. And we might select three personalities as the anchors for each of these perspectives.

For the British, a good character would be Arthur Wauchope, the high commissioner for Palestine in 1936. Wauchope had been appointed high commissioner in 1931, at the age of 57. An enthusiastic civilian administrator, he had spent most of his adult life in the military, where he had proven himself a physically courageous man. His experience in the Middle East dated back to the First World War, when he commanded a British brigade in Iraq and was wounded in battle. There is little doubt that he regarded the British presence and mission in Palestine as appropriate, and yet he struggled to find the appropriate strategy for dealing with the Arab rebellion. He resorted to violent repression, but did so ambivalently, aware that doing so risked alienating Palestine's Arabs and thus exacerbating the rebellion. I believe that Ewan McGregor would do an excellent job of bringing Wauchope's inner struggle to the screen.

For the Palestinians, a good character would be `Abd al-Rahim al-Hajj Muhammad, who would become the most respected rebel commander in the course of the revolt. Abu Kamal, as he was also known, was a grain merchant from Tulkarm. He fought in the Turkish army in the First World War, and took up arms against the British in 1936. As my book demonstrates, the British authorities tended to regard the rebels as mere thugs, but they made an exception for Abu Kamal, whom they knew to be a man of unimpeachable character. Abu Kamal was a compelling figure: fearless, intelligent, and morally scrupulous. In this sense, he was an exemplar of the national quality of the Arab rebellion, which both the British and the Zionists were determined to deny. When the British tracked him down and killed him in March 1939, at Sanur (in Samaria), it dealt a mortal blow to the rebellion. Adding to the drama of this event, Abu Kamal had just received formal recognition as leader of the rebellion from the Central War Committee in Damascus, which had previously withheld such recognition on account of his unwillingness to follow instructions he regarded as foolish or immoral. I believe Saleh Bakri would be an excellent choice for this role.

For the Zionists, a good – and perhaps obvious -- character would be David Ben Gurion. Ben Gurion was the chair of the executives of both the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization, and a towering figure in the Zionist milieu. He would eventually become the first prime minister of Israel. As a character, he would be a good choice because of his sophistication. Ben Gurion was politically shrewd and an excellent strategist. He also had a good deal of sympathy for his Palestinian opponents, including many of the rebels. By the time this movie is actually made, Joaquin Phoenix won’t be that far from the age Ben Gurion was in 1936 (50), so I’d like to cast him in the role.
Learn more about The Crime of Nationalism at the University of California Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Tracey Neithercott's "Gray Wolf Island"

Tracey Neithercott’s first book was written by hand and illustrated with some really fancy colored pencils. It was highly acclaimed by her mother. Now she spends her days as a magazine editor and her nights writing stories about friendship, love, murder, and magic. (None of which she illustrates—you’re welcome.) She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, who suggests improving her novels by adding lightsabers.

Here Neithercott dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Gray Wolf Island:
Whenever I begin a new book, I go in search of character inspiration. But I usually end up pulling photos of models who fit the images in my mind. Casting with actual actors is a bit harder—especially when trying to find people who could pull off a convincing 17 years old and still have the acting chops to make for an enjoyable film.

Here’s who I’m fake casting for Gray Wolf Island:

RUBY: I think Elle Fanning would do a great job portraying main character Ruby. She has the talent to show Ruby’s guilt, grief, and antisocial nature subtly on screen. Admittedly, she looks nothing like Ruby, but if my book were made into a movie, that would be less important to me than her acting ability. I mean, hair dye exists.

ANNE: This is a tough one. Anne is Native American, and there’s a serious lack of Native American teen actors in Hollywood. I’m going to go with Devery Jacobs—but about five years ago so she wouldn’t look quite so adult.

Elliot: I’ve always pictured Elliot as model Ash Stymest. But I think both Cole Sprouse and Matthew Daddario could pull off his mix of wannabe bad boy and total nerd. Bonus: Each is really great at small facial expressions that show their annoyance, and that’s all I could want for in an Elliot actor.

Gabe: The trick with Gabe is that for most of the book he’s a lie. I think Miles Heizer would do a great job portraying a character who’s portraying a character, in a way. He was amazing in 13 Reasons Why, so I know he has the skills as an actor.

Charlie: I’ve only ever imagined Charlie as Ki Hong Lee. I’ve seen him tackle serious roles, so he’d be able to slowly reveal a Charlie grappling with the fact that he’s seen his own death. But at the same time, Ki Hong Lee seems really spirited and fun, and that’s exactly Charlie’s personality.
Visit Tracey Neithercott's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 9, 2017

Sarah Bailey's "The Dark Lake"

Sarah Bailey lives in Melbourne, Australia and has two young sons. She has fifteen years experience in the advertising industry and is currently a director at creative projects company Mr Smith.

Here Bailey dreamcasts an adaptation of The Dark Lake, her first novel:
When I was writing The Dark Lake, I found it really helpful to develop a fantasy cast to ensure I had consistent descriptions of each character. I created a little mood board on my bedroom wall by cutting out pictures of actors that I felt would be able to bring each of my characters to life. Of course, I never imagined that it might one day be turned into a TV series or film, and the fact that this is now a possibility is truly mind-blowing!

As I embarked on my private casting adventure, finding an actor that could step into the role of DS Gemma Woodstock was critical. She is such a layered person, with a lot of light and shade. In my head Gemma is quite a slight person physically but very strong emotionally with the potential of being quite fierce and frustrating at times. Ellen Page was my top pick to play Gemma. I love her petite but tough vibe.

Felix is another important character as he needs to be charming but aloof and slightly mysterious. I had either a Christian Bale or Ben Affleck type in mind for him. In contrast the character of Scott Harper, Gemma’s partner is very trustworthy, stable and solid and for that reason, I thought Joshua Jackson would work well in this role.

Several of the other characters I based on Australian actors. The murdered woman, Rosalind Ryan would be perfect for Isabel Lucas. Beautiful and mysterious, she has a distinctive other-wordly vibe. Miranda Tapsell would make a great Candy Fyfe, being so fun and feisty.

Jonsey, Gemma’s much-loved boss needs to be a gruff character with a heart of gold. J.K.Simmons would definitely be able to pull this off and the fact that he played Juno’s dad alongside Ellen Page in that iconic movie would be a cute build on their past onscreen relationship.

For the two younger Ryan brothers, I needed to find actors that were attractive but again somewhat distant. I thought that Zac Efron and James Marsden would provide the right look and tone for Timothy and Bryce. Their older brother Marcus is more passive and needs a bit more softness to him. Someone like Josh Brolin would work well. In terms of their father, the wealthy patriarch George Ryan, either James Brolin or Richard Gere would be perfect.

For the naïve but kind-hearted Rodney Mason, Freddie Highmore sprung to mind as did the lead actor from 13 Reasons Why, Dylan Minnette.

I’m not sure whether it a normal practice to develop a cast list when you write a book but it is certainly something that I found really helpful. I’m already doing it again for the sequel!
Visit Sarah Bailey's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Dark Lake.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 6, 2017

Sarah Shoemaker's "Mr. Rochester"

Sarah Shoemaker is a former university librarian and currently lives in northern Michigan.

Her new novel Mr. Rochester recounts the story of Jane Eyre from Rochester's point of view.

Here Shoemaker dreamcasts an adaptation of the novel:
As I was writing Mr. Rochester, although I tended to see it visually, I did not actually think much about it being made into a movie. But as people started reading it, they quite often asked me who I would like to see play the main parts (Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre). After some thought, I’ve settled on Aidan Turner, best known to me as Ross Poldark in the TV series Poldark, to play Edward Rochester because, just as Rochester does, he has black hair that seems to fall over his forehead all the time and dark eyes, and even somewhat dark skin; and he is not overly handsome, nor is he overly tall. So, physically, he is a good match. And he exudes a kind of dynamic force that I see Rochester as having.

As for Jane, I have not yet thought of someone who would fit that part well—maybe an actress who is not yet well-known.
Visit Sarah Shoemaker's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Jonathan Eig's "Ali: A Life"

Ken Burns calls Jonathan Eig a "master storyteller." Eig is the author of five books, two of them New York Times best sellers.

Here the author shares some thoughts about a movie adapted from his new biography, Ali: A Life:
I never pictured anyone but Muhammad Ali as Muhammad Ali. He was bigger than any Hollywood actor…and he told us so. In fact, he portrayed himself in the first movie based on his life.

“Movie star!” he screamed on the set one day. “I’m a mooooooo-veeeeeee starrrr!”

Ali had big plans for his career in film.

“This face is worth billions,” he said. “My roles have always got to be Number One. I can’t be the boy in the kitchen. Some big football star plays the waiter in the movie while some homosexual gets the lead role. I got to be the hero. Like Charlton Heston, he’s got a serious image. Moses. In ‘Airport’ he was the captain, a real man. Always distinguished, always high class.” And there would be no sex scenes. “Kissinger wouldn’t do that,” he said, referring to the secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, “and I’m bigger than Kissinger.”

Little known fact: Warner Brothers offered Ali $250,000 plus a percentage of revenues to star in Heaven Can Wait, the remake of a 1941 film called Here Comes Mr. Jordan, about a boxer who is removed from his body prematurely by an overanxious angel and who returns to life in the body of a recently murdered millionaire. When Ali turned down the part, director Warren Beatty cast himself in the lead role and changed the character from a boxer to a football player.

Well, since Ali can no longer play himself, and since Will Smith already had his turn, I think it’s time for a younger, less famous actor to take a shot at it. But it’s got to be someone as gorgeous and magnetic as Ali. Can anyone contend?
Learn more about the book and author at Jonathan Eig's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 2, 2017

John O’Brien's "Keeping It Halal"

John O’Brien is assistant professor of sociology at New York University Abu Dhabi.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of his new book, Keeping It Halal: The Everyday Lives of Muslim American Teenage Boys:
I love this question, because I have actually thought that my book would make for a great film. At the heart of the book are five young men – ranging in age from fourteen to nineteen – who are dynamic, funny, and very close friends. The book uses over three and half years of ethnographic observation with these kids – who I call the Legendz after the name of their hip hop group – to tell the story of their growing up together as young Muslim Americans in post-9/11 urban America.

Rather than being centered on politics, though, their everyday lives – and therefore the book, and therefore the movie (!) – is focused on the trials and tribulations of urban American teenage life, intertwined with concerns of Islamic propriety. While spending their teen years together, the Legendz were also working to manage complex cultural dilemmas in their daily lives: how to listen to profane hip hop music while being a good Muslim, how to date in a way that doesn’t clash with expectations of Islamic behavior, how to meet Islamic religious obligations while still feeling and seeming to others like independent American teenagers, and how to respond to frustrating anti-Muslim harassment while not playing into the very stereotypes they hoped to escape.

I think a coming-of-age movie about these young men would be great – think an early-oughts Stand By Me meets a Muslim Smoke Signals. And the boys’ interest in hip hop would provide an excuse for a great soundtrack. In terms of casting, I think a movie like this might work best with some fresh-faced, relatively unknown actors, for whom this could be their break out roles (assuming that the movie is a big hit, of course!), but I do have a few ideas of well-known actors who could play the Legendz.

I think the part of Muhammad, one of the older boys in the group, could be played well by Michael B Jordan, of The Wire, Fruitvale Station, and Creed fame. I think Jordan has the same easy smile and sweet-faced yet intense presence that also characterized Muhammad. I texted the real Muhammad to ask him who he thought should play him, and he suggested Barkhad Abdi, the Somali-American actor-director who played the Somali pirate captain in the Tom Hanks movie Captain Phillips (Muhammad’s family is originally from East Africa), noting that ““he looks like he’s from the right country and I think he needs the work hahaha.” Welcome to the bantering dynamic of my book-turned-movie’s main characters. Next Yusef, the other older member of the Legendz jumped in – did I mention this was a group Whats App text? – and offered, “I see Will Smith playing you, Muhammad.” Muhammad responded, “If we can get Will Smith, I’m down with that.”

As for Yusef, the Jordanian-born and most religiously pious and personally sincere “older brother” of the Legendz, when I asked him who he thought should play him in the movie of Keeping It Halal, he texted back without hesitation, “I think I’m going to say Joey Tribbiani from Friends (Matt LeBlanc). I think we have a lot of similar things going on.” When I asked him what he meant, his comment was in keeping with his role as consistently Islamically appropriate and slightly nerdy: “It isn’t the sleeping around part, but it’s because he’s a cornball and I like his style. I’m a big corn ball.” The other Legendz would agree.

During this text conversation, I tried to make clear to Muhammad and Yusef that this was just an abstract exercise, and that there was no plan to actually make a movie based on the book. While I think they understood that, I think they also, like me, got a little swept up in the idea of what they saw as an interesting slice of youthful Muslim American life making its way onto the silver screen. It’s a great idea - maybe I’ll make that my next project.
Learn more about Keeping It Halal at the Princeton University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Zack McDermott's "Gorilla and the Bird"

Zack McDermott has worked as a public defender for The Legal Aid Society of New York. His work has appeared on This American Life, Morning Edition, Gawker, and Deadspin, among others.

McDermott's new book is Gorilla and the Bird: A Memoir of Madness and a Mother's Love.

Here the author shares his pick to direct an adaptation of the book:
To direct: I love Jean-Marc Vallée. I loved Big Little Lies and it excites me to imagine what he could do with Gorilla and the Bird. His projects are so beautiful and he’s great shooting jarring and surreal footage. It makes me salivate to imagine him directing the character Zack in the throes of a psychotic break. You read this, JMV?
Visit Zack McDermott's website.

The Page 99 Test: Gorilla and the Bird.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 29, 2017

Brad Abraham's "Magicians Impossible"

Brad Abraham is the author of Magicians Impossible, creator of the Mixtape comic book series, screenwriter of the films Fresh Meat and Stonehenge Apocalypse, writer on the television series The Canada Crew, Now You Know, I Love Mummy, and RoboCop Prime Directives, and a journalist whose work has appeared in Rue Morgue, Dreamwatch, Starburst, and Fangoria.

Here Abraham dreamcasts an adaptation of Magicians Impossible:
I’m a screenwriter by trade; or at least that’s what people knew me and my work from (pre-Magicians Impossible anyway). When writing a screenplay it helps to have a “type” in mind for each character, as it helps give them each a distinctive voice. You may not get George Clooney or Anne Hathaway, but you want to aim for a type, if only to keep the voices separate. Naturally, when drafting Magicians I employed the same tricks of the trade. Magicians has a large cast of characters but these are the ones you’ll really want to watch closely.

I went back and forth on protagonist Jason Bishop in the early drafts, trying to figure out who he was. Then I saw Ryan Gosling in The Nice Guys and went “that’s the guy.” His Holland March is much more comedic than Jason, but there’s a quiet desperation beneath everything he does. Gosling is a real chameleon of an actor; useful skills for a magically-gifted spy.

For Jason’s father, the enigmatic Damon King, I pretty much had John Hamm in mind from the start. Suave and sophisticated one moment, explosive the next, Damon would be the next step in evolution from the man of mystery Hamm became known for; a certain Madison Ave ad exec.

The menacing Red Queen is the enigma that runs through Magicians Impossible, and like Damon, I had someone in mind from the beginning too. I’ve loved Julianne Moore’s work ever since Todd Haynes’ Safe and every word the Red Queen spoke had Julianne’s voice.

Spymaster Carter Block went through several iterations, until I finally realized I’d been writing him in Idris Elba’s voice all along. He’s such a multifaceted actor; I went through several seasons of The Wire before learning he was, in fact, British. In Magicians Carter speaks with Idris’ real-life accent, so keep that in mind when reading.

Allegra Sand, the powerful Diabolist, was more difficult to cast, because she was so fully-formed in my mind. It took a while for me to get to Jim Jarmusch’s film Paterson, but Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani captured Allegra’s essence while playing a completely different character.

In the wake of Star Wars, few need an introduction to John Boyega, but War Seer Teo Stone is based more on Moses, the character he played in the amazing sci-fi horror Attack the Block. Same attitude, same empathy, same voice. He rapidly became my favorite character to write in Magicians.

The mysterious enchanter Katja Eis was an enigma, but it wasn’t until I watched the Swedish-Danish TV series Bron/Broen (a.k.a. The Bridge) and saw Sofia Helin that I finally found her. Helin’s take on the mysterious enchanter would be something else.

For Oracle, Vasilisa Volkov, I had Irish actress Saoirse Ronan in mind from day one. She’d do a fantastic job too because she’s pretty much fantastic in everything.

As far as who directs this hypothetical movie, there’s so many directors I can think of who’d each put their personal stamp on a film based on this book – Guillermo del Toro comes to mine. But if I had to pick, I’d have to go with none other than Steven Spielberg. Not for the spectacle, but rather for the book’s central relationship between Damon and Jason; between father and son. The father-son relationship is in the DNA of so much of Spielberg’s work, I can’t think of a director better suited to material than him. And he knows spectacle.
Visit Brad Abraham's website.

The Page 69 Test: Magicians Impossible.

Writers Read: Brad Abraham.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Terrence McCauley's "A Conspiracy of Ravens"

Terrence P. McCauley is an award-winning writer of crime fiction and thrillers.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of the third novel in his University Series, A Conspiracy of Ravens:
I get asked this question quite a bit and I always enjoy answering it. I'm a big fan of movies both new and classic, so I've been known to borrow inspiration from actors throughout the history of cinema in my writing. The University/James Hicks series has some interesting characters. For my main character, James Hicks, I'd love to see Jeremy Renner in the role. He's versatile enough to play the many facets of the character convincingly. While we're dreaming, I'd love to see Robert Downey, Jr. play Roger Cobb.

Some people envision these characters a little older, so if that was the case, Bryan Cranston as Hicks and Stanley Tucci as Cobb.

As far as directors go, people might laugh at my suggestion, but I'd love to see Ben Affleck do it. I think he could become one of our great directors if he dedicated himself to it full time. I like him as an actor, but the work he did in Argo was incredible. That easily could have been an incredibly boring movie, but he turned it into a nail-biter. I think he could work the same magic with my work.
Visit Terrence McCauley's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 25, 2017

Alys Clare's "The Devil's Cup"

Alys Clare lives in the English countryside, where her novels are set. She went to school in Tonbridge and later studied archaeology at the University of Kent.

Here Clare dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, The Devil's Cup:
When I started the Hawkenlye Series seventeen books ago, I had a clear image of Josse d’Acquin in mind, and he looked very like the actor Robert Lindsay. As, like all of us, he’s matured and life’s experiences and trials show in his face, he goes on looking just as I imagine the older Josse, and I still think he’d be just right. For Helewise, who we first meet when she’s Abbess of Hawkenlye, I would cast the luminous Juliet Stevenson. I used to think that the severity of the medieval nun’s habit would become her very well, although by the time of The Devil’s Cup she is, of course, no longer a nun, so we wouldn’t get the chance to decide. I’d love to see Bill Nighy as Yves, Josse’s brother, having loved him as an actor ever since hearing him play the part of Sam Gamgee in the BBC Radio 4 production of The Lord of the Rings in 1981 (which I have on my iPod and still listen to regularly; there are scenes between Bill Nighy’s Sam and Ian Holmes’s Frodo that still move me to tears, even though I know them well enough to say the words with them). Robert Lindsay and Bill Nighy as my two d’Acquin brothers would do such a fine job of demonstrating the humour, the closeness and the love between the pair and would undoubtedly also move their audience to tears.

Oh, and to play King John, I’d like Ray Winstone.

I’m not sufficiently knowledgeable to comment on who I would select as director, but I do listen to an awful lot of film (and TV) soundtrack, since I find it’s the perfect accompaniment to writing; somehow it makes the pictures I’m seeing in my mind as I work more vivid and real; more tangible, even. It’s hard to pick a favourite. Sometimes a composer seems to gel perfectly with one film whilst the marriage doesn’t work as well elsewhere (for example, Howard Shore was sublime with the Lord of the Rings trilogy but, in my view anyway, didn’t get it right with The Hobbit, although, given what was done to what was originally a beautiful and quite short children's story, it’s hard to see how anyone could). Ramin Djawadi has some brilliant moments with Game of Thrones; Hans Zimmer’s music and the mind-blowing Gladiator is a match made in heaven. Patrick Doyle gives the impression that he possesses singular insight into the scripts to which he is writing the music, and he has such a variety of moods, from Brave to Henry V via Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Sense and Sensibility. He, I think, would be my choice to write the music score for The Devil’s Cup.
Learn more about The Devil's Cup at the publisher's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Devil's Cup.

Writers Read: Alys Clare.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 22, 2017

Ismée Williams's "Water in May"

Ismée Williams is the author of Water in May, a pediatric cardiologist who trained and practiced for 15 years at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, the daughter of a Cuban immigrant partially raised by her abuelos, and the mother of three daughters, all of which have helped her to understand the many Maris she has met along the way.

Here Williams dreamcasts an adaptation of Water in May:
I’ve fantasized about Water in May becoming a movie since I started writing it! In fact, I pictured Reese Witherspoon as Helen, the woman Mari shares a hospital experience with, from the very beginning. She would do an amazing job playing the mother of a baby in distress. And I always hoped she would like the book since I once saw her say that if she couldn’t be an actor she would be a pediatric cardiologist (look up Reese Witherspoon, Vogue’s 73 questions video).

For Dr. Love, my vote would be Scott Eastwood. He’s the right age (early 30s) and has that dreamy look to him (along with the blue eyes), yet he is serious enough to make you respect him as a physician.

My main character’s boyfriend, Bertie, is somewhat of a jokester and has a carefree way about him, yet he is also tragically wounded by the circumstances of the novel. I’m envisioning someone like a young Merlin Santana, the late Dominican-American actor who played Rudy Huxtable’s boyfriend on The Cosby Show, among other roles in his short lifetime. He’d have been perfect.

And now for Mari’s girl crew: The role of loud and flamboyant best friend, Yaz, would have to go to a teen version of Dania Ramirez, known for her work in The Sopranos, Entourage, and Devious Maids. Julissa Bermudez, from Empire Girls, would play Teri well, with her innocent schoolgirl looks, but again she would have to be younger. For the role of Heavenly, the statuesque beauty who always has boys panting after her, Zoe Saldana would be my choice.

Mari’s abuela could be played by Iris Peynado, who is Dominican, or even Rosie Perez, who is actually Puerto Rican, though it would have had to have been when they were in their mid-40’s.

My main character, Mari, would be the tough one to cast. Sharlene Taule could play Mari because her skin is light enough to pass for white in certain situations, as Mari’s skin is. But honestly, for all of these younger roles my dream would be for scouts to go to Washington Heights or Santo Domingo and find up and coming talent. It would be incredible to have an unknown play Mari and have this be her breakout role.
Visit Ismée Williams's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Ismée Amiel Williams & Rowan.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Jacob Stone's "Crazed"

Jacob Stone is the byline chosen by award-winning author Dave Zeltserman for his new Morris Brick series of serial-killer thrillers. His crime, mystery and horror fiction has won top praise and has been translated into six languages. His novels Small Crimes and Pariah were both named by the Washington Post as best books of the year. Small Crimes topped National Public Radio's list of best crime and mystery novels of 2008 and is being made into a feature film.

Here Zeltserman dreamcasts an adaptation of Crazed, the second Morris Black thriller:
I get to cheat a bit with this since Crazed is the second book of my Morris Brick crime thriller series, and I already provided my dream cast for the first book, Deranged.

Major characters who appear in both Crazed and Deranged:

Morris Brick, my ex-LAPD homicide detective and serial killer hunter, is tough, smart, and relentless, and Jason Isaacs showed from the Showtime series Brotherhood showed that he could play all that brilliantly, plus he physically looks like my Morris.

Evangeline Lilly would be a good choice to play Natalie Brick, Morris’s beautiful and charming wife.

Sheila Proops, the wheelchair-bound serial killer who escaped prosecution from Deranged and is back in Crazed. Elizabeth Banks would be a good choice, although she'd need a lot of makeup and prosthetics to play my twisted (both physically and emotionally) Sheila.

Philip Stonehedge, a method actor who forces himself into the investigation, and for most of the book acts as Morris’s sidekick, is the easiest role to cast—Ryan Gosling. In the third Morris Brick thriller, Malicious, there’s a running joke where the killer is described by witnesses as either the actor Philip Stonehedge or Ryan Gosling.

Scarlett Johansson would be a good fit for Annie Walsh, the tough, no-nonsense, and very attractive LAPD Detective who works with Morris and his team.

Morris’s team is made up of three former LAPD homicide detectives: Dennis Polk, a wiseass, Fred Lemmon, who takes it as part of his job to keep Polk in line, and Charlie Bogle, Morris’ right-hand man. Michael Rapaport would be perfect as Polk, Matthew Rhys as Lemmon, and Jon Hamm (who has a bigger role in future books, as well as showing some inner demons) as Bogle.

Finally, to complete the cast, we need to find a lovable and clownish bull terrier to play Morris’s dog, Parker.

Now for the two starring characters unique to Crazed:

Chris Evans would be playing against type to be cast as the serial killer Griffin Bolling, but I think he'd be a fun choice for the role, even though Bolling is quite a piece of work.

Josh Gad would make a perfect Perlmutter--a desperate wannabe filmmaker who catches on to what Sheila and Griffin are up to, and tries to deal himself into the action.

Simon Helberg would be pitch perfect to play Perlmutter's nemesis Bloom.

We'd also need the right fat, orange tabby to play Perlmutter's cat, Orson.
Visit Dave Zeltserman's website.

My Book, The Movie: Deranged.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 18, 2017

Cora Harrison's "Beyond Absolution"

Cora Harrison published twenty-six children's books before turning to adult novels with the "Mara" series of Celtic historical mysteries set in 16th century Ireland.

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of her latest novel, Beyond Absolution, the third book in the Reverend Mother Mystery Series:
I had no hesitation here. I have immediately chosen Angela Lansbury to star in the movie of my book.

The main character in Beyond Absolution is an elderly Reverend Mother, superior of an order of nuns whose main task is to provide an education for the children of the poor. Cork city in the south of Ireland was, at that time, a place where terrible poverty and dreadful slums co-existed with wealth and splendid houses, built by the merchant princes on the hills well outside the filth and fog that envelope the city and its slums.

The Reverend Mother is by birth and upbringing one of the merchant princes’ class, but all her sympathies and her life’s work lie among the poor of Cork. She is no saint, though and possesses a sharp sarcastic tongue and a shrewd judgement of people and their weaknesses, whether they are among the privileged or the destitute of Cork.

I’ve had fun writing this character – somehow I never hesitate. Her opinions flow from my finger tips to the screen, her occasional sarcasm, her compassion, her interest in her pupils, her overwhelming desire to help the children, her boredom with excessive piety, her impatience with the bishop and his opinions. I can just see and hear Angela Lansbury in the part. And I hope that the long summers she has spent in southern Ireland would give her an interest in bringing the character of a Cork nun to the screen.
Visit Cora Harrison's website.

My Book, The Movie: Cross of Vengeance.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 15, 2017

Michael Gregorio's "Lone Wolf"

Michael Gregorio is the pen name of Michael G. Jacob and Daniela De Gregorio. Best known for their Hanno Stiffeniis series, featuring a Prussian magistrate in a country invaded by Napoleon and the French, they have more recently launched a contemporary series set in Italy, where they live. The Seb Cangio novels follow the exploits of a forest ranger as he combats Mafia infiltration of the unspoilt national park in Umbria where he works.

Here the authors share the transcript from their (dream) pitch meeting with United Artists about adapting their latest novel, the third in the series, Lone Wolf, for the big screen:
Imagine: United Artists and us.

UA: These stories haven’t been adapted for the big screen?

US: Unbelievable, isn’t it? A mystery on every page, a dead body in every chapter, a climax that will blast the viewer out of his seat…

UA: His seat? Don’t tell me this is a guy film.

US: No, no, it’s got everything. Violence, sure, but love, devotion to duty, animals…

UA: No dogs die, do they? No horses? Nothing like that?

US: Only the thugs die. Quite a lot of them, actually. But it’s all good fun, plenty of action with a capital A and a serious investment in top quality tomato sauce.

UA: Now that is a good sponsor angle. Yeah, show the can… the can of sauce, I mean, in all the kitchen scenes.

US: We use Mutti Polpa at home and recommend it highly. Five stars, big lumps, great splatter…

UA: Mutti, Parma… you don’t say? (He’s making a note of the name). I’ll check it out. Now, tell me this. How do you see this movie playing out? Gimme a sketch.

US: Well, there’ll be trees, lots of trees, ’cause the hero is a park ranger. Oh yeah, and mountains, too, ’cause it’s set in Umbria…

UA: What’s Umbria?

US: It’s a place in Italy. It’s full of mountains, forests, full of wolves. That’s what the park ranger does, he protects the wolves…

UA: The wolves don’t die, do they? We have this thing with Animal Protection.

US: No, no, the wolves don’t die. The wolves are just an allegory…

UA: Allegheny? I thought you said Italy?

US: The wolves are a symbol. They’re cruel, but, well, that’s Nature, isn’t it? It’s the two-legged wolves we’re interested in…

UA: Wolves with two legs? You mean like walking wolves? Werewolves?

US: We mean criminals, people who behave like wolves, worse than wolves…

UA: Okay, so we got wolves and criminals, a dumb park ranger. What else?

US: There’s London, too, the seamy Soho underworld…

UA: We can film those scenes right here in New York, cut back on costs.

US: And there’s the ’Ndrangheta…

UA: The what?

US: The mafia from Calabria, the most dangerous criminal organisation in the world.

UA: Winslow’s already worked that angle. Slaughter on every page.

US: Our slaughter starts on page three…

UA: And the first two pages?

US: Magic, witchcraft, a pinch of historical backstory.

UA: What about a director? You got any thoughts on that?

US: Well, our vote goes to Mel. He’s been through this kind of thing before – oceans of blood, nastiness unchained, and a wild natural setting with eclipses of the sun and sudden downpours – we’ve seen Apocalypto twenty or thirty times, it’s one of our favourite movies.

UA: We’re talking big money here. So, what about the stars?

US: Well, there are two lead women…

UA: Two? That’s throwing money away. Could we cut it back to one? We got Scarlett, Cameron, Ashley, take your pick. Male leads are two a penny, so let’s play safe with Leonardo. Di Caprio. Italian-sounding, right? He should know how to handle this ’Ndrangheta angle… Okay, time’s up. I’ll get back to you on this. Have a great day!

As you may have realised, films and filmstars are not our thing. So, we’ll just have to wait for a producer with his cheque book and chosen camera buff to come along and finally do what Justice demands: make Lone Wolf into the blockbuster movie it deserves to be!
Visit Michael Gregorio's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Lone Wolf.

--Marshal Zeringue