Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Sara Solovitch's "Playing Scared"

Sara Solovitch is a journalist, a mother, a gardener, a voracious reader, a hiker, and a really good cook. She's also a classical pianist, which is what led her to write Playing Scared: A History and Memoir of Stage Fright. The memoir chronicles her yearlong journey to understand and overcome a lifetime of performance anxiety, beginning with a childhood full of disastrous performances and ending with an hour-long concert the day before her 60th birthday.

Here Solovitch dreamcasts the lead for an adaptation of Playing Scared:
A lot of my friends have asked me who would play me in the movie version of my book. What woman of a certain age – brash yet vulnerable, willing to face her demons – is up to the role? I initially thought of Susan Sarandon, the bad girl in Bull Durham. But after discovering that Blythe Danner has some audience issues (she’s been known to buoy her spirits before a play by standing behind the stage curtain and screaming "Go out and maim them”), I think she’d be the perfect person.
Visit Sara Solovitch's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 29, 2015

Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski's "The Strange Case of Ermine de Reims"

Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski is Professor of French at the University of Pittsburgh and a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America. She is the author of several books, including Poets, Saints, and Visionaries of the Great Schism (1378-1417).

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of her latest book, The Strange Case of Ermine de Reims: A Medieval Woman Between Demons and Saints:
Unlike my previous scholarly books this one actually has a plot and a riveting one at that. A simple woman named Ermine, widowed and penniless in late medieval Reims, moves into a room near her confessor, an Augustinian friar, whose ambition is to make her a saint. For the last ten months of her life she has horrible visions of demons in human and animal shape that invade her room and even take her on an aerial journey on a demonic flying horse. She’s middle-aged and apparently still attractive to some men since at one point she receives a marriage proposal. Her confessor is accused of having a sexual interest in her and demons accost her in the street calling her a whore. After her death of the plague in 1396 her confessor gets in touch with Jean Gerson, the powerful chancellor of the University of Paris -- who’s a kind of arbiter of the supernatural -- and sends him the text of the visions that he transcribed from Ermine’s testimony. He wants Gerson’s opinion on whether Ermine was indeed saintly. Gerson is ultracautious (he says neither yes, nor no) but twenty years later condemns her as an impostor.

So there are some juicy roles in this drama. First of all Ermine: she’s illiterate but seems to have some charisma. My first choice would be the Belgian actress and director Yolande Moreau whose fantastic 2008 performance as the early 20th-century painter Séraphine makes her perfect for the role of a simple-minded woman, gifted in certain areas, confused and frightened by visions, and starting to live in her own world of hallucinations.

For the role of the confessor who takes her under his wing the German actor Ulrich Tukur who played the famous art critic and dealer Wilhelm Uhde in Séraphine (directed by Martin Provost) would be ideal: a calm, caring, and encouraging presence who nevertheless cannot suppress his ambitions for the simple woman he supports.

Lest it seem that I cannibalize only Séraphine I would cast F. Murray Abraham as Gerson, the famous theologian and consummate politician, a conflicted personality, eventually hounded from his home after the post-Agincourt (1415) English invasion of France. The film could be framed as a retrospective with Gerson looking back to about 1400 when he first heard about Ermine. The huge cast of demons would probably come from special effects. And I would want Yolande Moreau to direct the film or else Margarethe von Trotta who brought the 12th-century visionary and scholar Hildegard von Bingen to life in her wonderful 2009 film Vision with Barbara Sukowa as Hildegard.
Writers Read: Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Beth Cato's "The Clockwork Crown"

Beth Cato hails from Hanford, California, but currently writes and bakes cookies in a lair outside of Phoenix, Arizona. She shares the household with a hockey-loving husband, a numbers-obsessed son, and a cat the size of a canned ham.

Here she shares some ideas about adapting her latest novels for a cinematic audience:
When I think of my books The Clockwork Dagger and The Clockwork Crown as movies, I don't think of a Hollywood movie. I can only see it as an anime, especially one done by Studio Ghibli. They are famous for their movies like My Neighbor Totoro and Howl's Moving Castle--the latter in particular shows how well they handle steampunk fantasy with fantastic visuals. My books span forested wilderness to sky-scraping cities teeming with factories to scenes of pure, ancient magic. When I think of what they could do with that, I get goosebumps!

Since I'm daydreaming about anime, my focus is on English voice actors:

Octavia Leander: Emma Watson
Alonzo Garret: Benedict Cumberbatch
Viola Stout: (the late and great) Mollie Sugden
Mr. Drury: Daniel Radcliffe
Miss Percival: Nichelle Nichols
Balthazar Cody: James Earl Jones
Grand Potentate Taney: George Takei

I could hope that the studio's famed director Hayao Miyazaki might come out of retirement to work on the project, but in any case, Studio Ghibli would do a gorgeous job.
Learn more about The Clockwork Dagger and The Clockwork Crown at Beth Cato's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Clockwork Dagger.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Patricia Abbott's "Concrete Angel"

Patricia Abbott is the author of more than 125 stories that have appeared online, in print journals and in various anthologies. She is the author of Monkey Justice and Home Invasion and co-editor of Discount Noir. She won a Derringer award for her story "My Hero."

Here Abbott dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Concrete Angel:
Concrete Angel flips the plot of Mildred Pierce by being the story of a craven mother and her self-sacrificing daughter. So from the beginning, I couldn't help but picture actors from the sixties and seventies being in its cast.

Lana Turner would have been perfect for Eve, the book's pitch-dark protagonist. Especially since Turner experienced an incident like the initial event in the book. When I think of her in films like By Love Possessed, Portrait in Black, and Imitation of Life she would have made a riveting Eve Moran. She was adept at playing the kind of woman you couldn't look away from despite her bad deeds.

If I am going to cast it using actors from that era, the part of Christine might be played by Hayley Mills who was adept at combining innocence and intelligence. If you look at her performances in movies like The Chalk Garden, The Moon-Spinners and Whistle Down the Wind, you can see the intellect lurking behind the baby face.

Dare I cast John Cassavetes as Hank Moran? Actors of this era with any real acting chops tend to be too old for the part. The younger actors were light-weight, overly mannered or from the Adler school of acting--too naturalistic for a traditional melodrama. But I can see Cassavetes managing to make something of a rather opaque character. We don't really see much of Hank Moran outside of the task of handling his wife. I think Cassavetes could convey the secret life Hank had to invent for himself.

The more minor parts I will leave to the casting offices in Hollywood of 1965.

Were I to cast it using today's actors, I can picture: Claire Danes, Kiernan Shipka and Tom Hardy. That would work pretty well too.
Visit Patricia Abbott's website.

The Page 69 Test: Concrete Angel. 

Writers Read: Patricia Abbott.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Jessica Alcott's "Even When You Lie to Me"

Jessica Alcott lives with her husband and their two cats. She graduated from Bennington College and has worked at a children’s publisher in the UK.

Here Alcott dreamcasts an adaptation of Even When You Lie to Me, her first novel:
This is a tough one because I deliberately didn't describe what my protagonist, Charlie, looks like – I wanted to leave that up to the reader's imagination. She's depicted only in terms of how she feels about her looks and how other people react to her. Casting her would pin this down – any viewer would be able to make a judgment about whether whoever played her was or wasn't attractive. I'd also worry that the actress would be "Hollywood ugly"; i.e., incredibly attractive but with a slightly unusual nose.

As for a director, though, I'd be spoiled for choice. There are a number of amazingly gifted female directors I'd love to film the book (and figure out a lead actress because I'm apparently precious about it): Nicole Holofcener, Andrea Arnold (who's already tackled a similar story with the brilliant Fish Tank), Gina Prince-Bythewood, Sanaa Hamri, Lisa Cholodenko...any of them could make an incredible movie out of it.
Visit Jessica Alcott's website.

Writers Read: Jessica Alcott.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Lynne Jonell's "The Sign of the Cat"

Lynne Jonell is the author of the novels Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat, Emmy and the Home for Troubled Girls, and The Secret of Zoom, as well as several critically acclaimed picture books. Her books have been named Junior Library Guild Selections and a Smithsonian Notable Book, among numerous other honors. Born in Little Falls, Minnesota, Jonell grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis. She now teaches writing at the Loft Literary Center and lives with her husband and two sons in Plymouth, Minnesota, in a house on a hill.

Here Jonell dreamcasts an adaptation of her new book, The Sign of the Cat:
I suspect the movie would have to be animated—there are just too many talking cats. So I’d want Pixar to do the animation, and Pete Docter to direct. There’s a bit of local interest there—he grew up in Bloomington, Minnesota, and I grew up in Richfield, its next-door neighbor! But the real reason I’d like Pete Docter is that his montage of Carl and Ellie aging, in the movie Up, is one of the best things I’ve ever seen done.

I’d have Pixar use performance capture so the animated human actors would not only sound, but also look and move like themselves. So with that in mind, here goes:

Choosing a child actor to play Duncan, the central character, is tough. Movies take a long time to make, and child actors just keep growing up. But since I write fantasy, I don’t consider that I have to be realistic about this; I’d choose Tom Holland, back when he was twelve. I loved his work in The Impossible and he’s even got the look I imagined for Duncan, a kid who longs for success but whose mother warns him to never, never do his best. I already know Tom can do adventure with lots of drama, and deliver an understated yearning; the big question is, does he like cats? And how does he feel about a tiger as supporting actor?

To play Sylvia McKay, Duncan’s mother: Meryl Streep, because she can do anything and I’ve loved every movie she’s ever done. She’d be marvelous as a woman hiding who she really was, fearful yet incredibly brave, and I bet she could pull off the violin scenes and really make us believe in her musical genius. To be the mother of an eleven year old boy I’d make her 35 or 40, though.

To play the Earl of Merrick: Ryan Gosling. He’s got that great “trust me” face with the little sly smile that makes you wonder what’s going on underneath. I loved him in Lars and the Real Girl, but I think he’s got it in him to be a fabulous villain, too. He’d have to first be credible as the hero the whole nation adores, and then let that little smile give us a faint wisp of doubt as to his true intentions. He’s too young, though; I’d age him about ten years.

For the princess: Keisha Castle-Hughes, at age fourteen. She was wonderful in Whale Rider, passionate and intense, and with her hair long and in a braid she’d look exactly like the princess of my mind. She has a natural athleticism, too, which I see in the princess who runs and climbs all over Traitor Island.

And the voices of Fia, the kitten, and Brigadier, the tiger? I think I’ll leave those up to the director. I can hardly wait to see what Pete comes up with!
Visit Lynne Jonell's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 22, 2015

Roland Clark's "Holy Legionary Youth"

Roland Clark is Assistant Professor of Modern European History at Eastern Connecticut State University. He is the translator of The Holy Trinity: In the Beginning there was Love by Dumitru Stăniloae.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of his new book, Holy Legionary Youth: Fascist Activism in Interwar Romania:
Corneliu Zelea Codreanu would have loved the idea of having a movie made about him. As the leader of a fascist movement named the Legion of the Archangel Michael, he filmed his own wedding in 1925 and arranged to have it broadcast in Bucharest before the censors confiscated it and destroyed the film. Incredibly proud, Codreanu was so tall and good looking that people referred to him as the “Hollywood Hitler.” He would have liked someone like Hugh Jackman or Scott Caan to portray him confronting crowds of angry workers, plotting to assassinate a series of public figures, or shooting a police chief on the steps of the courthouse. His followers talked about him in messianic terms and he even convinced them to build a holiday resort on the Black Sea entirely with donated goods and volunteer labor. Playing Codreanu wouldn’t be difficult, because he never said much and in all of his pictures he always had the same stoic expression on his face. Anyone with a bit of height, a strong chin, and big muscles would make a good Codreanu.

Unfortunately for Codreanu, this book isn’t really about him. Fascist movements didn’t just need charismatic leaders, they also had to have committed followers to do the work. Holy Legionary Youth is about the extraordinary collection of colorful characters who made up the Legion, dedicating their time, money, and often their lives to transforming their country into a fascist state. Ion Moţa, the belligerent son of a priest who was always getting into trouble and went to fight in Spain so that he could die as a martyr should be played by someone with a bit of attitude, like Jack O’Connell. Give Russell Crowe a bushy beard and he would do well as General Cantacuzino, the cantankerous old war hero who hung around with the young hooligans and tried to teach them table-manners. Emma Watson could give some spirit to the character of Codreanu’s wife, while the gentle Maria Iordache needs someone like Victoria Justice to follow her through the summer work camps and into a convent. George Clooney would make a good playboy king who persecuted the legionaries, and Matt Damon could do any of the awkward young intellectuals who hung around the Legion pretending to be tough.

The challenge with turning a book like this into a movie is choosing which of its many subplots should go front and center and which need to fade into the background. With a multitude of characters, each joining the Legion for his or her own reasons and being transformed by the movement in different ways, it would be difficult to keep up with them all on screen the way you can in a book. This is a tale of epic proportions, in which ordinary people are swept up into events that are larger than life. Ultimately it probably doesn’t matter who plays the main characters as long as the music captures the drama of long marches, damp prisons, and sudden street battles, and the set design conveys the romance and passion of interwar Romania in its darkest hours.
Learn more about Holy Legionary Youth at the Cornell University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 21, 2015

K. David Jackson's "Machado de Assis"

K. David Jackson is professor of Portuguese and director of undergraduate studies of Portuguese at Yale University.

Here he shares some suggestions for the director of an adaptation of his new book, Machado de Assis: A Literary Life:
Definitely this book/movie should be directed by Woody Allen, with any of his brilliant actors from Midnight in Paris or To Rome with Love removed to Rio de Janeiro.

On the other hand, it could have been directed by Jean Renoir or Marcel Pagnol as a philosophical comedy of manners.
Learn more about Machado de Assis at the Yale University Press website.

Writers Read: K. David Jackson.

The Page 99 Test: Machado de Assis: A Literary Life.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 19, 2015

Brandon R. Brown's "Planck: Driven by Vision, Broken by War"

Brandon R. Brown is a Professor of Physics at the University of San Francisco. His writing for general audiences has appeared in New Scientist, SEED, the Huffington Post, and other outlets. His biophysics work on the electric sense of sharks, as covered by NPR and the BBC, has appeared in Nature, The Physical Review, and other research journals.

Here Brown dreamcasts an adaptation of his new book, Planck: Driven by Vision, Broken by War:
You might not think a biography of a staid Prussian physicist would be a candidate for a movie, but the story of Max Planck, full of amazing characters and extreme events, has all the elements one might want for historical drama. The narrative has definitely been called “cinematic.”

For Max Planck himself, I’d vote for the stony-faced intensity of Ben Kingsley. Kingsley has the gravitas and fiery eyes for the role. He even has the sharp facial angles for the brave and tragic professor from Berlin. For Planck’s younger friend Albert Einstein, I would try an offbeat angle and cast Mark Ruffalo. That actor has the playful face of Einstein and he conveys a lot of inner turmoil in his non-superhero roles. And this is to say nothing of the hair – he could easily get the hair right, without a wig. And for Planck’s good friend and fellow-physicist Lise Meitner, I’d want Marion Cotillard. I think she would resonate very well with Meitner’s inspiring rise against social barriers (as a Jewish woman in German science) as well as Meitner’s inner conflict concerning her obsession with nuclear science versus having a positive societal impact.

There is so much casting left to do, given the enormous list of characters, from Planck’s son Erwin (a man active in the German resistance and eventually arrested by the Gestapo) to Adolf Hitler himself, and many others!
Visit Brandon Brown's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Brenda Bowen's "Enchanted August"

A former children’s book publisher, Brenda Bowen is now a literary agent and children’s book author.

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Enchanted August:
Enchanted August as a movie? Oh yes, please. It would be such a welcome respite from those gigantic, testosterone-driver blockbusters summer rains upon us. Don’t we all long for a sunny romance in the movies, especially if we’re not in the middle of such a romance in real life? I certainly do. And if the lighting is pretty and the moonlight is bewitching and the actors are clearly having a good time on screen, Enchanted August (the movie) could do decent box-office and have a long shelf-life as streaming video. Studio heads: are you listening?

The director comes first. Mike Newell did a grand job on the movie version of the book that inspired my own book (Enchanted April – see it!), and he is known for not only getting brilliant performances from his actors, but for making the set a happy place for cast and crew, and I believe in that.

If Mike Newell is busy, how about Emma Thompson to write and and Ang Lee to direct? Because Sense and Sensibility.

Location: I’d love the movie to be filmed on an island in Maine, as it takes place on an island in Maine. But I’d take reliable Vancouver as a stand-in.

Of course it’s the director’s prerogative to cast the movie, but if he/she needed a little help….

I’d nab 2014’s biggest global box office star (The Hobbit, X-Men) to play a pivotal role. And yes, that would be Sir Ian McKellen. I won’t tell you which role Sir Ian would play, as that would be a spoiler. But you’ll know him when you see him. Full disclosure: I was an Ian McKellen stalker when I was young (and lived in England), and was shocked and fascinated as a 13-year-old to see him naked on the stage of the Wimbledon Theatre in King Lear. “Edgar I nothing am!” he cried, and cast off all his garments. Some things just stay with you.

For Caroline Dester, I’d go with the ingenious casting idea a friend of mine came up with: Lupita Nyong’o. She’s an exquisitely beautiful Oscar-winner herself, so she has practically lived the part. It would give the screenwriter a nice challenge, too, as I was picturing a Charlize Theron type as I wrote.

Dear, beleaguered Rose Arbuthnot would be played by the versatile and generous Maggie Gyllenhaal. I adore her expressive face. I know she doesn’t look much like the character I describe in the book but Maggie can convince us of anything.

Lottie is Anna Kendrick, for sure. She’s even from Maine!

The men – well, James Franco as Fred Arbuthnot is just a given. In the 1950’s, the other two – Jon and Robert -- would have been Rock Hudson and Fabian, respectively. And in the forties, Robert Mitchum would have played Max. So let’s go with them.

One last thing: there’s a song in the book that’s sung by an Ivy League-ish a cappella group. I have to think Enchanted August would be a shoo-in for a Best Original Song nod if that tune were written by my idol, Dave Frishberg.

See you on the red carpet!
Visit Brenda Bowen's website.

Writers Read: Brenda Bowen.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Jax Miller's "Freedom's Child"

Jax Miller was born and raised in New York but currently lives in the Irish countryside. In 2013 she was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger award for her first (unpublished) novel titled The Assassin’s Keeper under the pseudonym Aine O Domhnaill.

Here Miller dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Freedom's Child:
Before coming to this blog, I always wondered if I were the only person to imagine my characters as actors.

As someone whose passion is more invested in film than books (as an author, this is probably blasphemous), I’ve always used the movies as my main source of inspiration in all of my writing. So writing in Freedom’s Child, I had to be able to see it on my mental big screen before writing it each chapter down. So this is easy for me.

My main character is always the most difficult because I always imagined myself (because who doesn’t love playing pretend?). For Freedom, I’d love to see Charlize Theron, she’s just so powerful on the screen. Though looks-wise, I’d love to see what Julianne Moore would look like on a Harley Davidson with sleeves of tattoos. Officer Mattley, hands down, was Bradley Cooper. Mason Paul, Freedom’s biological son, was an American version of Tom Hiddleston. The Reverend Virgil Paul was Michael Shannon (though Willem Dafoe would be fab). Passion, Freedom’s best friend and prostitute, was always Whitney Houston in my head, though I admit, that’s an interesting choice.
Visit Jax Miller's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 15, 2015

Nancy Bilyeau's "The Tapestry"

Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Crown and The Chalice, is a writer and magazine editor who has worked on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Good Housekeeping. She is currently the executive editor of Du Jour magazine.

Here Bilyeau dreamcasts a big screen adaptation of her latest novel, The Tapestry:
I am extremely partial to Joanna Stafford, the protagonist of my historical thriller series, and while “fun” may not be the best adjective for a Dominican novice living through Henry VIII’s destruction of the monasteries, she is smart, strong and stubborn. And, for whatever reason, she was difficult to cast in a movie of the mind. I knew what I wanted to hear—a soundtrack by composer Trevor Morris. After all, he created the music heard in The Last of the Mohicans, The Pillars of the Earth, The Tudors, The Borgias and Vikings. But whom would I “see”? It took a long time…

Sister Joanna Stafford: I didn’t find my Sister Joanna until I sat in a movie theatre in December of 2014, after I’d finished writing The Crown, The Chalice and The Tapestry, and I saw a tremendous performance. It was Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything, who showed a certain kind of strength, a willful spontaneity, that is the key to my heroine. Runners-up are Eva Green (I was first intrigued by her in the Crusaders epic Kingdom of Heaven) and Haley Atwell (her role as Aliena in Pillars of the Earth is not dissimilar from fallen aristocrat Joanna Stafford).

Bishop Stephen Gardiner: Most of my trilogy’s main characters are fictional, but certain pivotal ones are taken from history, most significantly Joanna’s adversary in all three books—Stephen Gardiner, the bishop of Winchester. He was so brilliant, yet so manipulative, that his actual nickname in the court of Henry VIII was “Wily Winchester.” It’s important that the reader, like Joanna, never be sure of Gardiner’s motives. Ralph Fiennes is the actor who could don the robes and mitre to do justice to this fascinating—and frightening—man. Whether it’s in Schindler’s List, The English Patient, or his recent performance as Charles Dickens in The Invisible Woman, Fiennes can put across the subtle arrogance and the intelligent, calculating brooding that’s essential to Gardiner.

Geoffrey Scovill: The vigorous young constable crosses paths with Joanna Stafford in the third chapter of The Crown, and from that moment on, the poor man is lost. Though it brings him undeniable suffering, he’s deeply in love with her. But Geoffrey is as smart as Joanna, and strong enough to challenge her when she’s plunging headlong into a conspiracy. I’m a huge fan of Homeland, and Rupert Friend, the black-ops operative “Peter Quinn” who carries a torch for series star Claire Danes, is absolutely perfect for Scovill.

Brother Edmund Sommerville: Readers have found the Dominican friar who also has feelings for Joanna my most original character. (Thank you!) He’s intellectual, selfless and sensitive, yet in The Crown and The Chalice he definitely throws a punch or two. And, deep down, he’s tormented. David Oakes often plays the “sexy bad guy” in historical series, from the Duke of Clarence in The White Queen to Juan in The Borgias, and I think he would be brilliant cast against type just a bit as the erudite friar.

Henry VIII: Every actor from Charles Laughton to Jonathan Rhys Meyers has tackled Henry, often to acclaim. What’s important to bear in mind is that in my novels Henry Tudor is a terrifying man, seen from afar while he wreaks havoc in the life of his novice cousin, Joanna Stafford. In The Tapestry, when Joanna is pulled into the life of the court, she finally begins to understand Henry VIII, a man whose charm, intelligence, and abilities are darkened by narcissism and paranoia. I think that Russell Crowe possesses the necessary charisma to play the king.
Visit Nancy Bilyeau's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Nina Berry's "The Notorious Pagan Jones"

Nina Berry is the author of the Otherkin series and the newly released The Notorious Pagan Jones. She was born in Honolulu, studied writing and film in Chicago, and now works in Hollywood. When she's not writing, Berry does her best to bodysurf, explore ancient crypts, or venture forth on tiger safari. But mostly she's on the couch surrounded by cats, reading a good book.

Here Berry dreamcasts an adaptation of The Notorious Pagan Jones:
This is the perfect exercise for my book because my protagonist is a teenage Hollywood movie starlet in 1961. She’s based on several real life actresses who started acting when they were kids, including Drew Barrymore, Hayley Mills, and Sandra Dee. But if I had to pick just one to play her in the movie, I’d cast a young Sue Lyon as Pagan Jones. Lyon played the title role in Stanley Kubrick’s controversial 1962 movie Lolita, holding her own with experienced actors like James Mason and Peter Sellers. She has the freshness, the verve, the looks, and the sass to play a troubled but clever girl like Pagan.

For the mysterious, dangerously insightful character of Devin Black, I’d cast a very young, ridiculously good-looking Alain Delon. A photo of Delon in his early twenties was the inspiration for Devin Black’s look, and we did say dreamcast, right? So that means I can go back in time and cast Delon as he appeared in the French noir classic Purple Noon, and even give him time to learn how to speak in the many different accents required for that character. He’s suave, looks great in a suit.

For Pagan’s co-star and friend Thomas Kruger, I’d cast a young Tab Hunter, Warner Bros top money earning star in the late 1950s and star of movies like World War II drama Battle Cry and the musical Damn Yankees. Hunter was one of the inspirations for the character of Thomas, who is also tall, handsome, blond – and leading a very secret double life to avoid scandal in those less tolerant days in the early 1960s.

For Pagan’s tough but insightful best friend Mercedes Duran, I’d love to zip back to the year 2000 to cast a younger Michelle Rodriguez, back when she played the female boxer in Girlfight. Rodriguez can act both intimidating and vulnerable, something required for whomever plays Mercedes.

Since I’m hopping around in time, picking from different eras, let’s cast a young John Garfield of The Postman Always Rings Twice as Pagan’s ex-boyfriend Nicky Raven, an older Richard Dreyfuss as the director of Pagan’s film, Bennie Wexler, and the affable James Cagney as Pagan’s bitter co-star Jimmy Brennan. Imagine how all these actors from different decades would get along on set. It would be quite a clash of styles and cultures.

Marilyn Monroe has a brief scene in the next Pagan Jones book. Maybe we could get Scarlett Johansson to do a cameo… An author can dream!

If I could choose a director, it’d be Joss Whedon. He needs a break from computer generated effects after all those Avengers movies, and his TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer proves that he’s great with snappy dialogue and smart girl characters whom everyone underestimates. That’s Pagan to a T.
Visit Nina Berry's website.

Writers Read: Nina Berry.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 12, 2015

Jon Talton's "High Country Nocturne"

Jon Talton's many novels include the David Mapstone Mysteries and the thriller Deadline Man. He is also a veteran journalist, including the former business editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of High Country Nocturne, the latest David Mapstone Mystery:
Authors have rich fantasy lives, so of course I have always dreamed of my novels being made into films or, in this “new golden age of television,” a TV series. One challenge is that my ideal actors “age out.”

Hence, Mapstone could have been played well by Liam Neeson or Harrison Ford. Both can handle the paradox of man of reflection/learning and man of action. Carrie-Anne Moss and Jill Hennessy might have made ideal Lindseys. But time is not on their side.

Claire Danes, without the Homeland crazy, would still make a great Lindsey.

Many people see Edward James Olmos as Peralta; again, the age problem. Also, Peralta is a big guy. Javier Bardem would be great in gravitas and emotional range — but he’s only 5’11”. Maybe camera angles could make him work. Otherwise, there’s Antonio Banderas.

Which brings us back to David Mapstone: Matthew McConaughey has potential, as does Ben Affleck — if they could play the intellectual who wears it lightly. On the other hand, this might be best served by a relative unknown as his breakout role.
Learn more about the book and author at Jon Talton's website.

The Page 69 Test: South Phoenix Rules.

My Book, The Movie: the David Mapstone mysteries.

The Page 69 Test: Powers of Arrest.

My Book, The Movie: Powers of Arrest.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Larry D. Sweazy's "Escape to Hangtown"

Larry D. Sweazy (pronounced: Swayzee) is the author of ten novels, Escape from Hangtown, See Also Murder: A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery, Vengeance at Sundown, The Gila Wars, The Coyote Tracker, The Devil's Bones, The Cougar's Prey, The Badger's Revenge, The Scorpion Trail, and The Rattlesnake Season. He won the WWA (Western Writers of America) Spur award for Best Short Fiction in 2005 and for Best Paperback Original in 2013. He also won the 2011 and 2012 Will Rogers Medallion Award for Western Fiction for books the Josiah Wolfe series. He was nominated for a Derringer award in 2007 (for the short story "See Also Murder"), and was a finalist in the Best Books of Indiana literary competition in 2010. Sweazy was awarded the Best Books in Indiana in 2011 for The Scorpion Trail. And in 2013, he received the inaugural Elmer Kelton Fiction Book of the Year for The Coyote Tracker, presented by the AWA (Academy of Western Artists). Sweazy has published over sixty nonfiction articles and short stories, which have appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine; The Adventure of the Missing Detective: And 25 of the Year's Finest Crime and Mystery Stories!; Boys' Life; Hardboiled; Amazon Shorts, and several other publications and anthologies. He lives in the Midwest with his wife, Rose.

Here Sweazy dreamcasts an adaptation of Escape from Hangtown:
A few things come to mind about my dream list of actors for Escape to Hangtown. First off, the new book is a continuation from the first book in the Lucas Fume series, Vengeance at Sundown. It is a two-book western series that is compact and capable of being viewed as one story. Since this is my wish list, I’m going for a miniseries rather than a movie. Or a movie in two parts (no need to string it any longer than that—you hear that Peter Jackson?). The first thing I would do is travel back in time when Westerns were at their heyday and start with Sam Peckinpah as the director. The books have a gritty thriller element, and I think Peckinpah would have mastered the storyline, boiled it down to its essentials without losing the emotional center that is a requirement in all good Westerns. A nourish black and white feel would be perfect (I would pick Lucien Ballard as the cinematographer).

Lucas Fume, the main character, is a fiery hothead with Scottish heritage, so Robert Mitchum would be my first pick to play him. Think Cape Fear or The Night of the Hunter with a few adjustments; a man on the edge, nearly a sociopath since he has been unjustly imprisoned, but with a good heart and a passion for justice. Mitchum excelled at madness, but could flash a soft side at the most perfect, necessary moment.

Lucas’s sidekick, Zeke Henry, is a free black man big in stature and heart, but rightfully suspicious. The obvious choice would be Sidney Poitier, but I don’t think that works here. Poitier acted anger and compassion beautifully, but Zeke is a little devious, much smarter than he lets on. I think Moses Gunn works better or a young John Amos. You might have to Google Mr. Gunn. He wasn’t a marquee name, but was a classically trained Shakespearean actor, who had the chops, I think, to tackle the complicated role of Zeke Henry.

Finally, for the third main character, the beautiful and conniving Charlotte Brogan, I would hands down pick Susan Hayward. Moody, intelligent, unpredictable, along with the capability of being sexy without having to try, makes Hayward the perfect choice for the conflicted Charlotte. So there you have it. My dream Western, directed by Peckinpah, starring Mitchum and Hayward, with a surprising and deep performance by Moses Gunn (or a young John Amos), with the cinematography by Lucien Ballard (he was the cinematographer for The Wild Bunch). I can only hope Escape from Hangtown the movie would have become a black and white classic, playing on Saturday matinees through eternity….
Learn more about the book and author at Larry D. Sweazy's website and blog.

Writers Read: Larry D. Sweazy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Robert Goddard's "The Ways of the World"

Robert Goddard is the Edgar Award–winning, internationally bestselling author of The Ways of the World; Long Time Coming; Into the Blue, which won the first WHSmith Thumping Good Read Award; and Past Caring. He teaches history at the University of Cambridge and lives in Cornwall.

Here Goddard dreamcasts an adaptation of The Ways of the World:
As a member of a generation that grew up with television (even if I had to go to a neighbour’s house to see it in the earliest years) my imagination is fed on pictures. We writers of the TV age see stories unfolding before us as we write them. In that sense, they’re movies even before we start envisaging how they’d look and play out on the big (or small) screen.

Casting the ideal film version of my book is tricky work, because I describe the physical appearance of characters and see them in my mind as I write about them. They’re never identical to a particular actor. But the skill of the casting agent is to see who fits a part for a whole variety of reasons, so here goes.

The two principal characters in The Ways of the World and the books that will follow it, Max and Sam, need to be played by unknowns (soon to become famous, of course) so that their individual personalities are unique from the start. They’re both wonderful acting opportunities.

I have big names in mind for some of the supporting roles, however. As Schools Morahan, towering Irish-American soldier of fortune, there could be no-one better than Liam Neeson. As Travis Ireton, his shady partner, I think Robert Downey Jr. would be perfect. And as Ireton’s secretary, I already begin to see Cate Blanchett behind Malory Hollander’s horn-rimmed spectacles.

The beauty of this particular trio would be that such casting gives a clue to their later importance and bigger roles in the following books (and films) in the trilogy which The Ways of the World inaugurates. The same would be true of the former lover of Max’s mother, Lionel Brigham. Timothy Dalton would fit the part like a glove. And he too would have more to do later.

Max’s veteran Secret Service contact, Horace Appleby, has seen it all, but has his principles intact. I can see this part suiting David Suchet wonderfully well. As for Max’s mother, Lady Maxted, a woman of mystery as well as convention, need we look further than Kristin Scott Thomas? And her late husband, Sir Henry Maxted, who will undoubtedly feature prominently in flashbacks, please step forward Robert Lindsay.

This leaves unanswered the question of which part Russell Crowe will play. I’m not sure yet, but my wife insists that he must appear, so maybe we’ll just let him choose. I’m inclined to say the same myself about Juliette Binoche. Well, the book is set mostly in France!
Visit Robert Goddard's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 8, 2015

Gary Corby's "Death Ex Machina"

Gary Corby is the author of the Athenian Mystery series, starring Nicolaos, his girlfriend Diotima, and his irritating twelve year old brother Socrates.

The books in order are The Pericles Commission, The Ionia Sanction, Sacred Games, The Marathon Conspiracy, and the newest addition, Death Ex Machina.

Here Corby dreamcasts an adaptation of Death Ex Machina:
It’s lovely to be back for My Book, the Movie, for no less than the fifth time. I write a series, the Athenian Mysteries, with two regular detectives called Nicolaos and Diotima.

Death Ex Machina is the perfect book for My Book, The Movie! Because this is a very theatrical murder.

Death Ex Machina takes place in 458BC, at the Theater of Dionysos, the world’s first theater, when plays and acting have only just been invented. A ghost is haunting the theater, and it’s Nico and Diotima’s job to rid the theater of the ghost, plus solve a murder that happens along the way.

Casting this for a movie is going to be fun, because most of the ancient world’s greatest playwrights are characters in the book. So let’s begin.

The play in the book is Sisyphus, King of Corinth. It was written by none other than Sophocles.

The best actor to play Sophocles is none other than Sophocles himself. Sophocles was a boy actor before he turned to writing plays, so I’m sure he’d do a great job.

Next is Aeschylus, the man credited with creating modern theater. Surely Aeschylus could play his own character.

Next character out of Death Ex Machina is a creepy and intense tragic fan called Euripides. I’m pretty sure the real Euripides would overact hideously, but that won’t stop me casting him.

Then comes Pericles. A man of his rhetorical talents ought to be able to carry off a minor part, particularly when the part he plays is himself.

The leader actor in Sisyphus is fictional. To play him I think we must have Richard Burbage, who was lead actor in all of Shakespeare’s plays.

Lastly, we have Nicolaos and Diotima, my detectives. For them I’ll cast the young Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson, because I think they’d be awesome.
Visit Gary Corby's blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Pericles Commission.

My Book, The Movie: The Pericles Commission.

My Book, The Movie: The Ionia Sanction.

The Page 69 Test: The Ionia Sanction.

The Page 69 Test: Sacred Games.

My Book, The Movie: Sacred Games.

The Page 69 Test: The Marathon Conspiracy.

My Book, The Movie: The Marathon Conspiracy.

Writers Read: Gary Corby.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst's "The Story of Alice"

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst is Professor of English Literature and a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford. His publications include Becoming Dickens: The Invention of a Novelist.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of his new book, The Story of Alice: Lewis Carroll and the Secret History of Wonderland:
Lewis Carroll would probably have hated going to the movies. Despite his love of theatre, he considered music halls vulgar, and it’s hard to imagine him enjoying the experience of being wedged in between modern moviegoers who text with one hand while scoffing popcorn with the other. But he would have been fascinated by the technology. One of the characters Carroll added to his original version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was the Cheshire Cat, when he also arranged for two illustrations to be printed on successive pages. In the first it was sitting up a tree and grinning toothily at Alice; in the next it was slowly disappearing to leave only its grin behind. Turn the page back and forth and it seemed to vanish before your eyes. It was both a magic trick and a primitive movie sequence. So perhaps it isn’t surprising that many early filmmakers tried to adapt Carroll’s story for the screen, from a crackly 1903 silent movie (dir. Cecil Hepworth & Percy Stow) to the 56 ‘Alice Comedies’ that Walt Disney made BM (Before Mickey) in the 1920s.

Movies about Carroll himself are comparatively rare. The most successful version is probably Dreamchild (dir. Gavin Millar, 1985), in which he is played by Ian Holm as a sad and stammering figure tortured by thoughts that are too disturbing to put into words. The real Carroll was far more interesting: a playful figure who loved new inventions (at one point he enquired whether it was possible to buy Charles Babbage’s pioneering version of the computer) and was addicted to games and jokes. He was also remarkably good-looking as a young man, and it is worth remembering that when he first told Alice Liddell his story in 1862 he was only 30 years old. So who could play him now? My choice would be either a smart actor like Dan Stevens, who could capture Carroll’s personal charisma with a single look to camera, or a comedian like Steve Coogan.

As for Alice – there have been thousands of attempts to reinvent the fictional character originally made famous by John Tenniel’s illustrations, which showed her as a prim and proper Victorian miss with long blonde hair and a stiff pale frock. The real Alice looked very different: a mischievous girl with a neat chestnut bob who grew up into a rather grand society lady. But I wouldn’t choose an actress to play her. Instead I’d choose Vanessa Tait, someone I became friends with when I started to research my book, whose first novel (The Looking Glass House) examines another version of the story behind Wonderland. She’s Alice Liddell’s great-granddaughter, and the resemblance is uncanny. Apparently she wanted to audition for Dreamchild but wasn’t allowed to. In my movie she’d finally get her close-up.
Learn more about The Story of Alice: Lewis Carroll and the Secret History of Wonderland.

My Book, The Movie: Becoming Dickens.

The Page 99 Test: Becoming Dickens.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 5, 2015

Brooke Johnson's "The Brass Giant"

Brooke Johnson is a stay-at-home mom, amateur seamstress, RPG enthusiast, and art hobbyist, in addition to all that book writing. As the jack-of-all-trades bard of the family, she adventures through life with her fiercely-bearded paladin of a husband, their daughter the sticky-fingered rogue, and their cowardly wizard of a dog, with only a sleep spell in his spellbook.

They currently reside in Northwest Arkansas, but once they earn enough loot and experience, they'll build a proper castle somewhere and defend against all manner of dragons and goblins, and whatever else dares take them on.

Here Johnson dreamcasts an adaptation of The Brass Giant: A Chroniker City Story:
When I first wrote the book, I had in mind a young Mila Kunis (think That 70’s Show) for my main character, but the more I worked on the story, the more she evolved beyond that and no longer really fit any actor that I knew about. But as a perfect form of procrastination, I often sift through IMDb for actors who look like my characters, and I have a list that I’m constantly adding to and tweaking as I find better actors or more accurate portrayals of my characters. So, without further ado, if Hollywood were to make The Brass Giant into a film today (subject to change on another day of procrastination), I’d cast:

Main Characters:

Chloë Grace Moretz as Petra Wade

Liam Hemsworth as Emmerich Goss

Minor Characters:

John Hurt as Mr. Stricket

Nat Wolff as Tolly Monfore

Wes Bentley as Julian Goss

Timothy Spall as Vice-Chancellor Lyndon

Logan Lerman as Solomon Wade

As for who might direct and produce the movie… It would have to be someone familiar with the steampunk genre, with a big enough budget to really bring the complex machinery of Chroniker City to life. Artistically, Guillermo del Toro would certainly make an aesthetically pleasing steampunk film. Just look at the clockwork army in Hellboy II: The Golden Army and the Jaegers of Pacific Rim. He’d certainly give it his own flair, I’m sure, but it would be nothing short of amazing.
Learn more about the book and author at Brooke Johnson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Christopher Brookmyre's "Dead Girl Walking"

Christopher Brookmyre is one of Britain's leading crime novelists. He has won many awards for his work, including the Critics' First Blood Award, the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize, and the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Award. He has worked as a journalist for several British newspapers and is the author of many novels, including One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night, Quite Ugly One Morning, Not the End of the World, and Bred in the Bone.

Here Brookmyre shares some ideas for a big-screen adaptation of his latest novel, Dead Girl Walking:
The first thing to remark about the movie of Dead Girl Walking is that it would be a feast for the eyes due to the richness of its locations. From the picturesque wilds of remote Scottish islands to the glamour and majesty of several European capitals, not to mention chase sequences and acrobatic escapes inside Berlin’s Hauptbanhof and the Reichstag itself, it would be a cinematographer’s playground.

It is about the sudden disappearance of singer Heike Gunn on the last night of her band Savage Earth Heart’s European tour, just as global stardom appears to be within her grasp. The story is told partly through the tour blog of fiddler Monica Halcrow, the band’s talented but naïve new recruit; and partly via journalist Jack Parlabane, who has been asked to investigate by Savage Earth Heart’s manager when her own inquiries run up against the rock-band omerta of “what happens on tour, stays on tour”.

My ideal director for the movie would be Stephen Herek, principally because he directed my favourite music movie, the inexplicably underrated Rock Star. It featured Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston in the story of what happens when a tribute-act singer replaces his hero and starts living the dream as the frontman of Steel Dragon.

Musically it might seem a long way between an Eighties hair metal supergroup on a US arena tour and a Scottish alt-folk indie band playing clubs and theatres, but Herek handled a lot of similar themes and conflicts with the perfect blend of humanity, empathy, humour and pathos. He also knows how to convey what it feels like to be excited about both being a fan and being the person up on stage.

Both stories in their own different ways are about the long journey from ambition and obscurity to the world stage, and the question of whether it was what you really wanted, or what you thought you wanted; what compromises and betrayals you needed to make in order to get there; what the world now expects of you, and the life you have carved out for yourself. They are both about the joy of playing music with friends, of the intimate relationships necessary to writing songs, and the tensions and jealousies that inevitably creep in when success comes along, particularly because success seldom visits us all equally.

As well as a feast for the eyes, it would be a feast for the ears too, as a movie like this would need a killer soundtrack. Since the novel’s publication earlier this year, I have often been asked what Savage Earth Heart would sound like. The shorthand version is to say that if you listen to the song “Heart is Hard to Find” by Jimmy Eat World and imagine it being sung by Karine Polwart, you’d be pretty close to what I imagined in my own head while writing it.

But as I’m in the realm of the ideal here, the movie would be able to go further and recruit the likes of Jim Adkins and Karine Polwart to write songs especially – maybe even together – to bring the band’s sound to life. I’d also throw Billy McCarthy into the writing mix, and I’d make the cast go see his band Augustines play a show in order to witness an incomparable example of what a joyous and emotionally exhausting experience every live performance ought to be.
Visit Christopher Brookmyre's website.

The Page 69 Test: Bred in the Bone.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

J.T. Ellison's "What Lies Behind"

J.T. Ellison is the New York Times bestselling author of thirteen critically acclaimed novels, including What Lies Behind, When Shadows Fall and All the Pretty Girls, and is the co-author of the A Brit in the FBI series with bestselling author Catherine Coulter. Her work has been published in more than twenty countries. Her novel The Cold Room won the ITW Thriller Award for Best Paperback Original, and Where All The Dead Lie was a RITA® Nominee for Best Romantic Suspense. She lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens, where she enjoys fine wine and good notebooks.

Here Ellison shares some ideas for casting an adaptation of What Lies Behind:
When I first developed Dr. Samantha Owens as a character, I always told people she looked like Natalie Portman. Before I spun her off into her own series, she was a character in my Taylor Jackson novels, so we’re talking almost a decade of mentally imagining this woman.

While I was writing What Lies Behind, I realized I was wrong. She doesn’t look like Natalie Portman. She looks like… Samantha. She has become so much her own person that I don’t need the prompt of a face to make her come alive.

It was an exciting revelation. So many of my characters have their own worlds, their own lives, and it’s easy to find people I think would be good to play them. I even have Pinterest boards with actors I think would work for each high-profile character in my books. Looking over those boards now, I find myself questioning each “look.” Xander isn’t nearly as similar to Josh Hartnett anymore, just as Sam has morphed away from Portman, though she still has that delicacy. Even Fletcher isn’t quite Robert Downey, Jr. anymore (though I am not going to kick him out of bed for eating crackers, if you catch my drift.)

It’s interesting to me to see these changes happening as the characters become their own people. I’d love to hear who you think would be good in the roles of Sam, Xander and Fletcher!
Visit J.T. Ellison's website, or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Sophie Jaff's "Love is Red"

A native of South Africa, Sophie Jaff is an alumna of the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, and a fellow of the Dramatists Guild of America. Her work has been performed at Symphony Space, Lincoln Center, the Duplex, the Gershwin, and Goodspeed Musicals.

Here Jaff dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Love is Red:
I can’t tell you whom I would cast, but I do know that the actor cast for Sael de Villias would have to be devastatingly sexy and the actor playing David Balan, utterly charming. Katherine Emerson would be the trickiest to cast, as I deliberately never describe her physically. I wanted the reader to form their own impressions from her conversation, choices, wit and inner monologues. It would be a challenge to pin her down.

However I know exactly whom I’d love to score my work. This comes, no doubt from my musical theatre writing background. When I was writing Love is Red, I would walk down the streets of New York listening to the film scores of Vertigo, Taxi Driver, Fahrenheit 451 and Cape Fear, composed by the legendary Bernard Hermann. Hermann’s film scores are by turns; epic, gritty, raw, seductive, wistful, dangerous, primal, and heartbreaking. For me, they capture the very essence of New York in a sweltering summer.

Unfortunately, I have yet to raise the dead.

I think my book captures many different genres so I would want a director who could portray a world with a rich sense of color and movement and who could deliver the essence of a vibrant living city caught in the grip of terror of a terrifying serial killer. I see my book as a blend of psychological horror thriller and romance. If I got to choose a director I would actually shy away from a director of specifically of horror. The film Beautiful Creatures directed by a young Peter Jackson is the closest I can get to the kind of eerie ‘other world’ aesthetic.

I would also have to practice the dark arts of necromancy for some of the directors I have in mind like Hitchcock (basically anything he did) and Roman Polanski (Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown, Repulsion).

I would also be interested in directors who deal with the dark magical surrealism interweaving with reality so delicately and wonderfully such as Guillermo del Toro Gómez (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Devil’s Backbone) and Alejandro Amenábar (The Others).

There are other fabulous directors such Adrian Lyne with Jacob’s Ladder, Fatal Attraction, Mary Harron who directed American Psycho and Jonathan Demme whose classic Silence of the Lambs haunts me still. Finally the amazing Martin Scorsese who can capture the essence of New York, terrifying and compelling characters and their epic stories with so much raw wonder and terror (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Cape Fear).

Love is Red would have to be shot in my hometown, New York. Which would make my life.
Visit Sophie Jaff's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 1, 2015

K. J. Larsen's "Bye, Bye Love"

Three sisters with an insatiable love for mysteries write the PI Cat DeLuca novels as KJ Larsen. Julianne, Kari, and Kristen Larsen live in Chicagoland and the Pacific Northwest where they’re working on Cat’s fifth and most outrageous adventure.

Here they dreamcast an adaptation of their latest novel, Bye, Bye Love:
Ah, to dream…

First, let us say we love this blog. The Cat DeLuca Mysteries are written by three sisters. The fact that we’re well into our fifth book and haven’t killed each other off, is rather remarkable. Especially when you consider we spend our days researching poisons and fantasizing about murder. We deserve a freakin’ cookie.

Each sister had her own ideas about who should play the lead characters in the Cat DeLuca movies. But we all agreed on who would direct the film. Rob Reiner is Hollywood’s best director of comedy. He weaves together hilarity, heart-racing suspense, and feel-good drama. The man makes magic.

Here are the sisters’ picks for Bye, Bye Love, the Hit Movie. Just shooting for the stars.


Regrettably, a great many more books than movie tickets pass through my fingers and I don’t know a lot of actors’ names. I’ve been asked this question before and I had a ready answer for the role of Cat Deluca. I confess that I googled ‘best hunky actors’ for the roles of Chance and Max. I picked the yummiest.

Penelope Cruz as Cat

Chris Hemsworth as Chance

Gerard Butler as Max

Bye, Bye Love, The Blockbuster Film. I’m clapping three times and sending the vibe out to the Universe….


To cast Bye, Bye Love, The Movie, I took a step back to the sixties. I was juggling between three women to play Cat Deluca: Natalie Wood, Jill St. John, and Stephanie Power. It wasn’t until after deciding on the curly red-head, that I learned these three very smart, cool women shared the same ballet class as kids. And they each had a long term relationship with Robert Wagner. Awesome.

For the role of Cat DeLuca, I chose Jill St. John. Like Cat, she’s ingenious, sassy, and unconventional. She’ll make a convincing hero when necessary.

For Chance Savino, I picked Sean Connery. There can’t be a woman alive who needs to ask why.

For bad boy Max, I first chose Steve McQueen but then I fired him. I want Robert Wagner to play the mysterious ex-spy. Three amazing women can’t be wrong.


Here are my picks for the Cat DeLuca Movie.

I chose Keira Knightley to play Cat DeLuca. Like Cat, Keira’s funny, and gorgeous, and she can suck the cream out of a cannoli. Keira Knightley shares Audrey Hepburn’s birthday. In another decade, Audrey would be my first choice.

I chose Ben Affleck to play FBI Agent Chance Savino because, frankly, Ben is my boyfriend. Like Chance, he’s six feet four inches of delicious hotness. A pair of contacts will transform Ben’s dreamy brown eyes to Chance’s sizzling cobalt blue.

To play the part of the mysterious Max, I had to go with Henry Cavill. The guy is serious eye candy. He’s got smarts, humor, and he’s an animal rights activist. What’s not to love? He’s the right height and uh, more contacts, please. Gotta turn those baby-blues brown.

Bye, Bye Love, The Hit Movie? From our lips to God’s ears.
Visit K. J. Larsen's website.

Writers Read: K. J. Larsen.

The Page 69 Test: Bye, Bye Love.

--Marshal Zeringue