Wednesday, February 20, 2013

If I Could Do A Casting Call...

In 1994 a little piece of my soul was crushed by a highly publicized announcement regarding movie casting. More than a few people were outraged. Some people were ecstatic at hearing the names Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas. Some saw it as guaranteed dollar signs. I saw it as guaranteed disaster. For one thing, Antonio Banderas could not pull off the role of a 17 year old Russian vampire king no matter how hard they tried to convince us – the readers of the book – that he could. Second; Tom Cruise? No. No. and No. Cruise in his day was hot, not going to deny that, but he was not Lestat. I should know, I had read the book about 13 times by the time they decided to make this film. Lestat was a real person in my head. I could picture him in an instant and never did he look like Tom Cruise. But it was more than just the looks. There is a very distinct attitude carried by Lestat. A cockiness that I didn’t think Cruise was ever going to be capable of bringing to the big screen. At this time in his career he was still known for his boy next door wholesomeness and that is SOOOOO not Lestat. No one wanted to be his neighbor.  I saw the movie with my college roommates in a small theatre in Cedar City and hated it every bit as much as I expected to even before they showed the jacked up ending that wasn’t even close to how it was supposed to go. Getting the characters just right really is important.
Lestat isn’t the only fictional character to have a Hollywood face in my head. As I read books and get attached to certain characters, I tend to cast their roles in my mind. I had a cast for Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series way before I knew they were going to make a movie. I hadn’t come up with any of the actors who ended up starring in the film. Still, I can’t say they did as bad with that one as Warner Bros. did with “Interview”.  After the film was released and comments started hitting the Internet there were Pinterest boards set up asking the question “Who Would You Have Cast”.  That idea got me thinking about my own book. The characters from “The Myth Maker” are real people in my brain – yes I know that makes me slightly crazy – but it’s true. I know what these people look like, how they act, how they walk. But, if looking at a book of head shots for a feature film, could I pick them out? I decided to try! If you’re one of the few who have read the book (Or if you haven’t, I don’t care.)play along. These are who I see and I would love to know what you think! I’ll start today with a few of the Langs…
I first paid attention to Cobie Smulders in a very small role in The Avengers. Something about her on screen presence made me think of my tough but still girly, female lead. And then I forgot all about it until someone suggested her as perfect for Stephanie Plum on Pinterest. Stephanie I didn’t see but when I flipped through the screen of images on Google, she did fit for Kat. Kat is pretty and feminine but still tough enough to handle her job as a police detective. She’s got a soft side, a casual side, but can glam it up when she needs to and she knows how to handle blood. Spiders not so much, but I don’t hold that against her. She can’t be played by a Tom Boy because Kat is not a Tom Boy. She can’t look too tough, but she has to convince people she could handle herself while chasing down a Spider Herder or going toe to toe with a killer. This is Cobie Smulders.

As important as the casting of Kat, is the casting of her twin brother, James. James is Kat’s rock. More than her lover or her partner, it has always been James who’s had Kat’s back. The first actor, Christopher Gorham, I think would be perfect – and he’s the right build! I love Gorham as Auggie on Covert Affairs and I think he could be James. The second guy was suggested by Sinnamon and I hadn't thought of him before she mentioned it but now that she has, I can see it! She said when she was reading the book she imagined him as Ian Somerhalder. The biggest difference for me is their height. James is tall, 6'3" and Ian...well....not so much. Still! We're pretending, right?

One that I have become certain of is the role of Meghan in my head. If someone said to me, go ahead and pick anyone, it would be Zoe Kazan. I can honestly say I’ve never seen her act but this is a shot of her, just out and about, that I found online. She IS Meghan. Meghan is the youngest Lang. She’s quirky and free-spirited and is still coming into her own through these stories. I can’t wait for readers to see where she is when the second book starts! Honestly, I love Meghan. She is that flake all of us want to be at times who just takes life as it comes. Everything is a journey with her and I think this girl could pull that off on screen.  She’s rocking lederhosen for hells sake!! I love her already.

I have a lot more characters to come up with. I've cast a few others in my head and I'll be sharing those later this week. Play along!

**Disclaimer** I do not own or pretend to own these photos which were all found using Google.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Post That Includes a Book Review

Ah, Sunday...The weekend has been a busy one. Friday night I got dinner and a movie with the hubby, I think to make up for the "Shit Bitch You Is Fine" Valentine's card he picked out. I thought dinner was good but later decided they'd poisoned me but, the movie was fun. We saw - my choice - A Good Day to Die Harder and I'll work a review for that one into another post. I've also spent some time this weekend compiling a list of book agents. That is the next step for "The Myth Maker" I got it in my head that I wanted to add a few more scenes I can't back down from that so I've been working on some tweaking first. I still have a deadline of March 5th, so we'll see how I do on being on time. There will be some blogs about that adventure coming soon. But first, Book Club Review!

Last week the lovely group of ladies that make up our book club got together to discuss "The Timekeeper" by Mitch Albom. I have to say it was a quick read and admit that I finished it on my lunch hour the day of our meeting, but I did finish the whole thing. The story is about the first tracker of time, Dor, and the punishment he's given for paying attention to time. Or at least that's how I took it. I have to say that, as the main character, I think Dor felt the least developed for me. Some ladies found the conflict that led to his punishment when they read and were able to take away that he had spent too much time trying to count time and not enough time enjoying what he had, but I never got that impression. I definitely read him as being a little OCD about finding new ways to count time and make measurements, but I also got that he loved his wife and children. I guess I was supposed to see them as neglected but I didn't. Because of that, his 6,000 year punishment seemed a little harsh to me.

As we read along with Dor making cave drawings during his punishment, we also get to know Victor and Sarah as well as Victor's wife, Grace and Sarah's mom who has a name I can't remember. It is with the introduction of these supporting characters that the problems in the story telling started to develop for me. Dor, as Father Time, was supposed to be my leading man but he was only being shown in choppy bits of sadness. I hadn't really gotten to know him yet before the others came in. In between Dor's choppy bits I was given equally choppy introductions to mean old man Victor, and typically pathetic and self loathing teenager, Sarah. Because we are fed their stories in such small amounts, all together on the same page, I never felt like enough was being offered for me as the reader to make any connection to the supporting cast either. That would be my biggest complaint of this book.

I never felt any type of concern for Victor who we know from the start of his story is dying from cancer. He's lived into his 80's and takes pride in his ruthlessness and incredible wealth. At no point does Albom give you any reason to care about Victor's survival, not even in his relationship with his younger wife who will soon be left alone. When you throw in the true-life sci-fi element of what his plans are to cheat time, you feel even less concerned for him. Sarah, on the other hand, is a character you want to scream at. Maybe simply because she is 17, and almost any of us can relate to the self-doubt that consumes her as she struggles to gain the attention of the popular boy who is just the player all the readers recognize him as. I read along with Sarah's anguish wanting to just shake her by the shoulders and tell her life is not high school but you don't get a chance because it moves so fast back and forth from her story.

I can't and won't say the book was a bad book - I can say that I think it could have been better and others who had read different stories by Mr. Albom agreed. I really think the message of appreciating the time we have (or are given, if that's the way your thinking goes...) could have been presented in at deeper, more personal level if we could have focused more on the plight of one of the characters in the story rather spread four people in four paragraphs over one page. I was intrigued by the idea of learning the story of Father Time, of getting to know him as a character, but in the end I feel his story fell a bit short. I think the emotional impact of the message would have hit harder had Dor been able to focus his energy on getting to know and save one character, and I would have picked Sarah's story if I had to pick just one supporting role. All in all, I would give this book 2.5 out of 5 stars.