Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wendy L. Rouse's "Her Own Hero"

Wendy L. Rouse teaches United States History and social science teacher preparation at San Jose State University. Her research interests include childhood, family, and gender history during the Progressive Era.

Rouse's new book is Her Own Hero: The Origins of the Women's Self-Defense Movement.

Here the author dreamcasts an adaptation of the book:
My Book, The Movie is definitely an interesting prompt to think about. The truth is that there are so many women in my book Her Own Hero that it would be impossible to choose a main character or even several main characters. If I had to cast it though, I would no doubt choose from the group of everyday “sheroes” that I have had the privilege of knowing. There are so many amazing female empowerment self-defense instructors out there today teaching women how to be their own heroes that they would be the natural stars of my film. Another advantage of casting them is that we would not have to hire any stunt doubles since they could, obviously, perform their own fight scenes.

Since My Book, The Movie is mostly just a fun intellectual exercise, if we were to make the book into a movie I would want to convert it into some sort of action-hero movie. Then we would need a big name Hollywood star to draw attention to the film. I would have to figure out away to include Kate McKinnon as Holtzmann in Ghostbusters because who doesn’t need a bit of comic relief in a bad-ass, female, superhero, fight film, right?

Learn more about empowerment self-defense.
Learn more about Her Own Hero at the New York University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Her Own Hero.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 21, 2017

Mary Miley's "Murder in Disguise"

Mary Miley grew up in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and France, and worked her way through the College of William and Mary in Virginia as a costumed tour guide at Colonial Williamsburg. As Mary Miley Theobald, she has published numerous nonfiction books and articles on history, travel and business topics.

Here Miley dreamcasts an adaptation of Murder in Disguise, her fourth Roaring Twenties mystery:
This question, commonly posed to fiction authors and book club readers, is harder for me to answer than it would seem. The main character in Murder in Disguise (and in the entire Roaring Twenties series) is a young woman who has spent her life on the vaudeville stage playing kiddie roles into her mid twenties. Any actress playing Jessie would need to be petite and have a boyish 1920s silhouette—no curves—those traits, along with her acting skills, allow her to continue impersonating teenage girls, which is important to the stories. So the film version requires an actress who can believably become 16 with the right clothes and makeup. Not many fit that description. Drew Barrymore would have been perfect 15 years ago. Keira Knightley and Emma Stone are probably too old.

The main male character, David Carr, was introduced in The Impersonator and continues in the subsequent three mysteries of the series. David is in his late twenties, a tough gangster with a disarming smile—the lovable rogue sort. Ryan Gosling or Nic Bishop are about the right age or could fake it a bit younger. I also like Chris Pine and Ryan Reynolds, but fear that they might be too old for the part.

Should the Roaring Twenties series actually become a movie, I think the wisest course would be to choose unknown actors for the roles.
Learn more about the book and author at Mary Miley's website, blog, and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 18, 2017

Zoë Sharp's "Fox Hunter"

Zoë Sharp is the author of fourteen novels so far, either in the Charlie Fox crime thriller series, standalones or collaborations, as well as moonlighting as an international pet-sitter and yacht crew. When she’s not doing that, she dabbles in self-defence and house renovation. (If she visits don’t tell her to make herself at home or she’s liable to start knocking walls out.)

Here Sharp dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Fox Hunter:
Charlie Fox herself is always hard for me to cast. Because I write in first person I look out through her eyes all the time, not at her from another viewpoint. And anybody who’s familiar with Charlie knows she doesn’t spend much time gazing into mirrors at her own reflection. The TV/film option held by Kathleen Rose Perkins has just expired, so I’m having to wean myself away from visualising her in the part. So, if not her then I’d love to see Gina Carano in the role. She has Charlie’s sheer physicality and I love her fight style. If I was casting a Brit, I’d go for somebody like Natalie Tena of Harry Potter and Game of Thrones.

For Sean Meyer, why not Jeremy Renner? I thought he was brilliant in The Bourne Legacy, and The Hurt Locker, with the perfect driven-to-the-edge air I need for Charlie’s former lover at this stage in his storyline. Allison Janney from The West Wing has just the right smoky, cynical edge to play CIA agent Aubrey Hamilton, and for Charlie’s sidekick, injured private military contractor Luisa Dawson, what about Monica Raymund? I first saw her in Lie To Me, but she has more recently been playing another character called Dawson, strangely enough, in Chicago Fire.

For the bad guys, Sean Harris was an incredibly convincing nasty piece of work both in Harry Brown with Michael Caine, and in Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, so he would have to play Hackett. Harrison Ford would be brilliant as Balkan gangster Gregor Venko, and has the acting chops to play a man whose grip on the power he once had is now slipping. And Jamie Bell, once of Billy Elliot, as his son Ivan. I can see it on the big screen now…
Learn more about the author and her work at Zoë Sharp’s website, blog, or find her on Facebook or Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Rachel Kadish's "The Weight of Ink"

Rachel Kadish is the award-winning author of the novels From a Sealed Room and Tolstoy Lied: a Love Story, as well as the novella I Was Here.

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of her latest novel, The Weight of Ink:
For Ester Velasquez, who would have to radiate intelligence as well as a mix of passion and wariness, I’m going to go with Natalie Portman.

And Helen Watt? Judi Dench or Emma Thompson, each of whom would play her character quite differently…but either would bring out the intense force of Helen’s personality, her ability to intimidate others even as she isolates herself, and ultimately her vulnerability.

I was trying to think of the right actor for Rabbi ha-Coen Mendes, a beautifully gentle man blinded at the hands of Portuguese Inquisitors but nonetheless committed to a life of study. At first I imagined Ben Kingsley—but there’s something more forceful about Kingsley that makes me put him down instead for the role of Benjamin HaLevy, alone in that grand house on the hill with all his anger and hurt.

I can’t come up with the right actors to play Aaron Levy, or Dror, or Mary or Rivka or the HaLevy brothers or the Patricias, or the trio of Thomas, John, and Bescos…

But Bridgette Easton is an easy one—she’s got to be Gwyneth Paltrow!
Visit Rachel Kadish's official website.

The Page 69 Test: Tolstoy Lied.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 14, 2017

Erika Gasser's "Vexed with Devils"

Erika Gasser is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Cincinnati.

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of her new book, Vexed with Devils: Manhood and Witchcraft in Old and New England:
Vexed with Devils is a cultural history of the role that manhood played in early modern instances of demonic possession and witchcraft. Many people know that women were more commonly suspected, prosecuted, and executed for witchcraft in England and New England, and so the book begins with things we do not expect to see—men and manhood in witchcraft and possession—and uses them to analyze the varied ways that gender mattered for early modern people. The book contains a few case studies of particular accused witches or demoniacs (those who appeared to suffer from the symptoms of possession), and one that would suit a film adaptation is the story of Margaret Rule, a seventeen-year-old girl in Cotton Mather’s Boston congregation who appeared to be possessed in 1692-93, just after the conclusion of the famous outbreak of witchcraft at Salem.

For the role of Margaret Rule, I immediately thought of Anya Taylor-Joy, who was so electrifying as a Puritan girl in The Witch (2015). In addition to showing a facility with period language, Taylor-Joy showed vulnerability and glimpses of an undimmed spirit. Taylor-Joy’s other work in Morgan and Split (both 2016) only reinforce this choice; even though Margaret Rule was no action hero, the combination of strength, calculation, and vulnerability in all three roles make her the ideal candidate.

The role of Cotton Mather, the frustratingly complex minister who was thirty years old at the time of Rule’s possession, is tricky to cast. Historians have struggled over the meaning of Mather’s character, alternately placing the blame for the witchcraft outbreak at his feet or wholly exonerating him from the accusations of his detractors. This performance would need to allow for the ambiguity of Mather’s position and would need to capture his overwhelming faith in his family’s view of Puritanism, his inability to shake doubts about his own salvation, his preening self-aggrandizement, and also his painful awareness of the follies of vanity and pride. If age and sex were no object, I’d like Patrick Stewart or Tilda Swinton for it. But perhaps James McAvoy (of many films, including Split) or Shaun Evans (of the PBS Mystery series, Endeavour) would be good choices.
Learn more about Vexed with Devils at the NYU Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Vexed with Devils.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, August 13, 2017

James Abel's "Vector"

James Abel is the pseudonym for Bob Reiss, an accomplished author and journalist who has written extensively on the Arctic. He lives and works in New York City.

Here Abel shares some thoughts about adapting his new novel, Vector, for the big screen:
Vector, like the other three books in the Joe Rush series, features two former Marines who have become bio-terror experts and doctors. When I think of actors to play them, I think of their attitudes toward life. One is a loner, stung in the past in relationships, and weighed down by past choices that he would make again the same way, nonetheless. The other is a family person, better able to incorporate the strain of work and an outside life. I could see men or women playing these roles. In a film, I don't think of these two in terms of gender, or age, but of the way they connect (or not) with others. I think many actors with good range could become one of these two.
Visit James Abel's website.

The Page 69 Test: Protocol Zero.

My Book, The Movie: Protocol Zero.

The Page 69 Test: Cold Silence.

My Book, The Movie: Cold Silence.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 11, 2017

Fiona Davis's "The Address"

Fiona Davis was born in Canada and raised in New Jersey, Utah, and Texas. She began her career in New York City as an actress, where she worked on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in regional theater. After ten years, Davis changed careers, working as an editor and writer, and her historical fiction debut, The Dollhouse, was published in 2016. She's a graduate of the College of William & Mary and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and is based in New York City.

Here Davis dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, The Address:
Since The Address has two timelines: 1884 and 1985, there are two sets of heroes and heroines to cast. In the Gilded Age era, I’d choose the talented Gal Gadot as Sara Smythe, the protagonist who comes from London to work at the Dakota apartment house in 1884. Why? Because the character has to be able to raise one eyebrow, which Gadot executes with perfect aplomb throughout Wonder Woman. The character of Sara was inspired by a John Singer Sargent portrait of Lady Gertrude Agnew, and the resemblance between the painting and Gadot is uncanny. Gadot has the requisite beauty, skepticism, and strength for the role.

For her love interest, Theo Camden, I’d love to see Ewan McGregor in the part. He’s got the right energy for the role of an ambitious architect in the Gilded Age. His versatility and quick wit work well with the part. Another option, if Ewan is booked, would be Mark Ruffalo. Simply because I love everything he does and would love to say so in person.

In the 1980s story line, I’d have to jump into my time machine and cast 20-something Phoebe Cates as Bailey, the down-on-her-luck interior designer who’s tasked with stripping down an apartment in the Dakota of all its period details. She has to have a close resemblance to Sara Smythe, and be able to raise one eyebrow as well.

Finally, we have Bailey’s love interest, Renzo, who works as a super in the Dakota. Let’s go with Charlie Hunnam. A gorgeous man with serious acting chops.

The only question left is, when do we begin filming?
Visit Fiona Davis's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Anna Stephens's "Godblind"

Anna Stephens is a UK-based author of gritty epic fantasy debut, Godblind, the first in a grimdark trilogy about a religious, political and ideological war, the people caught up in its midst, and just what, exactly, they are willing to do to win – is the cost ever too high when the fate of an entire people is at stake? She lives with her husband, Mark, an enormous book and movie and music collection, and – allegedly – too many toys.

Here Stephens dreamcasts an adaptation of Godblind:
Godblind is a gritty epic fantasy novel of rival factions and gods fighting for the soul of Rilpor and the wider world, Gilgoras. It has a large cast of central characters, so I won’t name all of them or we’ll be here all day!

Lord Galtas Morellis – the evil sidekick to Prince Rivil – is a lean, one-eyed psychopath and assassin, and when he can’t get his hands on his enemies, takes his revenge on their families instead. I think Idris Elba would be awesome as Galtas, because he does evil very, very well, and yet he retains his charisma and devilish charm throughout. Someone you hate to love, rather than love to hate.

Captain Tara Carter – Tara is the only woman in the West Rank, the elite branch of Rilpor’s army, and she’s there because she deserves to be. Despite her obvious ability, she’s spent years having to prove herself as good as the men, fending off inappropriate advances – often with her fists – and enduring the daily barrage of abuse from men angry at her captaincy. I think her sassy, competent and self-confident demeanour would be perfectly played by Hannah John-Kamen, who is currently rocking as Dutch in Killjoys and is going to appear in next year’s Ready Player One (please be playing Art3mis!!)

Dom Templeson – Dom is known as the Calestar, a seer of the Wolves of Rilpor (civilian warriors who patrol the border against invasion). Dom is cursed with the ability to see snippets of the future, and can commune direct with the gods. I think Richard Madden (Robb Stark) would make a good Dom – he’s got the steely-eyed determination to see things through, but there’s a vulnerability about him too that is essential to any portrayal of Dom.

Lanta Costinioff, the Blessed One – Lanta is the high priestess of the Red Gods, dedicated to blood and battle and death and the subjugation of all Rilpor. She’s the high priestess of a death cult and is power-hungry, staggeringly ambitious, and more arrogant than is good for her. The obvious answers would be Carice Van Houten (the Red Woman) or Lena Headey (Cersei) from Game of Thrones, but actually I think Michelle Gomez, who played the excellently bonkers Missy in Doctor Who, could totally own Lanta’s power-mad personality.

Rillirin Fisher – Rillirin is a traumatised, abused slave of the bloodthirsty Mireces, who escapes and makes her way to Rilpor, where she’s taken in by Dom and the Wolves, and begins to heal, both physically and mentally. They teach her to fight, and the ability to protect herself is instrumental in helping her recover from her PTSD. I’ll go with Rose Leslie, who was Ygritte in Game of Thrones, both for the red hair, the same as Rillirin, and that edge about her, the strength she had to fight after Jon betrayed her, how she translated grief into fury and refused to be cowed or broken despite everything.

Captain Crys Tailorson – Crys is a captain the Palace Rank, a bit of a loose cannon who likes to gamble and drink when not on duty. He befriends Prince Rivil and there’s a deep rivalry between him and Galtas, and then he ends up fighting against the Mireces invasion, while Dom’s visions hint at a larger – and much darker – path he must walk. Crys is one of my favourite characters, and his journey of self-discovery provides a lighter element to Godblind, as does his sense of humour. Diego Luna, who played Cassian Andor in Rogue One, could be a great Crys.
Visit Anna Stephens's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 7, 2017

Mitch Kachun's "First Martyr of Liberty"

Mitch Kachun is Professor of History at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He is author of Festivals of Freedom: Memory and Meaning in African American Emancipation Celebrations, 1808-1915 and co-editor of The Curse of Caste; or the Slave Bride: A Rediscovered African American Novel by Julia C. Collins.

Here Kachun dreamcasts an adaptation of his latest book, First Martyr of Liberty: Crispus Attucks in American Memory:
It would be challenging to make a film based on the life of Crispus Attucks since we know almost nothing about the man’s life that can be confirmed with documentary evidence. This is a big part of what makes Attucks such a fascinating figure—he is pretty much a blank slate, so over the nearly 250 years since his death in the 1770 Boston Massacre various people or groups have constructed a wide range of versions of his life to suit their purposes—sometimes a hero who was the first to give his life for American independence; sometimes a good-for-nothing rowdy who was a threat to the social order; sometimes an irrelevant nobody who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It would be doubly challenging to make a film based on my book because, while my analysis does suggest the most likely framework for Attucks’s life, family, and experiences, it is primarily an exploration of the stories and myths that have grown around him over the past quarter millennium.

There actually have been several efforts to make films based on Attucks’s life, and several playwrights have developed scripts as well. In the 1940s one African American writer claimed to have gotten Paul Robeson to agree to portray Attucks on the silver screen, and in the 1980s a playwright contacted the agent for James Earl Jones regarding the role. Neither project came to fruition.

If I were to cast an Attucks biopic today, my choice for the mature Attucks—who was 47 years old when he died—would be Shemar Moore, who has the presence and power most people would want to see in the First Martyr of Liberty, and Moore is also light-skinned enough to play the mixed-race, African/Native American Attucks. For the younger Attucks—who was in his 20s when he escaped from slavery in 1750—I think Noah Gray-Cabey, from the TV series Heroes, could be good. For the child Attucks, I’d have to go with Miles Brown from the TV series Blackish.

Now I’ll just wait for the offers to start rolling in!
Learn more about First Martyr of Liberty at the Oxford University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Candace Ganger's "The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash"

Candace Ganger is a mother, blogger, as well as a contributing writer for sites like Teen Vogue and Hello Giggles. She's also an obsessive marathoner and continual worrier. Aside from having past lives as a singer, nanotechnology website editor, and world’s worst vacuum sales rep, she’s also ghostwritten hundreds of projects for companies, best-selling fiction and award-winning nonfiction authors alike.

Here Ganger shares some insight into casting an adaptation of The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash, her debut YA novel:
When I wrote Birdie & Bash, I played the movie version in my mind already though, none of the actors I envisioned were famous. I see them as actual high school students — not adults playing teens — and a true Brazilian-American as Sebastian. They're fully formed in my mind, we just haven't seen them in anything yet.
Visit Candace Ganger's website.

--Marshal Zeringue