Monday, December 17, 2012

Casting call

I'm definitely not one of those writers who think much about how their work might unfold on screen - not unless I'm actually writing a screenplay (in which case, it's pretty much all I think about). Novels and movies both tell stories, and both usually contain dialogue, but that's where the overlap starts to run out. It is not the ultimate accolade of a novel that it be adapted for the screen, let alone that it be adapted successfully. For a novelist the undertaking can be fascinating and lucrative, but its success or failure usually has very little to do with the original material - and therefore very little to do with its creator.

Nonetheless, when the My Book, the Movie came calling, I couldn't resist the temptation to play producer for twenty minutes. The popular blog, which has been running for more than five years, asks novelists to 'dreamcast' the leading roles for a fantasy adaptation of their latest book, in this case The Valley of Unknowing.

As most real producers do, I started with the director, fixing on the rather in-demand Alexander Payne, whose recent credits include SidewaysAbout Schmidt and The Descendants. Well, I reckon if you are going to fantasize a perfect world, you might as make it as perfect as possible.

Who is my ideal Bruno Krug? The truth is, I don't have one. The character already exists in my head, and I doubt that any perfect embodiment could ever exist outside it. On the other hand, there are some very talented actors out there whom I'd love to see having a go. Actors, especially great actors, always bring something all their own to a character. It's that sense of an extra dimension that makes the exercise thrilling for the original author, provided he has an open mind.

The whole fantastic exercise is here

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