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Who Stars in the Film of your Novel?

Discussion in 'Café Life' started by Paul Whybrow, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. Paul Whybrow

    Paul Whybrow Venerated Member

    I'd argue that it's impossible to write a novel in the 21st-century without thinking in terms of how the action and dialogue would look and sound when adapted into a television series or Hollywood film. Having said that, you might prefer that your sensitive writing is turned into a radio or stage, or filmed by a European director as they'd show the subtleties of characterisation and not swamp things in computer-generated special effects.

    When I've written my short stories, novellas and novels, I've more often visualised real people I've known rather than famous actors. For instance, a recurring character in my Cornish Detective series is a forensic pathologist called CC, and she's an amalgam of various earthy country doctors and veterinarians I've met, along with a female psychologist I once knew, a survivor of Auschwitz, who'd seen the worst of human nature.

    Unusually, I've imagined my detective protagonist, (who is the son of a sheep farmer), to look like one of the presenters of a long-running British television series called Countryfile. Adam Henson is a farmer, and his laid-back mannerisms appear in my fictional detective Inspector Neil Kettle. He has a way of lulling whoever he's questioning into a false sense of security, before jumping in with a killer punch.

    I also remembered the appearance and behaviour of a Swedish actor, called Rolf Lassgård, when writing a novella about a man who escorts his wife to the Dignitas clinic for an assisted suicide, and how he rebuilds his life at the age of 60. Lassgård is probably best known for playing Kurt Wallander in one of the television adaptations of Henning Mankell's detective novels.

    The casting of movies is critical to their commercial success but doesn't always follow how the main characters were described in the novel. The worst recent example of this is diminutive Tom Cruise playing man-mountain Jack Reacher in two film versions of Lee Child's novels.

    Some adaptations get the casting just right. The BBC's second attempt at interpreting Winston Graham's Poldark novels, first filmed in the 1970s, is a joy to watch as much for the appearance of the actors, as the scenery and the historical accuracy of the action, even if some of the actors' attempts at a Cornish accent are a bit shit!


    Who would you choose to play your characters?

    Did you envisage a particular actor as you wrote? Was it their physical appearance or their mannerisms that influenced your writing?
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  2. James Marinero

    James Marinero Venerated Member Founding Member

    My MC runs through the series. In my marketing I happened upon images of a particular male model - I have used several images of him in my promotion material.

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  3. Katie-Ellen Hazeldine

    Katie-Ellen Hazeldine Venerated Member Founding Member

    ADD: I didn't envisage one, no, though perhaps I had a vague idea of someone looking vaguely like Roland Gift. But I was writing as if I was Sunny, and it's hard to see 'yourself' as others see you.

    I suppose my psychic policeman, Sunny, could be played by either John Boyega or Luke Pasquilino
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2017
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  4. James Marinero

    James Marinero Venerated Member Founding Member

    A joy to watch? Was that the scene with the vicar sucking the toes of a prostitute then? No, I didn't follow the series - I heard on the radio that the Daily Express was upset about it. Radio 4 brought in a psychiatrist who specializes in fetishes - interesting!
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  5. MaryA

    MaryA Well-Known Member

    I've always enjoyed older women playing complex ambiguous roles and I loved Isabelle Huppert in Paul Verhoeven’s Elle. That's somebody screenwriters with ambition could write for, not 'likeable' and stylish without the focus on beauty, capable of such depth of expression.
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  6. Paul Whybrow

    Paul Whybrow Venerated Member

    Isabelle Huppert is one of my favourite actresses, and she thrives on challenging roles, such as the piano professor in The Piano Teacher. It's hard to think of a Hollywood actress who'd be capable of demeaning herself to play such a masochistic role.
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  7. James Marinero

    James Marinero Venerated Member Founding Member

    I'm spending too much time at sea and missing all these films...
  8. Patricia D

    Patricia D Venerated Member

    Jessica Chastain IS Claire Marshall. If she only knew...
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  9. Island Writer

    Island Writer Well-Known Member

    Oh yes, I definitely see that!
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  10. Richard Sutton

    Richard Sutton Flash Club Supremo

    Oh nooooo! Yes, of course. Now we'll have to change all the covers....

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