Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Casting my book...or I miss my theme song!

Who would I cast as Hannah Vogel if the book were made into a TV series?

by Rebecca Cantrell

I have to confess that I have an unfair advantage on this question. A TRACE OF SMOKE was released, Sara Colleton (the producer of DEXTER, THE PAINTED VEIL, and BOYS ON THE SIDE) became interested in it. She read it, liked it, and presented it to the decision-making VPs at both Showtime and HBO. It took them a few weeks, but they both passed.

In the meantime, I had a lot of time to think about SMOKE as a TV series, complete with actors and actresses and set designers and my own theme song. Yup, those were fun weeks. Until they passed and took away my theme song. So now, instead of viewing this experience as a devastating heartbreak, I can view it as chance to have an intelligent answer to this question. Yup, that’s how hard I work on these blogs.

Hannah’s 32 in this first book, so I want someone who can play that age. She needs to be blonde-haired and blue-eyed, a veritable model of Aryan beauty in order to confuse the Nazis as she looks like their ideal woman, but, of course, she is NOT. She needs to be able to portray great strength and also incredible vulnerability. Plus, she needs to be funny. But she doesn’t have to be able to tap dance, so that’s something, right?

Here’s my short list for Hannah:

  • Carice van Houten from BLACK BOOK. I loved her in that movie, and her character there has her own difficult journey.

  • Naomi Watts. She did a great job in THE PAINTED VEIL (The original was released in 1934, the same year my second book is set) and she has that strength and toughness.

  • Kate Winslet. She has it all too, plus great comic delivery.

  • Other possibilities might be: Gwyneth Paltrow (if she can be tough enough), Emily Blunt, Diane Kruger, and Claire Danes. And I'd adore it to be Jodie Foster, even if she's a bit older than Hannah.
Here’s my short list for the other characters:
  • Boris: Sebastian Koch. Big, German, sensitive, luscious. Yes, it’s a damn short list, but only because he is perfect. BLACK BOOK. THE LIVES OF OTHERS. Watch some recent German films and you’ll see what I mean. If not, at least will have seen some of his films.

  • Lang: Tough call. I think Sean Penn might like this complicated Nazi police officer who gets much larger roles in the later books. Or Michael C. Hall. Or Edward Norton (come on Edward, aren’t you tired of playing tortured good guys? How about being a tortured bad guy who might surprise everyone?).

  • Ernst Röhm: James Gandolfini. It’s a powerful cameo role, and he would be GREAT. He has the size and personal charisma, plus the sense of underlying layers. I think he could have a lot of fun with it too.

Who do YOU think should play Hannah? Boris? I'm on a plane a lot today, but I'll pop in to respond to comments as much as I can.

See you in Indy!


Jen Forbus said...

I don't know that I could see Gwenyth pulling off the role, but how about Charlize Theron? I think she is an amazing actress, especially in the role of a strong female. I'm also a huge Jodie Foster fan.

And how about Ed Harris as Lang? Might require a little in the make-up department, but man can he pull off the complicated roles: POLLACK, A BEAUTIFUL MIND, GONE BABY GONE, EMPIRE FALLS...I think he's amazing!

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Good morning from the Kona Airport, Jen!

I want Hannah to be physically small, if possible and I think Charlize Theron is 6 feet or more (Diane Fruger is really tall too).

Ed Harris would be great as Lang!!! Get his agent on the phone! :)

Thanks for the tip....hmmm..,

Jen Forbus said...

Hope your flights are going well Rebecca. Can't wait to see you!

Unknown said...

Emily Blunt is an inspired idea!

I thought Rohm was tall and slender, always thought Basil Rathbone could play him. I'm digging Gandolfini's voice in Where the Wild Things Are. He worked the calm-menace-calm thing really well in Sopranos.

Have fun this week!

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Thanks, Jen! So far my first flight is over an hour late, if it keeps up Ill have to rebbok everything and take a red eye. Don't fly GO airlines!

Hi, Mysti! Roehm was built pretty much like James gandolfini, actually. Basil Rathbone (or James woods) could plat Rudolf von Reiche though.

Gabi said...

So what about the theme song? Can you hum it? No one should lose their theme song. That's just wrong.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Hi Gabi! I was kinda hoping they would come up with the theme song. Today I keep humming "Someone to Watch Over Me," which seems appropriate or someone spending another day in the air. See you in Indy?

Gabi said...

I couldn't make Indy work in my schedule and it is totally bumming me out. Now, if someone would only send me a video of the crew singing your theme song, I could feel like I'm actually there...