Wednesday, October 14, 2009

If Only Jimmy Smits Was Bald

by Sophie Littlefield

If you're picked up by Hollywood and they're making a tv series of your book, who would you cast?

I went through this fun exercise a while ago with my friend Elyse, aka The Pop Culture Nerd. She and I had a great time putting celebs in all the slots, and I'll tell you who we picked in a minute. But the truth is, everyone does this, all the time. I refuse to believe there's a writer alive who doesn't indulge this fantasy well before the book is even finished. I've done it with every single one of my books, going back over a decade, and I'm a little embarrassed to admit that the first half a dozen all featured Jimmy Smits as the hero. Oh, I had quite a thing for him, long after L.A. Law was nothing but a memory...

I'm happy to report that I've become a little more discerning in my casting. I try to really fit the actor to the character, and in the case of Stella Hardesty, it's difficult to do.

The problem is that she is over fifty, plain, and overweight. There simply aren't many actresses who fit that particular bill. Everyone I know says "I've got it! Kathy Bates!" Well, yeah. But don't you think it's a little weird that we have exactly one mature famous actress who isn't beautiful?

Kathy is welcome, if she isn't busy. But if I let go of my insistence on an ordinary-looking woman, the field widens quite a bit. I thought Wynonna Judd might make a great Stella, even if she’s a little young. She looks like she has attitude to spare. Or, If she’d be willing to bulk up a bit, I think Felicity Huffman would be aces. As for Elyse, she favors Geena Davis for the job.

As for Goat Jones, there’s only one man who will do: that devilishly handsome Ed Harris. There's also T.K. Simmons, who I loved in Juno. But then I started watching Oz, that old HBO series about a maximum security prison, and T.K. plays a seriously bad dude in that show, so I can't really picture him as Goat any more.

As for Chrissy, any young actress I pick is going to have to spend six months eating donuts before she could even come close to a suitable size.


Unknown said...

I don't cast my books -- but I'm a recovering screenwriter :)

Stella is a stellar opportunity for an overlooked character actress (Felicity Huffman was buff in Sports Night -- I don't think she can bulk up). Someone with hips and a bad attitude like Kyra Sedgwick or Toni Collette, or if you want to go really dark, Malenie Lynskey. She'll be ready to play 50 in about 5 years, I think. Like Clint Eastwood, buying Unforgiven and sitting on it until he was old enough to play the lead :)

Hope you guys have fun this week! We miss ya all!

Jen Forbus said...

Oh good, you mentioned Ed and I didn't have to say him again (since I mentioned him yesterday for Becky). You two will keep him in work, obviously! Ha! And here's another thought for Goat - Mark Harmon. I've always thought he would also make a good Max Holman if THE TWO-MINUTE RULE ever made it to the big screen. But, I never tire of seeing Mark Harmon. *sigh*

As for Stella, I thought maybe if Susan Sarandon beefed up she could pull off the could Meryl Streep...I love Meryl Streep; she can seriously do anything! If Stella had been African-American, Queen Latifa would have fit the bill...a bit young, but make-up can fix that.

Gabi said...

I love both Kathy Bates and Ed Harris. And Jimmy Smits is holding up VERY well. I do think it's nuts that there aren't more fifty something normal women available for the short list but I think this makes for a great cast list...provided I'm invited to the wrap party.