Q: Which of your protagonists would make good movie characters, and who would you choose to play them?
While I play this game completely in the abstract, a few of my fellow writers are getting to live at least this stage of the dream for real. Rhys Bowen has been deep into the details of a possible project featuring the protagonist of her immensely popular Royal Spyness series, Georgie. Like legions of her fans, I weighed in (my pick: Lily James, a member of the “Downton Abbey” cast) with conviction. I don’t know who has gotten the part, if they’re that far along yet. We all know about the stop-you-in-your-tracks casting of Tom Cruise as Lee Childs’ Reacher, and of the entirely miscast Katherine Heigl chosen for Stephanie Plum in Janet Evanovich’s “One for the Money” film.
The protagonist in my new series is an attractive middle-aged American artist living in rural France, with sketchy self-esteem, an eccentric wardrobe, curiosity about other people’s business, and a tendency to flutter. That one’s hard for me because the inspiration for Katherine Goff is a real person. (I posted about her, with a photo, months ago.) In my mind, Katherine is part Austen, part Miss Marple, part the harried house owner in “A Year in Provence.” I think Emma Thompson, the marvelous actor who starred in one of my favorite films, “Sense and Sensibility,” would be a good fit and I will be delighted to share my thoughts when Hollywood comes calling.
Dani O’Rourke, the center of my first mystery series and still fresh in the market, is a mid-thirty-ish SF divorcee with wobbly personal self-confidence but a sure knowledge of fine art and how to motivate really rich people to give it to the museum she works for. That mixture of assurance and self-doubt, the ability to schmooze with the rich and powerful without being a toady, and an occasional reckless courage requires an actor who can move from one kind of posture to another, sometimes in the blink of an eye. Independent, attractive enough to make a multi-millionaire playboy fall in love with her, and vulnerable enough to hide and eat nothing but M&Ms for a few weeks when he has a much-publicized fling…Who else but Sandra Bullock, who plays comedy nicely, can play falling apart and picking yourself up really well, and who held her head high when, in real life, the piece of dirt she was married to cheated on her while she was sending him a love letter from the stage at the Oscars? So what that she’s older than Dani – she looks like a million dollars. I wonder if she’s ever eaten one M&M, but, what the heck, she’s an actor, she can fake that part.
Okay, end of daydreaming and back to writing. But this was fun.
(Photos courtesy of Wikipedia)