Thursday, June 15, 2017

A Novel Casting Call?

Hi there -

     I was recently at a gaming convention, playing an RPG (role-playing game) where we were super-heroes.  When asked to describe who we were, the GM (game master, the one running the game) asked us a simple question:

“Who would you cast in the movie?

     Which leads me to this question - Should you cast your novel?

     There is a tendency with some writers to describe their characters by comparing them to a well-known film star or politician in one respect or another.  Even Ian Fleming, writing way back in the 1950’s wrote that one of the main characters of the short story “The Hildebrand Rarity” had the voice “of the late Humphrey Bogart”. 

      But is this a bad thing?

      Casting your character can give you guidance when writing, as long, and this is my belief, you don’t go out of your way to point it out in the story.  By having a clear view of your character, it helps you with such mundane things as nose shape, height, build, etc.

     For example, I’m currently editing a mystery that I wrote last year.  When trying to envision what a character looked like, I thought to myself who they would look like, who, if this was ever made into a movie, would I ideally want to play the character?  

     Now, the nice thing about this is you can cast anyone from any time or place.  I’ll give you an example.

     Most people, especially with the recent death of Adam West, are somewhat familiar with the Batman television series or any of the films that have been done over the years.  Well, what if Warner Bros. had decided to do a series of Batman films in the 1940’s.  Who would they cast?  Who would you?

     Here’s the list of main parts I want you to think about –

Bruce Wayne/Batman                                       Dick Grayson/Robin
Commissioner Gordon                                     The Joker
The Riddler                                                      The Penguin
Harvey Dent/Two-Face                                    The Catwoman

Think about it a moment before going on.

Ok, have you cast it yet?  Here’s mine below–
Batman – Errol Flynn.  Has the dash and derring do.

Robin – this is a tough one, may have to get Jackie Cooper for it.

Commissioner Gordon – if you have Errol Flynn as Batman, this is the role for Alan Hale (Sr.), a frequent co-star.

The Joker - Conrad Veidt.  I’m cheating on this one.  Take a look at this picture from his silent film  The Man Who Laughs (1928)

( Conrad was the original inspiration for the Joker.)

The Riddler – now, this might be the Frank Gorshin influence talking, but I’d cast Jimmy Cagney.

The Penguin – mainly because of his looks, I’d give it to Edgar G. Robinson.

Catwoman – Ida Lupino, one of the Femme Fatales of Warner’s lot.

     See, it helps to visualize your characters.  As for me, for the character in the book, I went with Helen Slater in her mid-thirties.  If you say to yourself “who?” that’s even better. 

     By casting your novel as you create your characters it helps you visualize your book as you write.  Visualization is a powerful tool, fueling your imagination and helping you in the creative process.

     So, your main character, who would you cast in the film?

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