Hollywood called. They want to turn your book into a movie.

Imagining the movie that Hollywood’s going to make of your book feels a bit karmically dangerous – a “counting your chickens before they’ve hatched” dodge for the modern creative class.

But what the hell. Every writer does it. It’s fun to dream. It’s especially fun to imagine yourself as the casting director, armed with an unlimited budget and access to all the world’s acting talent. Who would play your protagonist? Your villain?

Marshal Zeringue terrific blog My Book, The Movie scratches just this itch. Marshal, an American screenwriter and champion of literary efforts high and low, asks writers to “dreamcast” their book.

You’d think writers would be the best people to consult on this – they cooked up the characters, after all. But for some reason their opinions are not warmly received – or even solicited – by film producers. Elmore Leonard, whose novels are so dialogue-driven and cinematic they routinely make their way to the screen, doesn’t even bother offering candidates anymore. The first few times, “They would ask me what actors I saw in the roles,” Leonard says, in Marshal’s blog. “I would tell them and they’d say, ‘Oh, that’s interesting.’”

It’s a bit of a Walter Mitty exercise, imagining you’d ever have the power to shape a big-budget movie. It’s pleasing to be asked questions that make you feel important. ‘In the movie of your life, who would play you?’ ‘What novel would you assign to the Prime Minister to read?’ Who would you invited to your literary dream dinner party?’ When you dreamcast, no one ever says no to your entreaties, even dead folks. “You might speculate what, say, Cary Grant or Grace Kelly would have done with the role,” says Marshal.

Most of the posts on his site are for works of fiction, but there are some great non-fiction ones, too.

My own stab at dreamcasting What Makes Olga Run? can be found here.

 

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