I Can Dream, Can’t I?


My Book, the Movie has posted my wish-list for the main cast of a Rifters movie; it’s also running over at Campaign for the American Reader, which sounds a lot less self-aggrandizing.  Thanks to all those who responded to my pleas for suggestions, especially those who turned me on to Ellen Page.

Now, to the vet.  Tomorrow, to Fanshawe College.  And the day after, an appointment with someone at the Tax office in London, Ontario.  I’ll keep you all apprised.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Wednesday March 11 2009at 06:03 am , filed under public interface . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

24 Responses to “I Can Dream, Can’t I?”

  1. Well… now to cross my fingers

  2. yea, the final casting on this list convinces me that I’ve probably read the Trilogy enough for one person.

    Now to crack open Starfish again…

  3. I’m going to have to do a reread imagining Ellen Page as the protagonist of the story. I wouldn’t have thought of her for the role but the more I think of it the more it works for me.

  4. By the way, I’ve always wondered: do many of you cast the characters as you’re reading the books to help you more vividly imagine the characters look and voice or is it just me?

  5. DB says:

    I’ve always wondered: do many of you cast the characters as you’re reading the books to help you more vividly imagine the characters look and voice or is it just me?

    Hm, I would bet you’re not alone. Sometimes I notice that the character I’m imagining looks like an actual person, occasionally a celebrity. I’m not sure what the mechanism is, but there is some definite casting going on, if the image is a media figure.

    Do you do this uniformly, as in, for any book, you plunk down Nicole Kidman and George Clooney into the main characters before you digest the plot?

    Speaking of this phenomenon, my image of Achilles wasn’t even close to Jake Gyllenhall. I saw him as anonymous, ordinary-looking, a cube jockey, a broad guy in a tie and buttoned down collar, a little spready around the middle, caucasian, slightly balding, so you would have to look carefully to see that he was a pot about to boil over. Perfectly camouflaged, hence able to get away with more. What, that guy tortures and kills people? No way!

    A character actor, maybe. John BIllingsley, if he were younger. He has lots of range, and I saw him once on a cop show, playing a guy who was actually a crazed killer, and he was marvelous and creepy, but not overtly evil, even though his acts were. I think his acting chops get overlooked because he’s funny.

  6. I was one of the people that suggested Ellen Page, and the only thing I have seen her in is Juno (OK, I will check my testicles at the door). It was from this movie that I could see that she could portray attitude. The attitude required for Rifters would be very different, but isn’t that what acting is?

  7. DB Ellis asked:
    “By the way, I’ve always wondered: do many of you cast the characters as you’re reading the books to help you more vividly imagine the characters look and voice or is it just me?”

    For me, it is not casting the characters, nor is it even close to placing some actor in the role, it is simply going with what the author describes and then whatever such a human being may look like. Sometimes it shifts and fluctuates, but it is based on “the book”, and not influenced upon individual “real life people” per se, especially those who are famous.

    I don’t think many would deny that Elijah Wood WAS Frodo, and although there was opposition to Liv Tyler, she really became Arwen and had the “ethereal elf looks”. Stuart Townsend was initially cast as Aragon, and thankfully, Peter Jackson determined that Townsend did not have the gravitas and presence to “be” such an important character in the LOTR Trilogy.

    I do not like to be influenced by “actors” being the characters in a book, hence I never buy the book with the actors on the cover when the book becomes “a major motion picture”. Sorry, that’s just me. I feel that books are meant to stir one’s imagination and that is lost, especially, when overpaid, overexposed, publicity seeking celebrities are the model for any story. It detracts significantly from the story because the book is now grounded in the realm of modern day celebrity.

    That is why I just cannot take Tom Cruise seriously in any role he is in. With the exception of “Top Gun”, a role of which basically “was him” in real life as to personality and behaviour, he just cannot, for me, overcome his overexposed persona. However, his acting style seems to be “him” as a person in “reality”. “War of the Worlds” just was not so great with Tom in it. Sorry.

    Someone like Viggo Mortensen, who really inhabits each and every role he is in, it is much easier to ignore his “stardom”. I feel that is much better to cast a movie that is based upon a book, especially a series, with actors not as overblown, who are relatively unknown or even better, newbie actors, that is why movies such as “Blade Runner”, “Star Wars”, “The Abyss”, “The Chornicles of Narnia, the “Harry Potter” movies, “The Golden Compass”, “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy, “Hellboy”, “Mirrormask”, “X-Men” and now “Watchmen” work so well.

    Also, in casting a wide net in the search for the right people meant for the role, as opposed to just picking someone who is famous, a celebrity and popular, you give all of those struggling actors and aspiring actors the chance to shine in a role that they were meant for, and at least for this one movie role, the opportunity to realize their dream of being an actor, whether the movie fails or not.

    Sadly, it is becoming more and more about money and box office draw instead of quality and fairness. I think it is one of the most ludicrous things to see the same very small pool of actors in most of the movies, instead of letting them have some roles, of which they have earned enough beacoup bucks to feed a small nation, and let other people get some of the roles. Movies can make or break careers, at least give those talented unknowns the chance to do so.

    It is true that some authors do write their book with someone in mind, and I am not sure if that also includes the assumption that their book will become a movie. Cornelia Funke, of the “Inkheart” series, wrote the character of “Mo” with actor Brendan Fraser in mind. Why? She stated in several interviews that she was watching “The Mummy” over and over as she was writing “Inkheart”.


  8. Do you do this uniformly, as in, for any book, you plunk down Nicole Kidman and George Clooney into the main characters before you digest the plot?

    For main characters I do it pretty early on. It doesn’t usually take me long to get a feel for who I think would best fit the part. But I have been known to change my mind and “recast” at a later point after deciding my first instinct on the character was wrong.


    I feel that is much better to cast a movie that is based upon a book, especially a series, with actors not as overblown, who are relatively unknown or even better, newbie actors, that is why movies such as “Blade Runner”, “Star Wars”, “The Abyss” ……” and now “Watchmen” work so well.

    I can understand that. I frequently pick rather poorly known actors when casting the parts in my mind. Sometimes so poorly known that I dont even know their names. I used the man who starred in INFAMOUS as the one of the two primary male characters in Stephen King’s CELL recently, for example. I still don’t know who he is.

  9. @ DB Ellis RE: “By the way, I’ve always wondered: do many of you cast the characters as you’re reading the books to help you more vividly imagine the characters look and voice or is it just me?”

    I’m usually not influenced by actual people when imagining the characters in the tales I read. If the author provides a decent – even outlined – description of their creations (a la Rifters Trilogy), then I can pretty easily create a person in my head.

  10. [b]
    By the way, I’ve always wondered: do many of you cast the characters as you’re reading the books to help you more vividly imagine the characters look and voice or is it just me?
    [/b]

    Not at all. But If after I’ve read the book, and a good adaptation of it, I tend to imagine the characters as they were in the film.

    …i.e. Paul Atreides played by McLachlan. I can’t imagine him looking any other way..
    …..
    When I was reading the books, I could imagine how Lenie looks very easily, as I once knew a girl who looked just like her( as she is described in the novels). Even had a similar amount of (different) issues.

    ..no sense crying over spilled milk..

  11. Characters in a book usually develop into their own unique, well…character, as I follow the story, though once in a while I’ll encounter someone in a novel who could only be played by ‘actorX’.

    I know this is a late addition to the list but would like to nominate:
    Tilda Swinton as Patricia Rowan.
    Doesn’t matter what role she plays – Tilda Swinton always gives the impression that she has a core of unyeilding steel just below the surface of whatever character she’s playing.

  12. “do many of you cast the characters as you’re reading the books to help you more vividly imagine the characters look and voice or is it just me?”

    No, for me the attraction to first Peter’s book “Starfish” (I have all of his books in hardcover, BTW) was that I wanted to know how the fuck he got into my head. I pretty much see myself as Lennie Clark. Tilda Swinton should absolutely play Lennie. She’s been one of my favorite actresses ever since “Orlando”.

  13. “do many of you cast the characters as you’re reading the books to help you more vividly imagine the characters look and voice or is it just me?”

    It is interesting to see how different people visualize characters in a book. But I think the absolute worst (or is it worse?) is watching a parody, spoof or cartoon that is making fun of novel or play, and then reading the actual text. I just can’t read the Scarlet Pimpernel without thinking about the Scarlet Pumpernickel. You have to be Canadian, and over fifty to understand this.

  14. Ahoy, Canadian humans! (I know many of us here are.)

    Some nice Yanks of my acquaintance are going to visit Vancouver in April – aside from Stanley Park, is there anything one must not miss in that area? Is there anything particular in Stanley Park that is must-see?

  15. anony mouse Said:

    “But I think the absolute worst (or is it worse?) is watching a parody, spoof or cartoon that is making fun of novel or play, and then reading the actual text.”

    I agree. Forever embedded in your brain is this visual rendition of the book. For this reason, I won’t see some movies, cartoons, animation, parodies or spoofs of particular books that I wish to remain untainted by this, especially before I read it.

    anony mouse Said:

    “I just can’t read the Scarlet Pimpernel without thinking about the Scarlet Pumpernickel. You have to be Canadian, and over fifty to understand this.”

    That made me laugh.:) I am neither Canadian nor over fifty, (although my great great grandmother was from Canada, then she immigrated to England, but that doesn’t count), but “pimpernel” in and of itself is quite close to pumpernickel to begin with…so reading this book reminds you of red bread? For some reason I am now reminded of Monty Python and Engelbert Humperdink…

  16. Keanani said …so reading this book reminds you of red bread?

    I said that you would have to be Canadian and over fifty to understand this. There was a pair of Canadian comics in the 60s and 70s who often appeared on Ed Sullivan. They did sketch comedy. One of their bits was an hour long spoof of the Scarlet Pimpernel in which they would rescue prisoners from France and leave behind a pumpernickel. I never found them very funny but, for some reason, this has stuck in my head like a bad melody.

  17. I do not remember this. I do, however, remember “The Scarlet Pumpernickle” from the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner hour back in the sixties. I’m thinking maybe Daffy Duck was the titular character.

  18. Peter,

    I stand corrected. The Wayne and Schuster skit was called the Brown Pumpernickel.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QInTfO8cXGk

    However, you are correct that Daffy Duck did the Scarlet Pumpernickel.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzpDSQSOKSc

    Here’s a thought experiment for you. Visualize Elmer Fudd as Ken Lubin, and then try reading the Rifters books.

  19. The Scarlet Pumpernickle

  20. …Is Anonymous referring to Wayne & Schuster?

    (True, they’re not terribly funny, but I’ve heard of them.)

  21. How did we get from what actors would play the characters in Peter’s novels to a mediocre comedy duo doing a mediocre parody of a mediocre novel?

  22. Mrs. Mole Said:

    Some nice Yanks of my acquaintance are going to visit Vancouver in April – aside from Stanley Park, is there anything one must not miss in that area? Is there anything particular in Stanley Park that is must-see?

    Within Stanley Park lurks the Vancouver Public Aquarium, which was the setting for the orcas-are-assholes story “Bulk Food”, by myself and Laurie Channer. If you look closely in the (former) killer whale underwater viewing gallery, you may even see the secret door to the backstage area that that story describes. Any remaining Steller sea lions on display will probably not be the same ones that I worked on back in the early nineties, but they will be part of the same fishing-industry-funded research program whose primary goal seems to be blaming the collapse of the Steller population on something— anything, really— other than the commercial fishing industry.

    Moving further afield, one gets into Caprica City proper. The domed “Bloedel Conservatory” in Queen Elizabeth Park is pretty small and lame, but it’s the spot where the cute little girl with the doll was vaporised during the initial Cylon miniseries attack. Helo shot a rat just outside the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library. UBC stood in for the late lamented Cloud Nine luxury liner, but in real life it’s run by corporate assholes who have changed its mandate from education and research to sheer resource extraction. If you get up around City Hall and squint at a certain gap in the mountains behind the North Shore, you can see the twin peaks of “The Lions”, aka the landmark of the Tomb of Athena on Kobol. And of course, Riverwalk Park (Simon Fraser University) is where Caprica Six snapped the neck of an infant in the first of many ambiguous acts of mercy.

    Gaius Baltar lived north of the city, out of town, somewhere around Horsehoe Bay. If your friends get up that far, they can rent a boat from Sewell’s Marina and head out to Pam Rocks in Howe Sound, where I spent many weeks living in a tent studying harbour seals. (Be careful to avoid the docking paths for BC Ferries, one of which is piloted by the aptly-named “Cap’n Crunch”.) Closer to Vancouver, on the north shore, is a restaurant called “Salmon House on the Hill”. It’s a wee bit touristy, but the food is good and it’s a terrific view.

    I used to hang out at Benny’s Bagels on Broadway, which made a brief appearance in William Gibson’s “Virtual Light”. In the same neighborhood we would drink at The King’s Head and dance to Dire Straits at a meat market called The Side Door, not because either of those venues was especially good but because I just lived around the corner.

    On Yew Street, just north of West 8th, you may catch glimpses of Grumpy-Looking Cat #1 and Grumpy-Looking Cat #2. They are both black and white. They both look grumpy.

  23. Who knew Vancouver was full of Cylons and Grumpy Cats?

    Thank you kindly for the info; I will pass it along.

  24. I’m Guessing Peter is a BSG fan by the actors on his list.