Filming location for spaghetti westerns in Almería, Spain

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© 1987-2017
Scott R. Larson

Building façade in Cannes, France

Role play

It’s almost Halloween. Time for something scary! What would be scary enough? I suppose I could write about Harvey Weinstein, but that would be too scary.

Seriously, though, I feel I should say something the whole Weinstein thing, even though I cannot claim to have any amazing insights to add to all that has already been said. Of course, that won’t stop me, but those comments can wait a wee bit longer.

What really scares me this Halloween is that the film adaptations of my novels are not happening nearly fast enough. On the other hand, maybe it is for the best. After all, I do not want to get into the situation of George R.R. Martin, who will see the cable television adaptation of his A Song of Fire and Ice series completed before he has actually completed writing the source novels. I would much rather be in the situation of J.K. Rowling, who has made so many shed loads of money off her Harry Potter books and their movies that she is richer than the queen of Great Britain and who, in the process, has gotten to work with directors like Alfonso Cuarón and Mike Newell and has probably personally met every famous actor in Britain and a couple from Ireland.

One encouraging sign for me is the fact that the first Harry Potter movie did not come until after the fourth book the series had been out for more than a year. Of course, the negotiations and contracts and production work all began a lot earlier, but let’s put that aside. The fact remains that, under the Rowling precedent, I need not worry about film versions of my Dallas Green saga for two more books—and I currently plan on writing only one more. Still, it is not too soon to be thinking of casting.

Faithful readers will be aware that it is something of a tradition now for me to indulge myself in fantasy dream casting for my books soon after they are published. I did it for Maximilian and Carlotta Are Dead three years ago and for The Three Towers of Afranor last year. Of course, since the main character in my new book is the same as in my first book, I could just stick with my choice(s) from back then. The problem, though, is that now we are talking about two adaptations instead of one. Could the actor(s) I picked back then still play the 18-year-old in the first story? Could he play the 27-year from Lautaro’s Spear? Who did I even pick back then anyway?

Well, look whose name I came up with first to play 18-year-old Dallas. It was none other than Cole Sprouse, who was then 22 and a mere student and Twitter celebrity (and former Disney child star). He is now 25 but, guess what, he has gone back to acting and is currently on television playing a teenager. Specifically, he plays Jughead Jones on Riverdale, the CW update/revision of the old Archie comic books. He could still play Dallas! And at both ages! Unfortunately, he has a job, so he probably wouldn’t want to.

Who else was on my list for Dallas? There was now-18-year-old Chandler Riggs, who is still playing Carl on The Walking Dead. He’s at the perfect age for the first book, although he actually looks young for his age. My other pick was Englishman Asa Butterfield who, now 20, will be playing a World War I soldier in the upcoming Journey’s End. Much as I admire his acting, though, he now looks all wrong to me for Dallas. Too bad. Let me throw out a few other possibilities for 27-year-old Dallas—Cameron Monaghan (Jamie Marks Is Dead, Gotham, Shameless), Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road, Let Me In, X-Men: Apocalypse), Australian Toby Wallace (Boys in the Trees), Seattle-born Nick Robinson (The Kings of Summer, Jurassic World). Nick might appreciate the irony that Dallas intermittently talks about going to Seattle but never quite seems to make it there.

What about Lautaro’s Spear’s new character Valérie Destandau, who figures prominently in the middle of the book? She is a 31-year-old dark-haired French woman, and my preference would be for her to be played by an actual French (or at least French-speaking) actor. So many choices. Oh la la!. Top of the list would have to be Eva Green, who appeared in Bertolucci’s The Dreamers, was a Bond girl in Casino Royale and, most impressively, was the witch Angelique in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows. Frankly, I’m willing to stop my search there, but let’s also throw out the names Fanny Valette (La Petite Jérusalem, Night Fare, Un Profil pour Deux) and Mélanie Laurent (Inglorious Basterds, Beginners, Now You See Me).

Yes, I could go on with this list for days, but there are actually quite a few other characters to cast as well. What about the mysterious Mission District restaurateur Marty? Or cute, young aspiring rock star Justin? Or the married seductress Lana? Or Dallas’s new friend Ángel?

Maybe I should leave some of this work for the director and her or his team.

-S.L., 29 October 2017

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