Friday, December 15, 2006

Meet the Cast

I write cinematically. Or at least I think I do. When I write I can see it projected onto the cinema screen in my head. It's a great theatre - no-one talks, eats popcorn or chews iceblocks. I thought it would be fun to cast the film of my book...

Alan Tudyk as the voice of Trypp Elan
Chi McBride as Will Stoops
Christian Bale as Sir Edgar Worsley
David Hyde White as the voice of Kappo
David Wenham as Gerriod Blake
Eric Schweig as Tawhawki Fall
Gene Hackman as Gamelyn Blake
Grace Park as Sumi Kimura
Helena Bonham Carter as Arinna Brine
Hugh Jackman as Boramus Cole
Jet Li as Trojanu Sato
Jewel Staite as Lara Brand
Josh Hartnett as Pylos Castalia
Karl Urban as Pedaeus Rhodes
Katie Sackhoff as Lokasenna Hagen
Kelsey Grammar as the voice of Mulupo
Kevin Spacey as Cephalus Silenus
Liam Neesan as the voice of Akampa Lodd
Patrick Stewart as Chamberlain Tiberius Llyr
Sam Neill as Captain Simeon Baffin
Samuel L Jackson as Samuel Melkin
Sean Maher as Maeldune Canna
Summer Glau as Lilith Cortese
Viggo Mortenson as Wade Grayson/Caliban Grayson
Vinnie Jones as Gunther Ross
Wes Studi as Lokota Fall

The novel has many more characters but these were the ones that came to mind. I'll do another one of these cast lists in a few months. I'll briefly comments on a few of the inclusions here. Obviously, many of the actors come from films and TV series I like and in a few cases, I have snaffled a number of cast members from certain shows.

Trypp was an easy one to cast. If you've seen the movie 'I, Robot' you will have heard Alan Tudyk. He voicied the robot Sonny. The vocal qualities he brought to this are much like how I hear Trypp in my head. If Tudyk asked me, "How do you want me to play Trypp?" I'd say, just like you played Sonny.

Now, why David Wenham as Gerriod? I was a little disappointed when I heard Peter Jackson had cast him for the role of Faramir, then I saw Return of the King. Watching Wenham's portrayal of Denethor's tortured son was incredibly moving. The character of Gerriod requires an actor who can similarly evoke feelings of pathos.

Sumi Kimura - this was a tough one to cast. Originally I had cast Zhang Ziyi (from Hero, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, House of Flying Daggers, Memoirs of a Geisha) but the more I watch Battlestar Galactica the more I enjoy Grace Park's portrayal of Boomer. If Park isn't available I'll go for Zhang Ziyi. Even if I weren't casting the film, I'd go for Zhang Ziyi.

The last one I'll briefly comment on is Jewel Stait (Firefly, Serenity) as Lara Brand. I think she'd be perfect. There is a humourous aspect to this character (which Stait can do brilliantly) but she also needs to be played with a certain amount of vulnerability which - again - is Stait's forte. Lastly, I really like Lara and there is something totally endearing about Jewel Stait.

I'll comment upon the others another time, but hopefully that will give readers a sense of how I see this characters in a cinematic sense.

Cheers, Paul

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

If you want something done...

I finished the second draft of Chapter 7 tonight. It's the chapter where Lara Brand travels to Grisandole and searches for the Incanto. It's quite a fun chapter with a few surprises and a gruesome twist. But that's not what I want to talk about tonight. I thought I'd write a few comments on writing a book when you've got a full time job and a young family. It sounds like a recipe for frustration and fatigue, if not disaster, but I'd like to comment on why it needn't be this way.

I think the first thing I got right was I incorporated the novel-writing process into a 'system'. By that I mean that writing Caliban's End is simply part of what I do. Rather than getting shitty when something interrupts my writing (the twins fighting for example), I accept that as part of a system that allows me to write with a certain amount of colour and movement.

I'm not sure I could write full time. I admire those who can but I think I would get exhausted. However, by making writing something I do when the kids are asleep, or during lunchtimes at work, it means that each writing experience is a positive one - it's a break from the routine of the day.

I think the other thing that I have found works for me is the realisation that you actually can stop writing to attend to nappies, a child's bad dream or to answer a phone call about someone's computer problem. I don't think my writing is so perfect that I can't leave it for five minutes. Often I find that a little break can help with my focus on the narrative and the clarity of my expression. If I come across an idea that is too good to leave, I just jot it down and play around with it in my head as I attend to less literary matters.

Perhaps more established writers would disagree, but I do not see writing as a sacred act. It's just part of my system. I would be guilty of hubris to think that my writing is so important, the world must stop spinning whilst I commit my ideas to paper. And I wouldn't want it to stop anyway. If time slowed down to accommodate me, I think I would slow down too.

I know this introspection may seem like a great big pile of shite to some, but it works for me.

Next blog post: Caliban's End, The Motion Picture