One of my Facebook friends recently asked, “Who would you choose to star in the biopic of your life?” My first thought was – Stephenie Meyer. No, I’m not saying I want Stephenie Meyer to play me in a biopic of my life. The question reminded me of the graphic novel Twilight Unbound: The Stephenie Meyer Story. Critics say that Stephenie’s life to date has been boring, with little prospects of it getting any spicier, and this is reflected in the graphic novel. Not even employing Dracula as a narrator for the biography can inject any excitement into the story.
(Poor Stephenie Meyer. As if being criticized for poor prose, sparkling up vampires, and *gasp!* advocating abstinence before marriage isn’t enough, she has to bear personal attacks on her unremarkable lifestyle. I wonder if some days she just curls up and cries on top of her mountains of money…)
I’m not a thrice-married alcoholic like Dorothy Parker. I’m not a beautiful young suicide like Sylvia Plath. I don’t have affairs with famous composers like George Sand did. Unlike Virginia Woolf and Janet Frame, I have never seen the inside of a mental health institution. And even if I fulfilled any or all of the above prerequisites, I’m lacking the most crucial one; I’m not famous. Yet. So…yeah. No biopic for me.
But that doesn’t mean I need give up all hope of inspiring a movie. Brokeback Mountain, The Shawshank Redemption, Minority Report, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Psycho and Good Will Hunting are all based on short stories, and that is by no means an exhaustive list.
So who would I cast in the movie adaptations of some of my short stories?
Maurice, the protagonist from Ghosts Can Bleed, is an Everyman. He is the kind of guy you could sit next to on the bus every day for a year and not recognise him from one day to the next. So I’d want to cast That Guy. You know, the one who was in that movie about those brothers, and in that other movie, you know, the one where somebody dies… My pick is John C Reilly. Thinking of the right woman to play Doreen is just as difficult. It’s a small, but crucial part. Put Brenda Blethyn in a bouffant blonde wig and it just might work.
Although it might not be immediately obvious, Last Chance To See has a New Zealand setting. New Zealanders are fond of casting complete unknowns (Keisha Castle-Hughes in Whale Rider had no previous acting experience, neither did most of the cast of Taika Waititi’s Boy), so most of the cast of Last Chance To See would be filled by whoever I could rope into turning up on the day. Perhaps, in Will Smith fashion, I would cast my own three children as Sharon’s kids. Sharon herself would be played by Robyn Malcolm of Outrageous Fortune fame, with Marton Csokas as her husband Mark (although I’m thinking more Leonard from Shortland Street than Jarda from The Bourne Supremacy).
Although he might be getting a little long in the tooth for it now, I’d like the role of Brother Tomas in Baptism to go to Joseph Fiennes. I’m thinking of his performances in Elizabeth and Shakespeare in Love, in which he gives good period drama. He’d look dead sexy in a brown habit… Scarlett Johansson, all silken tresses and bounteous breasts and feigned innocence, would make a good Basha. The cold, vicious Sh’teth would be a heavily made-up Lucy Liu.
So now all I have to do is write stories in which I can cast Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, and Christian Bale. Although if I start thinking along those lines, it might end up quite a different genre to the one I am accustomed to writing…
(Oh. Almost forgot. If you want to read any of my above mentioned short stories, you can purchase my collection “Ghosts Can Bleed” here. )