Fantasy Casting Call

To have a movie made from a book is every author’s dream come true.  To have that movie garner rave reviews, receive prestigious awards, and make a heck-of-a-lot of money is heaven.

Every writer knows a good/great movie = a bestseller.

Those who enjoyed the movie may in turn seek out the original source material.  This is a win-win situation for the author.  Not only does he get to see his work on the big screen he also gets to sell many more copies.

With that in mind, I will indulge myself by picking the actors that I would enjoy seeing play my characters on the big screen.

A series of brutal murders lead Chicago Homicide Detective Karl Whaler on the strangest and most dangerous investigation of his career.

How could the death of a promising young man be related to a tragic event during the Vietnam War decades earlier? And why do a plumber, an electrician, a caretaker, a locksmith and a butcher meet secretly in a downtown room?

Karl Whaler (Detective)

I would love for Brendan Gleeson to play him.  Gleeson was excellent in the movie In Bruges.  Whaler is quiet, soft-spoken, and shy, this would fit Gleeson perfectly.  Plus, Gleeson has Whaler’s body-type.

Michael Lantern (Plumber)

When I was writing the book years ago I actually had Clint Eastwood in mind but he would be too old now—the character in the book is in his early fifties.  Lantern is a man of few words and he is very reserved.  I think Liam Neeson would capture who he is.

Barry Tarkovsky (Butcher)

This one, without a doubt, should be played by Alfred Molina.  I actually had Molina in mind while writing the book.  I loved Molina in the movie The Man Who Knew Too Little with Bill Murray.  Tarkovsky is physically strong but has a soft heart.

Vince Crouch (Electrician)

This part should be played by Chris Cooper.  Crouch is angry, hot-headed, and stubborn.  Cooper looks like he is filled with p*ss and vineger, perfect for playing Crouch.

Sam Patroni (Locksmith)

I think George Clooney should be Patroni.  Patroni is handsome, charming and funny.  Even at his age Patroni is capable of attracting beautiful women. Clooney has no problem in that category.

Al Shorley (Caretaker)

I think Kevin Spacey would be the right person to play Shorley.  Shorley is introverted, quiet, and physically weak.  I loved Spacey in the movie The Usual Suspects.

For further indulgence I would love for Ridley Scott (American Gangster, Body of Lies) to direct it.  Ridley Scott is one of the finest directors around.  I’m a huge fan of his and have seen all his movies.

Like many authors I have spent a great deal of time thinking about the movie version.  Who knows, maybe one day that dream may turn into reality.


Along with being a writer I’m also a huge movie fan.  Most of my blogs in one way or another have some connection to movies.  So I figured why not write about book-to-film adaptations.

Now, there are hundreds, heck, thousands of books that have been turned into films.  In most cases the books were better than the movies.  I have always wondered why that is.  Books have the capacity to evoke emotion, make us feel like we are right in the action, and even scare the daylights out of us.  So they would easily translate into movies, right? Wrong.

There are many factors at play.  When an author writes a book it is solely his/her vision.  They are, in essence, the actors, the directors, the scriptwriters; they are everything they need to be to tell a story.  What they are not are producers, this title will be placed on the publishers.  On the other hand, in a movie there are actual actors, a director, one or several scriptwriters, and producers.  What happens is that when a book is adapted an author’s story is then passed through several people: the scriptwriters, the actors, the director, and even the producers.  That one person’s vision gets filtered through that many people and becomes something else entirely.

There are also other reasons why a great novel turns into a terrible movie: the scriptwriters may not understand the novel, the actors may not be suited for the parts, the director may be inept, and the producers may only be concerned with the budget.  This process can be very frustrating for the authors.  For this reason authors rarely are hired to write the screenplay of their works.

Writing a book is like giving birth, it’s a long and painful process, but in the end the results are often beautiful.  So to go back and change your ‘baby’ is something that most cannot do.  It is better to write your book and then let someone else make their movie.

There is a great quote from Ernest Hemingway about Hollywood: “Let me tell you about writing for films. You finish your book. Now, you know where the California state line is? Well, you drive right up to that line, take your manuscript and pitch it across. No, on second thought, don’t pitch it across. First. Let them toss the money over. Then you throw it over, pick up the money, and get the hell out of there.”

There are many books I’ve enjoyed reading but loathed the movie versions. My favourite author, Michael Crichton, his books never turned into good or great movies.  While the movies based on his books were successful (see Jurassic Park) they never came close to what the books were.  Whenever I read a Crichton book I always felt like I was watching a movie in my head, but unfortunately, what was written on the page never converted well onto the screen (see Congo, Timeline, Rising Sun).

Below are five titles (in no particular order) that I have enjoyed both the novels and their respective movies.


Deckard, a blade runner, has to track down an d terminate 4 replicants who hijacked a ship in space and have returned to earth seeking their maker. (courtesy of IMDB)


A young FBI cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims. (courtesy of IMDB)


In 1984, the USSR’s best submarine captain in their newest sub violates orders and heads for the USA. Is he trying to defect, or to start a war? (courtesy of IMDB)


The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son. (courtesy of IMDB)


An office employee and a soap salesman build a global organization to help vent male aggression. (courtesy of IMDB)