Monday, March 3, 2014

Cast this -- Codename: Winterborn

So, I've done multiple posts on how I would cast my novel, A Pius Man: A Holy Thriller if it were made into a film. If you want to take a look, there's a 2011, 2012 and 2013 edition.

However, there's been an oversight, and I have never looked at casting the novel Codename: Winterborn, which I co-wrote with Allan Yoskowitz.

Remember this one?

Yes, I know I don't talk about this one much, but, blast it, I've been busy.

From a casting perspective, this is actually going to be easier than the Pius universe. Why? Because I've got about nine major characters in the entire story -- both heroes and villains -- that would make it to the big screen and a few minor ones: let's face it, if you've read the book, you can see how some Hollywood people would cut out the first few chapters, so we'd lose .... some of the more colorful characters in the opening.

What would the casting look like? Well, let's look at it below the break.

Kevin Anderson.

If you don't know the story (and seriously, you really should read it), Kevin is the spy that has a little problem .... namely, his entire team has been wiped out, his wife has been murdered, and politicians in his own government would like to see him deader than Jacob Marley on ice. After his initial run in with the Islamic Republic of France (long, long story), Kevin is ... a little broken.  How broken is he? Let's say that he came close to mass murder in this book.  Think I'm exaggerating? Is ten million people enough "mass" in "mass murder"?

You also need someone who is considered "handsome"-ish, and can do a lot of hand-to-hand combat, has a dry, offbeat sense of humor, and can occasionally look at his own insane moments, and acknowledge that, yes, he really has lost his marbles, along with his friends, his family and almost anyone he ever knew.

Which leads to the flavor of the month ... no, I don't mean Benedict Cumberbach, though he does seem to be everywhere for the past year.  Cumberbach is a great actor, don't get me wrong, and he is able to kick ass and take names (just see Star Trek: Intro Darkness if you don't believe me), but I have no idea if he can drop the British accent from his "I'm a dark and sinister figure, even when I'm playing Sherlock Holmes" style of acting.

I actually mean Stephen Amell, the star of Arrow.  Think about it, he already has mentally disturbed down, and if you don't believe me, look at the first episode of Arrow once more, and get back to me.  The first ten to twenty minutes have several good moments of Amell acting. You can skip several episodes to see Amell in dry banter with fellow characters, but it's there.

As for the hand-to-hand combat ... just go and YouTube Arrow fight scenes. Go ahead, I'll wait, they're going to be quite awesome.  Heck, his dance (sorry, "combat") and exercise routines were half the commercials for the show.

Oh, and Kevin also has a entire thing with bows and arrows.  Yes, it's "a thing."  It's a very long story.

Yes, there are a lots of long stories involved in this novel.  Please, read the novel, so I can stop saying "it's a long story." :)

Speaking of long stories, times for our next character.

My friend Carleigh
The model for Mandy in the
Antagonize me "interview."

Okay, Mandy is my favorite character, she really is. She is cute, kinda sexy, she enjoys her job, and, damn it, she's just fun to write. She's a mercenary, and her job in this novel is to hunt down and kill everyone's favorite nutbar, Kevin Anderson. She's morally ambiguous, with a sense of morality that crops up at some strange times. Well, strange for her.

Mandy doesn't need a lot of choreography, since most of her fights are gun battles, but we at least need someone who's lithe, athletic, something like that.

Also, a slightly more important part of her character involved her size, she's not particularly tall: 5'6" would be good. She's a blue-eyed brunette who's half smart-ass, half kick-ass, and really would like to be amoral when she grows up. She puts her best effort into it, honest.

It's a ... everyone with me now ... a long story.

The only pic I could find of her that wasn't in either
1) In full dress or 2) In her underwear
Originally, when I designed Mandy, I loosely based her off of a 24 villain of the same name, played by Mia Kirshner.

However, Kirshner is getting a little old for this sort of thing -- she's already 39, I'd like Mandy to look more like she's in her 20s, and, well, I don't actually like Kirshner personally (every interview I see her in, she comes off as ignorant, but very, very certain of everything. And stiff. And shallow, and .... gah).

Most importantly, I don't think she's capable of acting her way out of a paper bag.  Seriously, in 24, she came off as a sociopath, and she doesn't exactly have much of a sense of humor or emotional range every other time I've seen her.

Why would I base a character off of someone like that? I wanted an unrelenting, unrepentant antagonist who would stop at almost nothing to hunt Kevin Anderson down like a dog, including gunning him down in a playground filled with children...

Obviously, when I started writing Mandy in the novel, she turned into something else on me.  So, who would we be getting?

How about Mila Kunis?  While I'm not 100% certain about this, we know she can do comedy, that's most of her freaking CV.  I don't need a lot of dramatic tension, I need someone who can deliver on a dry sense of humor, enough sarcasm to put a hole through somebody, and someone who at the very least appears to have gone through a daily exercise regiment.

With Kunis, we've got a pale-skinned brunette (though not as blinding white as Kirshner), who's 5'4" and can deliver some of the more comedic dialogue, like the following from the sequel, Codename Unsub:

Bad guy: “What do you want?”
“I'd say world peace, but that would be a lie. I'd be out of a job otherwise.” She gave him a little smile that creeped him out a bit. “How about the names of everyone you work with, now and forever? How about everyone up and down the supply chain? And a pony?”

Also, it would be nice if she could whole a gun without looking like a complete moron, like Mia Kirshner (seriously Ms. Kirshner? Why are you holding a gun with your arms locked out in front of you like you're at a firing range? Did no one talk to you about the Weaver stance in the half-dozen episodes you were on 24? Even Sean Astin looked mildly competent, and he was a Hobbit, fer God's sake) .

Anyway, on a physical level, I think she can pull off Mandy.  Can she on an acting level? No idea. But I'm hopeful.

Kyle Elsen

Since I'm tired of long stories, I'm just going to say that Kyle is an assassin.  He's a bit of a nerd.  He's a nerd who kills people.  You know, the sort of flake who can get lost in his own head while thinking about some new methodology to apply to his job ... only it involves murder?

Kyle doesn't have too much of a personality at first, but then again, when you have some of the strangeness that is Kevin Anderson, everyone seems a little bit like they're in shades of gray. And no, not fifty, damnit.  However, there is a back story to Kyle that shows he's a little broken.  As though I actually needed to tell you that. He's a flake who kills people. As a character, Kyle doesn't have issues so much as he has the leather bound collected volumes. There's a character arc that plays out, and gives Kyle depth beyond knowing a hundred ways to kill someone with a spoon.


How about Colin Donnell?

For those of you who don't watch Arrow, Donnell played "the best friend" of the main character.  Funny enough, that was also an entire character arc of going from a seemingly two-dimensional character to someone with depth and heart.  All he would have to do in this case is a start from a darker point A and a deeper point B.

Yes, Allan and I have a plan. Honest.

And, let's take a look at that face for a moment. Don't tell me he doesn't look like a serial killer in the making.

Major Antonio Rohaz

This is Mandy's boss, the CEO of the Mercenary's Guild. He's described as having a dancer's posture, stiff and militaristic, with a sharp nose, and green eyes.  No, he doesn't look specifically Hispanic, but I grew up with a friend named Martinez (which she pronounced Martin-ez, not Mar-teen-ez) and who is whiter than I am, with green eyes, and light brown hair.

Rathbone is the one in the middle.
This is the best picture I could find
of him in uniform from this film.
Stupid internet.
Believe it or not, I based the character design, very loosely, on Basil Rathbone in the original The Mark of Zorro. This included the clipped delivery of the words, the baring, and everything short of him actually pulling out a sword in the middle of the book.  You could say that he's a minor character, but he's going to make an appearance throughout the series, and leave major impacts along the way ... some of them in people's heads, but that's neither here nor there.

Yes, I know. After that sort of buildup, who could you possibly get who could top this.  It's Basil Rathbone. He's Sherlock Holmes. He's an Olympic-level fencing master.  He was the archetypal villain in anything involving a sword for nearly forty years of Hollywood history.  How do you top that?

You get a god.

Yes, I went there.

Look at the original character description, and tell me it doesn't sound familiar: pale skin, green eyes, sharp nose, black hair.  You know this person, don't you?

Yup, it's Tom "Loki" Hiddleston, one of the other flavors of the week for the past two years.  Seriously, if we modify that photo (taken at ComicCon, San Diego,) and make it a military uniform, he doesn't even need to break character all that much.  If he could play Loki, only not crazy, he could pull off an Antonio Rohaz.

And come on, Hiddleston is a Shakespearean actor who wore his Loki costume, in public, and kept a straight face. He can do whatever he likes.

Allan and his wife prefer Lou Diamond Philips, but they're not the ones writing this blog.  No, this is not a subtle hint that they should start their own -- I'm trying to bludgeon them with that hint.


Sorry. It's been a long day.

The next four characters are sort of interlinked.  They're all in the town of San Francisco, they're all computer nerds, though all very different people.  We've got the shy, the sarcastic, the joker, and the damn near sociopathic.


This is an Allan character design.  Lotus is one of a set of hacker Triplets.  For Lotus, he wanted someone short, blonde, and utterly, breathtakingly beautiful as a computer genius, probably the best computer hacker and programmer in the entire city, and maybe the planet Earth.

Believe it or not, I go someone already picked out. It was easy.

Look to the right. This is Emily Bett Rickards. She's not bad looking, huh?

But, nah, she can't do computer jargon, right?  It's Hollywierd, the hot babes can't possibly also do smart at the same time. Maybe some ass-kicking, but brains? Don't kid me.

Oh, wait.

That's right, Madam Rickards is the brains behind the operation of Arrow, playing a computer programmer.

Funny enough, when I suggested Rickards to Allan, before I wrote this blog, I did start with the first photo, and I had an interesting reaction.  Said reaction being "Oh my God!"

And that was before I suggested Loki as Rohaz.


Mickie, Lotus' sister, could technically be played also by Emily Rickards, they are triplets after all. Yes, there is a fraternal twin involved here, but having identical twins and a fraternal are not impossible.

For the record, Mickie is sociable, sarcastic, and has no problem constantly smacking her brother (to be discussed below), who really deserves it (no, seriously, he deserves it). Her special features include drugging people for information, dealing with unruly costumers in their bar, and has utterly insane hair -- usually bright red hair.  She's also a computer hacker, though not as much of a genius as Lotus.

So, smart, probably good looking (to be related to Lotus, you'd sort of expect her to be), sarcastic, and looks good with red hair.

I guess we can have Rickards play both parts. Lord knows she does sarcastic well enough on Arrow, but if we want someone different, I'm seeing Emma Stone.  Yes, Emma Stone. Let's face it, she already is a redhead, she can handle smart in both Amazing Spider-Man and Easy A (didn't like the film, but liked her), and with facial expressions like that (look right) she can pull this off without a problem.


Yes, you might have caught a theme in these triplets, we have three hackers running a bar, a mixologist named Mickie, a hacker named Lotus and a primary bartender named Mac... Okay, there are some moments of this particular world that are about as subtle as a heart attack.

Then again, we're still more subtle than every other dystopia written for the last ten --  twenty -- thirty...

Okay, I can't really think of a dystopia that's subtle, but I'm sure one will come to me five minutes after I've posted this article.

Anyway, Mac, the last of our information brokers, who is average, blonde, and kind of annoying. "Oh, look at how many bad puns I can tell and pretend they're funny."  I may have been writing this blog post for too long already, but God, this character can get annoying. I'm glad he's not on screen that often.  I think I'm going to invest some character development for him in the next book. Either that, or invest some bullets into blowing his brains out. Either way, I'm good.

So Allan and I considered Josh Hutcherson, since he's already playing blonde on some sort of major film franchise at the moment Games of Starvation? Hungry Games? Hungry Hungry Hippos? Something like that. Though I'd take Iain De Caestecker from Agents of SHIELD, because I already know he can do annoying (is it too obvious that I really hate that show by now?)

Kaye Wellering

Kaye is an interesting character, mostly because of the things the reader doesn't know about her.  She heads the "Hacker's Union," which is based on Alcatraz, with a forward office in Chinatown. The Hackers run all the major utilities in the city, and can turn them on or off at will. Kaye herself even states that, even though the Hackers are centuries ahead of even the "real world," she still has ultimate power in the city that time forgot, and has no problem playing with the lives of day-to-day people as though everyone in the city were her own personal toys.  There's a reason that Kevin refers to her as the bitch-queen of San Francisco.

She also looks young. That's not because I'm on some sort of CW kick, where everyone has to be young and pretty, but because there's a backstory. Notice, I didn't say she is young, just looks it. It's an important part of who she is.  So, we need someone who at least appears younger than she is (say, early 20s) and play older. If she were male, I would say "Get David Tennant, since he can do 900 year old time lord," but we'll have to settle for someone else. And, while Sarah Michelle Gellar is looking pretty darn good a decade after Buffy went off the air, that may not hold up.

Another detail makes me think of an actress, actually. Kaye is a 5'2" redhead. While the height is incidental (Kaye has been described as wearing 4" heels), and redheads come in a bottle, about about Molly C. Quinn?  She's been playing 14 going on 400 on Castle since the show began five years ago..  There's no reason not to think that she can't do something similar in a Codename: Winterborn film.

Although it's going to be creepy with a "sexy" Molly Quinn. I now understand friends of mine who are disturbed by a sexy Michelle Trachtenberg, having first seen her as Harriet the Spy.

Angie Vaughn

This is another antagonist, one that's worse than anyone I could create. She is another mercenary, part of the same guild as Mandy and Rohaz, but another part of the organization. Like any other good business, they have some competing members of the firm.  In this case, this hostile takeover is really hostile.

Vaughn is a little more than just a power-mad creature who wants a promotion and a pay raise. She's a natural born predator. Let's just say that her previous dating history has led people to call her "the Mantis." And no, I was not brave enough to inquire exactly what she might have bit off of whom, nor was I interested in contemplating.

Vaughn is another redhead -- yes, it's a thing. I grew up with a crush on the lead female from Riverdance. Don't judge me -- which helped with the casting choice. I wanted someone taller than Mandy, one of those women who could be seductive without having to work at it, but also a leader of warriors into battle. She has to have presence, with an additional hint of malice.

I'm thinking Laura Prepon.  She's a solid actress, with an interesting CV behind her, and a good general acting range. I've seen her do serious, seductive, a little (low-key) crazy, and I'm certain that I could see her eating someone alive.  Hopefully, not literally.

Anyway, I think that's more than enough for right now. there are one or two more characters I'd want to focus on after that, but right now, I'm cross-eyed, lucky if I can spell my own name, and I'm hoping I didn't write this blog in a language more closely resembling Norwegian than English.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please, by all means, leave a message below. I welcome any and all comments. However, language that could not make it to network television will result in your comment being deleted. I don';t like saying it, but prior events have shown me that I need to. Thanks.