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Id have to go back in time to cast “Stan” as a film

Day 30 of the 5-Week Author Blog Challenge grants me the fantasy of making my book into a film. All 35 posts for this Challenge will be focused on writing, publishing, and book marketing. I hope you’ll stick around through all 35 posts. And if you want to take part, come on in – the water is great! You can register here.

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Day 29 writing prompt:

If a Hollywood agent were to come knocking on your door with an offer to turn your book into a movie and told you that you could call all the shots, who would you have direct and star in it? Write the first paragraph of a glowing Rotten Tomatoes review of your film.

OK – this feels a little like putting the cart before the horse, but since I’m all in for this Challenge (who came up with these prompts anyway?!), I’ll play along. Casting for the three main characters – Stan, Paula, and Gretchen – is easy. Again, since this is my fantasy, my rules. So I would just lift the cast of Definitely, Maybe, as they were when it was released in 2008, and insert them here for the film version of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World (sans the Rachel Weisz and the precocious child character). Ryan Reynolds would be Stan, Isla Fisher his best friend/love interest, and Elizabeth Banks would play the vain, egocentric Gretchen. Throw in Justin Long as Jack – the friend from grad school days and Frances McDormand as Stan’s mom, and we have a pretty good cast. I’m really not sure who I’d want to cast as Stan’s younger, developmentally disabled sister, Kerrie. It’s a small but important role that would have to go to someone willing to be unglamorous for a role, so maybe Emma Watson?

Cast of characters

Because this isn’t a chick flick, I’d want a tight writer who could invigorate the plot with a bit of drama. I’m not sure it’s her style, but Shonda Rhimes definitely comes to mind. And since I’ve limitless budget and a time machine, I’d also consider the ghost of John Hughes as cowriter.

The director role is a bit tougher. People I’d consider: Gus Van Sant, of Good Will Hunting and Milk fame; Stephen Frears, who directed High Fidelity and The Queen; and Gurinder Chadha, director of Bend It Like Beckham. But my number one choice would be Ben Affleck, who – say what you will about his acting and his personal life – has done a remarkable job with the two major films he’s directed thus far (Argo and The Town).

What does this exercise accomplish? I think that in order to see your book acted out as a film, it has to be succinct, action oriented, and plot driven. If nothing happens in your book, not much is going to happen in the film version, right? The good news is that I can see Stan making his way around the world. Sure, the movie version would highlight a half-dozen countries, as opposed to the 23 he visits in the book. But the more important backflashes would be there – as well as the ancillary characters who offer Stan some of the many lessons he learns as he finds himself.

Yep – it’s a book I would read and a movie I would watch!

Please make sure to check in again tomorrow, when I will discuss the best advice I’ve ever received to advance my writing career.

And for the record, I’d love your feedback on my Author Blog Challenge posts! And, of course, would really love to have you support all of the bloggers in the Challenge. Find their links here.

Here’s to seeing YOUR book become a film!

Laura

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