Casting Call – If My Book was Turned into a Movie

Happy Friday! Casey here.

When I completed my first full length novel – Ascension, my friend and trusted beta reader said to me, “When this gets turned in a movie, I want dibs on casting.”

I smiled, then laughed, not being able to imagine anyone buying the book, let alone wanting the movie rights. I filed the comment away. Since my post last Friday – Book vs. the Movie, I started thinking what if my books were turned into movies.

Who would I cast to play Valerian, my dark brooding elf and his love Kyra? And who could portray Nix and Cal, my heroine and hero, from Mystic Ink?

I panicked. Ready made images of actors/actresses don’t appear my head. For me the opposite is true. If I try to visualize someone like Brad Pitt or any number of dreamy men speaking my character’s words, it doesn’t work.

Many writers use a hot hunk or a sexy model as inspiration for a character’s physical characteristics. When I wrote Mystic Ink, I dutifully combed magazines for images of a man I thought was Cal. While I did find a few candidates, none of them were my Cal. Nope, not working for me.

In the end, it’s all academic. Since I don’t have the clout of J.K. Rowling, if my books were ever made into movies, I would have to trust the producers to cast the right people.

Let’s hear from you? Who would you cast to play your favorite book characters? Dish, dish, dish!

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18 thoughts on “Casting Call – If My Book was Turned into a Movie”

  1. I actually cast my books before I write them. It’s part of my character development process, and helps to get them in my head. Seriously, I have considered sending the Mercy series to Eliza Dushku and telling her the books were written with her picture in my mind. (She’s done a lot of stuff for Joss Whedon–wonder if he’d be interested? Probably not — he writes his own stuff.)

    If you really want to have fun, check out this website: storycasting.com. You sign up, and then you can go in and vote on characters in books. They keep track of the results and you can see if other readers agree with your choices.

  2. Having a vivid mental picture of your characters is vital, but I wonder if casting them with actors before you type “The End” is helpful. Creating a personality that is true to the character without letting an actor’s persona slip in can be tricky. The process is unique and personal for every writer. For me, once a book is finished it’s fun to imagine with my husband, not before.

    1. Hi Isis! Thanks for stopping by. Now that you mention husbands, I have to confess, my honey’s personality and snarky remarks have infiltrated a character or two from time to time! Yes, I agree. If were to cast my books, it would have to be after they’re done and not before.

  3. I have a bulletin board next to my computer with my characters details on a 3×5 card and I include a picture of someone to portray the character in my head while writing. I’ve tried to use some less well known actors or actors from different eras as well as some of ;my current favorites. For example, Alexander Skarsgaard (currently on my fave list) is the pic for Quinn’s father and a gorgeous picture of Bee Arthur from the 1940’s is Quinn’s mother. Hoss Cartright is the pic to go with Randy Ray Boutwell, my small town Medical Examiner and Shaun Cassidy (a modern pic,not 1977) plays a (currently) minor in my mind.

    I just use the pictures so I can “see” the characters better. I stay away from the traits of characters the actor has played. For example, Quinn’s father (Jonathan) is nothing like Eric the Vampire from TrueBlood, he just looks like Alexander Skarsgaard – tall, strong, lanky, with dirty blond hair.

  4. Hi Casey- (Mulder’s mom here) I admit I write both ways. Mostly, my words are uniquely bent to the task of the tale, and the characters are their actions. They bloom through the story. I certainly have written pieces with a specific actor in mind, though. I know a producer, and have been to one of those “we love new writers” seminars in LA. Truth be told, they do not love us, and they’ll cast for the bottom line. Let those faces be your Muses, and keep writing. Worry not about casting.

    1. Give Mulder a belly rub for me!! When I start plotting, I have character sheets detailing physical appearance and personality. And I agree, only when I start writing do they really come alive. I guess I can’t visualize a known person as one of my characters because the character already has a life of his or her own.

  5. I tend to visualize my characters before I’ve written the book. Like Toni, this gives me an image of that person really is. For my hero in Secrets of Kalkia definitely Dwayne Johnson. His rugged strength and loyal valor definitely embody my hero. I’ll certainly check out story-casting.com

  6. More often than not my characters are amalgamations of people I know, or have seen somewhere. I’ve known enough quirky people that so far I haven’t run out of combinations of physical and internal traits. The only character I’ve ever based totally on an actor is one of the characters in my current WIP. She is an exaggerated version of a current veteran soap star. And Casey, I think Gerard Butler or Stephen Moyer (Vampire Bill) might be your man, errr, Elf?, to play Valerian. Hope you can get negotiations started soon!

  7. Great question. The spirit of my outline gives me thoughts about who plays what. Your question pinned me down. OK, here are my characters. My antagonist “Tom Cruise”, hero Tom Hanks, heroine, Rene Zellweger. A fine cast and they fit perfectly. The two Toms are good friends and travel together, Rene is married to one of the Tom’s, the other Tom wants her. So thanks Casey, I am all set. We all now know my cast of characters physical and philosophical characteristics.

    I like JMonkey’s cast as well.

  8. Oooh, intriguing thought. I am a huge fan of Johnny Depp, but I don’t think there is a role in Botanicaust for him. Maybe he’d like to play the Cannibal King in my next work in progress. He could pull it off. Dang, now I’m going to be thinking Johnny the whole time I’m writing. Yum.

    1. I loooove Johnny Depp. I was a bit put out when everyone else discovered him after Pirates. Before that (21 Jump Street aside) he was an indie movie darling. He would make an awesome Cannibal King – bet he’d keep you on your toes.

  9. My characters aren’t off any movie actors or actresses. I see my characters in my mind, but they aren’t based off any one person. When someone asked me what book o mine could make a movie (and they would have to tone down the sex parts) is Being Familiar With a Witch and it s sequel, A Familiar Tangle With Hell. I can see my witch, Tina Epson, and her demon Familiar/lover, Charun on the big screen. Not any big actor maybe for Tina and Charun–maybe there’s actors out there that can do the parts, though I can see Johnny Depp voicing for the hell bunny demon, Fluffy from AFTWH.

    1. Hi Sapphire , welcome to the Scribes’ blog. Another shout out to Johnny Depp. If I had to imagine actors playing my characters, I would choose lesser know celebs. I think the bigger the star, the more their persona “infects” the role and its harder to suspend disbelief. And your books sound cool – where can I buy copies?

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