And now for something completely pointless…
In a recent interview with Alan Edwards (who is not only extremely important, but who also likes to play with matches), the notion of character visualizations came up. I admitted to Alan that I often referred back to comic books when coming up with the initial concept for a character, not so much for the costumes (though Spandex is super hot) but for basic physical characteristics.
Whether I like it or not, most of my characters look like a few basic Jim Lee/Rob Liefeld/Marc Silvestri archetypes (points to you if you know who those guys are without having to Google them), but I’m usually a good enough writer to mask the fact that I’m ripping off my characters basic appearances by using just the right amount of description. This puts a vague image into the reader’s mind and let’s the imagination conjure up the rest of the important details. That way, the reader is actually doing most of the work, so that I don’t have to. ;P
I’ve heard of writers “casting” their books with actors as they write, which also enables them to do the same thing that I just described: rip off someone’s physical appearance, describe it in their own words, and let their readers fill in the blanks. There’s nothing wrong with that, naturally…come to think of it, it’s a bit safer, since so far as I know actors can’t copyright their face. (I could be wrong about that, however…)
This isn’t something I do, to be quite honest. I prefer my vague comic book “archetypes” when I write, but I do tend to cast when I read. However, in the spirit of fun (and because more than one person has asked), here is who I would cast for the major characters in Blood Skies, bearing in mind a) I’m not nearly as current with actors and actresses as I used to be, since it’s of my humble opinion that at least 50% of the movies released today are shit and I don’t see nearly as many films as I used to, and b) I’m going for physical semblance here, and not acting ability. That’s why a couple of my casting choices aren’t even actors.
As a side note, I usually only every see this done by Paranormal Romance authors, who basically use it is an excuse to put up shirtless pictures of hot actors. Conversely, if most of my characters were female and I’d decided to do this with a bunch of lingerie models, I would get an endless amount of shit for it. Just sayin’. ;D
Southern Claw Warlock, glutton for punishment, our hero
Cross is a bit of an every man. He’s always struck me as heroic but not macho, handsome but not “dreamy”. He’s also fairly young, not terribly physically imposing, but you have to believe that he can throw down in a fight. For that reason, I think I need to go with James McAvoy:
Southern Claw Hunter, smart-ass, lover of guns
The rough and tumble Sam Graves originally started as a somewhat more comedic character (I still think he’s pretty damn funny, at times), but as I got deeper into writing Blood Skies I decided he needed to be a bit more gruff. I also became a huge fan of the actor who would play him, and it wasn’t until I saw him in both The Hurt Locker and 28 Weeks Later that I realized how perfect Jeremy Renner was for the part.
Witch, part-time gladiator, bad-ass tracker
Cristena was, from the start, supposed to be a sort of exotic, attractive, ass-kicking, experienced, highly independent woman that none of the other members of Viper Squad could really match up with (and the notion of her getting involved with any of them, was…well, it wasn’t going to happen, period). And while I never actually had an actress archetype in mind, the best I can think up is the highly self-confident and oft despised Angelina Jolie. Think what you will of her personally, but if I had to choose an actress who easily embodied Cristena in under five minutes (and that’s as long as I have myself for any of these), it would be Angelina (particularly as she performed and appeared in Wanted).
Viper Squad NCO, seasoned veteran, don’t screw with him
Abraham Stone is a big and imposing (but not too big and imposing) member of the Squad who is in charge for much of the novel but at the same time remains something of a background figure. This is one of those cases where I wasn’t going for acting ability and presence as much as physical presence, and I have to admit that Stone, from the start, was based on one of my favorite NBA Basketball players from the last couple of years, shooting guard John Salmons.
Witch in training, Cross’ sister
Snow is one of those characters who has a small role but plays a huge part. This is a character that has been with me for a loooong time , and what’s surprising is that she’s essentially stayed the same over the course of time. Snow is smart, sassy and confident, but not very experienced. She can go from being sweet to being very dangerous, and, being a fan of the Hellboy films, Selma Blair came to mind.
Traitorous witch, once voice of the White Mother
Margrave Azazeth (aka “Red”) had actually not originally been cast. In the original draft of Blood Skies, the Squad never finds her — she’s more of a Macguffin than an actual antagonist. In a lot of ways, she still is, but since she does make an appearance I thought it would be cool to actually give her a face. Julianna Moore is an excellent actress who unquestionably could carry the authority and charm of Margrave. (The fact that she has red hair helps.)
Bearer of loads
Possibly the most important character.
John McTiernan in his glory days (Die Hard, The Hunt for Red October, The 13th Warrior) would actually be my first choice, but his talent went downhill and, last I checked, he was in jail. Christopher Nolan (if you don’t know who he is you have no business being here) would never in a million years direct something that he didn’t write (and, based on his talent level, I don’t blame him), but if I could somehow convince Dom Cobb’s crew from Inception to break into Nolan’s subconscious, I’m sure he’d make Blood Skies into a great movie. Zach Snyder (300, Dawn of the Dead, Watchmen) has a wonderful visual flair, and he’d do fine so long as he wasn’t allowed to screw around with the screenplay.
Of course, in another life, I would direct it, but that’s a notion that’ll have to wait for another post.