It was so fun sharing some of my own book-to-movie casting choices here and here that I couldn’t help but write about even more of the actors I pictured as certain characters when reading their stories!
1. Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo as Ifemelu and Obinze (Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
“Ifemelu was not sure when something happened, but in those moments, as Kayode talked, something strange happened. A quickening inside her, a dawning. She realized, quite suddenly, that she wanted to breathe the same air as Obinze.”
Um, did I call this? I had absolutely no idea this amazing book is going to be adapted with these exact stars until I Googled the title for this post. The news was announced in late 2014, so it seems that the project has been on the backburner for awhile, but I’m still so giddy that I predicted this without even knowing the truth. Usually Wikipedia mentions if actors are currently filming a project or are in pre-production, and there’s no sight of Americanah on either stars’ pages, but I hope this adaptation still eventually happens. Ifemelu is a smart and observant character, as I’ve always perceived Lupita Nyong’o to be, and Obinze is definitely Ife’s intellectual equivalent, which I think David Oyelowo can portray well. They both come across as very elegant, which is how I read Ife and Obinze.
2. Elizabeth Banks and Topher Grace as Ash and Jimmy Dillon (The Hopefuls, by Jennifer Close)
“Maybe we needed the Dillons to be happy.”
This book starts off intriguing, and then it proceeds to feel like Close didn’t really know what the point of her story was and just dragged out the plot. But Ash and Jimmy, the Texan, picture-perfect-seeming couple that the narrator and her husband befriend, almost instantly linked to Elizabeth Banks and Topher Grace in my head. Elizabeth Banks is great at making her characters really pop off the screen, and I think she totally emulates the very put together but usually very open and friendly Ash. The only film roles I’ve seen Topher Grace in are usually a little dopey and unaware (Mona Lisa Smile and Valentine’s Day), but I think he has the look of the dynamic, charming, yet distant person Jimmy is supposed to be.
3. Bob Saget as Ben McKinley (Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor)
“He beamed. His laughter came in short, jerky little chuckles, the kind he couldn’t hold back when he was happy, and I reached out over the bag of potting soil and gave his shoulder a squeeze. The older we got, the more alike we were, father and daughter, man and woman. The more human.”
I can’t even remember how old I was when I started reading this series, but it’s quite literally been in my life forever – the final book came out my freshman year of college. These books are far from fine literature, but they’re very much like a reading equivalent of comfort food. Following the same contemporary characters over the years just establishes a very warm connection, and when I began reading these books as a young enough person to be totally unaware of Bob Saget’s dirty comedic style, Alice’s dad was Danny Tanner to me. Ben is so gentle and calm, and that’s just the essence of Danny Tanner / technically Bob Saget to me.
4. Terry O’Quinn as G.T. Stoop (Hope Was Here, by Joan Bauer)
“‘These are all my significant life moments, G.T. You want the in-depth tour or the Cliff Notes version?’
He sat in a chair. ‘I don’t want to miss a thing.’
That’s exactly what a father should say.
This is another book I read constantly throughout middle school, and I reread it a few years ago, having completely forgotten just how good it was. The writing style is so simple yet beautiful, and the narrator is wise beyond her years. Even as a middle schooler who only knew about Lost from her dad watching it, I always saw Terry O’Quinn as G.T. Now having watched Lost and considering it one of my all-time favorite shows, there is no one more perfect for a portrayal of G.T. Dealing with a cancer diagnosis, G.T. remains unfailingly optimistic as he decides to run for mayor against a corrupt candidate and slowly becomes the father figure that Hope, the narrator, never had. G.T. is honest and just comes across as someone anyone can rely on, which I believe equates to just one of the many facets O’Quinn explored as Locke on Lost.
What about you? Have you pictured any specific actors as certain characters when reading a book?