I can never go too long without making one of these posts! For me, actors that encapsulate characters usually come to mind moments after a book introduces someone new. I’m then unable to really separate the story from these faces, and playing casting director always feel like a secret reading bonus. Below are some of my recent dream-casting choices for if these books ever became movies!
1) Leighton Meester and Michael Zegen as Ruby and Andrew (Girls on the Line, by Aimie K. Runyan)
“I refuse to marry a man who spends his life in a dark room, longing for the sun but lacking the backbone to stand and open a window.”
I’m that weird 20-something who has never seen Gossip Girl and doesn’t really have any desire to, but I’m loving Leighton Meester in Single Parents. She appeared quite quickly as the resilient, determined Ruby, a Philadelphia society woman who answers the Army Signal Corps’ call for female phone operators during World War I. As a working-class son of Irish and Italian immigrants, Andrew immediately reminded me of Michael Zegen from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. While his character is a bit of a dope, Zegen strikes me as an old New York type who will always step in to help you at a dire time, which fits Andrew perfectly.
2) Cristin Milioti and Justin Bartha as Millie and Reid (My Favorite Half-Night Stand, by Christina Lauren – Out Dec. 4, 2018)
“I wonder whether I’m single not because I haven’t met the right person yet, but because I’m not the right person yet.”
I rarely picture an entire group of characters so vividly, but when introduced to Millie, Reid, and their friends, I turned to dream-casting to keep all of the men and their very basic names straight. In addition to envisioning Milioti and Bartha as the two main characters, I saw Leslie Odom Jr. as Chris, Wilmer Valderrama as Alex, and Adam Pally as Ed. Learning about the friend group was the highlight of this novel, but imagining Cristin Milioti’s “girl next door” quality for Millie and Justin Bartha’s dry wit for Reid felt particularly right. These characters are college professors, and I think both actors have very “regular” looks that could pass for being such ordinary people.
3) Caroline Goodall as Maggie (Until the Last Star Fades, by Jacquelyn Middleton)
“You’ve never been anyone’s shadow — why start now?”
When you’re picturing a certain actor as a book character, do you ever wish that they could age in reverse to really fit that person? This was how I felt about the main character’s cancer-stricken mother in the incredible Until the Last Star Fades. Maggie is only 48, but I instantly envisioned her as Mia’s cool, single mom in The Princess Diaries, played by Caroline Goodall. Did you know she’s actually blonde and British? In addition to being the physical opposite of Maggie in real life, Goodall is obviously older now, but I’d love to see her 2001 self take on the character. Maggie is that mom who has a healthy but very close friendship with her daughter, Riley, and is rightfully adored by all of Riley’s friends. Although Riley takes care of her, Maggie refuses to let her sacrifice too much of her college experience for her sake, which I loved. This is a casting that would likely never happen, but I was so satisfied by the image of it in my head.