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.
These are some of my favorite posts to write. As seen by all of the posts filed in my ‘If These Books Were Movies’ tag, I love talking about a certain actor who appeared almost instantly as a character in a book I was reading. I’m attempting to write a novel now, and I’ve loved putting together a secret Pinterest board of the actors I envision as my characters. The dream castings mentioned in this edition were particularly strong and quick to materialize — Hollywood producers, take note!
1) Julia Roberts and Rachel McAdams as Birdie and Cady (Campaign Widows, by Aimee Agresti)
“Talent could protect and insulate you against the world in so many ways, she had always thought.”
A lot of the characters in this ensemble novel actually appeared very clearly to me, but Julia Roberts as a D.C. socialite whose marriage is failing and Rachel McAdams as the plucky TV producer who has moved her life to D.C. for her fiancé’s career were utter no-brainers. Birdie is an older woman whose fabulous campaign parties make up for the personal turmoil she often faces in regards to her philandering husband, while Cady makes the best of her producer job at a local, lowly ranked morning talk show as her fiancé jets off as a staffer on a prospective presidential campaign. Cady reminded me a lot of McAdams’ Morning Glory character, while Birdie just had the composure Roberts has in so many roles.
My “If These Books Were Movies” posts are some of my favorite to write. Books have always played like movies in my head, and I love when a certain actor immediately comes to mind upon the introduction of a book’s main character. The books I’ve gravitated toward lately have led to particularly vivid characters, which made the following “dream cast” selections some of the most “right” picks in awhile.
The downside of these kind of blogs is that I’m often so set on these actor portrayals that any chance of me enjoying an actual future adaptation is slim. But then again, some books are best lived in your head, right?
1) Matt Lanter as Jack Holland (In Your Dreams / the Blue Heron series, by Kristan Higgins)
“The driver was a teenage boy, Jack guessed, because there was no one on earth who believed in his driving skill and immortality more than a teenage boy.”
Blame it on the #RenewTimeless mission dominating my mind for two weeks now, but I immediately pictured Timeless’s Matt Lanter as Holland golden boy Jack. In Your Dreams is the Blue Heron story centering on him and stoic local cop Emmaline (who I may have pictured as Timeless leading lady Abigail Spencer, but let’s not get too cutesy). I like that on the surface, Jack is seen as a protector, but he has some intense personal demons that In Your Dreams explores. I’ve only seen Lanter in Timeless, but Jack definitely has overlapping personality traits with his soldier character Wyatt, which made this casting choice obvious.
I’ve read a lot of nonfiction lately, but the novels I have read have had characters who instantly match with a certain actor in my mind. I love thinking of actors whose looks or past roles just immediately link to characters in a book I’m reading. My “If These Books Were Movies” posts are some of my favorite to write, and I can never resist adding another blog to that archive!
If this is the first “dream cast” post of mine you’ve come across, check out the tag for the series here!
1) James Norton as Liam Finucane (The Jane Austen Project, by Kathleen A. Flynn)
“We are just vessels. The art is eternal.”
I was totally crushing on Henry Austen in this time travel story, and although I never fully got over him, Liam is quite the stoic charmer. He’s an actor-turned-academic, and as he and Rachel begin their mission in 1815 to find a lost Jane Austen manuscript, he’s quite unreadable. It’s not until the mission intensifies and the two grow closer while posing as siblings that their goal becomes a tad more far-fetched.
Dream-casting characters in books I’ve recently read has become my favorite kind of blog post to make. It’s so funny how within just a few pages of some books, an actor’s face will permanently slap across one of the characters for me. For today’s post, I picked books that I’ve read within the last two months or so, thus these “portrayals” are still very vivid in my mind!
For my previous “If These Books Were Movies” posts, check out the category’s tag!
1) Zachary Levi as Joshua Templeman (The Hating Game, by Sally Thorne)
“Shyness takes so many different forms. Some people are shy and soft. Some, shy and hard. Or in Josh’s case, shy, and wrapped in military-grade armor.”
After seeing other bloggers rave about this book, I had such high hopes for it, but it fell a little flat for me. The “romance” stories I gravitate towards are usually more innocent books written by authors like Sophie Kinsella, and they have a well-rounded narrator with an entertaining personality and plenty of fun friends and family around her. This narrator was…fine. The book was just a little dull because I didn’t feel like I knew the main character Lucy very well, and it didn’t help that she lost her only close friend through work drama before the story started and her parents were only seen via Skype.
However, the highlight of the book was seeing Lucy chip away at the tough exterior of her work rival and eventual love interest Joshua. Joshua is a sarcastic guy who plays tough but proves to be a caring softie when Lucy grows more attracted to him. I almost instantly saw Zachary Levi as Josh. I totally fell in love with him after watching him in the live broadcast of She Loves Me last year, and his character in that musical is similar to Josh in that he loves to rile up the people he clashes with. From what I’ve seen, Zach is a genuinely charming and friendly guy, and I think he could pull off Josh’s icy exterior and his succeeding kindness.
Some of my favorite blog posts are about my wish list casting of the book-to-movie adaptations I’d want to see someday (here, here, and here). I loved putting together this one, which leans a bit more on the fantastical side than the realistic one. Nevertheless, here are my most recent picks for what actors could play certain book characters in a movie!
1. Christy Altomare and Corey Cott as Amelie and Jack (The French War Bride, by Robin Wells)
We made each other feel loved and accepted and treasured. I think that is all one can ask for in this life.
THIS BOOK. I devoured it in two days and didn’t want it to end – totally my favorite book of the year so far. If you love fiction set during World War II, this is a must read for you. It explored France’s war years in such an immersive way that I was exposed to several facets I didn’t know about before, and I’ve read a good amount of historical fiction set in 1940s France. Part of its gripping narrative was due to the narrator Amelie. The book follows her from the war’s beginning to what she does after the German surrender, but also flips between her past and 2016, when she shares her story with her dead husband Jack’s ex-fiancee.
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.”
I had so much fun writing my first “If These Books Were Movies, They’d Star…” piece that I had to come back for a second one!
1. Bradley Whitford and Chloe Grace Moretz as Jim and Sylvia (The Vacationers, by Emma Straub)
“Families were nothing more than hope cast out in a wide net, everyone wanting only the best.”
I love sharing what books I think would translate well into films or mini-series, and part of those visions stem from how clearly I can see a certain actor as a character. Ever since I was little, I remember running a book’s story through my head as if I was directing a movie, picturing people I saw on TV as those in the story. Even now, some of these visions are so strong that I view any movie adaptation of a book I love warily, because it’s almost as if my own movie already exists.
I wanted to share some of my favorite “casting choices” – the actors I quickly adopted as characters when reading – from books that haven’t had any kind of adaptation yet. That being said, I think all of these stories would be brilliant as films (it may be a secret desire of mine to write a Millicent Min screenplay).