Thursday, 28 February 2008

Casting call

I don't know about the rest of you, but I find the "Who would play [insert character here] in a film?" question impossible to answer. However, it does sometimes happen that people who've read CTM tell me they saw a certain performer in a certain role, and out of sheer curiosity, I've thrown the floor open in my blog for folk to comment with their CTM casting choices if they wish to.

So, my questions for the MNW Mafia are thus - do you mentally cast characters? Your own? Other authors'? Any casting choices you'd like to share, in either case? Or does the whole idea give you a headache as well?


Alis said...

Yep, the headache choice chez moi. Personally, I have a suspicion that if I did 'cast' characters (I just don't, not because I think it's cheesy or whatever, just because that's not the way my mind works) the actor's other work (whatever it was) would influence my response to the character. And we can't be having that, can we?

Eliza Graham said...

I have cast most of the characters in my mind's eye. Sometimes I see photographs of actors and cut them out when I'm writing to help get a feel for the characters.

Aliya Whiteley said...

I've only ever thought in casting terms for one character: Alma in Three Things About Me. I always had Elizabeth Taylor in mind. I don't think she'd be very flattered, though.

Doug Worgul said...

Interesting. When I think about my characters, I can't really see their faces.

However, I have mentally cast almost all the characters in the story, anyway. Denzel Washington and Sam Shephard play the leads.


David Isaak said...

Generally no casting here--certainly not of actors or celebrities. I once based someone's body language on a friend's movements, though.

I'm actually not sure how images of my imaginary friends emerge in my mind; they just seem to be there.

Come to think of it, I'm not sure how any of this works.

Len Tyler said...

When I was writing Herring Seller, I did begin with a couple of actors who might have played the parts. When, much later, I was describing Ethelred to Will for the purposes of the cover illustration, I named my "male lead". "You mean the actor who has just been arrested?" he said. So, possibly not a good call on my part. A lot of people have told me that they know exactly which literary agent I based Elsie on. In fact, when creating Elsie I had in mind a sort of combination of Pauline Quirk, Caroline Quentin and Cathy Burke. (I doubt if they will be too flattered either!)

I think a real person can be a good starting point in characterisation, though the character then undergoes something of a transformation as the book progresses. Fatter, thinner, louder, quieter ...

One thing that I do think about when I get bored, however, is what theme music the film of my book will have. A topic for another post?

Matt Curran said...

Mmmm. I start out casting my characters, but then they turn into "unknowns". I suppose I'm also one who doesn't like the influence of well known or not so well known actors on my characters, though they are a decent starting point if I want a "face" - like Alis, Len and Eliza.

I wouldn't say it's a bad idea either, just look at Joanne Harris' Chocolate (the main character was reputedly based on the actress Juliette Bincohe)

There are readers I know who have cast the characters of The Secret War - some have even cast themselves in the book... Does that count?

Faye L. Booth said...

Matt - I get readers suggesting casting choices as well. Although they do have an unfortunate habit of casting Americans (ah yes, the Lancashire drawl!) or women who aren't natural redheads (and therefore don't have the pale skin and freckles) for Molly. Agh!