Fantasy Casting

Posted: March 12, 2014 in Writing
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One of my favorite pastimes is deciding what actors should play my favorite literary characters if ever their books made it to the silver screen.  I had James Garner playing Lazarus Long, back when he was still young enough to pull it off.  And of course I’ve been waiting forever for Tim Burton to cast Johnny Depp as eccentric inventor Caractacus Potts and Helena Boham-Carter as the child-hating Baroness Bomburst in a remake of Chitty Chitty, Bang Bang .*

But this blog isn’t about that.  I have found myself in the rather difficult position of fictionalizing my own family in a fantasy novel.  Not precisely, of course; none of us are magical or descended from faeries (except in that all children are, to some degree), and our names have been changed to protect the … er … my butt.

The problem is that your average 9-year-old would not find ordinary people – not even my daughter –  particularly interesting to read about.  In this book ogres and elves and brownies and pixies all exist (to one degree or another), and our spunky hero, Cat, is right in the thick of it.  So I have to add this fantasy layer to all of the characters, and make it both interesting and consistent with the world we have created (are creating).

Take Cat’s best friend, Rose.  She is based very loosely on an amalgam of my daughter’s actual best friends, but in our book she is descended from piskies (the original way to spell pixies), as are both of her parents:

“The piskie spends most of her time making herself beautiful, adorning herself with flower petals and making perfume.  The only thing piskies like better than being pretty is flying.  Sometimes a piskie will go days without ever touching the ground, collecting beautiful objects for her den.”

Rose’s mom sells Carrie Mae cosmetics and her dad is an airline pilot.  Rose collects porcelain dolls her dad brings home from all over the world.  And all of these things are perfectly mundane until you put them together in the context of this fantasy world.

Cat is a little more difficult, because she doesn’t know what she is, except that she takes after her dad in more ways than she would like to admit.  And her dad is … well … rather troll-like.  Unruly hair, large nose, tall, kind of lumbers everywhere breaking things.  Casting myself as a troll in our fantasy world was the easiest part of this entire process.

And quite possibly my daughter’s favorite part of the whole adventure.


I think in the movie Gerard Depardieu should play me.

Cat’s a candidate for princess because (among other things) she has the ability to look at someone and instantly see if they are fae-born. Plus she has an extensive knowledge of fairy-tale creatures. She sees faeries and goblins when she looks at people the way most people see dinosaurs and bunnies when they look at clouds. So the idea is that kids reading this book could look at the people around them and be able to identify some of them as fae-born, based on their characteristics, vicariously sharing Cat’s talent.

Neat, huh?

The fae-born Cat is going to encounter next in our WIP are descendants of dökkalfar, or dark elves (no, not the baddies from the latest Thor movie). Dökkalfar are classically described as the opposite of light elves, or traditional Tolkien-style elves. Instead of possessing beauty that shines like the sun, dökkalfar shun the light. They are pale and brooding and live in shadows crafting enchanted items out of metal. And they are the henchmen of the teenage rival for the crown who Cat has yet to meet.

So in our book they will be pretty much your traditional goth kids. Long black hair, pale skin, tragic, weighed down with jewelry possibly having a skull motif.  Those kids have always made me feel vaguely uncomfortable, like they’re not quite from this planet and don’t wish to be.

Look, don’t judge me.  If our novel takes off and little girls and boys all over the world point and giggle at goth kids it’s not my fault. I mean, I didn’t tell them to dress that way.

*Roald Dahl’s version, not Ian Fleming’s.

  1. I can’t wait to read your book when it comes out! It sounds awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jmgajda says:

    It sounds like you and your daughter must be having a blast writing this and coming up with all of these ideas. It’s very creative and seems like it will be a fun read.

    I should dig up old pictures of me as a teenager. I would have made the perfect Dökkalfar, except I had dyed my hair a ridiculously (and fun) shade of bright reddish-pink. I wore the black lipstick and the crazy eyeliner, oh boy! I even tried to ‘pierce’ my fingernails. What? You have a lot of free time when you’re a teenager that never attends class. If you ever need gothy ideas for your Dökkalfar you know who to blog at!

    If memory serves, there was another comment of yours I meant to respond to ages ago . . . Ah, ADD rears its ugly head!


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Glynis Jolly says:

    I’m hoping that your book is a huge success because, like you, the gothic influence is creepy and something good needs to replace it.


  4. S.A. Spencer says:

    I paste actors pictures into Scrivener to help me visualize my characters. I’ve used my family members as a basis for my characters with their permission. However, they haven’t read what I’ve written yet!


  5. Sandra Coopersmith says:

    John, I think this book sounds fascinating and I can hardly wait to read it!


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