Tim Downs Blog The Official Blog of Author Tim Downs

8Oct/09Off

Cast the Movie

Film reelReaders have often told me, "I can really see your book as a movie." Sorry, no film deals are in the works just yet--but why should we have to wait for Hollywood to start having fun? Let's cast the movie now.

Each of my novels has its own cast of characters, and I have my own mental image of what each of them looks like--it helps me to imagine them as I write. But you may have noticed that I don't include a lot of physical description of most of my characters. It's a lesson I learned from novelist Elmore Leonard: "Avoid detailed descriptions of characters." The idea is to let the character's actions and dialogue define him and leave it to the reader to decide what he looks like. In other words, it doesn't really matter what I think they look like. What matters is what you think.

But when my books are made into movies a real-life actor will have to be cast for each part, and then my character will be forever identified with that actor's face and form. Who can imagine Harry Potter without thinking of Daniel Radcliffe? So who would I select to embody quirky forensic entomologist Nick Polchak? Who would I cast in the roles of FBI agent Nathan Donovan and his wife, counterterrorism expert Macy Donovan? Who would I choose?

The question is: Who would you choose?

And don't forget, an imaginary movie has no budget--so hire the best.