Tim Downs Blog The Official Blog of Author Tim Downs


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.

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  1. Joseph Gordon-Levitt looks a little like how I imagined Nick. Only movie I’ve seen him in though is Inception, so I don’t know how he’d do pulling off the character side of it. I would NOT want Johnny Depp as Nick. He’s a great actor but after seeing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland, I can’t take him seriously. Haha. Another possibility is the guy who played Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park…Jeff Goldblum.

    Ellen Page with long hair, dyed dark, and bright green contact lenses, would be absolutely perfect for Alena.

    And maybe Patrick Warburton for Nathan Donovan.

  2. Harry Potter is the best, i really like Daniel Radcliffe because he acts very well .

  3. Daniel Radcliffe is much older now, i wonder what would be his future roles on future movies.;*

  4. Daniel Radcliffe is a good actor and good looking too.:~~

  5. Nick is the most amazing character ever. I could never hand his role to an actor. There’s just no one who is perfect enough for it, in my mind. But, I did put Anna Belknap for Macy. I could really see her as Macy.
    Same story for Nathan as with Nick, but not as profound. I never had a solid image of him in my head to put him to an actor that I know.

  6. Pick actors that are unknown. It worked for the Harry Potter movies and no unhappy previous associations with other movies. I don’t think the actors should be as old as some of those mentioned above, after all, Macy should be at least in her childbearing years and Alena wasn’t that old judging from the book. Try to pick someone who won’t embarrass us all later when they get arrested for drugs- I know that’s tough in Hollywood, but there’s always Kirk Cameron!

  7. Wow, 2 out of 3! I also picked Johnny Depp for Nick and America Ferrera for Macy.

  8. I can see Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds) as Nick and America Ferrera (Ugly Betty) as Alena.

  9. I can picture Johnny Depp as Nick… a little like he was in The Secret Window… Have to have Morgan Freeman as the detective, and Jody Foster for Macy… I know they are all big actors, but hey… it deserves it!


  10. I would either vote for Hugh Laurie or William Peterson for Nick, Hugh Jackman or Rufus Sewell as Nate, and Marley Shelton for the role of Macy. I think Glen Close and Cloris Leachman would be a good cast person for Alena (Witch of Endor). I also think that Melina Kanakaredes would maybe be a better pick for Kathryn than Macy.

  11. I think maybe Russel Crowe as Nick(Simpy because he did so well as the guy in Beautiful Mind”) and Chris Hemsworth and Nathan(He was Captian Kirk’s father in the latest Star Trek). I forget who I chose for Macy.

  12. I picked Hugh Laurie for Nick, Matt Damon as Nathan Donovan, and Melina Kanakaredes as Macy. Hopefully they can post the results of this survey to see who has the most votes. Who would you pick for the Witch of Endor? I really hope that they make at least one of Down’s books on film.

  13. Since this is an imaginary grouping, how about opening it for those gone now? If this were the case, I’d nominate the best of the best, bringing back Nick and Nora, adding James Cagney as the FBI agent, or Cary Grant/Grace Kelly/J. Stewart.

  14. Someone on facebook suggested Hugh Laurie and Nick Cage, here is what I think of these….
    If it’s that Hugh Laurie, or Nichols Cage, I for one will NOT go see it. Hugh Laurie is horrible with that unshaved look and he is so obnoxious and irritating that I can’t even watch the commericals. Nick Polchak is not irritating and obnoxious and certainly doesn’t look like a skid row bum. Cage has been in some pretty risque movies and I saw one that stopped me from ever seeing him in anything again. It was the “Weather Man” and after that one scene I threw the dvd in the garbage.

    I will try to think of someone and enter them later because this having a Christian bend should have someone in it who from all the past movies he has made doesn’t bring it down to a world view and makes him totally unbelieveable as Nick Polchak.

  15. I would love a movie, shoo fly pie first. I heard Tim on KKMS( MPLS). went to find a book at the library. There was one or two floating around about 20 libraries, now there is a stinking waiting list. So I just bought them all and have gotton others hooked. Love the suspense, humor and intrigue without garbage mouth language and “adds nothing to the plot” sexual stuff. We all have known that Nick would fall in love some day! I have voted.

  16. I just love Nick! Everything about him, (what does the song say), does something for me.
    His wit is delightful, his intelligence stimulating, his awkwardness endearing. Would the real Nick Polchak please stand up! Every imagination builds their visual of each character, matching it to a real face could be a task. I would so enjoy seeing every movie of the Bug Man, just as I have to read every novel.

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