KARIN SALVALAGGIO: The Casting Couch – BURNT RIVER
I always get a little anxious when people ask if my novels will ever be made into films. Given it’s highly unlikely a movie executive will ever call me out of the blue, I tend to see it as an unhelpful distraction. It’s difficult enough getting published these days. I don’t need the added pressure of chasing film deals. But, that doesn’t stop me from pretending to be a casting agent once in awhile. It’s fun to imagine your book on the big screen and I think most writers indulge now and again! It usually involves a glass or two of wine, a few close friends and a healthy dose of optimism. It is in this spirit that I write my fantasy cast list for
the film version of BURNT RIVER, the latest novel in the Macy Greeley mystery series. By the way if Hollywood is listening they should know that this is my dream team. In return for a green light, I could be persuaded to let them tinker with the list as they see fit. Pouring the first glass of wine as I type…
In order of appearance
Detective Macy Greeley – Kate Mara (House of Cards) would be perfect for the role of my leading detective. Macy balances whip-smart investigative instincts with a somewhat chaotic personal life. Kate Mara is an actress with an intriguing combination of beauty, intelligence and inner strength. Plus she’s a little edgy. You can just tell there’s a lot going on under that tough exterior.
Dylan Reed – Robert Pattinson (Maps to the Stars, Rover) I’ve gone back and forth on this one. Dylan is a wounded war vet who suffers from PTSD. Inner demons follow him wherever he goes. It would be a difficult role to get right but Pattinson has proven himself to be an
actor who can rise to any challenge.
Tyler Lock – Tom Hardy (Mad Max: Fury Road, Inception) Tyler Lock has survived five tours of duty in some of the most dangerous places on the planet. He’s been hardened by his combat experiences but shows incredible tenderness when looking after his friend Dylan. Tom Hardy has delivered many nuanced performances. If anyone could get to the bottom of such a complex character it is Tom. Plus he’s a local boy. He was born just down the road from where I live in West London!
Police Chief Aiden Marsh – Matthias Schoenaerts (Far from the Madding Crowd, Rust and Bone) I thought I had this role all wrapped up and then I went to see Far from the Madding Crowd. I don’t care if his American accent isn’t perfect at the moment. Surely Matthias can learn! By the way, I’d be happy to tutor him … privately.
Jeremy Dalton – Tommy Lee Jones (No Country for Old Men, Men in Black) Jeremy is the patriarch of a Montana ranching family that dates back several generations. As his family unravels around him, he struggles to keep his legendary temper in check. Tommy Lee Jones could do this with his eyes shut, but I’m hoping he keeps them open. He has lovely eyes!
Wade Larkin – Sam Shepherd (The Right Stuff, Black Hawk Down) is an actor I’ve long admired. Wade Larkin’s character needs someone of his caliber. He’s lost so much in his life but you’d never know it by how he carries himself. Think gravitas, quiet dignity and a whiff of danger. Plus he’s a ranch foreman in Montana. Doesn’t Sam Shepherd live there? Surely, it’s meant to be.
Jessie Dalton – Rooney Mara (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) instantly came to mind when I was writing this character. Rooney has that rare combination of fragility and strength that would suit Jessie, a woman who is only beginning to get her life back on track after years of drug and alcohol abuse. Plus she gets to work with her equally talented sister Kate. It’s a win-win.
Lana Clark – This character was modeled on the songstress Lana del Rey. A femme fatale, she has more depth than people realize. I need suggestions on this one. Can Lana del Rey act?
Ray Davidson – Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men, W.) Ray Davidson is Macy Greeley’s boss but there relationship doesn’t stop there. They have a child together and although he’s returned to his wife, he’s claiming they’re separating again. Ray is ruthless, powerful and sexy as hell. Josh Brolin would be perfect.
Sarah Reed – Robin Wright (House of Cards, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) Sarah is a beautiful woman who has fallen for the wrong man. Once full of life, she’s been reduced to living off emotional scraps. I wrote the character with Helen Reddy’s hit song “Delta Dawn” playing in my head. We’re used to seeing Robin Wright play strong female characters. This would be against type, which makes it all the more interesting.
Ethan Green – John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone) Ethan is the leader of a private militia movement in Montana. Once a local hero, he’s fallen on hard times. He’s been sidelined, which makes him dangerous. John Hawkes pulled off an amazing performance as Teardrop in Winter’s Bone. I’d love to see him on screen again.
DEBS: Here's what the Richmond Times Dispatch has to say about BURNT RIVER:
'Salvalaggio, whose "Bone Dust White" debut novel won high acclaim last year, tops even that effort in "Burnt River," which combines spare but gripping prose, well-conceived and well-executed characters and a dark storyline that delivers multiple shocks.'
This is a novel that begs for the big screen, and I can see every one of the characters just the way Karin has cast them. I do have one caveat--I want Tom Hardy! Maybe not as Duncan--he's too bulky--for a character somewhere. He's so fabulous! (And you know I'm a sucker for a West London accent...)
REDS, do you cast your own books? And readers, When you read, do you picture characters as familiar actors?
When Detective Macy Greeley is called to Wilmington Creek, a sleepy ranching community in northern Montana, she expects an open-and-shut, if high-profile, murder case. What greets her is anything but. John Dalton, a soldier returned home from serving in Afghanistan, has been shot dead in an alleyway outside a local bar. Macy can't see any obvious motive for the attack, but John's closest friends and his twin sister, Jessie, have been keeping secrets.
With a series of wildfires pushing the area's resources to the limit and Darby Lake's water level dropping to a record low, Jessie is becoming increasingly anxious about what may be uncovered if the rains don't return to the valley soon. Haunted by what's hidden beneath the still waters, she doesn't know whether to help or hinder Macy's investigation. And Macy herself is increasingly uneasy about what she discovers as she navigates the politics of a small town and the Dalton family clan, as well as her own complicated relationship with the father of her young son.
KARIN SALVALAGGIO was born in West Virginia in the 1960s. Her father was career military and her mother was a homemaker. Karin has fond memories of her nomadic childhood - the hours spent on the road, the anticipation of a new life, the unpacking of the old one. She’s lived in places as climatically diverse as Alaska and Florida and as culturally distinct as California and Iran. Karin attended the University of California Santa Cruz, graduating in 1989, but aside from two years in Italy, she has lived in London, England since 1994. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, University of London.