We British as a whole are very bad at the practice of blowing our own trumpet.
As a general rule, we’d rather apologise for being bad at something – take your pick of any sporting activity, from cricket to football (soccer) – than we would boast of our successes. Maybe we’ve had so few successes as a nation recently that we’re out of the habit. (See, there I go again…)
So, I’ve found this post very difficult to write.
You see, while I was at the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival a couple of weeks ago, I found out that the news is official.
The Charlie Fox series has been optioned by Twentieth Century Fox TV.
I heard the news in the bar (of course – this was a crime writing convention, where else would I be?) I was just introducing fellow author Russel D McLean to his American publisher, who I happened to know and he’d never met, when the publisher paused, looked at me and said, “Didn’t I just get an email about you – something about a movie deal?”
(Oh, and isn’t this a great picture of Russel, by the way? It was taken by the incredibly talented Mary Reagan, and really should be his official author photo.)
Of all the ways to find out the proverbial cat was out of the bag, that has to be one of the most unexpected. When fellow crime writerist and famous beardy person, Stuart MacBride, heard the news, he was dancing about with a huge grin on his face, while I admit I was just looking a bit nonplused.
Of course, since then I’ve had a bit of time to think about it, for the implications to settle in and, frankly, I’m still thinking… Wow.
Of course, apart from wandering round with an occasional big stupid cheesy grin on my face, I don’t quite know what to make of it. I’ve had emails from people – including all the ‘Rati crew, of course – wishing me congrats, but the Brit in me feels compelled to point out that it’s only half an inch up towards the first rung on the ladder. There’s a hell of a long way to go from page to screen, as I’m sure many a previously optioned author will testify. (You see? I just can’t help myself.)
But for the moment, I can allow myself the odd little daydream, the most immediate of which (apart from wondering what it was they saw in my series that made them option it in the first place, and what elements might make it through to the final phase) is who would play the characters. I know, I know, it’s sad, but what author hasn’t done it?
The dream, of course, is to have a relative unknown, like Noomi Rapace who played Lisabeth Salander in Stieg Larsson’s original Millennium trilogy. But who will take the role in next year’s remake, considering Daniel Craig has already been cast as Mikael Blomkvist? If it’s a big name, they’ll bring a big slice of their own personality to the part. Does the character gain or lose from that?
The problem for me is, that because Charlie Fox is a first-person character, I never get a good look at her. She’s not the kind of girl who spends a long time staring into mirrors, and the only time she’s looking at reflections in shop windows is doing counter-surveillance routines.
Charlie’s fallen-from-grace slightly cold orthopedic surgeon father? Well, how about somebody like Michael Kitchen, although minus the hat.
And Charlie’s boss, Parker Armstrong? In my world, Mark Harmon would be a distinct possibility.
And yes, I know there isn’t a cat in hell’s chance of any of this fantasy cast becoming a reality, but I can dream, can’t I?
My problem is that Charlie is very close to me, which is a problem when it comes to me picturing her as somebody else – or somebody else as her. Fellow crime author Meg Gardiner once described one of her lead protagonists as “me with the brakes off” and that probably about sums it up. Only, to that I’d add “me with the brakes off, fighting mad and heading for timber” as well.
So, I’m open to suggestions. Help! How do you see her? Or any of the characters? Or any characters in your own or your favourite books, that have or haven’t made it to screen yet? Did the actor playing the part fit your idea, or ruin it for you?
This week’s Phrase of the Week is letting the cat out of the bag, meaning to reveal a secret. It stems from medieval markets where an unsuspecting buyer was often shown a suckling piglet, but while negotiations were taking place on the price, and the piglet was being bagged up for the journey home, an accomplice would often substitute it for a cat instead. The duped buyer would only discover this when he got home and, quite literally, let the cat out of the bag.