Monday, September 15, 2008

Do you write with certain actors in mind?

Might not be the best idea, according to Alex Epstein, over at Complications Ensue, a pretty entertaining screenwriting blog. His advice:
Don't get cute with the character names, it'll be distracting.

One danger in writing for a specific actor is you might not make the character strong enough. Knowing that Will Ferrell can make lots of unfunny things semi-funny, you might not sharpen the gags up enough for the read.

Another is, what if they're looking for a vehicle for Seth Rogen?

I would just write the strongest comic character you can, and let them figure out who it would be great for.

Or, if they ask "Who are you thinking of?" you can tell them.

I'm not sure I totally agree, at least from a prose perspective. Hell, I've cast SILENT CITY in my head, with Ms. Monaghan, above, in a starring role (because I enjoyed her in both Gone, Baby Gone and Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang -- both modern and noir-ish stories that matched some of the things I want SILENT CITY to do, in an ideal world).

I find it helps to visualize certain people doing certain things. I think as long as you use it as a tool to further you writing, and less about hoping Will Ferrell will actually be in your movie, then you're OK. Once the fantasy starts to alter the course of the reality -- of writing, and telling a functional story, that is -- you've lost it.

On a related note, this post got me to thinking about how other people read their fiction. I know that I often "cast" actors while I'm reading a novel, unless there's already a pre-existing movie or TV adaptation that I can reference (and, of course, agree with). For example, I always picture Ed Harris as Connelly's Harry Bosch:

Do you do the same? Curious to hear some examples.

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