Recently, and interviewer asked me a fun question: If Burning Embers was optioned for a TV drama/movie, who would you like to play Coral and Rafe?
Of course, every author delights in the idea of a play or motion picture made of their work. When we write, we are so invested in the story and the characters, and the scenes are so vivid in our minds, that it feels we are watching the action as if on a stage or screen and narrating what we experience. It’s fun to dream – of the location shooting in Kenya, of the premiere (what better excuse to wear a stunning dress!) and, of course, of the leading man in particular…
Had I answered the question years ago, when I first conceived the idea for the novel, I’d have picked classic actors for the parts. After all, when I wrote Coral, the heroine, I had in mind the model Twiggy, who was so popular for the era in which the book is set (1970).
But in fact, the actors must be modern to appeal to the current audience. What fun I had thinking about whom I would cast in the roles!
The heroine, I knew, must be beautiful but spirited; strong but still feminine; intelligent and passionate; able to convince a viewer that she is innocent. She must be credible in her roles as both naïve young lady and blossoming, sexually-kindled woman. She must be able to command the male lead’s attention and affection, and appear to be his equal on screen, while not being so ethereally beautiful or delicate that a female viewer could not identify with her. Malin Akerman has just the right look for the part, and from the roles I’ve seen her play in movies, I think she could perfectly convey Coral as a girl becoming a woman. I loved her in 27 Dresses and The Proposal.
Even more fun is considering the male lead. First and foremost, he must be attractive. He does not have to be a beautiful man; indeed, sometimes the most appealing leads aren’t. But he must exude magnetism, be eminently male with an edge of machismo, and physique matters. More important than looks, though, is character – which shines through appearance to make for a truly knee-melting hero. He must have charisma; he must be the kind of man who, when he enters a room, has such a commanding presence that you can’t help but look his way. He must have principles, confidence, strength of character. He must have wit – an easy smile. He must be kind, and compassionate. But above all else, he must be passion incarnate! Perfectly fitting the bill, in my opinion, is Joe Manganiello, who has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt in hit US show True Blood that he is a most attractive hero indeed (no wonder he is rumoured to have been cast as the next Batman).
What do you think? Would you go to the movie theatre to watch a love story between these two characters? What do you think is important in a hero and heroine casting? I would love to hear your thoughts.