Summer is the season of Hollywood Blockbusters and it is in this frivolous spirit that The Prime Writers give way to the dream and have a go at casting their novels as films. Throughout the month of August Prime Writers will be putting forth their ideas. It will be interesting to see whether readers agree with our choices in casting beloved characters.
Andrea Bennett takes a crack at casting Galina Petrovna’s Three-Legged Dog Story, a delightful tale that sets a group of septuagenarians against an evil dog catcher in a bid to save a much beloved pet.
Many people (including some outside my family) have told me my novel would make a wonderful film. As no-one has yet bought the rights, I was thrilled when The Prime Writers asked me for my dream cast…we can all dream!
My heroine, the eponymous Galina Petrovna, is a lady in her 70s. She is patient, wise and brave, loves card games and her vegetable patch, and can race a motorbike and sidecar through town to rescue her dog. She is also, unknown to her, very lonely. I think Dame Judy Dench could fill this part very well.
Turning to Galina’s friend Zoya, I need someone wizened, birdlike, seemingly frail yet full of spice and life and the magic of madness, with a fine, oak-aged voice. Maybe Sheila Hancock would like the role, or perhaps the wonderful June Brown?
Next we have Vasily Volubchik, a retired teacher, almost teetotaller and huge fan of Galina’s talks on the cabbage root fly (and everything else about Galina), who gets thrown into jail while trying to help her rescue her dog. He also hides a long-festering secret. I thought perhaps Michael Gambon for this part.
Turning to a baddie, we have Mitya the (dog) Exterminator. He is in his 30s, lives in a squalid shared flat and is obsessed with neatly ironed trousers, sharply tucked-in shirts, Depeche Mode and killing dogs. He has a vulnerable side that he has yet to get in touch with. I realised just now that the face I imagined for him while writing the book was Richard Armitage – the tortured Guy of Gisborne in the recent BBC Robin Hood series. Handsome maybe, but a bit twisted.
For Katya, a sweetly tactile, unconventional beauty who sees the good in Mitya, but can also laugh at him and pull him up, I think we could have Hannah Murray (Skins, Game of Thrones). She has a beautiful way with her that speaks of both innocence and earthiness, and I love that she does interviews with no makeup on. She rocks!
And finally, we turn to our grubby, drunken Police Officer Kulakov. For this we need someone who makes the screen drip sweat and grease, who can go from sniggering, touchy-feely drunk to violent bully at the turn of a hair. So…How about Ricky Gervais? Maybe not his usual fare, but I think it could work.