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.
Here Jon Teckman takes a shot at casting Ordinary Joe, a tale about ordinary guy who gets lucky.
I have actually had this discussion with the producers who optioned the film and TV rights of Ordinary Joe – and the conclusion we came to was that all of the people we most needed to bring our project to a successful conclusion are already making their movies in the great studio in the sky.
My simple tale of an ordinary guy who gets lucky (or unlucky depending on how you look at it) with the most dazzling star in Hollywood really doesn’t lend itself to the crash, bang wallop of modern cinema. I need a screenplay written by Billy Wilder and Izzy Diamond that Wilder could then direct with all the genius that he brought to such bittersweet, tragi-comic classics as Some Like it Hot and The Apartment. Joe West (the ordinary Joe Schmo at the centre of the action) would have to be played by Jack Lemmon, the star of both of those films, while the radiant Olivia Finch, who wants to be loved as much for the content of her character as the beauty of her face and figure, would be Marilyn Monroe, an actress of whom Wilder once said “I have never met anybody as mean as Marilyn Monroe not as utterly fabulous on the screen”. Joe’s friend, the larger-than-life film producer Buddy Guttenberg could be played by Lemmon’s old sparring partner Walter Matthau, and his sworn enemy, the evil, arrogant Joseph Bennett, would probably be played by an Englishman for the usual reason that American stars don’t like playing baddies. I could see David Niven in the role as Bennett’s nastiness is very much of that superior, classy kind that Niven played so well.
So, sadly, I am never going to see my novel turned into exactly the kind of film I would love it to be – looks like I’ll just have to settle for Hugh Grant and Scarlett Johannson instead.