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.
My debut, Minty, was published in 2014. Set in the Kingdom of Fife, in modern day Scotland, it is ostensibly a young adult novel. However, the book has attracted a significant adult readership too. This may well be because it deals with huge universal themes such as love, loss, family and friendship but, above all, hope.
When writing the novel each scene played out before my eyes, almost as if watching a movie. So, being asked to cast the actors and/or celebrities to play my characters was an easy task to accomplish.
First off we have the eponymous Minty and her identical twin sister, Jess. As the girls are fourteen-years-old and show myriad character traits in response to what happens to them throughout the course of the action, I feel that a young Hailee Steinfeld, of True Grit fame, would play them beautifully. She, I reckon, has the talent to handle the disparate roles: to show Minty’s feistiness, desperation and great love for her sister; and Jess’s deep despair and utter incomprehension at the cruel twist of fate that has broken the bond that held them together.
The twins have two best friends, Iona and Kirsty, who support Jess in her hour of need in contrasting ways. Iona is strong, hugely supportive and open-minded to the possibility that a person’s life might not end when death comes calling. Iona is beautiful, determined and can argue her case calmly and clearly. A fourteen-year-old Malia Obama (US President Obama’s daughter) would be ideal for this role.
Kirsty, too, is a sterling friend – one whom anyone would wish to have on their side in a time of crisis – but, unlike Iona, she’s a complete sceptic when it comes to anything that can’t be scientifically explained. I would choose Chloe Grace Moretz (in her younger years) to play Kirsty, not only for her acting ability but because I always imagined Kirsty as an elfin blonde.
Iona and Kirsty are not Minty’s only friends. As she navigates the strange and terrifying existence she finds herself in, she encounters Jack, a fellow traveller and would-be mentor. This seventeen-year-old is wise-cracking, annoying but helpful, plus he has a bit of a nineteen seventies vibe going on. He’s also more than a little devious. Could it be that this boy is not all he purports to be? I reckon young Australian pop star, Cody Simpson, is sassy enough to make an awesome Jack.
Finally, I come to casting Jess and Minty’s parents – Mum first. In the course of the book she must face a mother’s worst nightmare and, in consequence, must struggle to hold her fragile family unit together. Whilst dealing with the raw agony of her own pain she proves herself to be a strong and loving support to her husband and child, qualities I feel actress Rachel Weisz would bring to the role in abundance.
For Dad there is only one man who could fit the bill: erstwhile Dr Who, David Tennant. Minty’s dad is wracked with guilt and driven almost mad with grief. As an actor who has tackled the weighty roles of Hamlet and Richard II I’m sure that Tennant would bring depth, passion and great sensitivity to this role.
I must add a few words about the soundtrack to accompany the movie. Although I’m one of those writers who prefers to work in silence, music still plays a massive part in my creative process. As I brainstorm ideas, explore characterisation and draft each book I find lyrics and melodies filter into my consciousness and help formulate each scene. Whilst many songs played in my head as I wrote Minty there is only one song I’d choose for the movie’s theme tune – Evanescence’s Bring Me to Life. For me it’s the novel’s anthem. If you’re interested in reading about what other music informed Minty click here.
Some reviewers have said that the book would make a beautiful film. Image if that came true. How wonderful that would be!