Thursday, February 21, 2013

Will You Play Casting Director with Me?

   Keith Raffel here doing a guest post.

   In her review Lynn Farris predicted my latest thriller, A Fine and Dangerous Season, is “destined to become a movie.”
   Well, it’s not hard to get us writers spinning off into the realm of unreality – spending time in Cloud Cuckoo Land is what we do for a living. Reading Lynn’s review sent me there in a trice. Upon arrival, I started casting the movie that Lynn promised to “be first in line to see.”
   So what’s Fine and Dangerous about? It turns out that John F. Kennedy spent the fall quarter of 1940 at Stanford as a special student. (That’s true in the real world, too.) While there he meets law student Nate Michaels. In some respects Nate is JFK’s mirror image: secular Jew rather than observant Catholic; San Franciscan rather than Bostonian; son of a crusading left-wing union official rather than of a buccaneering capitalist. Opposites attract and the two become best friends until an irrevocable falling out. Twenty-two years later, in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis, now-President Kennedy needs Michaels’ help to avert nuclear war.
   So (drumroll)…. Here’s what I came up with in my reverie.
   Casting JFK is the key to the movie. My wife was watching TV the other night and I saw Dr. McDreamy on Grey’s Anatomy. Patrick Dempsey is charismatic, outgoing, attractive to women, and even within a year of the right age.

   So now who is going to be Nate Michaels? Intense. Introverted. Intellectual. How about Robert Downey, Jr.? Right age, too.

   Back in 1962, Jackie Kennedy was 30 years old. So we need someone dark and glamorous.  How about Anne Hathaway (in middle below)? Fine with me. But she might be a little pricey. Let’s go with someone a little more off the beaten path.  How about Olivia Wilde (third down)?

   At Stanford in 1940, Nate has a girlfriend he has no right to have. She’s Miriam Coblentz, 19 years old and blonde. Dianna Agron plays someone around that age on Glee even though she’s 26. She's Jewish and from the Bay Area, just like Miriam. Let’s go with her.

   What about JFK’s right hand man, brother Bobby? He’s 37, shorter than JFK and toothier too. I haven’t seen Tobey Maguire around lately. Do you think he’s available?

   Whoever plays the cigar-chomping General Curtis LeMay, head of the air force, should have the inside track for a supporting actor Oscar. It’s a plum of a part. He’s done with 30 Rock, so let’s give it to Alec Baldwin. (Do you think he's willing to color his hair?)

   Nate’s back channel to Moscow runs through Maxim Volkov, head of the KGB in Washington. There’s no dancing, but I’d still like to make an offer to Mikhail Baryshnikov.

   At the end of the book, Nate finds himself leaping across the roofs of Washington with Russian femme fatale Natalya Leontieva while two agents of Soviet military intelligence give chase. I’ve heard her Russian accent on Castle. Sounded good to me. Come on down, Stana Katic.

   Don’t like any of my choices? Fine. Am open to any bankable actors you might suggest.
   And if there are any producers out there with a few tens of millions to spend? Just leave your name and contact in the comment space below. My agent will reach out to you.

(Note #1: You can download A Fine and Dangerous Season for free today and tomorrow here at

(Note #2: Thanks to InkSpot crew for inviting me to blog today. It was fun!)

(Note #3: All photos of people above used under a Creative Commons Attribution license.)


Anonymous said...

I like your choices and would like Anne Hathaway as Jackie. She has more of Jackie's classic beauty.

Shannon Baker said...

Anything with Patrick Dempsey or Robert Downey Jr. Both would be heaven! What a fun game. Who would you cast as you in the story of your life?

Maegan Beaumont said...

I think Mila Kunis has the right look but I'm not sure if she could pull it off... same thing with Rachel Bilson. Rachel Weisz has both the look and ability but at 42, she might be considered a bit old to play Jackie Kennedy in her late-twenties. How about Natalie Portman?

I love playing the casting game... I have my own line up, just in case a movie producer ever comes knockin'... you never know! :)
Good luck, Keith! I'll be down loading your book and putting it in my TBR list.

Keith Raffel said...

Shannon, either Cary Grant or Woody Allen? You pick.

Anonymous, Anne would be just dandy.

Maegan, I am saving a part for Natalie Portman in another book. Soft-spoken, dark, willowy... Mila Kunis? Not quite. OTOH, Olivia Wilde and Jackie K are the same height (5ft 7in).

Thanks. Am waiting for that producer to come knocking.

Deborah Sharp said...

Fun post, Keith ... Love that you've given who'd play what characters a lot of thought; if you positive-think it, a casting director just might come a'calling. A Fine and Dangerous Season sounds like another winner (I'm with you on Tobey Maguire, and I love Stana Katic, too.

Pat Browning said...

Love your cast. Now if you can just find parts for Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones, you'll have my perfect cast.

Loved the book. Would make a great movie.

Pat Browning

Keith Raffel said...

Deb, when you get a chance, would you please introduce me to your friend George Clooney? Interested in him as producer. Pat, Robert Duvall is 82 but I'm sure we could find something for him. I don't want to be an ageist.