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Blair McDowell | On Casting THE MEMORY OF ROSES

November 30, 2013

Blair McDowellTHE MEMORY OF ROSESA friend of mine is a film editor. She has worked on a number of major films, including one of my all-time favorites, Under the Tuscan Sun.

She kindly offered to read my manuscript and make suggestions on THE MEMORY OF ROSES at the point where I was readying it for submission to publishers. She was helpful in a number of ways, principally in helping me to thinking visually, rather than only in words.

What I enjoyed most in the exercise I did for her was “casting” my book. If it were to be made into a movie, who would I want to play the various parts in in?

My heroine, Brit, would be a beautiful young actress I’ve only seen once—Claire Forlani who was the lead in Shadows in the Sun. She’d be quite perfect.

Ian McQuaid, Brit’s father, would be Sean Connery as he was twenty years ago.

Maria, Ian’s lover, Maybe Jennifer Lopez, but not quite. She needs to be younger, more innocent, more vulnerable.

John Meyers, Brit’s attorney, would be Hector Elizondo (the hotel manager in Pretty Woman). That’s perfect casting.

Emmanuel would be Vincent Riotta (the estate agent in Under the Tuscan Sun) Again I can’t imagine anyone better.

Daphne—I’ve never found just the right mixture of charm and wisdom needed for this young woman who comes to the villa to work for Brit. Any suggestions?

Paulo di Stefano—Rufus Sewell—of The Master Builder, and the Zen series. Dark and handsome with sexy eyes.

Andreas—my hero. Now that one was fun to cast. No one was really good looking enough, but Jude Law came close. In my mind I see the statue of the Greek messenger of the Gods, Hermes, in a sculpture I love in the Museum of Archaeology in Athens. That’s the face, the form, the sexy body of my hero, Andreas. However Andreas’ brains, patience and temperament–they were all my husband’s.

Brit and Andreas lock horns more than once in my story. That’s only natural. Brit’s in her early thirties. She’s financially independent, has taught at the university level, and is used to making her own decisions. Add to that the fact that, after one disastrous love affair, she doesn’t trust men.

Then throw her daily into contact with a man who looks like a Greek god, who is five years younger than she is, and who is pursuing her relentlessly.   Add to the mix the difference in their cultures. He’s a Greek Male. They’ve been used to running things ever since Alexander the Great.  She’s an independent professional American woman. Nobody is going to tell her what to do.

That’s a recipe for fireworks.

In the following scene, Andreas arrives back from Santorini after a week’s absence to discover that Brit has undertaken a major building project on the property without consulting him.

Brit was standing in the middle of this chaos in the late afternoon when Andreas appeared in the doorway.

“Daphne said you were down here.” He looked around briefly, taking in everything.

“Andreas. I wasn’t expecting you until the evening flight.”

“Clearly.” He spun on his heel and walked swiftly away.

“Andreas, wait!” Brit ran after his retreating form. She caught up with him halfway to the house. “Andreas, stop, please. Listen to me.”

“When were you going to tell me about this?” He kept striding toward the house. Once inside, he went swiftly up to their bedroom and out on the balcony, Brit followed more slowly.

He turned abruptly toward her. “I asked you a question, Brit. When were you planning to tell me about this? Didn’t you think it mattered enough to mention it to me? I know we’re not married. But we are living together. Don’t you think a decision like this is something we should at least have talked about?”

“I knew you’d say we shouldn’t do it.”

“I see. So rather than discussing it, instead of hashing it out between us, you just went ahead with it on your own. Is that your idea of the way two people who care for each other make decisions?”

Brit hesitated. “No. Of course not. I suppose I should have talked with you about it.”

“You suppose? It will be huge job, Brit, and I can’t be here to supervise. Someone has to oversee all this work. You need a proper contractor, not just an assortment of local workers.”

Brit shook her head. “I don’t really think we need a contractor. Emmanuel will coordinate the work.”

 He continued as if she hadn’t spoken, “and you haven’t even considered the money it will take. I’m well off, Brit, but…”

“I’m doing this with my own money, Andreas.”

 His face turned white with anger. “I see. You think that using your money for it makes it all right. Using your money rather than mine means it isn’t necessary to discuss it with me. That says a great deal about how you view our relationship.”

Brit was speechless. She hadn’t thought for a moment about how it would seem to him. While she was pondering what to say, how to make it right, he spun around and walked out of the room and down the stairs. She heard his car start up and then the spray of gravel as he sped away. What had she done?

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