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The Sirens of Suspense




Rochelle Staab is the national bestselling, Anthony and Agatha Award-nominated author of the Mind For Murder Mystery series on Berkley Prime Crime. BRUJA BROUHAHA, her second novel featuring Los Angeles psychologist Liz Cooper and occult specialist Nick Garfield, was released last week. Rochelle is a former Top 40 radio programmer and music industry marketing/advertising executive. 

Find Rochelle on Twitter and Facebook.

Casting, Ouch item1

The current flap about 5’7”, 170 lb., brown-haired Tom Cruise playing 6’5”, 220(ish) lb., blond Jack Reacher in the upcoming Jack Reacher film got me thinking. Who would I cast to play Liz Cooper and Nick Garfield in a movie based on my books? (Cue wildest dream.)

First of all, if Hollywood bought the rights and began filming BRUJA BROUHAHA, casting would be the last thing on my mind. I’d be floating on an inflatable raft in the pool of my big-bucks-from-a-movie-deal new summer home in Fiji, sipping champagne, and not worrying about anything except what my personal chef would be cooking up for dinner.

Back here in reality-land, perish the thought of Liz or Nick depicted any way other than how I see them in my mind. When I first created Nick, I saw a combination of a young Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones with the charm of Cary Grant in Philadelphia Story and the genius mind of Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark in Iron Man—my taste in movie men. But as I wrote, Nick became my Nick, nothing close to the above.

Then there’s Liz. I write Liz in first person. Beyond a quick glimpse of her brown, shoulder-length wavy hair and ever-present red lipstick, or the occasional outfit check in her bedroom mirror, I don’t actually see Liz. I hear her voice, read her mind, experience her emotions, and feel her physical reactions. Cast her? Impossible.

Secondary characters are a different story. Sometimes—like Liz’s brother Dave or her mom, Viv—characters pop into my mind physically complete and unique. Occasionally I base characters on people I know or actors I’ve seen. For example, Liz’s best friend Robin Bloom is a doppelganger for soap opera actress Melissa Reeves. When I created Matt Bailey, the LAPD detective in BRUJA BROUHAHA, I pictured him looking like Matt Passmore from the A&E series The Glades. (I had a running crush on Passmore at the time.) Dr. Tony Torrico is a ringer for Benicio del Toro, and Dr. Carmen Perez is a Latino version of the stunning Esther Shapiro, creator of Dynasty.

As a reader, I revolt if my favorite books are brought to film and the actors onscreen look nothing like the characters I imagined while reading. Every actress who attempted Nancy Drew, from Bonita Granville to Pamela Sue Martin to Emma Roberts failed for me. None of the movie actors cast as Sherlock Holmes matched my imagined Holmes. Katherine Heigl’s Stephanie Plum was okay, not perfect. But her pseudo-partner/maybe-love interest Ranger?—oh, yes. Better, actually. The Harry Potter movies’ Harry, Hermione, and Ron took a while for me to accept, but the scenery and props succeeded beyond my wildest visions. 

Imagination is a beautiful gift, wonderfully exercised through reading.




WHAT MOVIES TRANSLATED YOUR FAVORITE BOOK CHARACTERS RIGHT OR HORRIBLY WRONG? Tell us, or ask Rochelle a question by commenting below or visit us and share your thoughts on our Facebook page and be entered to win a copy of BRUJA BROUHAHA!

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