Someone told me the other day that there's a word for authors making up imaginary casts for the imaginary films of their not-so imaginary books ... casturbation. Kerrr-chiiiinnnggg!
In my case, the film-rights to The Accident Man have been optioned by Paramount,so there is, in theory a chance that it might actually appear, assuming that the studios actually admit that they make money from DVDs and the internet and that writers – you know, the people that actually think of all the stuff that executives couldn’t create in a million years – deserve a slice of the action their imaginations have generated.
So, there is some point in casturbating a while …
And let’s start with Sam Carver.
As I told Clayton Moore on Bookslut the original model for Carver was Daniel Craig (this was before he’d been cast as Bond, I hasten to add). But now that he’s otherwise engaged, I’d suggest …
Clive Owen: cool, saturnine, British, tough, but just a fraction too old, perhaps?
Christian Bale: a genius, British-born, but he’s already being Batman, and he may just be too chilly, too other-worldly for Carver
Ioan Gruffudd: possibly too elegant, but an excellent actor (and we’ll draw a veil over Fantastic Four!)
Jude Law: call me nuts, but if he was knocked about a bit, and let himself look a little less pretty than usual, he might just have the chops to do an action franchise
And finally, improbably … Tom Cruise
No, I don’t rally envision the pint-sized Scientologist when I’m writing Samuel Carver, but Cruise did unknowingly play a vital role in choosing the title for this book and, perhaps, film.
After two years of faffing about with a series of terrible, clunking names for the book, I simply took a long list of cool-sounding words along to the PizzaExpress restaurant in Arundel, West Sussex, where I regularly lunch with my mate Mitch Symons. Then we arranged the words in random combinations, seeing which looked best.
Finally, we performed the clinching test. In solemn, mock Hollywood tones, one or other of us would intone, ‘Tom Cruise is …’ followed by the possible title.
And so it came to pass, courtesy of Mitch: Tom Cruise is … The Accident Man.
So who, then, is Alix Petrova?
Here I must make another confession. As it says in the front of this book (and any other novel), there is no resemblance between any of the characters and anyone living or dead. That’s completely true. But it’s equally true that real people – or details of real people – inspire fictional characters. Take Alix Petrova, with her intriguingly beautiful-but-wonky blue eyes, which bear the last remnants of a childhood squint. Those eyes actually belong to a young English/American actress called Anastasia Griffith, who told me about her squint and the operation that fixed it over tea at Claridges Hotel one day (like you do). From that one detail I then extrapolated an entire character that’s nothing like Anastasia – who is most certainly not a deadly, KGB-trained Russian seductress – at all.
Still, it’s only fair to give her first crack at being Alix in my imaginary movie.
If Miss Griffith were otherwise engaged, I’d happily cast (since this is my personal, fantasy production) the gorgeous Kelly Carlson, who plays the reformed porn starlet Kimber Henry in Nip/Tuck, or Radha Mitchell, an Aussie actress. She was superb in Woody Allen’s Melinda and Melinda, playing the same character but in two completely different ways: I think she’d capture Alix’s duality brilliantly.
But if they insist on giving it to Angelina Jolie, I guess I’d just have to accept that tough decision gracefully … because that’s the kind of guy I am.Other than that, my perfect cast would feature Kevin Spacey as Russian oligarch Yuri Zhukovski, Dame Helen Mirren as MI5 boss Dame Agatha Bewley, Sean Bean as Jack Grantham from MI6 and Daniel Auteuil as the French spook Pierre Papin. As for thesps to play Grigori Kursk, the psychopathic, super-tough, seriously frightening Russian baddie, or Thor Larsson, the beanpole Scandinavian computer-wiz with red-blonde dreadlocks … well, I’m open to suggestions.