Friday, April 26, 2013

Movie Night with Author Shana Mlawski

Tonight's movie comes from YA fantasy author Shana Mlawski! Her debut HAMMER OF WITCHES is set in 1400s Spain! (Get your copy right here.)

1.) FIRST QUESTION! Who's playing who in the movie?


Let's start by assuming we're making a live-action Hollywood picture starring English-speakers. These are actually some big assumptions, because I'm a huge animation fan, and HAMMER OF WITCHES is set in Spain. But okay: we're going American. Unfortunately, this film's going to be hard to cast, because the protagonist, Baltasar, is brown-skinned, and most teen heartthrobs in the U.S. are white.

(Note to Hollywood: Bo-ring.) Looks-wise, Aramis Knight might be our best bet for Bal. He's playing Bean in Ender's Game, so he must be pretty good. That's important, because I only cast good actors in my fake movies.
Good actor for fake movie
Baltasar was raised by his uncle Diego, who in my mind can be played by no one but Mandy Patinkin.

Like Diego, he's Jewish, and more importantly he has experience playing a Spaniard. That was a Princess Bride reference and if you don't get it yeesh I'm old.
Man from Princess Bride I don't remember but am just as old-feeling
The book begins when Baltasar gets into trouble with the Spanish Inquisition because of Amir al-Katib, a legendary sorcerer and all-around badass. Amir would have been played by Alexander Siddig, a.k.a. Siddig el-Fadil, a.k.a. Dr. Bashir from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, except Siddig stubbornly refuses to age. Alexander, I need you to play a 60-something-year-old. Stop looking 30, you dashing Trekkie, you.

Dashing trekkie

Seriously, what fountain of youth is this guy drinking from?! Ahem. Anyway. As Baltasar sets out on his quest to find al-Katib and save the world, he meets Jinniyah, a half-genie. Because there are so few young brown-skinned actresses in Hollywood these days, she will be played by Rubina Ali, a.k.a. young Latika from Slumdog Millionaire, which means we will have to fly her over from India again so she can be in our movie.

Baltasar also meets Catalina, who must be played by Mad Men's Kiernan Shipka because I am Mad Men fanatic, and as far as young actresses go no one can touch The Shipka.

Untouchable Shipka
Also, there's Antonio, who will be played by Jim Beaver (Deadwood fans represent)...


and Martín Pinzón, who will be played by John Hannah, a.k.a. Batiatus from Spartacus: Blood & Sand
(it's better than you think!)...

and Vicente Pinzón, who will be played by Diego Luna (de Y Tu Mamá También)...

Spanish Johnny Depp looking
Rodrigo, who will be played by Mathew Baynton from Peep Show...

Caonabo, who will be played by Prison Break's Amaury Nolasco...

*eyebrow lift*
and Anacaona, who will be played by Q'orianka Kilcher, because if Hollywood's going to keep typecasting her as historical Native American characters they should at least cast her as a historical Native American from pre-Columbian Latin America instead of, like, Pocahontas.

Oh, and of course Cristóbal Colón, a.k.a. Christopher Columbus, who will be played by—wait for it—Christopher Eccleston.

I'm told the Santa María was bigger on the inside.

2. Cast looks good! But the writing is what matters. (*wink, wink* *nudge, nudge* Ha! I crack myself up.) Who do you want to write the screenplay?

How about the Adventure Time writers? Somehow they always manage to write things that are exciting, touching, funny, and weird all at the same time.

3. You win for this answer alone. Who's directing?

Hayao Miyazaki is probably my favorite director, so if he wants to make HAMMER OF WITCHES his next Studio Ghibli animated masterpiece, who am I to say no? Guillermo del Toro is the obvious choice for the live-action version.

4. Producer?

As I said, the Ghibli guys. If it's to be animated I'll also accept the guys who made The Secret of Kells.

5. Who HAS TO be on the soundtrack?

Tricky question. The book takes place in 1492, so technically the soundtrack should be full of medieval/Renaissance music like this or something more Arabic-inspired like this.

But we can have it updated by, say, Rodrigo y Gabriela or our favorite fake medieval princess, Joanna Newsom.

Buuuut even though HAMMER OF WITCHES takes place in 1492, it has a pretty modern sensibility, so we can go with a completely modern soundtrack, which might include The Decemberists (very “boaty”)  and the weirder Iron & Wine tracks.

Buuuuuuuut, for the record, when I was writing and needed to get into Bal's head I usually listened to Memory Tapes, because when you think of a guy in 15th century Spain your mind naturally goes to chillwave electronica. I can vouch for that!

6. What's the line on the poster?

I guess the one on my bookmarks: “There is magic in a story. Dark magic.”

7.  I loved all of this. What did I miss?

This was fun! Thanks for letting me play!
Thank you!
And you guys can add HAMMER OF WITCHES to your TBR here.