From time to time, I consider writing a screen play for the Vinnie Esposito series. My first problem is that I know nothing about screen writing, though there are some incredible books on the matter. It takes knowledge, commitment and, yes, know-how to get a book into the right format that works smoothly.
When I write, my stories run in my head the same way as a movie does on screen, so it wouldn’t be too farfetched for me to put a screenplay together. Now for the reason I don’t do so. Churning out books is one thing, stepping out of my comfort zone is another. But, hey, I do that most days anyway, so why wouldn’t I take that personal dare, right? Here’s why . . . Time! Plain and simple. Time is an element that works against us, whizzes by in a flash, and for the life of me, I can’t seem to find where it goes.
If I were asked to put my novels up on the big screen, my first concern would be who would play my characters. My dream cast for the Esposito series is as follows:
As for Vinnie’s grandmother, I haven’t the vaguest idea of who would fit the part. It definitely wouldn’t be someone like Debbie Reynolds, however, Jessica Tandy would have been perfect if she was still alive. Estelle Getty would have been wonderful, but then again, she’s not around any longer either, and that’s a serious loss to the industry and to those of us who adored her, especially in the sitcom, The Golden Girls.
When I first began writing Vinnie’s stories, I envisioned Angie Harmon as Vinnie. Angie has that sparkling smile, wild and gorgeous hair, long legs, and a great personality that would fit Vinnie’s character perfectly.
Since Lola is the best supporting actress and Vinnie’s BFF, I couldn’t think of anyone I;d rather have play her than Maggie Gyllanhaal. A talented actress, Maggie would be a great fit for Lola’s personality. Changes in hair and eye-color would be needed, but Maggie’s face is definitely Lola’s.
No one could fit the part of Aaron Grant better than Dwayne Johnson. He’s built the same, has a dazzling smile, is tough and then shows a soft side when need be. Dwayne also fills the bill for an undercover FBI agent and mob infiltrator, while he ( all 6’4″ of him) delicately tiptoes on the narrow line between law enforcement and mob status.
As for Marcus Richmond, a stalwart RI State Trooper and Vinnie’s boyfriend, Ethan Hawke has what I consider the perfect build, attitude, and look for the part. Having seen him onscreen, playing a similar character, he was the first actor to come to mind.
The very talented Barbara Hershey would be my choice for the part of Vinnie’s mother. Her coloring is right, she would be a brilliant and excellent fit where Theresa Esposito is concerned. A great artist, and wonderful actor, her screen and stage credits are exceptional.
As for Vinnie’s father, my first choice would have been James Gandolfini, however, since he’s deceased, my second choice is Robert De Niro. I envision him with a towel draped over one shoulder while cooking dinner, and taste testing it as he goes along. The best fit is when I see him playing cards at the Knights of Columbus Hall with his cronies and Vinnie stops in with questions and more problems than she can handle. Robert’s acting is perfect for the way he could bring Gino Esposito’s grouchy character to life.
These actors, other than Angie Harmon and Dwayne Johnson, weren’t set out in my mind when I initially wrote the books. As I began to think in terms of screenplays, I thought hard to come up with a cast that would work well with the characters I’ve written. This list is one that consists of extremely talented people who would more than do justice to the series.
What do you think? I’d love to hear you thoughts, so please share them with me.