Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I Love Dark YA Week 3: Fun with Movies

I love this week's topic, because it gives me a reason to talk about a book I loved, but couldn't put on the Recommended Reading list.

Skinny, by Ibi Kaslik,is a brutally honest look at anorexia's impact on its victim and the loved ones of the person battling the disease. I found this novel extremely disturbing from page one, but I was never able to turn away. Kaslik manages to create a much more in depth and nuanced image of this tragic mental illness than I've seen in a lot of YA literature, while at the same time making the actual focus the family dynamics strained by mysteries of the past.

I would see the crap out of this if it was made into a movie. For some reason, I get a very REM vibe reading the book (Night Swimming specifically) and I'm thinking with their musical variety, you could probably keep them as the sole artists on the soundtrack.

Whenever the main characters have a scene at home, I'm always reminded of the cab scene at the end of Reality Bites so I'm pretty sure that kind of grainy nostalgic aesthetic would be the cinematography I'd go for. Sort of a constant mourning for a past that never really existed.

Now for the fun part: Casting!

Supporting Actors

Hollie: This is Gisele's little sister, and while she is an equal POV character, the story always revolves around Gisele so I still consider her supporting cast. Since their father's death, it's been her job to carry the family. She's strong, but beat down from the loss of her father and the technical loss of her sister. When the story starts we get the sense that she's still trying to carry on, but she's tired and she's going to crack any minute. For an actress who emanates strength, vulnerability, youth, and wisdom and could believably be cast as someone of Hungarian descent, I nominate...
Hailee Steinfeld of True Grit (photo by Nathan Blaney via Wikipedia). The Hunger Games people may have been too blind to cast her, but I sure as hell am not.

The Father: I know. I know. But my book is upstairs with my sleeping husband, Ibi Kaslik doesn't seem to have a website with this information, and if I don't do this now I never will. Anyway, he's dead already when the book begins but he's very involved with the present in that his emotional distance from Gisele and clear preference for Hollie continues to cause problems in their relationship and problems for Gisele in general. Her personal mission to figure out his preference is a large and compelling portion of the plot.

I have to go with Javier Bardem for this one. I'm thinking strong and silent type, but with charm. He wouldn't have to do much talking as it would be mostly soundless montage scenes, so I'm betting we could get him into a Hungarian accent for the few words he would have to say. And my wouldn't he be nice to look at as a break from all the intensity.

The Mysterious Fiance from Mother's Past: Again, I'm not good at names. But here we're looking for someone who is charming and attractive but with a dark side and the acting chops to be totally charismatic while still letting us know that try as we might he's just not the one. Clear choice: John Turturro. This is immediately where my mind went when I first read the book. And besides, this Turturro could probably convincingly star as the lead in a Shirley Temple biopic. He should really just be in everything.

Gisele's Boyfriend: I'm totally stumped here. I'm kinda thinking James Marsters for the dark and brooding, but somehow simultaneously joyful qualities. I sort of hate the boyfriend though, and I love James Marsters. Perhaps I could just go full on creep and hire the guy who played Barty Crouch, Jr. in The Goblet of Fire. (EDIT: It has been brought to my attention that this is David Tennant, which I completely missed. He creeped me out so bad in the B.C., Jr. role, that I managed to see right through his hotness and charisma. Which I guess just means he would rock this character.)

Mom: The mother character didn't leave a huge impression on me if I'm honest, but from what I remember she was fragile with oddly placed and usually useless bursts of big displays of strength and/or imagined power. Sort of a Ruth Fisher from Six Feet Under, but less dreamy and scattered and more just ineffectual and distant.

And the Role of Gisele Goes Too...

Zooey Deschanel!

Obviously! Who else? This would be the perfect break out gritty role for her do something besides be professionally adorable. I'm seriously not trying to be snarky here, I really do like her. It just always feels like the troubled roles usually go best when it's someone you've come to identify in a different light.
And that's a wrap. I can't wait to see what everyone else is doing.


  1. I was thinking of Skinny when I added Silverchair's Ana's song to my playlist. Anorexia is a teen issue that's not going away, and it doesn't only plague girls.
    I love your choice of Zooey Deschanel. Brilliant.

  2. I love Zooey Deschanel and Hailee Stienfeld was fantastic in True Grit.

    I'd also see anything with James Marsters in it. =)

  3. I haven't read this book but your character analysis makes me feel like I know the characters really well. Zooey Deschanel is a fitting choice it seems :)

  4. "The creep who played Barty Crouch Jr."?!! That's David Tennant! Otherwise known as Doctor Who, protector of the universe!~

  5. Thanks y'all. I find this book to be a refreshing change from the recent rash of "I sure do like that new quarterback. Throwing up and starving isn't too bad is it?" (For real, I've seen almost that exact book description, tweaked just enough for discretion. Just a lot of stuff that shows the author didn't bother doing much research and coasted on cultural myths instead.)

    And angelhorn.com, "That's David Tennant! Otherwise known as Doctor Who, protector of the universe!" *gasp* Wow! I did not notice that. Granted, I'm not a dedicated Dr. Who watcher, but I have seen David Tennant in some episodes and interviews. I think he's super hot. He is an impressively good creep as well though apparently.

  6. I must read this one. it sounds really good. That's the best thing about this blogfest; it's given me a ton of new books to find and read.

  7. Yeah! Zooey Deschanel is a wonderful pick!
    And Skinny is a great book. Your post was fun and creative. Nicely done!