By Mark Terry
Every time one of my Derek Stillwater novels gets published or announced, my agent gets hit up by producers and film agents asking to read it. There’s always a certain breathless quality to the request – we’ve got to read it now, now, now!
It’s still exciting, but I my excitement is tempered by the realization that Hollywood always behaves that way. As someone once said, Hollywood says, “We love you, we love you, we love you,” and then nothing happens. New York (i.e. book publishing) says, “We hate you, we hate you, we hate you,” then grudgingly lets you in.
Well, I agree with whoever said it.
So, for entertainment purposes, let’s cast the movie based on my latest novel, THE VALLEY OF SHADOWS. The main character is Dr. Derek Stillwater, PhD, a troubleshooter for Homeland Security. He’s an action hero, but brainy. His specialty is biological and chemical terrorism. A former Army Special Forces soldier, he’s a bit neurotic.
Nic Cage played a similar character in “The Rock” but wasn’t as physically competent as Derek. Keifer Sutherland made a meal out of Jack Bauer in “24” and the show and my Stillwater novels have a lot in common. If only Harrison Ford were 30 years younger!
Forced to cast in today’s market, my top choices would be Jake Gyllenhaal, Matt Damon or Viggo Mortensen.
One of the female foils in THE VALLEY OF SHADOWS is Dr. Cassandra O’Reilly. Her expertise is nuclear terrorism. She’s described as blonde and square-jawed. She’s tough, very smart, fairly bitchy (sorry, but it’s true). I could see Angelina Jolie, but it’s something of a secondary role, so… this is really hard for me. The blonde part really isn’t very important. But smart and tough is tricky. I like Summer Glau, but she’s just not right for the part. Reese Witherspoon as an action star? How about Jennifer Garner? Maybe Yancy Butler? Actually, my first choice would probably be Amanda Tapping.
Well, you know, Hollywood. They’d probably put Whoopi Goldberg in as Derek and Jack Black in as O’Reilly.
Who would you cast?
Mark Terry is the bestselling author of the Derek Stillwater thriller novels, as well as several standalone mysteries, thrillers, and short stories. His novels have been called “blisteringly paced and unrelenting,” (Paul Levine) as well as having “the explosive power of a hollow-point bullet.” (Gayle Lynds). James Grady, author of Six Days Of The Condor says Terry’s work “is closing in fast on grabbing that big-action, ticking-clock thriller franchise market.” His novels have been translated into French, German and Slovak.
An active member of International Thriller Writers, Mark Terry regularly contributes to the ITW’s monthly newsletter and, in 2008, served as a judge for the Thriller Award. He is also a member of Mystery Writers of America.
Mark Terry lives in Michigan with his wife, two sons, and a chocolate Lab named Frodo. When not writing, Mark studies sanchin-ryu karate, lifts weights, bikes, runs, and kayaks.