Lights . . . Camera . . . Action:
Casting the Berry Basket Mysteries
Although I always describe the physical appearances of my characters in the Berry Basket books, readers still ask for more details about Marlee, her baker Theo, or the imperious Piper. To give a better insight into how I view the inhabitants of my fictional village, I’ve decided to play casting director and hire the appropriate actors for an imaginary TV series based upon the mysteries.
Of course the star of the show is Marlee Jacob, the 30-year-old owner of The Berry Basket shop in Oriole Point, Michigan. I always describe her as a pretty brunette, but in KILLED ON BLUEBERRY HILL I expand on that. Marlee’s aunt claims her niece looks just like Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality– but after her beauty makeover. Aunt Vicki adds that Marlee also resembles England’s future Queen Mum, Kate Middleton. Especially since both Kate and Marlee have beautiful manes of dark hair. Sandra and the Duchess of Cambridge serve as apt models for Marlee, who is attractive, but not dripping with red carpet glamour.
The Berry Basket character who does glam best is Marlee’s friend, Natasha. The former Russian beauty queen oozes enough glamour to qualify as a Hollywood pin-up girl. Or a Kardashian. With her killer figure, mass of wavy brown hair, and form fitting wardrobe, Natasha is the spitting image of Brazilian super-model Adriana Lima. She even speaks with an accent, albeit a Russian one.
Two men vie for Marlee’s romantic interest: her fiancé Ryan Zellar and a detective for the sheriff’s department called Atticus ‘Kit’ Holt. Since I’m a huge fan of Pitch Perfect, I see Kit as a slightly older version of the actor Skylar Astin, who played Anna Kendrick’s love interest in the film. Kit has his warm brown eyes, wide smile, and thick dark hair. Ryan was even easier to cast. When he first appears in the debut book, Marlee mentions how ironic that Ryan not only resembles Ryan Gosling, but also has the same first name. Ryan Zellar is lanky, sandy haired, blue eyed and irresistible to women. In fact, he may be a little too irresistible.
Marlee’s best friend Tess Nakamura sports a short, asymmetrical haircut and a level leaded demeanor. Although Tess is Japanese American, I envision her as the Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi, who first came to fame in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. And the spiked blond hair and blue eyes of her longtime romantic partner, David Reese, bring to mind a less edgy, younger Billy Idol.
As for the employees of The Berry Basket, Gillian Kaminski’s long blonde hair and earnest expression reminds me of an adult Alice in Wonderland; the only difference is that Gillian wears wire-rim glasses. I always think of actress Mia Wasikowska whenever I write a scene featuring Gillian. The Berry Basket baker, Theo Foster, has boyish looks that make him appear younger than his thirty-seven years. And his wide-eyed probing gaze, cropped hair, and serious – sometimes quizzical – expression, can only belong to the star of Mr. Robot, Rami Malek.
Andrew and Dean, the irrepressible Cabot brothers, are tall, auburn haired, and handsome. One of the reasons I named the younger Cabot brother ‘Andrew’ is due to his resemblance to Andrew Garfield. Although I suspect my Andrew is far more fashion obsessed and gossipy than the actor.
I mustn’t forget about Oriole Point’s power couple, Mayor Lionel Pierce and his wife Piper Lyall-Pierce, who were easy to cast. Famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson served as my model for Lionel, with his deep rumbling voice, imposing presence, and quiet authority.
Some Berry Basket characters are based on people in my own life. Old Man Bowman was inspired by a resident in my lakeshore village. As far as I know, this older gentleman doesn’t hunt Bigfoot, but his white hair pulled back in a skinny braid and daily wardrobe of cargo shorts and sandals make him a mirror image of my character. The eponymous owner of Coffee by Crystal looks like one of my closest friends. Several less appealing murder suspects have also been based on people I know. But I keep their real identities a secret. Some of them are relatives and I see no reason to spark a family feud. Not with the holidays on the horizon.
So if Hollywood ever decides to adapt my Berry Basket series, I am ready with recommendations for all the roles. Along with suggestions for wardrobe, sets, and music. And with a little cajoling, I might even be willing to direct.
Sharon Farrow is the latest pen name of award winning author Sharon Pisacreta. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Sharon has been a freelance writer since her twenties, with her first novel released in 1998. Published in mystery, fantasy, and romance, Sharon currently writes The Berry Basket cozy mystery series. She is also one half of the writing team D.E. Ireland, who co-author the Agatha nominated Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins mysteries.
Win a copy of KILLED ON BLUEBERRY HILL!
To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:
* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link: https://twitter.com/RoccoBlogger)
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link: https://www.facebook.com/ToniLotempio)#!/
* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)
Winner will be chosen at random using random.org. Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. US entries only please! Contest ends midnight, November 15. Good luck!