Sunday, June 8, 2014

Dream cast and playlist (sort of) for my novel INK

I took a page from mystery writer Carmen Amato, who recently posted the dream cast for her book Hidden Light of Mexico (along with a playlist of songs to read by) and decided to do the same for  INK.  Not that the novel is imminent danger of being filmed — can you see Hollywood optioning a book that has been described as "a call for justice;" an immigration dystopia set in the near future, with significant Latino roles? But it is fun to imagine anyway. So here goes ...

Character: Mari
"I am their storyteller.
Others try: Francine retelling myths, Abbie turning tweet to story. But the children always come back to me. Satchel only hears my stories once a month, when he comes up to the woods to visit his father, but he's got the kind of mind that holds forever. Even as the years pass and Gus gets tall, Lucero fills out, Satchel turns contemplative, they come for the stories.
I tell them the one about the boy shapeshifter, and the star girl, and the child who bridges worlds. I tell them other tales, too, so they will know that everyone is made of stories. 
Each of them at a different time obsesses about my tattoo."

Actor: Dalia Hernández
29. Mexican. Film credits include Apocalypto, Miracle Underground and Soho Square. She has Mari's quiet intensity.

Character: Finn
"I can't remember when we started calling them inks. After all, it isn't until know it's certain they'll be tattooed when they enter the country. Actually, unless I'm misreading the soon-to-be-law even the permanent resident and citizen inks will end up with tattoos, with a color scheme to indicate terminal status.
I lean back a moment and stare across the newsroom while I consider how to best shape the lede. There isn't a single ink in the Gazette's newsroom, never was. Even at the big papers there hadn't been a glut of them. Melinda catches me looking around and glares at me. They must teach that look in journalism school because all my cohorts go silent and lean into their monitors as if to convince her they haven't been goofing off.
Me, well, I keep smiling. I'm her favorite reporter even though I haven't seen a day of j-school. 
I file the story a full five minutes before she expects it. She edits it in two. A minute after the new media dude gives us the thumbs up, we watch as my lede floods the fall."

Actor: Ryan Reynolds
38. Canadian. Film credits include R.I.P.D., Green Lantern, The Proposal, Harold & Kumar go to White Castle, among many others. Reynolds isn't as stocky as I'd imagined Finn, nor at 6' 2" quite as tall — but  almost...

Character: Meche
"Cuban. A former chemist. Well, I guess she's still a chemist, just no longer employed by the pharmaceutical company that holds her patents. On her own she's developed this absolutely dead-on synthetic skin. All you need is a small jar of the compound, one of the powdered catalyst, and water to activate it. Sets up quickly. Can ve dyed to match different skin tones so it's perfect to cover tattoos. And it's undetectable. For a few weeks at least, until it starts degrading. Some of the Cuban inks have been paying through the nose to get it at her peña. As long as you have money and don't have an accent it's the way to go."

Actor: Jessica Alba
33. U.S. Latina. Film credits include Sin City, Machete, Valentine's Day, Fantastic Four, among many others. Meche is almost a goddess — all gold surface and grit beneath — so is Alba.

Character: Del
"I cross behind the cabin, down to where the stream has nearly iced over. Up the steep bank roughly parallel to the cabin's south window I start scanning the ground looking for the tracks I spotted earlier.
Moonlight pools in the glade as I squat down to them. I put one hand on the footprint, digging into it until my fingers hit ground, and close my eyes.
It is a slide I take, down to the chambers of my heart. I can count the seeds slumbering in this piece of land, and the fiddleheads curled under snow waiting for a distant wake-up call. My blood can course along the sappy viaducts of birch and oak, the resinous gullies of hemlocks. And deeper still, I can hear the molten buzz of a mantle perpetually in motion. 
And the footstep? The land lets me know where its owner headed from here, and how long ago."

Actor: Freddie Prinze Jr.
38. U.S. Latino. Film credits include To Gillian on her 37th Birthday, Scooby Do, I Know What You Did Last Summer, along with many TV roles. Since Del isn't Latino, it would be a nice switch on the more commonplace non-Latino playing Latino role (I'm looking at you, Ben Affleck).

Character: Abbie
"I convince my mother to put me on computer work for the duration of my community service so I don't have to grapple with what the inkatorium is, and my part in it. I particularly don't want to run into Pete.
I do some of the work I'm supposed to, but mostly I try my hand at sabotage. First I hack into the state public health consortium's system, into the human resources department server. 
They've got dirt on all the inkatorium's administrators. My father's DUI is in my mom's file, along with her terrible credit rating and the lien on property taxes she hasn't been able to pay in full yet. Also the number of inks who have escaped the inkatorium under her watch."

Actor: Adelaide Kane
24. Australian. Film credits include Donner Pass, The Purge, Louder than Words, along with TV roles. She plays a credible teenager and the camera loves her without making her look too perfect.

Character: Toño
"Each line is really a number," he says, then recites them as he glides his finger across the tattoo.
"It tracks everything the government cares to know about me. From who I was born to and where, to whether I get the full rights of citizenship or not. Their measure of who I am."
"Someday it won't be that way," I say.
"They'll still see me as they want to see me," he says. "That's really the mark inks bear that you'll never understand, America."

Actor: Alex Meraz
29. U.S. Latino. Film credits include The New World and four of the films in the Twilight Saga, along with TV roles. Let's see what he really can do as actor, shall we?

There was only one secondary character I wrote with a film actor in mind — I pictured  Chato as veteran Chicano actor, Danny Trejo.

To my utter delight I was able to meet him and be part of an AL DÍA interview with him in advance of the release of the movie Machete Kills.

And, no, I didn't manage to screw up my courage and tell him he had been the inspiration for one of the characters in my novel. But I did get him to autograph one of my INK book cards, and that makes me unaccountably happy.

Unlike Amato in the post that inspired this one, I'm not going to include a playlist fitted to different scenes in the book (I'm far too lazy). But I did write the book to music (I dance around while I type) and Los Lobos, Chris Isaak and Three Days Grace are all mentioned in the book.

If I were to include a playlist La Santa Cecilia's El Hielo/ICE ; Aloe Blacc's cover of Avicii's Wake Me Up, and Las Cafeteras' wonderful La Bamba Rebelde would be on it. All of which draw attention to our current broken immigration policy which separates families and loved ones from each other, which detains without due process, and which is considering electronic monitoring of immigrants ...

One of the minor characters in my novel says this near the end of the book: "Don't let the future be written for you." The time to prevent the dystopia outlined in my novel is now. Urge your congress person to support just and humane immigration reform that:

• Provides a path to citizenship for undocumented persons in the country
• Restores due process protections to immigration enforcement policies
• Preserves family unity as a cornerstone of the national immigration policy
• Provides legal paths for low-skill immigrant workers to come and work in the United States
• Addresses the root causes (push factor) of migration, such as persecution and economic disparity

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