Hee - I love how so many Ask Allison readers think exactly like I do: namely, they can't wait to cast their own novels and can't wait to hear how I'd like cast mine!
I should preface this post by saying that frankly, I'd be thrilled if anyone whose name I'd ever heard of would agree to be in an adaptation of my book. And I mean that. I also fully recognize that once you sign the rights away to your book and cash the check, you really lose all say. As I mentioned, I'm fortunate enough that the producers asked my opinion, and we were all on the same page, but still...if someone I never imagined as a character is cast...well, really, I won't complain. It falls under the category of "high class problem." And I try not to worry too much about those. I'm also not a casting director, who can see things in actors that I certainly can't.
But that doesn't mean I won't try!
So...answering your questions about how I would cast the movie is a little difficult because everything about this movie hinges around Jillian, the protagonist - different actresses would need different supporting players, and oddly enough, when I was writing the book, I never even pictured whom these actors would be. With The Department, I definitely did, but ironically enough, with this one...nope.
That said, as you guys know, I'm a devout Felicity fanatic, so I would absolutely squee to high heaven if we landed Keri Russell. In fact, I thought her final six episodes of the series, in which she goes back in time, were sheer perfection: her acting didn't get better than that, and she will forever have my girl-love for that (and the four seasons before that).
But certainly, there are other fabulous choices. The tricky part of this character is that she has to be both 27 and 34, and while that doesn't seem like THAT big a difference, it can be...and some wonderful actresses who can play 34 wouldn't be believable as 27, and vice versa. Jillian is this superficially perfect, desperately unhappy housewife who transforms herself into a breezier but still haunted 27 year old when she flashes backward. A few who I think could do it? Anne Hathaway, Kate Hudson, Jennifer Garner, Amy Adams, Rachel McAdams, Reese Witherspoon...who else? Chime in.
The other roles, as I said, all revolve around Jillian. Jack, her boyfriend in 2000, is that guy who so many of us dated at some point in our 20s: so close to what we think we need, sexy, kind, but maybe lacking that quality that we don't even realize we need. In the book, he's her escape (literally), and he's a good guy who doesn't quite have his world figured out, but who is good-looking enough (and sexy enough) to dupe others into ignoring that fact. If it weren't a full-out Felicity reunion, I'd be delighted with Scott Speedman. :) Robert Buckley, who is a hot piece of eye-candy on Lipstick Jungle would work. Ah, if only Timothy Olyphant were a bit younger, he'd be perfect because that man is the embodiment of sexy. (Though if they went with a slightly older actress, maybe he could work.) This is a toughie. Suggestions? This is why I'm not a casting director: I would just cast everyone from Felicity over and over again.
Henry, Jillian's husband when she's 34, is a classically handsome, straighter-laced kind of guy who has a quiet confidence about him that comforts and supports her. He's both her calming influence and also what undoes her: he's linear and rational, and gives her what she needs while simultaneously ignoring what she needs entirely. Again, casting the guys is so tough and so different for each potential-Jillian. But, I dunno, James Marsden? Patrick Wilson? Mark Ruffalo? Ben Affleck? Michael Vartan? Again, suggestions?
Jillian's boss is a 39-year old who has devoted her life to her work at the peril of her family (and because she has to be the primary bread-winner), and is sharply funny and sadly regretful. I'd love to see Catherine Keener, Laura Linney...anyone in that vein who can bring both snark and pathos to a character. There are SO MANY good actresses out there for this part.
Ditto Jillian's mom, who at about 55, has led a life of regret but also lived life to its fullest - leaving behind her family to find what she thinks is her true self. This role is entirely based on Jillian, so I can't even speculate.
Finally, the only person in the entire book about whom I DO have a clear vision is Jillian's dad, who has a gentle humor and a tender, wistful air about him, and for that, I think Jeff Bridges would be perfect.
But, as you can see, I'm game for just about any and every variation. As I said, I would be so flattered that any actor would even consider lending his or her time to this project that I really don't care so much!
But play along with me: which actors or actresses spring to mind when I describe the above roles? Jillian? Sexy, fun-loving Jack? Hard-working, but kind Henry? Lemme know!