Casting Call, Round 2: Banditas!

by Jeanne Adams and Nancy Northcott

Taking a break from turning out new pages, Jeanne and Nancy descended on the Lair kitchen late one night. “Are we the only ones here?” Jeanne asked as she pulled a Diet Coke from the refrigerator.”I think so, unless someone’s down in the deadline cave. ” Nancy dragged a stool up to the island. Popping the lid on the big cake server Sven had left by a stack of dessert plates, she asked, “Hey, can you grab me a Cherry Coke Zero?”

Jeanne grimaced. “As long as you don’t expect me to taste it.”

“More for me that way, and–ooh, look, cinnamon coffee cake.” Nancy reached for the dessert plates. “Do you want some? I’m having some.”

“With that drink–never mind. Yes, please. So what’re you working on?” Jeanne swapped the soda can for coffee cake, and the two banditas nodded thanks to each other.

“I just finished a fight scene in the paranormal. What about you?”

“I’m working on proposals, a smorgasbord, really. Nice and murderous. But I’ve been at it all week, pretty steady. Have to say, I’m ready for a break from my characters. I need to let things percolate.”

“Mmm. Me, too.”

They munched in silence for a few minutes.

“You know,” Jeanne said, “we could play with other people’s characters for a while. We know the Bandit books pretty well.”

“So do our buddies, I’d bet. What’re you thinking–another casting call?”

Jeanne’s eyes gleamed. “Exactly. Great minds, and so forth.”

“Well, that’s fun, so sure. You know the easiest one, of course.”

“Anna Campbell. Claiming the Courtesan. Kylemore.”

Grinning at each other, they simultaneously said, “Richard Armitage,” then laughed.

“Okay, Armitage for Kylemore,” Nancy said. “What about Verity?”

“Ohhh, it has to be someone who’s all interesting angles, fab body and wicked smart. She’d have to be to play Verity, after all. What about Angelina Jolie, with those pouty lips and come hither ways?”
“I could see that. Or maybe Julia Roberts. Has to be somebody strong, like those two, or she won’t be convincing in the last part of the story. We get to regress or advance people for this, make them the correct ages, right?”
“Absolutely.” Jeanne nodded. “What about Donna? Should we go for Seduction of a Duke?”

“A nice, smokin’ book, that one. For the heroine . . .” Nancy chewed thoughtfully, mulling it over. “I like Sandra Bullock, I think. Or maybe Sasha Alexander from NCIS.” Nancy took a long pull of the drink Jeanne and other banditas called fake cherry stuff. “What about the hero, William, Duke of Bedford?

Munching, Jeanne looked into the distance. “Hmm. Brandon Routh? But he’d have to learn a British accent–maybe from Anna Sugden.” She paused and raised her voice a bit. “That’s British, not Irish.” At Nancy’s inquiring look, she added, “Had to say it, you know, in case the ever-delicious Russell Crowe is hanging out with the gladiators again tonight.”

Nancy wiped crumbs off her fingers. “Very funny. I haven’t seen Robin Hood, so I didn’t notice the accent. Hard for anyone to compete with Errol Flynn in the role, I think. The guy buckled a mean swash. Last time Crowe was here, there was very nearly a riot. The Goddess Sangria had him reprising his gladiator role, and the guys got huffy.”

Jeanne shook her head. “They said he had the costume wrong, not caring, of course, that he wasn’t the one who came up with it. They liked Gerard Butler better, thanks to 300.”

“Which is weird,considering that’s Greece and Crowe’s movie was Rome, but at least they’re all making nice now. You know, Brandon would look amazing in period dress, and he has way more ability than he got to showcase in Superman Returns. But no, I’m not going off on that again.”
“I promise we’ll do a blog on superheros sometime soon. That should give us both plenty of airtime for our personal pet peeves – Superman for you and Daredevil for me!” Jeanne shook her head at the thought. “But enough about that. What about Christie Kelley’s Every Time We Kiss? That one was a fabulous read. Her Jennette was so intense and Matthew, Earl of Blackburn, so guilt-ridden. Gotta love that. I’m thinking Jamie Bamber, of Battlestar Galactica fame, for Matthew, and perhaps, if I could grow her up a bit, Selina Gomez of Wizards of Waverly Place on Disney, for Jennette. Wonder what Christie would think?”

“We’ll ask her when she comes out of the cave. Y’know, I’m liking that casting. Bamber can do tormented honor really well.” Nancy paused for a moment. “Yep. That’s good. She really tortured that pair.”

Lars, the quietest of the cabana boys, strolled into the kitchen. “Everything all right, ladies? Need anything?”
The two banditas shook their heads, and Jeanne said, “We’re good, thanks. Unless you know who should be cast as Christine’s latest hero, Jardine from Sweetest Little Sin.”

Lars frowned. “I don’t pay attention to actors, but Jardine’s wife, Louisa, is hot. And tough. How about Scarlett Johansson?”

Jeanne raised an eyebrow at Nancy. “I could go with that.”

“Me, too. She was great as my favorite Marvel super-heroine, the Black Widow, in Iron Man 2, and Louisa does have to get physical in this book. Which I love, of course. And maybe Hugh Jackman, the perennial Lair favorite, for Jardine. Thanks, Lars.”

“No problem. I’m off to give Ermingarde her midnight snack.” He took a large beef joint from the walk-in freezer and sauntered out with it.

“At least he’s not afraid of her,” Nancy said. “Speaking of fear, have you seen Paolo lately?”

Grinning, Jeanne gestured toward the cabana boys’ quarters. “He took the ARC of Money, Honey out of the library a while ago. It was all very furtive, I think he was hiding it under napkins on a tray.” Making a face, Jeanne added, “I was hoping to get MY hands on it, you know? I’m dying to read it.”

“Oh, geez. I had dibs after you. I know it’ll have that funny Susan edge to it–and RT gave it 4 stars. Well, not having read it, I don’t guess we can cast that one. Maybe Susan will pop in and do that. And Kirsten for Delcroix Academy. Kids with super-powers, gotta love it! That ARC’s gone missing, too.”

“It did? Rats! I was going for that next, in lieu of Money, Honey. I’m telling you, AC’s Wild Irish Sea ARC better still be there. I know the book’s out in 17 days, but still…Banditas first, right?”

Demetrius stalked into the kitchen wearing his gladiator rig, which meant he was on duty. “My sources tell me the cabana boys are reading in corners and hiding the books there. I’ll roust them out if you like.”

“Mayhem would ensue,” Jeanne said, but pondered it anyway. “Attractive thought, but probably not worth the resulting fuss or clean up. Besides, it’s always good to have new readers, and if the Cabana boys like them, and tell all our guests…yep. MORE readers.” She grinned at Demetrius, as always enjoying the view and mentally thanking the Goddess Sangria for hauling all the gladiators to the Lair. “Thanks, though.”

Fingering the hilt of his sword, Demetrius frowned. “I can handle cabana boy ‘fuss.’ I don’t even need reinforcements.”

“We know,” Nancy assured him, exchanging amused glances with Jeanne. “Thanks. We just like it quiet for now.”

“Well, then, if you change your minds . . .” Still frowning, Demetrius took a beer from the fridge and departed.

The two banditas grinned at each other. “Getting back to business,” Jeanne said, “We don’t even have an ARC for our “Just-Sold-Suz” yet. We’ve only been privileged to read that snippet from the book.” Jeanne pantomimed fanning herself. “Talk about HAWT! Whew! Maybe she’ll pop in, too and give us some good leading ladies for Lacy and leading men for…well…her men!”

“Let’s hope. You know, National’s coming up, and we have a RITA nominee in the Lair, Beth’s A Not So Perfect Past. Which I absolutely loved. Both characters had such huge obstacles to overcome, both within themselves and with public perceptions. I think Taylor Kitsch, who played Gambit in the Wolverine movie–speaking of Jackman–would be great for Dillon. He can do scruffy and physical but chivalrous, too.”

“And Drew Barrymore, maybe, for Nina, the heroine?” Jeanne said, considering. “She can do waifish but also tough, so she could morph the way the character does. She might have to stretch a bit as an actress even, to play Nina. That’s a complex character, and a lot of ground to cover in a short time.”

“While we’re talking category books, what about Trish and Tawny?” Nancy set her fork aside, her plate, clean as a whistle.

“Wow, Tawny’s men are going to be hard…” Raises an eyebrow at Nancy’s immediate , snarky grin. “Ooops. Correction. Casting her CHARACTERS is going to be challenging, okay? Wow, your mind is SO in the gutter.”

Nancy laughed. “Well, around here, that’s just par for the course.”

“True. I guess Tawny’s Double Dare, one of my favorites, would be a good one to try. Her hunks are hothothot, though. Who’s just too hot to handle?” Jeanne took the dessert plates to the sink.

“Thanks for taking the plates. Well, she’d like Johnny Depp, I think.”

Grinning as she slid back onto her stool, Jeanne said, “Ya think? He’s great anti-hero material, but he’s just not…alpha-ish.”

“Ha! Not like she pulled her Tawny-Depp nickname out of the ether. I can so see him as Jesse, but good point on the alpha thing. She might accept Nathan Fillion. He does bad boys so well.”

“So true, on the nickname. I kinda could see Depp as Jesse,” Jeanne closed her eyes, getting a visual. “Nathan would be better though. Yes, that would be good. And for his Audra, how about Cote de Pablo from NCIS? She’s really awesome.”

“I like her. She can do tough as well as vulnerable. Or Teri Hatcher from her Lois and Clark days, not the Desperate Housewives version. It’s all about timing – and age. Speaking of ageless and timeless, you know AC just got back from another fabulous trip. She has such great locations – both in time and through the ages – in her books. And all that conflict.”

“Umm, “Jeanne hesitated, sighing. “In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say I’m a weeeee bit jealous of all that wonderful travel. I love the way she described Venice in The Treasures of Venice.” Looking into the distance, she added, “I’d cast David Conrad, from Ghost Whisperer, as Kiernan, the hero in that one. He’s got that smoldery thing going.”

“Plus he’s really cute.” Grinning, Nancy asked, “What about the Sam, the heroine?”

“Oooh, well…hmmm…tougher. Why are the heroines tougher?” Jeanne frowned into her Diet Coke.

Nancy squinted. “Because we don’t fall in love with them but we do with the guys? I dunno.”

“Well we don’t LUST after the heroines, I guess. For Sam, I think I like Judy Greer. She’s the sidekick in 27 Dresses and The Wedding Planner. I think she’d be a great leading lady and has the kind of strength of character Aunty Cindy writes into her heroines.”

“I like it. Obviously, you see more movies than I do.” Nancy shook her soda can and, judging it empty, tossed it into recycling. “For Trish, I’m partial to A Firefighter in the Family. The heroine needs to be somebody you could believe has the physical strength to be a firefighter. What about Anna Paquin? She was great in the X-Men movies and does a lot of physical stuff in True Blood.”

“Oooh, good one. For Zac, what about Chris Pine? He can do physical as well as vulnerable. Or Ryan Reynolds?”

“I think Michael Trucco from Battlestar Galactica and Castle would be really good.”

“Mmmmmm,” Jeanne demurred. “Chris Pine, I think, for Zac. It’s the eyes, you know.” Jeanne two-pointed her can into the bin as well. “Want another fake cherry thingie?” At Nancy’s nod, she got two more soft drinks from the fridge. “You know, I like Anna and Chris. That would be really a good match for them. I want Michael Trucco, for Dark and Deadly. I think he’d be a great Paul, don’t you?”

“I do, I do. Excellent! He has great screen presence. Though Trish might overrule us on Chris Pine in favor of Jensen Ackles from Supernatural. What about Paul’s Torie? Who did you have in mind for her?”

“AJ Cook,” Jeanne answered immediately. “I’ve been thinking about this since we did our other blog. She plays JJ Prentiss on Criminal Minds. Tough, but vulnerable, she could capture that inner core of sadness Torie carries.”

“Oh, I can see that! Well done. You really used those characters’ past to yank them in knots in the present. You know, there’s another important one we’ve not gotten to.”

Jeanne slugged back more Diet Coke, now that the pressure to cast her OWN book was off. “Who’d we miss, and how could we possibly miss anything?”

Nancy laughed, but tapped the new soda can in a staccatto beat. “One of our own superstars, you know. Let’s not forget our NYT Bestseller, Kate Carlisle.”

“Oh course! Bookbinder Brooklyn and the ever so yummy Derek.”

“Great books, aren’t they?” Nancy thought for a bit. “You know, I could see Catherine Heigl as Brooklyn. Or maybe Piper Perabo, who’s starring in that new series on USA, Covert Operations. You know I love spies.”

“I like that actress. She’s got a great face. And you rock writing them. The spies, that is.”

“Why thank you! I do so enjoy creating boom. What about Derek, though?”

“Let’s see…Derek…British, able to do secret agent stunts. You know we like Clive Owen around here. What about Clive for Derek? All that intensity and brooding.” Jeanne made a eyebrow-lowered face, immitating brooding.

“Funny. However, I can so see Clive as Derek. He does humor, too, which Derek also needs. You know, we have yet to use one of my favorites in here, Michael Biehn. He might be a more menacing bad boy for Tawny than Fillion. I’d like to use him even if he won’t be at DragonCon this year, which is only 75 days away, you know.”

“Not that you’re counting or anything.” Both women grinned again. “Seriously, I have to get down there one of these years.”

“Down where?” Zack, the head hockey hunk, wandered into the kitchen. Noting his wet hair, the H3 t-shirt sticking to his broad shoulders, and the running shorts he wore, the two banditas exchanged a look.

“I’d say something really, really risque here, but I’m not sure I could do it with a straight face,” Jeanne said, snorking a bit at the thought of saying down THERE to a hunky man, fresh in from an obviously strenuous jog. “We were actually talking about DragonCon in Atlanta.”

Zack looked a bit alarmed as he opened a bottle of water. “You’re not thinking of taking Ermingarde to Atlanta are you? I mean, didn’t it already burn once?”

Both women laughed. “Yes, it did,” Nancy said, “Burn that is. And no, Ermingarde would hate the crowds and costumes. Besides, talk about lawsuits. With her eyesight she’d be firing up everytime a Klingon walked by.”

Now Zack looked really alarmed. “We can’t have that.”

“Relax, it’s actually a convention, and we’ll be sure to leave the dragon in the Lair. Anyway, I’ve been saying I wanted to go to DragonCon for years, and both Nancy and Trish go every year.” Jeanne shrugged. “Now I’m on a campaign to actually DO it, and go next year.”

With a gleam of mischief, Nancy asked, “So, Zack, if you were casting one of Tawny’s books, would you put Nathan Fillion in the lead, or Jamie Bamber?”

Zack chugged the water and pitched the bottle, rattling it into the recycling bin. “That one with the cowboy, I’d put Edward Burns in that role–though he’d need dark hair, not light like he sometimes has.”

“You read Going Down Hard?” Nancy asked, watching the blush color Zack’s face.

“Yeah, that one.”

“Good choice,” Jeanne jumped in, trying to keep a straight face and failing. With a mumbled “Gotta shower” Zack hurried out of the kitchen. “I’m telling you, it never fails to amaze me that they all read our books. Gladiators and hockey hunks included. Pretty cool.”

“It is pretty cool, isn’t is?” Nancy’s gaze followed Zack’s retreating form. Her crooked smile was for the embarrassment, rather than the view, although that was nice too. Returning to the matter at hand, she added, “The Bandita Buddies read them all, too. It was such a blast to talk about all the JD Robb books the other week, and some hadn’t even read them but joined in the fun. Knowing our crew, and how much of the Bandit books they DO read, this should be even more fun!”

“Let’s let them all have a go, then, shall we?”

What do you say, Banditas and Buddies? Who gets to play whom if we were casting Bandita books as movies?

Who would you cast in some of the other Bandita Books, other than the ones we named?

If you had one favorite male actor to cast as a romantic lead, and one favorite female actor to cast as a romantic lead, whom would you pick?


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