History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

08 February 2012

The cover is out! DAYS OF SPLENDOR, DAYS OF SORROW: A novel of Marie Antoinette

The cover is finally out for the second novel in my Marie Antoinette historical fiction trilogy, DAYS OF SPLENDOR, DAYS OF SORROW, which will be published on May 15, 2012, the day before the 242nd wedding anniversary of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI.

As I write the final novel in the trilogy, THE LAST OCTOBER SKY, I've been indulging in the writer's fantasy of "If a movie or miniseries were made from your book, who would be your dream cast?" Of course, with a trilogy that spans the years 1766 to 1793, we'd have a cast of thousands.

The role of Marie Antoinette's mother, the formidable Empress of Austria Maria Theresa would go to the woman who can play anyone, the incomparable Meryl Streep.

Louis XV has to still be the handsomest man in the realm although he's in his late 50s. Tall, dark, a slighly swarthy complexion. No need to audition, gentlemen. Just send the contract over to Colin Firth.

Coming from a theatre background, and having run my own nonprofit professional classical theatre company in NYC for several years, I'm always casting in my head. And I see actors in some roles who may seem like unlikely candidates for other roles, but what I see in them, in addition to their talent is the appropriate physical appearance and an essence or aura, that is right for the role I have in mind for them.

Watching Jonah Hill in, of all things, Moneyball, where he plays a geeky baseball statistician, made me jump off the couch and shout "There's my Louis XVI!" Not only does he resemble the heavyset blue-eyed monarch well enough, but there is such a sweet, gentle vulnerability and intelligence that comes off him in waves in this performance that he gave me all I'd need to know to believe him as the beleagured Louis. And then, when I heard Mr. Hill give an interview about why he was drawn to the role in Moneyball, saying "I just wanted to play a guy who was stumbling through responsibility for the first time," I knew I had my man, if only in my fantasy casting.

And my Marie Antoinette, at least for the time being, is another American, Rachel McAdams. She always appears lit from within onscreen. her eyes shine and her smile could melt anyone. In the films I've seen her in, whenever she is onscreen you can't watch anyone else. She's just that charming. That's the essence Marie Antoinette must convey. Ms. McAdams also has the rounded, soft facial features that are right enough to make me believe she could be Marie Antoinette. She's not angular (like the chisel-jawed Diane Kruger who physically doesn't resemble Marie Antoinette at all in the upcoming Les Adieux à la Reine. )

Play the game with me. Who would you suggest for Marie Antoinette, Louis XVI, and some of the other characters?

And ... who have you always envisioned as the leads in cinematic adaptations of your own novels?


Blogger Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

Rachel McAdams is Canadian actually, not American. I would have said Kate Winslet in her younger days, or even Carey Mulligan before Rachel McAdams. There's something about her that bothers me, although she's very beautiful. Clemence Poesy would be lovely as Marie or even Romola Garai. Jonah Hill is a genius idea, and much more appropriate than Jason Schwartzman was in Sophia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. Not sure about Colin Firth as Louis XV. I adore him but I don't think he's earthy enough for the part. I would suggest Jean DuJardin from The Artist.

7:47 AM  
Blogger Juliet Grey said...

Re: Jean Dujardin, I love him, but I hate those movies where everyone has a different accent and they're all supposed to be from the same place. I don't need earthy for Louis XV. I need a man where sex comes off of him in waves, and he is NOT a man of the people. I think DuJardin may be TOO earthy. I need lofty for Louis XV. Remember the biggest compliment people gave about him was the grace with which he ate his softboiled egg for breakfast.

Romola Garai is pretty and a good actress, but I'm still looking for a charisma that burns through the screen and she recedes. Carey Mulligan is a wonderful actress; she can certainly be gamine.

Winslet is one of those actresses who can play anyone. She could certainly do Marie Antoinette in her later years, but that means 3 M.A.s instead of 2.

Oy -- don't get me started about Jason Schwartzman. This is what you get when you cast your cousin.

10:51 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

It should definitely be a miniseries, not a movie, to do justice to Marie Antoinette's story. Just don't let Showtime touch it, because you know what a mess they'll make out it! They'd throw in lots of gratuitous nudity. However, Jeremy Northam or Mark Strong might make an interesting Louis XV. Who would play Madame DuBarry? I suggest Alexander Saarsgard (with dark hair) for Axel Fersen.

By the way, I love this cover more than I did the first one. It's so romantic!

12:17 PM  
Blogger Juliet Grey said...

I meant to ask what people think of the cover! I'm not going to comment either way, but I'm glad that it seems to be getting a strong response. As long as people want to continue to read the series, I'm happy.

Yes, I agree, it should definitely be a miniseries. There's too much information to cram into a 2 hour movie without it being eviscerated. Nice choice for Axel. I'm trying to think of other options as well. I see him with light brown hair -- but we know he was certainly not blond.

Another good Louis XV might be Jason Isaacs. I've always wanted to cast him in something. His bone structure is perfect. And what's Greg Wise been up to these days?

Madame du Barry is tough casting. She's got to be smarter than you think she is, sultry and bubbly at the same time. I'm looking at Megan Hilty right now.

12:28 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

Greg Wise is playing Ruskin, which is the worst casting possible, in a movie with Dakota Fanning as Effie Ruskin Millais. It's written by Emma Thompson, who is being sued by the guy who wrote The Countess. He claims she used his play for her screenplay.

I adore Jason Isaacs, he was so amazing in The Patriot as the character based on Banastre Tarleton. He's my ideal man, English and Jewish :)

I could definitely see Megan Hilton playing DuBarry.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Juliet Grey said...

The Countess was directed Off-B'way by a woman I worked with in NYC. It was not a successful relationship. Greg Wise is playing a man who doesn't enjoy sex?????

12:53 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

Yes, it boggles the mind! I don't know what Emma was thinking. Tom Hollander was perfectly cast as Ruskin in Desperate Romantics, even though the series was just "Entourage with Easels."

Ah yes, Ludovica Hauser, wasn't that her name, who directed The Countess?

12:55 PM  
Blogger Juliet Grey said...

Yes, Ludovica Villar-Hauser. The show got good reviews in NYC but I never saw it. Nor did I ever read the script. Did you?

All I can say is that Emma Thompson is an excellent screenwriter. I still think that her adaptation of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY is the best screen adaptation of an Austen novel ever. She's the only writer to have captured Austen's voice.

2:10 PM  
Blogger Evangeline Holland said...

Joely Richardson was pretty good as MA in the otherwise dreadful The Affair of the Necklace.

10:29 PM  
Blogger Juliet Grey said...

Evangeline, I'm going to take your word for it, because, like you, I hated "The Affair of the Necklace." Talk about miscasting in the principal role! Well, what WASN'T wrong with that movie? And I don't ever want to see it again, even if it would only be to concentrate on Joely Richardson's performance.

5:45 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

Hilary Swank's appeal as a performer completely escapes me. She was dreadful in The Black Dahlia playing a Femme Fatale.

5:51 AM  
Blogger Juliet Grey said...

She's terrific as an androgynous tomboy. Her first Oscar, for "Boys Don't Cry" was fairly awarded, in my opinion. As for all of her other performances, even as the boxer in the Eastwood movie, which I think was her second strongest performance ... meh.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Kaitlyn said...

Yes, someone please make a mini-series out of this trilogy!

Interesting ideas on casting to be sure. Jason Isaacs is a wonderful choice for Louis XV! But I do love Colin Firth and he is my celebrity crush despite the fact that he is old enough to be my father.

For Marie...maybe Reese Witherspoon? She resembles her in many ways. Her mannerisms appear to be like I would have imagined the Queen's. Or even Gwyneth Paltrow?

Madame Du Barry....that is a tough one! Don't know. Someone like Natalie Dormer might be good. She's a very
beautiful and alluring woman with a lively personality. She also played Anne Boleyn wonderfully in "the Tudors" for those of you who did not know. Natalie appears quite
capable of portraying lovely women with lots of power and
influence because of their charm.

Louis XVI....not sure about that one. I personally liked
Jason Schwartzman as the King. He was awkward and
nerdy but very sweet and lovable. But Jonah Hill sounds
like a delightful choice!

Axel Fersen....perhaps Rupert Friend? Darken his hair a
little and I think that would be convincing. He seems like a lovely individual and would make an appropriate choice for
Marie's close friend.

Whew, sounds like a good cast to me! Let's get started! Anywho, can't wait for May to get here! Until then I look forward to hearing more about this highly anticipated release.

8:35 PM  

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