Thursday, November 06, 2008

Casting Call

Now that the election's over, I can relay a few details of my recent pilgrimage to Los Angeles to promote my book, Dead Star Twilight.

There admittedly isn't too much that I can divulge at the moment, but suffice it to say that I consider the trip to have been a pretty big success on a lot of different levels. In addition to a quick reading and a radio interview, I met with a couple of agents who had summoned me westward and who've expressed an interest in trying to sell my little project to unnamed parties in Hollywood. Whether or not it actually gets picked up remains to be seen; I'm smart enough to know not to automatically sell everything I own and buy a convertible Mercedes and a condo in Marina del Rey (or, considering the value of my stuff, a 1997 Ford Taurus and an efficiency in West Covina). But it would certainly be nice if somebody bites.

With that in mind, and just because it's always fun to allow you folks to have your way with your humble narrator, I'm going to ask for your "help."

For those of you who've read Dead Star Twilight, and I sincerely hope you have (if not, for God's sake buy a copy -- think of my poor daughter and her need for a warm home now that winter's coming) I'm enlisting your help to cast the currently, ahem, "in pre-development" movie based on the book.

Hopefully you already know the characters, so feel free to get creative.

Hell, even if you haven't read the book, take your best shot at coming up with who should play me.

I'm thinking Jaleel White, TV's Urkel, myself.

Oh yeah, and by the way -- I want to say a quick but very sincere thanks to Jodi Ross for comping my entire hotel stay while out west; your generosity and kindness continues to leave me in awe. And to Heather Amaral, my new friend and an absolute sweetheart -- thanks for the excellent conversation.

Seriously guys -- buy a copy of Dead Star Twilight by clicking the little link to the right. Continue to prove that online publishing works (and put me in a better position to sell this thing and become not simply obnoxious and insufferable but thoroughly intolerable).

Thanks for reading.


Anonymous said...

spencer from the hill should play you chez

logan said...

Sarah Palin IS Chez Pazienza.

n. said...

You need someone who would be willing to get all Method on your ass. Is Christian Bale the only real Method guy left in Hollywood?

I think you should go with Don Cheadle - he's enormously talented and versatile...oh, wait. You're not black.

Apparently this needs more consideration.

trish said...

Sarah Jessica Parker. It's about time she got some revenge on you.

Anonymous said...

I think Mother Teresa should play Jayne.

Heather said...

Oh okay this can be fun. Here are my picks:

Chez Pazienza - Charlie Hunnam (although Christian Bale or Henry Cavill could also work here)
Kara Pazienza - Milla Jovovich or Kim Director
Rich - Mark Boone Junior
Abby - Charlize Theron perhaps? This part can go many ways.
Furio - Christopher Meloni

There's lots, so I won't do them all, but these are the main ones I can think of off of the top of my head during my lunch hour.

Sat.Morn.Brkfst.Show said...


Anonymous said...

Perhaps Joaquin Phoenix will read it and unretire for one last shot at an Oscar.

Then again, there's always Corey Feldman :)

Your cousin Jenny

Anonymous said...

David Boreanaz.

Jeremy Piven.

Maybe Mark Wahlberg if the guy could play more than one character type. (Overly serious)

Also, check out this.

aaron said...

Just off the top of my head I'd say Matt Damon or Jamie Bamber as you, Elizabeth Banks as Abby, Hillary Swank as Kara, Dustin Hoffman as your dad, Mary McDonnell as your mom, and the lovely Anne Hathaway as Jayne.

(absolutely no offense intended with any of these selections, they just seem to match the personalities I read.)

What's with this asinine Urkel fixation, anyway?

celery said...

russell crowe,, john cusack or colin farrell as you.

i'll need some time to go through the book and pull out the other names as i read it a long time ago.

Anonymous said...

Shai LeBouf (sp) as you.


Mr. Controversy said...

OK, how's this sound?

Act I: We chronicle your early days as a child, and intercut with your drug fueled adulthood.

Act II: We chronicle the towers falling and you returning to New York to single handedly rebuilding the city's infrastructure.

Act III: The birth of your child...realtime!

Oh shit...I must have mixed this up with my draft for a 24 Prequel film. Damnit. Um...we could try to reach Gary Oldman to play you. Maybe Ed Norton, he's hardcore method like that.

Anonymous said...

oooh, I like Aaron's picks- all of them. But I was thinking Peter Sarsgaard as Chez.

Anonymous said...

hehe, Dustin Hoffman, lol

Anonymous said...

Pauley Shore and David Spade are both due for a major comebacks — perhaps taking on the Chez role might be the vehicle that takes them to the top.

Chez said...

I hate to admit to having given this some thought -- because it makes me a mega-douchebag -- but I've always been partial to Sarsgaard.

I mean, like, if I had my way.

Yes, I'm a mega-douchebag.

Anonymous said...

Fred Dalton Thompson as you.

sloaneclearv said...

crap, i was just about to agree with sarsgaard. so, yeah, i agree.

and natalie portman as jayne. albeit a really short jayne.

Anonymous said...

Chez, I guess we need to post your photo at the the site bellow.

Big Douchebag

Anonymous said...

Umm, what if its of the "made-for tv" variety? If that's the case then you know who you're going to end up with...Richard Grieco.

Anonymous said...

I'll third Sarsgaard.

Drew Barrymore as Abby and Natalie Portman as Jayne.

I'm still trying to figure out Kara. I would say Megan Fox but she's too young.

- Alex

kelley said...

agree on sarsgaard... though, matt damon was an interesting thought, too I could picture that... oh and anne hathaway for jayne - spot on!

Anonymous said...

i've read the book and it's excellent but i'd have to say that Sarah Jessica Parker would have to be cast in there somewhere....evil snickering....

Nate said...

Chez: Ryan Gosling, or RDJr, although he's too old, James Franco
Kara: Courtney Cox
Furio: I second Chris Meloni
Richard (the biker, I think): John Goodman
Abby: Katee Sackoff (That's for you, Chez)
Apex: John Cho
Brando: Jeremy Sisto

Anonymous said...

Definitely Peter Sarsgaard but he might be getting too old.

Anonymous said...

You: Sam Rockwell (since you took Sarsgaard)

nicole said...

I think that my girlcrush Natalie Portman would be the only actress talented and wee enough to play Jayne.

Now I'm going to drool over Sarsgaard. That man is just lust personified.

Heather said...

Okay, now that I have looked him up Sarsgaard is a good choice too. For some reason I never put the face to the name though I've seen him in movies. He reminds me a lot of John Malkovich.

mark said...

Jason Bateman.

Jason fucking Bateman.

Anonymous said...

owen willson

Anonymous said...

It's too bad Streep already played a demon in Devil Wears Prada cause she'd make a pretty good Kara. Who knows.. maybe she won't mind being typecast.

Chez said...


Anonymous said...

Give me a mother-fucker break. Why don't you ask for a casting call when:

a) you've had someone publish the book

b) get an actual movie deal

c) even a Lifetime movie of the week

Maybe then it'll be worth all your self importance.

John Murphy
Westport, CT

Dene said...

someone mentioned Megan Fox earlier, how bout the girl who plays Thirteen on House? She looks like an older, more mature version of Megan fox.

Dene said...

i just looked her up, her name is Olivia Wilde.

I can't think about you and Jayne though since I have actually met you guys... but Sarsgaard seem like a good pick to me.

votar said...

Knowing many of the primary "characters" as I do, I'm just gonna sit back and watch this one...

p.s., For the reason stated above, most of the suggestions so far, while amusing, are pretty far off the mark.

p.p.s., Although, yeah, Sarsgaard could probably pull it off.

p.p.p.s., And yes, of course Votar will be in it. A marathon of all six episodes of MTV's "Idiot Box" will be on the television in the background during one of our anti-hero's more riveting heroin smoking moments.

(Dude, if you ever do get a movie deal and don't INSIST that they film that, I will stab you.)

Chez said...

That settles it:

John Murphy from "mother-fucker" Westport, CT gets to play me.

Lighten up, Johnny. You'll hurt yourself.

Doc said...

Two words: Richard Simmons

AuntieMurray said...

To John Murphy:

For heaven's sake, man. It's all for fun. Jeez.

And Chez? Sarsgaard. That's it.

Anonymous said...

this is fun. he's a bit older than you, but robert downey, jr.

Anonymous said...

I'd respond with something witty, but my diaper is full.

I'll get back to you.

John Murphy
Westport, CT

Anonymous said...

John Murphy must have voted for McCain.

Chez said...


Rickious said...

I'm gonna have to go with Matthew Perry as Chez and Elizabeth Banks as Jayne.

votar said...

Okay but I changed my mind. I can't believe I'm taking this seriously, but yes I'll offer a few ideas for the ones I've actually known:

Abby: Christina Ricci. Or maybe Kate Winslett. Or yes, Drew Barrymore even. I'm going for vulnerable + spirited.

Brando: If it's who I think that is, come on, dude, since he's pretending to be him anyway, Vin Diesel.

Kara: Nicole Kidman could probably do beautiful-but-humorless quite well.

Jayne's a walk-on cameo at the end, why not just have her play herself?

Chez: What about Paul Rudd? He seems like he could convincingly play a drugged up smarmy dick.

Anonymous said...

Another No on 8 resident-type wouldn't be so bad,,,,

have you considered Orange County? Newport, Laguna etc...

Mavis said...


I am JEALOUS, JEALOUS, JEALOUS that you got to hang out with my dear friend Jodi. She is someone that makes the world a better place, just by being Jodi.
I got to hang out with her in DC earlier this year. I hope to get more time with her!

jrm78 said...

Jimmy Fallon as you!

On a more serious note, who directs? Michel Gondry or Chris Carpenter?

Anonymous said...

Thank God the political ramblings are over… oops, spoke to soon.

Try this, read this as if Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog is saying it to you. It might sound better:

Peter Sarsgaard... Give me a fuckin break!

Only in your dreams! How come everyone thinks that in the movie of their lives, they think some good looking, god or goddess “A-Lister” is going to play them? It’s the same with whack jobs who think they were reincarnated; all thinking that they were someone special or famous in another life, like Cleopatra, and shit.

Saying Sarsgaard should play you, is like Roseanne Barr thinking she should have Angelina Jolie play her… Fucktard!

Honestly, I don’t know how you got any of your women to sleep with you. I Always chalked it up to the fat paychecks you used to get, and all the “E” you all used to swallow. (Just like little kids downing Smarties around Halloween time.)

Really, I got someone who’ll pass, who looks like you, looks like he’s on “H,” and will come pretty fucking cheap.

Adam Herschman. You may, or may not remember him, starring as Glenn, with “the Mac-guy,” Justin Long, in “Accepted.” He is also one of the loser guys from the Alltel commercials, all wearing shirts from the “other” wireless carriers.

Put that in your (makeshift) pipe, and smoke it!

Hey, you said feel free to be snarky! Maybe, I go to far? I Kid, I kid.

Chez said...

Relax, man. It's a fucking joke.

And I get laid a lot because I'm not you.

Lisa K. said...

I finished the book 2 weeks ago. I know it needs to be a movie, but I have run through all of the actors I can think of...the list I've seen here is impressive, but the nail has not been hit on the head quite yet.

I think you should probably play yourself. You've always been quite the actor (and though I'm sure you're thinking I'm being a bitch, I think you are rather talented). I was impressed, anyhow!

slouchmonkey said...

Simple. Me. I've played everything from Henry V to sexed out, drugged up fuck wads. Only, I'm 6'5" and don't look a thing like you. Maybe, I could play Brando?

Anonymous said...

Andy Dick

Keanu Reeves

Macaulay Culkin

Nicolas Cage

David Caruso

Anonymous said...

Someone, as a joke, said Corey Feldman. Not far from the true best choice...

Corey Haim

Anonymous said...

Rachel McAdams as Abby.

You? Mario Lopez.

Anonymous said...

Choices to play you(in order of preference):
1. Jason Batemann
2. Sam Rockwell
3. James Franco(who's actually a lot better actor than the roles he chooses.)

Anonymous said...

Casey Affleck as Chez. For sure. Okay, okay, I'll buy the book now so I can weigh in on other characters.

Anonymous said...

Casey Affleck.

kanye said...

Chez: Kevin Zegers
Richard: Ray Winstone
Abby: Kelly MacDonald
Kara: Maria Bello...or Kat Von D.
Furio: Bill Macy
Carl: Robert Knepper
Apex: Ananda Everingham
Brando: James Marsden

Of course, this cast would virtually guarantee that almost no one would actually see the movie.

Quick aside...I have a pair of Snell C/i's that I bought in the mid-eighties. Stunning, gorgeous sound...they're like old, familiar friends. When we had kids, I made the decision to pack them up. Too easy a target for an errant skateboard, too tempting a target for fingerpaints or Playdoh.

My wife had taken the kids to visit her grandmother in Iowa for Easter. I stayed home with Bean, our 10 year-old Lab. Needless to say, they'd been gone all of about fifteen minutes before I was hauling the Snells upstairs. I'd had your book for a couple of weeks, but this was my first real chance to sit down and give it a read. I popped a couple of garlic chicken breasts in the oven (one for me, one for the dog), tossed some asparagus in the steamer and uncorked a particularly lovely bottle of Dow's 20 year-old Tawny Port. “Alright, let's see what we've got here.”


copyright, legal, legal..

For Jayne...

Crap, I forgot to turn on the music. Gotta have music. Let's see- Set Master 1, shuffle. set slave 1, master 1 shuffle. Set slave 2, master 1 shuffle. Set slave 3, master 1 shuffle. Play.

Okay, let's try this again.


copyright, legal, legal..

For Jayne...

And as I started to read, the first song began to play:

As I'm filling up my suitcase
Like a hungry mouth to feed
And I'm wondering when I'll see you
It seems my suitcase runs on greed
I won't empty it for ages
But I'll write a hundred pages
Just to let you know some of
the thoughts of mine
Here they are
Shake them from me
Here they are
Take them from me
Here they are
On the tip of my tongue
-Marty Wilson-Piper: Tip of My Tongue.

I had no way of knowing at the time just how appropriate, how nearly providential a start this was. Second glass of wine. Second song: Wes, doing Coltrane's Impressions. Third song: Tom Waits-Invitation to the Blues. Fourth: Sheela Na Gig, Polly Jean. Then, James Ulmer. Sonny Rollins and Don Cherry doing 52nd Street Theme. Hey St. Peter by Flash and the Pan. The words flowed and the wine flowed and the music played. Bob Mould-Poison Years, Naked Raygun-Vanilla Blue, Townes Van this point I'd pretty much lost all sense of, well, everything. The words wafted off the page and swirled in the ether, commingling with the music, building momentum until they achieved symbiosis...XTC-Live acoustic medley of Senses Working Overtime/Grass/Love on a Farmboy's Wages...rushing to me at an indescribable velocity; delivered on a synesthetic slipstream of altered consciousness...Mick Taylor-Broken Hands.

The wine was long gone and I had switched to whiskey and waters. Technically, whiskey and water, singular. Mixing drinks had become tedious and distracting, so I grabbed the largest cup that I could find, a Big Gulp-sized thing that my son had gotten at a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese...Shoes-Tomorrow Night...and mixed up what I was sure would provide at least a couple hours of mind altering goodness...House of Freaks-40 Years. I set back to my task, and it wasn't long before I was back in my comfort zone...Superstar-by The Carpenters, bookended by Pharaoh Sanders' The Creator Has a Master Plan and Papa Wemba's Sala Keba..., existing in an alcohol induced, sleep deprived plemora of osmotically delivered sensation...Comin' down the mountainnnnn....

It was, I was, All was...perfect. But as everyone knows, or at least anyone who's experienced life's realities, perfection as a state is, if not unattainable, then surely unsustainable. At best, we get a fleeting glimpse; a moment of grace which almost always goes unrealized and is usually only recognized upon reflection. And so it would be.

A new song had started...heh, song. Bach's Chaconne, as played by Arthur Grumiaux. Haunting, tearing and bumping up against the very edge of dissonance right from the first's wonderful. It was then that I was torn from my “moment” by a sound, a sound that was plaintive and pleading, moaningfully desperate: “Woof!”, followed by three long, high-pitched whines and a series of staccato roo, roo, roo, roo roos. Dog had to go out. That was the first time that evening that I had consciously looked at a clock. “4:30am...Oh, fuck me.”

I followed her down the stairs to the back door where she was already waiting for me, doing the “pee-pee dance”, as my kids like to call it. She bolted out into the backyard and took care of business, an almost palpable sign of relief on her face. The night air was cool, almost cold, and it felt clean against my skin. I watched the dog sniff around the yard for a while and listened as the Chaconne floated from above. Bean caught a glimpse of some small furry, a squirrel or maybe a rabbit (Oh God, please...please please please don't let it be skunk, not again) and tore off after it, sliding to an abrupt stop when the creature disappeared through the neighbor's fence. It was nice to see she still had some zip left in those old legs. She paced the fence line for a bit, hoping I guess, that the creature would return, offering itself up as chew toy to be shredded, satiating some leftover primal instinct. It was not to be. I let her in, closed the door behind me and we lumbered up the stairs together.

It was then that I noticed the chicken breast, still sitting on the broiler pan on top of the stove. Next to it sat the asparagus, still in the steamer, wilted, grey, and not smelling all that pleasant. I'd forgotten to eat. Fuck me again. I grabbed a couple of pieces of rye bread and the chicken, slathered on some yellow mustard and a bit of horseradish and headed back to the kitchen table where my laptop was sitting. I looked over and saw the dog climbing up onto the couch, a definite no-no and I asked her, “What do you think you're doing?” She looked back at me, almost as if to say,”Hey pal, did you see me in action out there?” She spun around in three tight circles and plopped down, her head cocked sideways up against the couch's arm and fell asleep, almost instantly. “Yeah, I guess it's okay.” Sucker.

Okay, back to the book. Page 323...almost finished. September 11th, 2001. As I start to read, a new song cues. A rhythm guitar playing a fairly standard rock progression; the bass and drums climb on board; the lead guitar stilettos in underneath. It's an old familiar: good progression, decent lyrics, played well. It's a song I've always liked yet haven't heard in a long time. I began reading:


Just let another year go by,
just means another chance to try,


'cause the more you live,
the less you die,
don't question the reasons why...Come on


Rising up like some judge at noon,
I didn't think it would come this soon,

“I watch in horror.”

go take it up,
and check it over,
thank God all I am is older

“I haven't slept in days.”

and I ain't gonna live my life like no cigarette
not burned out 'til the end, it ain't happened yet

“This has to be a hallucination.”

and I ain't gonna live my life like no cigarette
not burned out 'til the end, it ain't happened yet

“Something suddenly hits me.”

Close your mouth and open your eyes,
don't let another day go by,

“A realization.”

'cause the less you talk,
the more you listen,
and you figure out what you've been missin'

“A realization that for the first time in my life, I have nothing holding me back, nothing keeping me here, absolutely nothing to lose.”

and you won't have to live your life like a cigarette
no point in wasting time on past regrets

“I'm free.”

and you won't have to live your life like no cigarette
not burned out 'til the end, it ain't happened yet

“I make a choice.”

Well I can't let more time, slip away
well I can't let more time, slip away
well I can let more time, slip away
well I can let more time...

“I make one phone call-to my friend Ramon at MSNBC-then run to the guest room and begin packing.”

...slip away.

The song is Cigarette, by The Sidewinders...I hope you know it. As it played, and as I read, a mental image formed. It was almost as if I was remembering a scene from some long forgotten film. A scene with just you, alone in your parent's room: watching the television; making the call; packing your bags; saying goodbye to your parents; but mostly of you, sitting on an airplane and staring out the window as you flew into the literal unknown. All the while, this song playing. Couldn't shake it.

And the night caught up with me. I was cashed, spent. With only seven pages to go, I surrendered. I dragged myself out of the chair, half-eaten sandwich resting on the edge of the table, and made my way to the bedroom. I knew that I wouldn't be getting decent sleep. My wife and I have been together for seventeen years and whenever she's away, something her job forces her to be more often than I'd like, I always sleep like shit. When I awoke the next morning, the realization that I was no longer twenty five years-old smacked me full bore, both barrels. I brushed my teeth, put on a pot of coffee, took three Advil, brushed my teeth two more times, sat down and finished your book. It was then that I noticed that the chicken sandwich was gone, the dog's bowl was still full and she been steering clear of me all morning. Bad dog.

And even still, half-a-year later, whenever you write about your past, or your addiction, or now...the possible movie deal, that scene of you on the plane, alone, staring out the window while this song plays runs through my head as if it's always cued up and ready to go. Clear as day, it's more like an observed memory than an image that my mind created. You, the plane and that song.

I don't know why I chose to share this with you now. I'd always meant to tell you that there's a guy, an ordinary guy, forty-three years old, who lives just outside of Chicago. He's married to a woman he adores, he's the father of a son and a daughter who he loves more than life itself and he's the owner of a pain-in-the-ass dog that he wouldn't trade for anything. And that guy, he enjoys your writing; that it has an effect as well as affect. Maybe it's because I've pulled the pin a couple of times myself. Maybe because there've been times in the past, too many times, that I've failed to tell someone whose work or works I admire how I felt. Maybe I just felt like rambling for a while. Not sure. So much for a quick aside.

Anyway, good book. Good Luck with the movie.

Anonymous said...

Nah, Haim can't act at all anymore (not that he ever really could, I think it was probably just the cute kid factor that worked for him) but anyway, did you see Lost Boys 2? He was so bad they had to put him in after the credits were already rolling.

bionic bunny! said...

damn, chez, that IS good news!
but i read the book so long ago, i'll have to re-read it to play the game!
however, i DO like the idea of RDJ playing you, too old, yeah, but fun....

Chez said...

Damn, Kanye.

Just... DAMN.

votar said...

Yeah really.

That's a waste of perfectly good chicken.