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A CASE FOR LOVE: The Character-Casting Process

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I know I’ve already posted most of these images online at one time or another (and I know this, because they’re already uploaded to a set in Flickr), but you may not have seen them, or you may not remember seeing them. And I always love talking about one of my favorite parts of writing: Character Casting.

As I mentioned in the character-casting post for Menu for Romance, I already had many of the characters that appear in the second and third books cast from writing Stand-In Groom.

Forbes Guidry
Becky asked yesterday: “Are there other lawyer characters you’ve read or seen in the past that influenced your depiction of Forbes?”

The answer to that, quite simply, is yes. There is one particular lawyer character who greatly influenced the creation and description of Forbes. And that is the character of Cole Turner, Assistant District Attorney (and demon/Source of All Evil) in the TV show Charmed, played by the very handsome Julian McMahon.

I was never a regular viewer of that show until he came on the scene. But once the character of Cole was introduced, I was hooked. Of course, I didn’t really like the fact that the character was supposed to be a demon, so for the brief period of time when he was reformed, I was thrilled (and then I stopped watching when he went back over to being evil again).

But because there were a few lingering negative images of Julian McMahon in my mind (especially given the character he went on to play in Nip/Tuck), without conscious thought, the template for Forbes’s character started becoming a hybrid—because right around the time I started working on A Case for Love, I started watching a lot of Gregory Peck movies. Forbes has more of Julian McMahon’s physical characteristics and mannerisms, but there’s something about Gregory Peck’s calm, quiet nature that became part of him, too.

In walked one of the most gorgeous men she’d ever seen—and he looked vaguely familiar. His hair was a cross between brown and auburn, and he looked better in a tuxedo than Fred Astaire ever had. But could he dance like the sliver-screen legend? . . .

Though her four-inch heels brought her up to five foot six, the close proximity to the man forced her to crane her neck to see his face. His gorgeous face—and grayish-blue eyes looking into hers with such intensity, her whole head grew hot.

Alaine Delacroix
Those of you who’ve read Menu for Romance have “met” Alaine Delacroix. As I explained yesterday, I didn’t know until her character walked onto the scene in Menu that she was the perfect match for Forbes. Again, she was supposed to be one of the two people who came between Major and Meredith in their story—so I wanted someone as opposite from Meredith as I could find: dark (Meredith is fair), petite (Meredith is of average height/build), outgoing and flirtatious (Meredith is very reserved). And because Forbes was good looking enough to be “Bachelor of the Year,” I needed his complement—a woman gorgeous enough to be named “Bachelorette of the Year.” My choice was easy: Morena Baccarin.

Though the character she played in Firefly/Serenity has, um, quite the different occupation than Alaine Delacroix, Baccarin imbued the role with an insecure confidence that it made me want to come up with a character who exuded confidence on the outside, yet was never quite sure internally that she was really living up to what people expected of her because of her public persona.

Alaine turned to check her appearance in the large mirror to make sure she didn’t have mascara smeared down her cheeks. She made the inspection as quick as possible, hating to see her own reflection with no makeup. Even with her shoulder-length black hair still styled from her noon broadcast, with no makeup on, all she saw in the mirror were flaws—dark circles under her eyes, freckles scattered across her nose and cheeks, and the bumps on her forehead that never seemed to go away.

Secondary Characters
There are several important secondary characters in A Case for Love also. The four most important are Forbes’s and Alaine’s parents:
Mairee and Lawson Guidry

Mairee and Lawson Guidry
(Anne Archer and Alan Rickman)


Joe and Solange

Joseph and Solange Delacroix
(Sam Waterston and Marilia Pera)

In addition to Anne, George, Meredith, Major, and Jenn, there are two other major secondary characters who are important in A Case for Love: Forbes’s next-door neighbor, and client, Shon Murphy (Lance Gross), who owns the matchmaking service “Let’s Do Coffee” and who plays a role in both Forbes’s and Alaine’s lives; and Evelyn Mackenzie (Catherine Bell), the woman who comes in to help Forbes’s parents finalize a land-acquisitions deal and gets involved in some other—shall we call it—wheeling and dealing while she’s in town.

So, what do you think?

  1. Thursday, January 7, 2010 3:42 pm

    Morena Baccarin R O C K S.

    Just had to be said.

    I loved Julian McMahon in Profiler. There are a lot of characters from that show I find inspiring to write other characters.


  2. Thursday, January 7, 2010 4:20 pm

    I smiled as soon as I saw Morena Baccarin’s smiling face. My daughter has recently gotten me hooked on “Firefly,” and I’m thinking SOMEBODY needs to pattern a character after Nathan Fillian . . . 😉

    I just got an email – today in fact! – from a friend of mine who is to be published this summer, with a sheet of pictures for each of her main characters. She had the actor/actress that she patterned them after, but also, since this is a historical, some catalog pictures from the era.

    Great choices!!


    • Thursday, January 7, 2010 4:21 pm

      By the way, after whom did you pattern Anne, George, Meredith, and Major?


    • Thursday, January 7, 2010 4:44 pm

      I don’t know if anyone would be able to use Nathan Fillion as a template for a character without it turning into either Mal Reynolds or Rick Castle. I follow both Nathan Fillion and “Rick Castle” on Twitter . . . and most of the time I can’t tell them apart! I think he puts so much of his own personality into his characters that it would be hard to separate them.


      • Thursday, January 7, 2010 5:02 pm

        You have a point there. Rick and Mal are a lot alike. If he never plays another sort of character I’m okay with that. I enjoy his take on that type. But I wonder can he do shy and withdrawn? 🙂


        • Thursday, January 7, 2010 5:05 pm

          He guest-starred on an episode of LOST (in Season 3, I believe) as Kate’s husband in her short-lived marriage while she was a fugitive before crashing on the island. Though the character was somewhat serious and the strong-silent type for most of the scenes, there was that very first scene in which we saw him—when he came to the hotel room. It was so easy for fans of NF to see that he was ready to just bust out with a sarcastic remark, pull a cute expression, or be funny in some other way throughout those scenes.


        • Thursday, January 7, 2010 6:46 pm

          Did you see his character on Buffy? SCARY! But still Nathan Fillian . . .


  3. Adrienne permalink
    Thursday, January 7, 2010 5:55 pm

    The people you chose for Anne, George, Forbes, Alaine, Jenn, and Meredith were good and pretty much how I pictured them as I read, but I pictured Major to be a little bit different. I don’t know why but I pictured him a little bit more rugged looking, maybe because he could get angry easily. I haven’t read Menu for Romance yet so maybe I’ll change my mind when I do.


  4. Thursday, January 7, 2010 10:48 pm

    I always love these posts. I’ve gotten more into choosing actors as character templates because of you, Kaye. (Though I’ve also developed a bad habit of surfing Google Images to find regular people to base characters’ physical descriptions on. So much easier to work from a picture!)

    And any picture of Sam Waterston makes me smile.


  5. Amee permalink
    Friday, January 8, 2010 9:38 am

    I love when authors give us pictures of who they think closely resembles their characters. It seems some don’t so that we can imagine them however we want, but I like seeing the pictures because my imagination will do what it wants. Sometimes I even give characters a different hair color than what’s obviously stated. Not sure why. 😛


  6. Friday, January 8, 2010 9:53 am

    Ahhhhh I love you! Omigosh I totally only watched Charmed because of Julian Mcmahon too LOL! And *sigh then swoon* Gregory Peck had to be the sexiest guy that ever lived…after I saw Roman Holiday there was just no hope for me! I’ll probably be drooling all over the pages of A Case For Love now! 😛

    xoxo~ Renee


  7. Friday, January 8, 2010 2:39 pm

    Mackenzie…love it!

    I follow @nathanfillion and @writeRcastle on Twitter also. Nathan Fillion does seem to play Rick Castle pretty much as himself.


  8. Friday, January 8, 2010 6:29 pm

    Love the casting–my fave part! Can’t wait!


  9. Jane0904 permalink
    Monday, January 11, 2010 5:21 am

    Just a note that Nathan Fillion did play shy/awkward in the movie Waitress, as the married gynaecologist who has an affair with the title character. I think he has a great range but just isn’t necessarily allowed to show it. Still, if he never played anyone other than the Mal/Rick type, I won’t be upset!


  10. Wednesday, January 20, 2010 10:28 pm

    I’m hooked! The more of your blogs I read, the more fascinated I become (& the more I learn). So on whom did you fashion the characters in Stand-In Groom?


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