I know, dagnabbit, I missed two more days on this 31-day journey. Friday was an awful day. Just. . . terrible. I’m pretty sure my therapist was trying to dump me during my session with him that afternoon, shortly after I told him I learned that I probably can’t have children. So that was fun.
I was going to write about that, but my last post was pretty damn bleak. I was inspired to write about something lighthearted after re-reading a book I absolutely adore on Saturday. I decided to gush all about it in the hopes of convincing those of my followers that aren’t spam bots to read it and then I decided I would create the cast of my dreams in the event that I someday stumble upon a few million dollars and immense power and influence in Hollywood so that I can then have it made into the movie it absolutely needs to be.
The book in question is “32 Candles” by Ernessa T. Carter. I stumbled across it the year I turned 32 and was struck by the book’s hot pink cover and silhouette of a woman with an afro. I’m a bit of a book snob and had given up on finding anything classified as “urban” or “African-American” fiction or super popular “chick lit” (outside of the Bridget Jones series) that I’d actually enjoy, but I gave it a shot. And OH MY GOD am I frickin’ so glad I did. I stayed up all night and devoured it in one sitting. I wept and laughed and swooned and blushed and shouted and just had my edges snatched and got my ENTIRE life. I found the author on that social networking site when I was still on it and Ms. Ernessa was kind and gracious and funny and we liked the same things and she answered my questions and holy shit, that just made everything better.
“32 Candles” tells the story of Davie Jones who we meet as a little girl in Glass, Mississippi. She lives with her alcoholic, abusive, neglectful, but beautiful mother Cora, who only came into Davie’s life a year before when Davie’s beloved grandma died. Poor Davie has a horrible childhood and finds her only bit of light and escape in the movies of John Hughes and Molly Ringwald, hence the title of the book. Fast-forward to her time in high school: Davie hasn’t spoken in ten years after an especially viscous beating from her mother and goes unnoticed at school, which is a welcome change from the constant teasing she’d undergone, which included being called “Monkey Night” since kindergarten. Why the strange nickname? Well, both the kids and adults in town have declared Davie to be “ugly as a monkey and black as night”. Ugh. Enter in the Farrell family: rich, light-skinned, and the owners of the Farrell Fine Hair Company which has a factory in Glass. The three Fabulous Farrell children – James, Veronica, and Tammy – attend the local public high school and Davie immediately falls in love with handsome, popular, and surprisingly kind James. Veronica is the ultimate mean girl and after finding out a secret about Davie’s mother, decides to make life a living hell for Davie. Davie runs away from Glass after Veronica pulls a cruel prank on her and reinvents herself in L.A., forgetting all about Cora and the Farrells – until she literally runs into James again shortly before turning 32. AND THEN EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE AND WONDERFUL AND HORRIBLE AND BEAUTIFUL AND OH MY GOD YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK AND IT NEEDS TO BE A MOVIE.
One of the things that is so amazing about “32 Candles” and Ernessa T. Carter is that she writes a story about black characters and the black characters are diverse. Some of the black people are rich. Some of the black people are poor. Some of the black people are straight. Some of the black people are gay. Some of the black people like movies that don’t have any black people in them. Some of the black people like to travel to California wine country. Some of the black people sold drugs as teenagers. Some of the black people went to Princeton. Some of the black people have two perfectly nice parents. Some of the black people have one terrible parent. This shouldn’t be amazing, and it isn’t, if you are a black person, or have ever known more than one or two black people in your life. But thanks to TV and movies, (Tyler Perry, I’m looking directly at you) you’d think that there is only one kind of black experience in America and only one kind of black entertainment that black people enjoy. Ernessa T. Carter pooped all over that with smart, funny writing and interesting, complex characters that still spoke to things that are specific to the black experience, like natural hair and the never ending issue with complexion, i.e., “dark skin” vs. “light skin”. SHE IS AMAZING.
Alright, alright, so here are the actors that I want to play the most important characters and who I think you should picture when you’re reading the book WHICH YOU SHOULD HURRY UP AND GO
READ BUY RIGHT AFTER YOU’VE READ THIS POST:
Naturi Naughton as Davidia “Davie” Jones: Initially I was thinking of Keisha Knight Pulliam, but Davie has to be able to sing. I don’t know if KKP has the ability, but Miss Naturi certainly does. She also proved in 2009’s Notorious that she can act and she’s beautiful and look at her skin and just wow.
Taraji P. Henson as Cora Jones: Cora’s described as not being light enough to be called “yellow” and not dark enough to be thought of as plain, and beautiful, but cruel. I just sat through “I Can Do Bad All By Myself” because I couldn’t find the remote and Taraji’s mean, tragic drunk character in that movie was pretty damn convincing. I know she could do wonders with the better writing and characterization that Ms. Carter’s Cora would offer her.
Aubrey Drake Graham as James Farrell IV: Shut up, I don’t care, I love him. The minute Davie began describing James and how he was like sunshine, I immediately pictured
my baby this guy. He’s got the acting chops, he’s light-skinned, he’s a heart throb, he’s rich, he’s tall, he’s muscular, he’s arrogant, he’s sexy, he’s romantic, he’s insecure, he’s charming, AND ERNESSA TOLD ME THAT SHE COULD TOTALLY SEE DRAKE AS JAMES AND THAT SHE LOVES HIM TOO SO THERE.
Paula Patton as Veronica Farrell: She is a bit older than Aubrey and Naturi, but she is my Veronica. I always felt like Veronica’s behavior and personality made her come across as the older sibling anyway. I can just hear Paula’s raspy voice uttering a chillingly nasty “Hey, Monkey Night”.
Tessa Thompson as Tammy Farrell: Tammy is the far more harmless of the Farrell sisters and I think Tessa Thompson has a natural sweetness in her face that can convey Tammy’s sympathetic role in the story. And she and Aubrey can pass as siblings!
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Nicky: Super tall? Check. Super muscular? Check. A smart ass? Check. A father figure? Check. Funny, perhaps without meaning to be? Check. Good with the ladies? Check. Rick Fox was a close second, but in the end I had to give it Dwayne.
S. Epatha Merkerson as Mama Jane: Nicky’s aunt and Davie’s savior and surrogate mother, S. Epatha would be perfect as the tough talking trucker with the rough exterior hiding a loving heart.
Okay, so those are the main characters, but I am having way too much fun doing this, especially after such dismal posts and real life stuff. I am in the middle of my re-read and and some secondary characters are getting their time in the spotlight, so perhaps tomorrow’s post will be a continuation of my creating the cast of my dreams. Aren’t they beautiful? I need some more brown and deep-brown actors and actresses, though.
Anyway, GO READ AND BUY THIS BOOK. Please. You will not regret it.
More dream casting tomorrow.