By Pat Cunningham
‘Fess up: we all want to see our novels made into movies, right? Who wouldn’t love to see their stories up on the big screen? This gets tricky when you’re telling shapeshifter tales. Which actors best embody your character’s animal side?
Coyote – Brad Pitt’s got all the qualities that make a coyote dangerous: looks, brains, and charm. He even looks good as a blond. An ‘80s-era Bruce Willis would have made a perfect coyote. For us older gals, I go with Clint Eastwood. When I was writing COYOTE MOON, I pictured Clint as the patriarch of the Gray clan, the wily old coyote with a dash of wolf. Check out his Man With No Name flicks if you don’t believe me.
Wolf – Just about any alpha male actor could pull off a convincing wolf. I’m going to go for Christian Bale here. Batman, my ass – he’s a wolf man. Daniel Craig’s the ruthless lone wolf out for enemy blood. As stated above, Clint Eastwood’s a wolf/coyote hybrid. Harrison Ford’s another aspect of wolfhood, the rugged protector/family man type. Farther down the pack hierarchy we’ve got Tom Hanks, who looks like he should have a tail wagging behind him. The alpha’s beta buddy, perhaps.
Bear – John Goodman and Jack Black, no contest. Ford might also pass as a bear. James Earl Jones would make a helluva bear. But then, James Earl Jones would make a helluvan anything.
Cat – Everything we need is on display in The Mummy and The Mummy Returns. Oded Fehr is the sinuous leopard, Arnold Vosloo the ruthless, majestic lion, and Brendan Fraser the canny American cougar who kicks their Old World tails. I don’t know about the Rock. His wrestling nickname was the Brahma Bull. Jaguar, maybe? Tiger?
Hyena – Jack Nicholson. He’s in a class by himself.
Your turn to play casting director. Who would you pick to play your shapeshifter and why? TV actors are okay. Just not Michael J. Fox; that’s practically a giveaway. And – action!