Who would you cast in the movie of your novel?

Okay, so I got a bit distracted this morning as I rewrote my pitch. See, I could not decide whether or not to leave in my physical descriptions of my characters. The Book Doctors suggest brief physical descriptions, but for some reason it still feels a little clumsy to me, (new pitch to follow soon).

This got me thinking about what my characters actually look like to me in my mind’s eye. Visualization is not my strength. I see fuzzy versions of my characters, not concrete people, which is not to say I don’t know my characters, but rather nailing down an exact picture in my mind is just not the way I think. I need to see the faces of real people.

So, I decided I need to cast my characters– a useful exercise that happens to also be fun:

Kristen: I imagined her with dark hair, blue eyes, someone who would fit the inspiration of the song “Galway Girl.”

Today I realized she would probably look like Olivia Wilde, which I assure you has nothing to do with her great first name. She’s classically beautiful but can also pull off a punk rock, peace activist college kid, which is important to Kristen.


Kristen. Photo credit: Pinterest.

Jake: He was a bit harder for me to cast. Does Paul Rudd have a younger brother with brown eyes? I imagined a guy that is attractive in a charming smile kind of way, maybe a bit goofy. In my book I describe him as lanky because I see him as athletic and charismatic, but in a real way. Today’s winner: Okay, Paul Rudd wins even if he might be a little older than Jake and maybe not into playing a role that is not purely comical… Guess I’m on the look-out for a younger Paul Rudd willing to mix drama with humor.


Jake. Photo credit: Pinterest.

Or, on second thought, maybe Josh Radnor… He did a good job writing/directing/acting in HappyThankYouMorePleaseso he might also be a good Jake.

Other Jake?

Alternate Jake? Photo Credit: Pinterest.

Decisions, decisions… Of course there are half a dozen other characters to be cast, but I’m pretty sure it would take me two hours to pick them all, which seems like a case of diminishing returns. Focusing on my two main characters, however, worthwhile.

Have you cast your protagonists?

And, on a side note, do you provide physical descriptions of your main characters in your pitch? I’m conflicted, as usual.

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8 thoughts on “Who would you cast in the movie of your novel?

  1. kingmidget says:

    No physical descriptions in a pitch. Typically a pitch is pretty short. Seems a waste of that limited number of words to include a description that goes beyond name and age. As I think about this I’m realizing that I don’t include much description in the stories themselves. Particularly of the main character in each story. Hmmmm…. as you say it seems awkward.

    • oliviaobryon says:

      I feel the same way– I added a physical description awhile back because the Book Doctors suggested it… But, I was also like you– I had minimal physical description in my book, which I have since increased a bit. Funny how some people like it and others don’t. I definitely lean toward not including it in the pitch… Thanks for the input!

  2. Kozo says:

    This is great, Olivia. Way to flesh out your characters. Maybe we should post our pitches so others can critique them???

    • oliviaobryon says:

      I think that’s a fantastic idea– for some reason the pitch is the absolute hardest part for me. When I finish up the current version, I’ll be sure to share– look forward to reading yours!

  3. jeffo says:

    I don’t see any good reason for including physical descriptions in a pitch unless it’s somehow crucial to the story. As for casting, my problem is I really don’t watch much TV and we don’t go out to the movies all that often, so I’m not ‘up’ on who all the stars are right now, particularly among the younger set.

    • oliviaobryon says:

      Happy to hear I’m not the only one whose not a fan of the physical description in the pitch– I’m taking it out to see how it feels. And, I get the not watching a lot of tv or movies– I’m sure I overlooked actors who are even better suited to my vision, it was just fun to try and put real faces to my characters 🙂

  4. Since I’m not a fiction writer I have no practical input to contribute…except that I really love both Josh Radnor and Paul Rudd! 🙂 great choices!

    • oliviaobryon says:

      Thanks– it’s so hard to find real life people that match the ones in your head… Okay, that makes me sound crazy, but I think you know what I mean 🙂 Paul Rudd is really one of my favorites, he just seems real. And, I got a completely different picture of Josh Radnor after I realized he directed and wrote his own movie. Fun stuff!

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