The Movie Question

Over at SF Signal, they asked their readers which books they’d like to see made into movies, and someone voted for The Electric Church. Which is great to read, of course. Naturally, I’ve thought about this possibility, and it’s always fun to cast the movie of your book. Of course, when you’re imagining casting and budgeting the movie of your book there’s a tendency to assume a) unlimited, blockbuster-level money and b) you’re going to have some control over the proceedings. The first is unlikely, though, of course, possible. The second will never happen. I’ll be lucky if they remember to include a “based on the novel by” credit, much less invite me to be a part of the process. Which makes sense, because when they decide that the Monks should turn out to really be demons from hell complete with wings and glowing red eyes, they don’t want me throwing furniture and setting hotel rooms on fire.

As I’ve said before, if and when a movie gets made of one of my books, chances are it’ll be an international SyFy kind of project, starring the action stars of 1983 (if we’re lucky) and funded by the Canadian government, so it’s best not to get too hopeful and creative, but it’s also fun to think about who might star in such films. So what do do you think? Assuming unlimited budget, who would you cast in the major character roles of TEC?

To be honest, I haven’t thought on this too much, though I do have an opinion here and there. But I’m interested in what everyone else thinks, as it’s a fascinating glimpse into how my characters are perceived by readers.  Have at it!


  1. Corey

    If I were doing the choosing, I think Jackie Earle Hayley would make a pretty awesome Avery Cates; might be a bit old, though….

  2. Dan Krokos

    Avery: Casey Affleck (I know what you’re thinking, but watch Gone, Baby, Gone and tell me his subtle menace isn’t perfect for Avery.)

    Wa Belling: Ed Harris (Old enough, hard enough, suave enough)

    Gleason: Ellen Page (The chick from Juno. I think her humor would be a good match for the teasing she dishes on Avery. I’m also aware she’s not in TEC, but I love her)

    Ty: Steve Buscemi (He doesn’t fit visually for me, but I think he’s kooky enough to make it interesting)

    Pick: John Goodman. (Enough said)

    Kev Gatz: Adrien Brody (Just because he has the same creepy quality)

    Milton and Tanner: I got nothing. Who alive could do them justice?

    Nad: Jeremy Davies

    Hense: Zoe Saldana (Also not in TEC, but a super cool character. Zoe was Uhura in Star Trek)

    Who else?

  3. jsomers


    Huh–that’s an interesting choice, actually! I didn’t see him in Watchmen, but I wonder if he’s got the physicality for it. Cates is supposed to be able to intimidate others just with his physical presence and a few well-placed nose-pinches. Still…it could work really well.


  4. jsomers


    Now, that’s a complete list. When studios buy an option they actually option the character and not s epcific book, so it’s possible someone might decide to conflate 2 or more of the books into a single screenplay, so you never know. I’m not sold on Affleck as cates, but it could work–again, I think he’d need to buff up a bit. Cates is no Olympian but he’s bigger then Affleck, y’know.

    You know who I now think of for Ty? Simon Pegg.


  5. Nemesis0

    Screw major studios, i say Jeff make an all sock puppet movie and post it on youtube.

  6. Dan Krokos

    Simon Pegg is perfect! Can’t believe I didn’t think of that.

    Are you trying to tell us something? Like perhaps shooting begins next week?

  7. Craig

    For Cates… is Stallone too old? Dang…
    ; )

  8. DK

    I’d just cast Bruce Campbell in every role. Except for Ty – he’d be Seth Green. And I guess you’d have to fit Michael Cera in somehow, since you can’t make a movie without him, apparently.

  9. jsomers


    Or stick figures. Heck, I could do a stick figure flipbook myself, and do all my own voices.


  10. jsomers


    No hidden announcements here…yet.


  11. jsomers


    Maybe not; Cates is supposed to be weathered a bit, older than his years. All right, maybe not that old, and Stallone has too much of an “augment junkie” look about him. Cates needs to be beefy, but not cut.


  12. jsomers


    MY GOD CAMPBELL. I’d do that in a moment.


  13. Dan Krokos

    See, this is the magic of storytelling through words. I haven’t read the books since fall (planning on doing it again before TEP), but my image of Avery was always more on the svelte side.

    Not small by any means, but with the ropier, gristly muscles of street fighters. I don’t see him as a big guy. His intimidation for me always came from the way he carried himself, like he WAS a big guy.

    I don’t know.

    It’s amazing how we can all see the same person in different ways. If you want someone with bulk, how about Christian Bale?

    He wears the mangy slicked-back hair look with the fuzzy beard perfectly. Plus he stomps heads in and out of movies. Just watch him in Rescue Dawn.

  14. Lunch

    Okay, I got it.

    Avery: Kurt Russel
    Wa Belling: Steven Seagal
    Ty: John Leguizamo
    Pick: Oliver Platt
    Kev Gatz: Joe Morton

    Oh wait, crap, that’s the cast from Executive Decision.

  15. jsomers


    Damn, man, you just made me spit my beer onto the keyboard. Because I sitting here thinking “Yeah, okay. . .uh, maybe. . .wTF?”. You got me.


  16. jsomers


    Yah, this is always a danger–you read a book, you own the characters–they are whatever you imagine them to be. Putting an actor in there can ruin it for some. I guess it’s a matter of definition–to me beefy means powerful build, but not necessarily The Hulk, y’know? Avery does do a fair bit of slapping folks around, I think he has to have some heft. I sometimes think of the guy from the Transporter movies, actually.


  17. Dan Krokos

    Lunch, that’s hilarious. But if you’re using that movie, you forgot Halle Berry as Milton and Tanner. Put some aging makeup on her and you’d be golden.

    And yeah, Jason Statham would work. His acting has suffered in recent films (Ex. In The Name of the King, directed by Uwe Boll) but he definitely has the look. Plus he can fight ten guys using only his shirt and a barrel of used motor oil.

    P.S. This is fun.

  18. S. Torrence

    I agree with Dan; Jason Statham would be a fantastic Cates, especially since he manages to make any of his movies worth watching. But honestly, when I was reading TEC, for some reason I kept picturing this guy who was a guest on Battlestar Galactica named Mark Sheppard. ( I don’t know, he just popped into my head and now whenever I think of Cates I can’t help but picture him.

  19. Rebecca

    OH GAWD! If TEC became a movie funded by the Canadian government, it would be epic fail. Harper alienated like half of Quebec in the elections last year by cutting the arts budget.

  20. CL

    For a role like Cates, I’d prefer someone a little less known, but has breakout potential — that’s why I like Tom Hardy as Cates. He’d be perfect, I think, but only Jeff knows who would be.

    If we’re “star casting,” how about a new star like Chris Pine.

  21. jsomers


    quote: “but only Jeff knows who would be”

    I disagree, actually. You publish something, you lose custodianship of it. Sure, I write the books that make the whole world sing, but once they’re out there, y’all get to decide what happens to them. That’s the beauty of it.


  22. Pascal

    I watched the movie push last night and i felt it was like Kev’s story, like all about psychics and pushers and shit. It reminded me sooooooooo much of your novel the electric church for some reason. I don’t like sci fi but your book was just pure amazing!

  23. Smedley

    Not a fan of books to movies. I’ve only ever seen it done right twice. First was Shawshank and second was The Watchmen, other then that everything has been rubbish.

    If i had to pick someone though for Avery Cate’s. It would have to be Mel Gibson in the movie payback. the way he carried himself in the movie, the thieve honor he has, and how at every turn something bad happens.

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