Teen Queen Miley Cyrus, best known for her role as Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel, has been cast as the troubled teen Janie from Lisa McMann's young adult book Wake. In this exclusive interview, the author shares her thoughts about this casting choice and what she thinks fans will be able to expect from the film.
Morgan Doremus: Paramount and MTV Films have just picked up the film rights to Wake. What was your first reaction when you heard the news?
LM: No, I don't write with actors in mind. It's especially crazy to do that when writing for teens, since the window of time that the actor is viable for the part is so incredibly small. Sometimes my characters have traits of real people, but not actors. And even since I wrote Wake, I've never seen an actress and thought — that's Janie. I've thought of actors for some of the other parts — like Queen Latifah would be awesome for the role of Captain, I think. But that's all in fun. I've never had anybody specific in mind for Janie or Cabe. And let me just add for the curious — I have no control over casting or anything else when it comes to the movie. I write books, I don't know how to make movies. As for Miley, I really love how she is transforming herself right now. It's so hard to make that transition from child star to adult actor, and I admire what she's doing and the way she's doing it. I think there is huge potential for her becoming a successful Janie if she decides to do it, and I'd love to see her play a dark character.
MD: Christopher Landon, the writer behind the Shia LaBeouf film Disturbia, is set to write the screenplay for Wake. I know that most authors think of their works as very personal extensions of themselves. What are your feelings having your book adapted by someone else?
LM: I'm thrilled. To be honest, I've already written Wake, and I don't want to write it again. Plus, I don't know how to adapt a novel for film — I've never done it. I just don't think I'm the right person for that job, and I am over the moon thrilled that Chris Landon is attached as writer. I loved loved loved Disturbia, and I think he's got the chops to keep this film dark and creepy and also as sexy as it needs to be. I couldn't be happier. It's very freeing to be able to say "here — make this good. I trust you."
MD: When books are made into movies, oftentimes things have to be cut because of space requirements — what do you think might be able to be left out and still be as compelling as the novel? What elements do you think are essential that need to be kept in on order to convey your story properly?
LM: Well, I'm pretty lucky in that my books aren't 500 pages long, so I think that helps that they are short and sparse. Of course I don't want anything left out, but it will undoubtably happen. I think the main elements of the story are Janie's ability (getting sucked into dreams) that she doesn't really want and can't control and the Cabe factor. I do hope they keep the skateboard scene. It's one of my favorites.
MD: Anything you can tell your fans about your next project, Cryer's Cross, which is set to be released the beginning of 2011?
LM: I am SO excited for Cryer's Cross. It's been a bit under the radar after the Wake trilogy, but I think it's my best book to date and fans of the trilogy will love this one too. It's a stand alone paranormal with a love story, similar to the Wake books, but totally different characters and setting, and no dreams in this one. I'll be revealing the amazing cover on my website in early July, as well as providing a description of the story. All I'm allowed to tell you right now is that it's creepy and there's a bit of a non-traditional love triangle. It's scheduled for Feb 8, 2011.
For more information about Wake and the upcoming film, make sure to check out Lisa McMann's blog.