The character builder

When I want to create a new character, I normally resort to a character builder that I´ve concocted from a number of different sources including Linda Edelstein´s ´Writer´s Guide to Character Traits.´  This is a useful reference but doesn’t guarantee to create an interesting character, only a realistic one.  So, how to create an interesting character?  One who can attract the reader’s interest and good enough to sustain a series?  Think Inspector Morse and you´ll understand what I mean. 

Now, I’ve decided to do something different; I’m going to base the existing characters (but remodelled) on famous film actors.  The heroine is an ex-Tornado pilot who has served in Iraq and she is basically Uma Thurman.  Perfect casting, I think.  Now, the villain is a real nasty and I always had in mind Jurgen Prochnow, a German actor from the 80s with beady eyes and a bad complexion (Das Boot).  He’s perfect as well, but then his character doesn’t need rewriting; he’s nasty enough. 

Now, we come to the main character, Hayward.  So far, I have drawn a blank.  He is mid-thirties, very smart, quick thinking with a very logical brain, a kind of chess-playing action man.  He’s fit and attractive to women but doesn’t have a regular girlfriend because of his job.  There will be some sexual tension between him and Ms Thurman.  He’s proactive and doesn’t take shit from anyone but is a good listener as well.  Listens first, takes action second.  Looks good in a suit and out of it.  Fits in as a Eurocrat with multiple languages.  Doesn’t like vodka Martinis, shaken or stirred.  Prefers a good red wine but is happy with plonk.  He must not be a stereotype; no clichés please.  Oh, and I forgot to mention that he is an aircraft accident investigator who’s afraid of flying. 

Now, who should he be modelled on?  Daniel Craig, maybe.  Not sure about him though; too James Bond and he has that pursed lips look that doesn’t fit.  Hugh Jackman is out as well; too rugged and, well, too Ozzie .  Ewan McGregor is too wimpy. 

Come on, someone out there must have some ideas!  A free signed copy of the book to the lucky person who suggests the best film star and an invitation to the Premiere in Hollywood. 

Or a bottle of plonk.


7 Responses to The character builder

  1. Anonymous says:

    First idea was Tom Hanks. Ralph Fiennes would also fit. Of course younger copies of them. I would prefer the Cannes Premiere. Stefan

  2. Brian Berry says:

    Now that is very tempting, a bottle of plonk eh. I can’t remember the last bottle of plonk I had, that’s not because it was a long time ago, it was just so bad it affected my brain cells. I will definately give this some serious thought.
    I have an itsy bitsy favour to ask. You know how much I like to read a good book. You know how much I like a good film. You know you will be asked to write the script for the film of your book You know you will be asked to help in the selection of actors. Sooooo can I have the franchise for the Pop Corn sales?

    Good luck. Brian.

  3. rogerjhardy says:

    Brian, I had you in mind as Hayward! But popcorn sales are OK for second best. They’re called pipocas (peepopash) in Portugal which sounds much nicer.

    Stefan: I hadn’t thought of Ralph Fiennes as in der ewige Gaertner, perhaps, but he’d work pretty well. Tom Hanks….a bit too goofy for me. Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll wait for a few more before deciding. Cannes might be a possibility but it’s maybe too arty. This ain´t an arty story!

  4. Brian Berry says:

    Hi Roger. It’s Brian the pipocas entrepreneur. A further thought on finding an actor on which to build your character of Hayward. Instead of looking for one actor why not look for two or even three actors and making a completely new human with the characteristics of two or three charismatic, macho good looking men. No this is not an audition for the film I am far too busy running my empire.

    It would make a great competition. Maybe TWO bottles of plonk!


  5. Cristina says:

    Humphrey Bogart, he is not an action man but a chess player and not specially good looking but really attractive. Intelligent. For the film, I have no idea, but we can think about it later …

  6. Alanboy says:

    Ralph Fiennes springs to my mind, too. There’s also Joseph Fiennes (not sure of the relation).
    Willem Dafoe is a fine and versatile actor.

    Hope things are going well for you.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hi Alanboy! Things are going fine but the writing is in the parking lot. Latest thoughts…Ralphg Fiennes yes, possibly although he may be a little too cerebral. William Dafoe is not pretty enough. I had in mind someone who could be more of an action man when necessary, although not James Bond. I was wondering about Henry Cavill (Tudors) or Rupert Penry-Jones (Spooks).

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