Do you imagine who you would like to play your characters on the big screen? I do. In fact, in my novel, Broken Dolls, I so imagined Ken Watanabe as Papa that I re-wrote the character to give him a bigger role in my “movie.” Mr. Watanabe is so perfect for Papa, I couldn’t bring myself to kill him off in the first quarter of the book as was originally written.
Here is an excerpt that describes Papa. In this scene, 8-year old Sachi has just heard news of the attack on Pearl Harbor. She asks Papa about her brother, Taro, who is working in the sugar cane fields in Hawaii:
Words blared from the radio and pounded like a drum against the tension in the room: The surprise attack has destroyed a large part of the U.S. Naval Fleet, and the casualties are expected to be in the thousands.
“Papa? Is Taro-nisan okay?”
The lines in Papa’s brow softened and his eyes crinkled as he smiled and reached for her. She ran to him and snuggled into his open arms, comforted by the scent of cedar incense on his shirt.
“We have not been able to reach him yet,” he said.
Mama stared out the window, her eyes sad and dark, her lips pressed tight.
“What’s wrong, Mama?” Sachi asked.
Her mother straightened in the chair and took a deep breath. “Sachiko, please go and practice your dance lessons now. Mrs. Thompson will be here soon.”
Sachi slumped in Papa’s lap and whined. “Dance lessons? On Sunday?”
“Do not argue,” her mother scolded. “Mrs. Thompson was kind enough to let you make up the lesson you missed last week.”
Papa hugged Sachi, then shoved her off to the dance room.
Finding a person whose image so clearly represents my character helps me with my character development. With Mr. Watanabe, it was not only his physical description that aided me in my description of Papa, but also the honor, kindness, even mystery he has portrayed in many of his roles, such as Katsumoto in The Last Samurai and The Chairman in Memoirs of a Geisha.
Who do you imagine as your characters? Leave a comment and share an excerpt of one of your characters. Who do you imagine “starring” in the role of that character?