Thoughts by author Matt Cost on transforming his books into movies.
As I write this, I’m contemplating writing a screen play for Wolfe Trap, the first book in the Clay Wolfe/Port Essex PI series. Mind Trap was the second. Mouse Trap, publishing on April 13, is the third.
The characters would stay true all the way through, at least the regular good guys and gals that don’t get killed off. We’d have to bring in new villains, of course.
So, if Mouse Trap were made into a movie, Clay Wolfe would be played by Ryan Gosling. He’d be the perfect Wolfe, not so far from his role in The Nice Guys, the 2016 flick where he plays PI Holland March. Gosling would bring the right role of sarcastic, wry, and well-dressed and groomed PI trying to look rough around the edges. Clay Wolfe is a small-town fishing village boy who has been exposed to the city and finer things of life, and thus is a mixture of the two.
The role of Baylee Baker, Wolfe’s partner in the PI firm, would go to Anna Kendrick. She brings the right personality of caustic wit, intelligence, and caring. Mixing this in with her stunning good looks doesn’t hurt either, as does the fact that she was born in Maine, so this would be like coming home for her to do a film set in the fictional Maine town of Port Essex.
Wolfe’s best buddy is the ex-SEAL, Westy, who is a burly fisherman adept at kicking butt in any manner of ways. Mark Wahlberg would be the perfect actor to fill these shoes. If he’s good enough to be cast as Robert Parker’s Spenser, then he’s good enough to be the tough guy friend of Clay Wolfe. I think it’d be a lot of fun to have Gosling and Wahlberg play off of each other.
In book one, Wolfe Trap, Crystal Landry hires Clay Wolfe to find who was dealing the heroin that led to the death of her grandbaby. She is a former heroin user herself, rough as anything around the edges, and the salt of the earth. In book two, Mind Trap, she’s been hired as Wolfe and Baker’s receptionist. This role would be perfectly fitted to Taryn Manning, who was Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett in Orange is the New Black.
Joe Murphy is a former member of the IRA in Ireland who fled that country to become a clam digger for fifty years in Port Essex. He’s now retired and is a great source of information for Wolfe and Baker as he spends his days at the bar, giving him access to all of the town’s gossip and rumors and scandals. This has Joe Pesci written all over it. He, of course, would have to become Irish and lose the Italian, but hey, he’s an actor.
Another friend, and source of information, is the local newspaper editor, Marie Cloutier. I’m going to give this role to the author, Lori Rader-Day, for her big screen debut as an actress. I’d met Lori at Crime Bake in Boston prior to writing Wolfe Trap, and as I wrote about Cloutier, it was her image that I kept coming back to, so it must be fate. If we can lure her away from the keyboard, I think that Rader-Day would be a great fit for Marie Cloutier.
Clay Wolfe gives up being a homicide detective in Boston to move home and spend time with his Grandpops who raised him. Grandpops is a retired attorney, a silver fox, and is an absolute perfect fit for Donald Sutherland.
Throughout Mouse Trap, there is a lurking villain named Clive Miller, who likes to inflict pain upon people. He is not the one calling the shots and pulling the strings, but is the tool being used to carve out badness. I’m not going to cast the top-dog antagonist at this point to keep their identity secret until the last pages. Who better to play that role than the Joker, Joaquin Phoenix?
What a dream cast! It is every authors dream and worst fear to have a movie made from their book. Many film adaptations butcher the vision of the author, but I think with Shane Black as the director and Gosling, Kendrick, Wahlberg, Manning, Pesci, Rader-Day, Sutherland, and Phoenix on board, there’d be no way it could be wrong. I’m now waiting by my phone.
Matt Cost is the highly acclaimed, award-winning author of the Mainely Mystery series. The first book, Mainely Power, was selected as the Maine Humanities Council Read ME fiction book of 2020. This was followed by Mainely Fear, Mainely Money, and Mainely Angst.
I Am Cuba: Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution was his first traditionally published novel. He had another historical released in August of 2021, Love in a Time of Hate.
Wolfe Trap and Mind Trap were the first two in the Clay Wolfe Port Essex Trap series. Mouse Trap is the third in this series.
Cost was a history major at Trinity College. He owned a mystery bookstore, a video store, and a gym, before serving a ten-year sentence as a junior high school teacher. In 2014 he was released and began writing. And that’s what he does. He writes histories and mysteries.
Cost now lives in Brunswick, Maine, with his wife, Harper. There are four grown children: Brittany, Pearson, Miranda, and Ryan. A chocolate Lab and a basset hound round out the mix. He now spends his days at the computer, writing.