I saw yesterday that Willie Young’s publishers agreed to film rights through Lionsgate for the controversial bestseller The Shack. For the record, I liked the book. True, it has some flaws in terms of plot, conflict, and character development, but hey, don’t we all to some degree? I mean, the last perfect novel I read was To Kill A Mockingbird. The theology of The Shack didn’t bother me either. Some people went crazy over the book’s portrayal of the all-to-human theophanies. It’s fiction people, theologically informed fiction, but still fiction. For dogma and doctrine, go to church for-crying-out-loud.
But I am not here to talk about the book. I’m here to help cast it. Early reports said Forest Whitaker was directing and staring in it (I presume as Mack) but now it looks like Stuart Hazeldine is the director.
There are really only four characters in the novel. I apologize if my casting of these seems or feels racially motivated, because I don’t operate like that and it is not my intention. However, Young is so specific in the novel about the ethnicity of the Godhead, that, well, it kind of has to be that way.
Mack–Need a thirty or forty something year old white man. Maybe we could go with Ed Norton here. If he could bring the edginess of his Fight Club character, that would give Mack the angry bite he needs. If not Ed Norton, then Jeremy Renner. It needs to be someone who broods. If it is a no-go for Renner or Norton, then may I humbly suggest we go for insane instead of brooding, which leads us to Bradley Cooper.
Papa--Need a black motherly figure. The obvious choice is Oprah Winfrey, but hey, that is too obvious. It is apparent to me, and just about everyone, that Willie Young ripped his Papa character straight from The Oracle in the original The Matrix film, but she is dead. Della Reese would work. It would be almost the same role she had opposite Roma Downey in Touched By An Angel. Her age might be a problem, though. So how about Queen Latifah. Yep. I think we have a winner.
Jesus–Middle Eastern carpenter. There can only be one answer. Tony Shalhoub.
Sarayu–Asian female. Again, pardon the type casting, but I think I got it. We must cast Rosalind Chao in this role. Think about it, she could almost do it the same way she played Robin William’s heavenly daughter in What Dreams May Come. I know, brilliant, right! Besides, Miles O’Brien would be so proud of her. If she doesn’t want to do it, then, let’s keep the sci-fi jazz with this and go with Grace Park.
Okay, so those are my casting suggestions. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.