Covers, Part II: Movie Actors

HQN gave me a big huge form to fill out for my cover art.  (Suzanne McMinn has posted about the system, so if you want to get an idea what it’s like visit her site.)  I actually found the form really fun, in part because I’m not a hugely concretely visual person.

They asked me if there were any actors who looked like my characters.  My initial answer, which I figured would not start my relationship with the Art Department off on the right footing, was, “Probably, but I don’t know who they are.”

Some people pick actors to represent their characters.  My problem is that I don’t remember actor names.  In fact, I am awful with names and face-recognition.  When watching movies I can barely remember the guy’s name in the movie, and if he changes his clothes drastically, I’ll turn to Mr. Milan and prod him and say, “who is that dude that just showed up onscreen?”  And Mr. Milan will be like, uh, the main character, the guy we’ve been watching for two hours?

So my first strategy was to sit down with Mr. Milan and have him list names of movie actors.  “Ben Affleck,” says he.  “Ben Affleck,” I dutifully repeat, typing it into Google Images search.  Images come up.  Ugly images.  My nose wrinkles.  “Okay,” I finally say, “That dude is not Gareth.  He’s ugly.”  No really.  Ben Affleck is ugly.  Seriously ugly.  I can’t believe it.  I know I’ve heard of him; I just did not realize that he was ugly.

“Fine.  Orlando Bloom,” he says, knowing that I actually think Bloom is cute.  But the answer is already no–Orlando Bloom always looks like he’s sharing a private joke with the world and Gareth is not so much into smiling.  So that is a no go.

We go through about twenty more names.  For some reason, Mr. Milan keeps feeding me extremely awkward looking dudes.  He explains that he thought I wanted someone that looked different.  Different?  Possibly.  Ugly?  No.  Finally he mentions John Cusack, I look up John Cusack, who is all wrong but at least cute, and I say, fine, John Cusack.

I e-mail my critique partners with the good news–which I ought to have done immediately, without bothering with Mr. Milan, who I now know has terrible taste in men–and Tessa says immediately, no, no, he’s Viggo Mortenson!  I look up Viggo when he is not being Aragorn and lo and behold.  He is, in fact, Gareth.

The moral of the story is that my critique partners have better taste in men than my husband.

So here are my main characters.  Hi, guys.  Nice to meet you.

Gareth (Viggo Mortenson)
Jenny (Laura Fraser)
Jenny (Laura Fraser)

14 thoughts on “Covers, Part II: Movie Actors

  1. I try to use the whole picture of someone technique, but I don’t read books with a specific image in mind, so I don’t write them that way either. I use the picture with descriptions, which I know readers want/need. That said, your Jenny picture is *exactly* how I pictured her when I thought I didn’t really have an exact image. I mean, it gave me chills. Weird!

  2. Yeah, isn’t the picture of Jenny amazing? I didn’t have a firm picture in my head, but I did know she was ethnically at least half Scottish in my head–that’s where she gets her eyes and her coloring–so I asked Google to give me pictures of a Scottish actress, and Google magically knew exactly what I wanted.

    I love Google!

  3. Hi Courtney!
    I just adore Viggo Mortensen, and agree, that’s exactly what Gareth looks like.
    And the picture of Jenny is perfect, too.
    Excellent Choices!
    And what a good story about your search.


  4. Franzeca, it’s really funny–everyone who’s read the book agrees that these are my characters. And yet I wrote them using brushstrokes–I don’t really have a very good memory for faces, and so I can’t describe them very specifically, and so I try to be more evocative than descriptive.

    So it’s interesting that everyone who sees them who has read the book says that these people look right. Weird! Even I saw Viggo and was like, oh, of course that’s Gareth! It felt like recognizing a friend from high school–maybe a few things have changed over time, but yes, he’s still the same person.

  5. Stumbled onto your blog whilst reading Pub Rants. I like your voice in your blog (reminds me of me, just with more periods), so I look forward to buying Proof of Seduction when it comes out. It’s about time I bought a Regency again–I’ve been lounging in Robin D Owens and Susan Grant for too long. 🙂

  6. Excellent choices! That makes my anticipation even worse, Courtney.

    um, its a good thing that Mr. Milan has poor choice in men. LOL

  7. Alyssa and K, thanks for stopping by. I do hope you take a look at my book when it comes out–although I have to admit that my book isn’t set in the Regency. It’s set in 1836, and while it’s Regency-like in some ways, the setting is slightly different.

    And Kim, I agree–I would be more than a little disturbed if Mr. Milan could identify all the hot men immediately. 🙂

  8. They definitely look like your characters! Once you posted an image of Viggo, I went: that is Gareth. Then I scrolled down to Laura’s photo, and she was Jenny.

    Even though I’m familiar with actors/actresses, it’s hard to find that one exact image who encompanies your character. But when you do, you think, of course that actor is so-and-so.

    I can’t wait to see what HQN comes up with; I’m sure it’ll be beautiful.

  9. I have to say, I did not picture Gareth as Aragorn! 🙂

    And I never had a cover questionnaire from Bantam.

  10. Hah, Courtney, the Regency-whoops is why I’m hopeless at writing historicals. I’m addicted to slang and a variety of goodness that show up as crazy atavisms… I’ve always loved reading them, but I’m incapable of getting the right voice.

    And Viggo is one of the sexiest men alive, so if your Hero looks like him (through imagination!) well, that just makes me even more excited. 😉

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