Like me, you’ve probably seen authors share on social media photos of actors/musicians that bear a resemblance to their characters, or who inspired them while writing. You may also have noticed that one of the questions authors like to answer in my Q&As is who would they cast if their novel was adapted to the screen. Alex Christofi is sharing with us today who would play Ralf and Elsa in the film of Let Us Be True. It’s unique and in my opinion very creative! It’s not what you think it’s going to be …
First, here’s more information about Let Us Be True:
Ralf is alone, filling his days with glasses of red wine at Jacques’ bar, waiting for life to happen to him. Then, one night, Elsa – bold, enigmatic, unpredictable – whirls into Jacques’ bar and into Ralf’s world, knocking him out of his cautious routine and into a life full of spontaneity and excitement.
But Elsa is hiding something. As Ralf falls deeper in love, he reveals more of his past – his childhood in Nazi Germany, his time in a British tank division at the end of the Second World War. But what is Elsa hiding? And can their love survive it?
Let Us Be True charts the lives of these two extraordinary characters through an era of great uncertainty, from the war and its aftermath through to the deadly unrest of 1960s Paris.
Evocative, charismatic and sweeping in scope, Alex Christofi’s second novel is a moving story of love and loss, of the things we hide from ourselves and from others, and of the personal cost of Europe’s turbulent twentieth century.
When I was planning out my second novel, Let Us Be True, I knew I didn’t want to give too many physical details about the main characters, Ralf and Elsa, but I still wanted to know exactly what they looked like myself, so that I could imagine how they might appear to each other and how they would fit together as a couple.
I decided to make photofits of each of them, and spent a long time figuring out a way of doing it without any complicated software (in the end, I used PowerPoint). I started out with a computer-generated generic Caucasian face I found online, made it 70% transparent, then found images of people I thought they might each look like – a little of the young Alain Delon in Ralf, a little of the young Natalie Portman in Elsa. I combined about eight photos for each face, re-sizing them, placing them carefully on top of the previous photo and tweaking their transparency so that they built up in layers. Faces began to emerge. I found myself staring at Ralf and Elsa – completely imagined, imaginary people who nonetheless looked strangely real.
Now, when people ask me who would play Ralf and Elsa in the film, I want to show them the photofits and tell them it’s simple – all they have to do is find these imaginary people from my head. But I realise that makes me sound slightly delusional, so I’ve been trying to think of alternatives.
The two actors that spring to mind first are Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander, a real-life couple who played opposite one another in the brilliant adaptation of The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman. But then I remember how great Dominic West is, and he looks kind of like Ralf. But he’s playing Alicia Vikander’s dad in the new Tomb Raider, so that’s not going to work. Although Tuppence Middleton was great in War and Peace…
I think it’s fair to say I’m never going to make it as a casting director, but at least now I have a fun way of visualising my characters.
Thank you for sharing with my blog readers Alex. Wishing you success with your writing projects.
Alex Christofi was born in Dorset and read English at Oxford University. As well as working as an editor, he writes occasional essays and reviews.
His first novel Glass, also published by Serpent’s Tail, was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and won the Betty Trask Prize.
Alex lives in south London.
Connect with Alex Christofi
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