Sometimes when I’m reading a book, I’ll get all the way through the entire book and realize I never particularly envisioned what the characters looked like as I read. Like I could describe how the characters felt, rather than how they looked.
That was not, however, the experience I had while reading Jill Santopolo’s The Light We Lost.
The story kicks off on September 11, 2001, when Columbia University students Lucy and Gabe first meet in the midst of the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the national tragedy. Their love story and the twists and turns their lives take following that day unfold throughout the rest of the book, as told from Lucy’s perspective, which she narrates to Gabe. A successful, family-oriented businessman named Darren provides the third side to the love triangle that fuels the plot of this story.
About halfway through my reading of this book, I realized I had been clearly imagining what the characters looked like, though I can’t remember any especially vivid descriptions of the characters’ physical appearances. As the book played out like a movie in my imagination, the movie credits appeared like this:
To the eagle-eyed reader or just the casual observer with a remote control flipping through cable channels on any given weeknight, you may have recognized this particular cast of characters as the stars of The Notebook. But I stand by this casting nonetheless! Lucy is a bit of a whiner, pretty into herself and her problems, which aren’t really problems at all, and extremely ungrateful for all of the great things in her life. She’s in love with both Gabe and Darren – Gabe being the wild, passionate, artistic, exciting, but selfish, self-absorbed, often thoughtless type, and Darren filling the role of the perfect-on-paper, wealthy, successful, kind, thoughtful-to-a-fault, yet slightly controlling, single-minded, safe-but-boring role. Clearly Ryan Gosling and James Marsden.
But since that love triangle already exists in cinematic history, I’ve taken this opportunity to cast other people in the nonexistent movie version of this book.
Emma Stone would make a good Lucy, too. She’d bring a little sparkle and humor to the character, which would be a refreshing change of pace from the decidedly serious tone of the book. James Franco can take the darker, broodier role of Gabe, and Chris Pine can play the handsome family man, Darren. Though actually I’m specifically imagining Chris Pine’s character Nicholas Devereaux from Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement playing this part, rather than Chris Pine himself.
Or perhaps this movie could be cast with an assortment of British actors heroically wielding American accents and early-2000s haircuts. The always reliable and exceedingly likable Emily Blunt can be Lucy, the dashing and handsome Tom Ellis (American TV viewers know him as Lucifer on Lucifer, but seriously stop reading this right now and go watch the British sitcom Miranda, in which Tom Ellis co-stars as the perfect and adorable love interest, instead) can be Gabe, and the warm, loving Darren will be played by James Norton, who is currently solving crime and being a delight on Masterpiece Mystery’s Grantchester.
Emily VanCamp of Revenge fame is one of my favorites, so it would be fine with me if she and her polished, poised style starred as University-student-turned-children’s-TV-executive Lucy, too. As long as I’m in the realm of TV stars, Jeremy Jordan (who you probably know as Winn on Supergirl but should be more well-known for being a MAJOR BROADWAY STAR) can play Gabe, and will be reason enough to make this movie into a musical instead. Filling Darren’s shoes will be the charming James Wolk of gems such as The Crazy Ones, Zoo, and three particularly great episodes of Happy Endings.
I wrote this blog post while watching season 2 of Netflix’s Fuller House, so I couldn’t end without superimposing Fuller House’s love triangle onto the love triangle in The Light We Lost. DJ Tanner-Fuller will bring some spunk and warmth to the character of Lucy (I realize DJ is also a character and not an actor, just go with it), while Matt, the handsome, exciting veterinarian can easily fill the shoes of the charismatic, high-spirited photographer, Gabe. Which obviously leaves lovable, endearing, hilarious Steve to play the reliable and devoted Darren. I’ll find some parts for Danny, Uncle Jesse, Aunt Becky, and Joey to play, too. Mary-Kate and Ashley can take turns playing Lucy’s daughter, Violet.
Actually now that I’ve written this, I’d rather watch Fuller House than a movie version of The Light We Lost.
Have you dream-cast any books you’ve read lately? Let me know in the comments!
Wishing every day were Book Club Sunday,