Play Hollywood With Me

I’m sitting on the couch working on a script that’s due, waiting on the phone to ring with some work-related answers, including the latest on how the film rights are going for You Take It From Here. I’m flattered and relieved that there’s interest. Things are moving forward (yet creeping along).

One of the questions I’m inevitably asked about a project, and one that I always dread, is about casting. I’m always asked, “Who do you see playing this role? What’s your dream cast?”

I don’t mind the writing, the outline, the pitching, the waiting. But since it’s always such a long shot that anything would ever get the greenlight, I long ago stopped trying to mentally cast things in my head. Why get myself even more hopeful for something that probably won’t/can’t happen? I’m always so grateful and happy to hear when an actor or actress is interested in a property or attaching to a project, and I think it’s an effortless happy partially because there’s no name or face to knock off my dream list for that person to stand there.

But it poses a problem, like I’m having right now, when I’m asked on a phone call or in a meeting, “Who do you see playing these parts?” Because they’re not asking to find out how I’d play a Barbie DreamHouse version of my script. They’re asking to find out if there’s box office appeal, if there’s an actress or an actor who’s got heat who would make this project more interesting to buyers. They’re asking so that they can get reassurance that this could be a movie or a show that people would want to be in which would make people want to pay to make it because they believe people would pay to see it.

And I’m never ready with that answer. Part of it is because I don’t have the skill some of my friends, like Tara, have where they can list off all these names and faces as I’m scrambling through the IMDB trying to figure out who the heck that person is. For years if I didn’t know who that person was, in the end, he or she was usually on a show on the CW. I’m not proud of this weakness; I just don’t seem to have all the actors in my head anymore that I used to. This Pop Culture Princess has definitely given up her crown. I need help.

For those of you who read the book, especially those of you who wrote to ask/hope for a movie adaptation, I’m asking you the question I get asked: Who would you cast? Who would you love to see take on the small, sassy role of Smidge? Someone out there already asked me/demanded that I make sure Chris O’Dowd plays Tucker, which — see, I would never even think to list him, but that’s a decent idea. I’m going to get asked again, and I’m hoping next time I won’t sound so clueless.

So if it sounds fun to you, please put on your best Hollywood game face and cast this movie in the comments below.

(I’ll be nearby with the IMDB so I can see the face of who you’re talking about.)

And people, fingers crossed, let’s hope one day soon we get to make your dream cast come true.

Leave a Reply

Comments (


  1. Pamie

    PS: everybody seems to be taking this to Twitter so far. Suggestions have included:

    The cast of Sweet Home Alabama + Jessica Chastain
    Kristen Chenowith as Smidge
    AB Chao as Smidge
    Amy Sedaris as Smidge

  2. Danielle

    I definitely support Chris O’Dowd for Tucker. That’s exactly who I was picturing. For Smidge I’m thinking Maggie Gyllenhal and for Danielle Malin Ackerman.

  3. Pamie

    And more suggestions, via twitter:

    Amy Acker as Smidge? (she DID shoot down a helicopter in the last season of Alias; hence: scary). Also: teeny tiny.

    kristen wiig! for danielle. but maybe not w/ chris odowd as tucker even though i love him.

  4. ScottD

    Anne Dudek for Danielle

  5. Pamie

    Genius Abby McDonald suggested: Timothy Olyphant as Tucker. Just because.

    1. Tilda Whirl

      Nathan Fillion as Tucker.

  6. Wanda

    I pictured AB as Smidge the entire book- especially the Odd Hugs and the “hatechoo”.

    Isla Fisher as Smidge. Seriously I think she could rock it. Elizabeth Reaser for Danielle.

    Or Lauren Graham as Danielle opposite Kristen Chenoweth as Smidge would be amazingly hilarious and poignant. Kind of like Steel Magnolias.

    1. Pamie

      Isla Fisher is a good idea!

  7. Eliza

    I picture Tucker as a hybrid of Josh Lucas + Wade from Hart of Dixie. With a little Taylor Kitsch thrown in. Or Ryan Gosling. Keri Russell or Rachel
    McAdams for Danielle? For Smidge, I think Kristen Bell is teeny enough and could pull off the personality, for sure.

    1. Kona

      Yes! I second that. I could absolutely see Rachel McAdams for Danielle and Kristen Bell for Smidge. (Except I actually just pictured Pam and AB the entire time during the book).

    2. Pamie

      Rachel McAdams definitely has the look and the appeal. Has she ever done a Southern accent? Kristen Bell might be too young?

      But yes, I will just cast Taylor Kitsch in the role of “Standing in My Kitchen Asking if I Need Something.”

      1. Kona

        Kristen Bell looks young, but she’s 30. Rachel McAdams is only 32, I think. So they’re right around the correct age.

        1. Janice

          I would LOVE to see Rachel McAdams and Kristen Bell in a movie together. Or perhaps Sarah Polley for an all-star Canadian cast? Actually – scratch that. Sarah Polley should be the director. It’s just her kind of story.

  8. Leslie

    Disclaimer: I have only read the first three chapters, as I just started last night. However, just from the physical description and the dialogue in the airport scene, I was picturing Chris Pratt for Tucker.

    1. Holly F.

      Seconded on that Chris Pratt for Tucker. Genius idea, Leslie!

      1. Pamie

        That IS a good idea! He looks a lot like Tucker.

  9. Karen

    I am so glad you brought this topic up because as I finished the book this weekend Tucker morphed into Jeffrey Dean Morgan in my head.

    1. Pamie

      Had to google that guy. He would be great if they age the movie and Jennifer Aniston/Kristen Wiig plays Danielle.

  10. Lauren

    Who can you get from the Friday Night Lights cast? Everyone on that show is aces.

  11. PDXPup

    Just spitballing and/or reaching, but If you can’t get Olyphant for Tucker, maybe Chris Pine, or Joe Manganiello…

    Kate Winslet for Danielle…

    Rodrigo Santoro for Henry…

    Natalie Portman for Smidge…

  12. Kat

    Totally agree with AB for Smidge. Lauren Graham in there too. Chloe Moretz for young Jenny?

  13. Kona

    The problem with a lot of these suggestions, unfortunately, is that they’re too old. Lauren Graham is 10 years older than Danielle. They’ll probably have 25-year-olds playing them.

    With that said, Bryce Dallas Howard would be another great choice for Smidge. She’s shown that she can do mean and Southern.

    1. Pamie

      BDH is a good idea, if she doesn’t mind being slightly like her character in The Help.

  14. Grainne

    It’s very strange reading dream casts when I haven’t read the book yet. Is this a cunning plan to get me to buy and read the book as soon as possible?
    (I spent last week re-reading Going in Circles on the bus to and from Dublin, and parcelling out the chapters when I started to get near the end. I’m already dying to read this one.)

    1. Pamie


  15. Annie

    I mean, it depends on the approach, no? Like, is the interest like “Sweet Home Alabama” or like “Little Miss Sunshine”? Because I could see it going either way, and casting much differently based on that.

  16. Paul Tabachneck

    Oh, in the comments.

    Yeah, third on that Chris Pratt thing, and Christina Ricci for AB Smidge. She could totally pull off the Great White Shark.

  17. kris

    I’ve been sitting here googling names I don’t recognize.

    Love the Rachel McAdams suggestion–truly LOVE it.

    Images of Chris Pratt look just right for Tucker.

    Trying to think of Rachel McAdams’s other half…

    (And I’m sort of mad Evan Rachel Wood is no longer the age she was on Once and Again. She’d be Jenny.)

    P.S. Ditto all who saw (and heard) AB Chao as Smidge…it might be the reason I have a hard time stunt casting her.

  18. kris

    Malin Ackerman as Smidge (she can be a force of nature…)

    Or Thora Birch (when did she get old enough for this??)

  19. Cait

    I’m not sure he matches up the physical description, but for some reason I could imagine Adam Scott (of Parks & Rec) as Henry- I can see him doing being an understated, straight-man foil to Smidge.

    I second Kristen Bell as a great Smidge, and would love to see Rachel McAdams as Danielle. I feel like McAdams would be great at the comedic moments & the dramatic heavy-lifting.

    PS. Any chance of a UK leg of your book tour, Pamie?

    1. Grainne

      Hey Cait, did you sign up for the shindig?

      1. Grainne

        Opps, I tried to write a bit of code and it didn’t work! Here’s the link:

  20. Mels

    The other face that I kept seeing as Smidge: Nora Zehetner
    For Tucker, I kept seeing Wilson Bethel, since he plays a similar type part on Hart of Dixie which made me mentally cast Scott Porter as Henry.

  21. Terry

    I kept seeing Lennon Parham as Danny.

    The actor who played Bones in the Star Trek reboot would make an excellent Wade.

    Just finished the book yesterday. Swallowed it whole in two sittings. Well done, P!!

  22. Chloe B.

    I pictured Stacey Oristano (with red hair) as Vikki – she was Tyra’s sister Mindy on Friday Night Lights and is currently Truly on Bunheads.

  23. Allie

    I’m not too far into the book yet, so maybe it’s jumping the gun but here goes: I love the suggestion of Chris Pratt for Tucker. And what about Joseph Gordon-Levitt for Henry? Also I keep coming back to Sarah Michelle Gellar as Danielle even though I’m not sure if it’s a great or terrible idea. But I love it! Other ideas for Danielle: Michelle Williams in a long wig and Laura Prepon who will make whoever plays Smidge even Smidgier!

    1. Judi

      Joseph Gordon-Levitt should be in every movie, ever made. I adore that dude.

  24. Judi

    “For years if I didn’t know who that person was, in the end, he or she was usually on a show on the CW.”

    If that’s the case, if you don’t watch it already? For young actors, check out “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” It’s Hollywood-friendly (Shanae Grimes, Nina Dobrev, Drake), but still totally interesting, actor-wise. My personal favorites are Charlotte Arnold and Annie Clarke, but there are also actors past and present who are so talented.

    Ditto all the votes for Kristen Bell. She can do anything, and I’d love for one of my beloved actresses traveling through her 30s to get a role of a lifetime.

    Best of luck <3

    Oh, and I'd bet you could get anyone from "Gilmore Girls," after all those recaps that even when you got frustrated by it, really painted the show in an awesome, and fittingly clever light.

    1. Judi

      Oops, that should be “Annie Clark.” I’m sure Annie Clarke is a wonderful woman, but she’s not the one I meant!

  25. Molly

    Chris Pratt would be genius as Tucker! As for Smidge – what about Mila Kunis? She’s a tad young, but not egregiously so, and she’s definitely got the tiny-and-bossy thing down. No idea whether she could manage a believable Southern accent, though.

  26. Elizabeth

    Amy Adams as Smidge.

  27. Suz

    Interesting ideas.
    What about Dax Shepherd for Tucker and Ellen Page for Smidge? Just throwing it out there.