People who read my novel BLOODANGEL often assume the female protagonist is loosely based on myself. Not true, although I didn’t do anything to correct this impression by making her my height and age and giving her a name that also starts with J. (I like J names. I also like K names. My fiction will be rife with both. My current work-in-progress, for example, has a heroine named Kelly, and an older brother named Jasper).
If my character was modeled after anyone, it was Jennifer Connelly. Not the person herself, you understand, whom of course I don’t know; but rather this idea of her picked up from movies and interviews. I saw LABYRINTH when I was in junior high and over the years I sat through some truly crappy movies — CAREER OPPORTUNITIES, the Italy horror thing with the bugs, some straight-to-videos — just because Jennifer was in them. So I was relieved when she stopped inflicting all that crap on me and chose good projects — beginning with INVENTING THE ABBOTS, which hardly anyone saw but I quite liked — and I felt vindicated when the public finally recognized what I’d known for years. She’s the real deal.
So I expected her to be good in DARK WATER — which she was — but I didn’t expect to like the film as much as I did. Didn’t expect to be so gripped and moved. I was walking out of the theatre thinking how much I wish I’d written it, how it’ll be on my personal best-of-2005 list, when I overheard the woman behind me say, “That was the worst movie I’ve seen in a while.” (I wanted to turn around and grab her by the lapels and say, ‘Did you see THE FANTASTIC FOUR? That’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back again!”) I want to remember that moment when dealing with whatever reviews of my own stuff await me in the future — just to remind myself that art remains, in the end, a wildly subjective experience (although I don’t believe it’s completely subjective by any means; I do believe a writer has to achieve a certain level of craft before she’s allowed to feel, much less bitch about being, misunderstood or misplaced by the marketplace).
My German editor interviewed me via email (in English, which was then translated). (Note: the German edition is under the name Justine Wilson, which was my maiden name; I switched to Musk in this big symbolic dramatic decision after the German book was already being ordered by booksellers). He asked me which actors I would cast in a movie version of BLOODANGEL. It’s a fun question. The answer for Jess Shepard, my main character, was a no-brainer (see above). It was also very easy to cast Johnny Depp as Lucas, my burned-out junkie rock star who then makes a deal with a devil (not *the* devil, you understand, just someone who is rather devil-like). I had to think about the others. I cast Clive Owen as Kai — who’s become my favorite person in BLOODANGEL and the character I want to write about again. Asha, my Big Bad, was far and away the most difficult. Finally I just made up a composite — someone who can act, who’s small and wiry, who looks like Kate Moss and sings like Christina Aguilera.