NaNoWriMo 2014: Fancasting for My Novel!

Okay, sale so I was not going to do this post because, well, I didn’t really feel like I needed to and I had other things on my mind.

But I like fan casting. It helps to give me a better background for my characters. When I create my characters, I do have a basis for them in my mind but I do have that sort of blurry image for their face because its hard to create an entirely new face in your head. So I use actors and actresses as basis. Sort of the way I use Santa Cruz, California as a basis for my town, Macon, California.

So I was writing and I was having a little bit of a hard time on something so…I started googling people and fancasting for my five main characters: Evie, Lucy, Austin, Jesse, and Connor. And then because I am so completely perfect at procrastinating in actual writing (damn you, Gilmore Girls!).

So instead of writing 3K words like I planned to do for the day (its 3 pm, I have plenty of time), I’m working on a post about fan casting for my novel.

Let’s jump in!

Elizabeth Olsen as Evie and Lucy Cordova

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Evie and Lucy are really difficult because I made them really unique. I actually based them a lot on my sister, Jessica. My siblings and I are mutt children: two races. There are multiracial kids alllll over the place but I think the differences, the uniqueness that comes from multiracial kids can be skipped over sometimes. I’m half Mexican and half white, meaning pretty much every European country out there. I look like a Mexican kid, just a little lighter, I think. You can kind of tell that I’m a biracial kid but for the most part, people assume that I’m hispanic. I swear, this is going somewhere. But my sister, for most of her life, looked biracial. Blonde hair, dark brown eyes, etc. She has a pretty mix of both of her heritages and I think its awesome and I used that for both Evie and Lucy, who are identical twins. They have dark blonde hair, dark brown hairs, tanned skin, a mix from their Spanish father and their Mexican mother.

But because of this, its a little difficult to fan cast them. I found a couple pictures of Elizabeth Olsen, who is just plain gorgeous, and I liked her look a lot. Her skin could be a little darker and obviously she needs brown eyes but I’m seeing her as Evie and Lucy. I really like this particular picture of Elizabeth because she does look a little more like what I picture for Evie. Lucy would have much shorter hair, and be a little heavier, only because Evie dealt with her eating disorder. But I like this look.

Mike Trout as Austin Young 

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Okay, yes, I know it. Mike Trout is an actual baseball player. Not an actor. He probably would be really really bad at acting. Let’s be real. But he’d totally rock the baseball part. But the whole idea of the story came from the fact that I do have a crush on Mike Trout (innocent, seriously, I ship him and his girlfriend, they’re too cute together), and I did say that I wanted to marry a baseball player for a huge chunk of my life (hey, that’s still a possibility). Anyway, I think about baseball a lot because baseball is basically second to books in my life. I wanted to write a book about baseball and a sexy baseball player and the first person that comes to MY mind is Mike Trout. I mean, look at that face. SIGH.

But being serious…

Matt Lanter as Austin Young

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Hell yeah I picked a picture of Matt Lanter shirtless. Googling people is way too much fun. I like this particular picture but he looks like he could be a little country in this and Austin is a total Southern country boy. Blonde hair, green eyes, tanned from being in the sun all the time, built because he works out so much (he’s determined to make it to the pros), and he’s beautiful. Evie has a firm “no baseball players” rule and Austin’s looks plays a part in her slowly breaking that rule. I first saw Matt Lanter when he went to the Divergent premiere to promote Starcrossed. I thought he was incredibly good looking so I went home and watched the super fun and short lived show, Starcrossed, and was sad when it was canceled. Then I found out that Matt has done a TON of voice work for Star Wars, had Star Wars themes in his wedding and I just think he would work really well as Austin.

Ignacio Serricchio as Jesse Valdez

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Technically, at 32 years old, Ignacio is entirely way too old to play Jesse because Jesse is 19 in the past and 23 in the future. So yeah. But he totally has the look. Jesse is full Hispanic so he needed to LOOK Hispanic. He had to be good looking, like he could just charm the pants off of you, which he basically does and I was googling hispanic actors and this picture popped up, caught my eye and I was immediately in love. I don’t know much about Ignacio since he’s on soap operas and I’m not a big soap opera girl but he’s got the look down pat. Plus, he would look good next to Elizabeth Olsen, who would play both Evie and Lucy and both of the girls are obviously in love with him at different parts of the story so that would work so so SO well.

Dylan O’Brien as Connor Humphrey

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Besides the whole Mike Trout thing…this was one person I had fancasted from the beginning. Dylan O’Brien IS Connor. The way he looks, the way he acts, sort of a mix of Stiles from Teen Wolf and my own little extra bit and maybe a little bit of Thomas from The Maze Runner. I was so excited when I googled Dylan O’Brien and baseball and got a super hot picture, and it totally works. Connor is Evie’s best friend, but the last thing that I wanted to create with that is a sort of love triangle, friend zone thing. Evie and Connor had their thing in high school, got over it and are just friends. Connor is good looking, funny, ambitious, determined and a baseball player just like everyone else in Macon (haha!)

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Movie Review: The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner

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Rated:

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, malady including some disturbing images

Directed By:

Wes Ball

Based on the Book By: 

James Dashner

Cast:

Dylan O’Brien, try Aml Ameen, Ki Hong Lee, Blake Cooper, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, Kaya Scodelario.

Find the rest on IMDB here.

IMDB Movie Synopsis:

Thomas is deposited in a community of boys after his memory is erased, soon learning they’re all trapped in a maze that will require him to join forces with fellow “runners” for a shot at escape.

My Review:

I am SO late with this but hey, I’m eventually doing it. This movie is heading into its second weekend at the theaters so its perfect timing to get you guys out there this weekend to see it!

Here’s the thing about The Maze Runner: I liked the book. I enjoyed it. But I didn’t love it. And I think its because while James Dashner is SUCH a kickass person and a great writer, it was hard to picture a lot of things in the novel. I was confused, bewildered and even my own active imagination had problems keeping up with the world. But I honestly thought that this story would just be so much better on screen. The action, the anticipation, the fear, the maze, the Glade, the Grievers…I felt like it would all just look so good on screen.

I was right.

The things that were so hard to picture in written form exploded on screen. This movie had me on the edge of my seat and this is coming from a person who has already read the book. I already knew what would happen, who would live and die, what would happen next, but I was still clutching the armrests of my seat because it was just so full of action and mystery and anticipation. I love a movie that can build it up and keep you on the edge of your seat and that’s exactly what this movie does.

Plus, its funny. You stick a bunch of teenage boys together to survive and you can either get a rag-tag group of friends that somehow keep themselves alive or you get Lord of the Flies. Thankfully, we don’t get Lord of the Flies. Instead we get a rag-tag society that is somehow working and a bunch of guys that can seriously make me laugh. There were several times that I was laughing, and I think it was mostly the character of Chuck, the youngest member of the group, the caused the giggles.

Which brings me to the casting. They had such a great mix of actors, a mix of known ones and a mix of people I’ve never heard before. You had Dylan O’Brien (from Teen Wolf), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (from Game of Thrones), Kaya Scodelario (from Skins) but there are fantastic performances from Blake Cooper, Aml Ameen and Ki Hong Lee as well, and I’m just impressed by all of them. And watch out for an appearance by James Dashner himself.

I think what really brings this movie together, and guaranteed the release of the sequel (coming to theaters in September 2015) is that it appeals more to both genders than a lot of the YA adaptations have in the past. While I think The Hunger Games, Divergent, etc can definitely appeal to boys, its not going to appeal to the wider audience that The Maze Runner does. Its unique when compared to other YA adaptations and its a majority male cast as well. Its definitely garnered attention from movie goers outside of the normal YA crowd, and that’s the real key to a YA movie succeeded, bringing in a broader audience than just those who have read the book, and it definitely accomplished that. Its full of action, its funny, the eye candy isn’t too bad, there is mystery and a sort of thriller feeling to it, and its just great.

If you haven’t been to theater to see this one yet, whether you’ve read the book or not, I definitely recommend going to see it!

Rating:

5 out of 5 stars

Giveaway: Win a Signed Copy of The Maze Runner!

Happy Release Day to The Maze Runner!

I’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of this movie for quite some time, rx and was able to see it last night at the 10 pm showing and I’m SO blown away by it. As much as I enjoyed the book, I think the world that James Dashner created exploded even more on screen and it was just brilliant. Great casting, great effects…I could go on for ages but I’ll save that for later in my review of the movie!

Now, unfortunately there was no Hollywood premiere for the movie so I was unable to meet any of the cast for the movie.

BUT!

Fear not, my dear followers! I promised to have a Maze Runner giveaway and I have not failed you.

Think about this: this movie would not exist without the awesome writing and creativity and world building of one James Dashner. He’s the brains behind this operation and he’s honestly just brilliant to meet in person too.

So here’s the prize!

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One Copy of The Maze Runner signed by author, James Dashner!

The Rules (yes, there has to be rules!)

The contest will run from today, September 19th to October 1st!

The winner will be contacted within 24 hours of contest end. If winner(s) do not respond within a 24 hour period of contact, their prize will be forfeited and a new winner will be chosen.

Come back every day to share on Twitter and Instagram to earn more entries!

If you check off an option on the rafflecopter, please make sure that you have fulfilled that option. Please be honest! I double check every winning entry and if you are dishonest, you will not win the prize!

This giveaway is in NO way endorsed by any authors, their publishers, the movie studios or any other affiliates.

What A Nerd Girl Says is not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged prizes. It HAS happened before, but only once!

How to Enter: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*****

Good luck!

Don’t forget! Get to those theaters and see the movie! YA movies depend on every ticket sold to do successful in order for sequels to have so go see the movie and see it again and tell your friends all about it!

That Time I Met James Dashner and My Tire Exploded…

HELLO EVERYONE!

How are all of you on this fine weekend? I hope fantastic! What are you all reading right now? I’m currently re-reading The Fiery Heart, viagra in the hopes that I’ll finish it before Tuesday when Silver Shadows comes out.

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Today was a super fun and crazy day! Last week, more about my good friend Cassandra and I drove down to San Diego (roughly about a two hour drive) to pick up wristbands for a book signing event that would be taking place at the local Barnes and Noble for Comic Con weekend. James Dashner would be there, promoting the movie tie-in edition of The Maze Runner. I met James back in April at WonderCon but was totally looking forward to seeing him again!

Who knew it was going to be such a crazy day!

I picked up Cassandra and we began the fun task of driving all the way over there. We were only roughly about 30 minutes away when my car started shaking uncontrollably and I smelled smoke. Obviously not a good sign. I started to slow down, in order to pull over, and BAM! My tire on my car literally EXPLODED! It was one of the craziest feelings ever!

So, of course, I call AAA. Well apparently they cancelled my membership or something. DRAMA. So then I dialed 511 to see if I could get free roadside assistance. No free roadside assistance in the middle of nowhere area I was in. (Fun Fact, I ended up in the town of Rainbow. No lie) DRAMA. I called my dad but he was a good 1.5 hours away. DRAMA.

But the clouds opened and the sun shined down on us! An AAA guy stopped and asked if I called him. I didn’t, and he was actually looking for another car but he stopped and helped me replace my tire anyway. We were back on the road! Yay!

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We made it to the Barnes and Noble and discovered that we were basically the first people there. We bought our books, grabbed some iced teas and sandwiches from the cafe and then proceeded to wait until they set up the area for us. Suddenly, people started lining up behind us, as they tend to do and we ended up in the front row! Yay!

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Do we look tired? We were kind of tired haha! We also met up with the darling Sama (aka bookautopia from instagram) and she was a total sweetheart.

Then it was time for James Dashner!

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He talked about The Maze Runner trilogy, the upcoming adaptation and his newer book, The Eye of Minds. Yesterday was the first official screening of the finished movie so he talked about that a bit. It was really cool because when he first came out, and was looking around at the crowd, he spotted me and went “I’ve met you somewhere before, right?” and I laughed, because I had just met him back in April at WonderCon and I was wearing the same shirt (my BRIGHT pink What A Nerd Girl Says shirt). That was pretty cool.

After talking for a bit, he took some fan questions. I was too busy listening to him that I just forgot to record any of it like a doofus but I did get this little bit. Someone asked him who he thought would survive in the maze, as far as the cast goes. Its a short video, so check it out!

After the Q & A, they set up for signings. We were given two options: get one book personalized OR get all of your books signed. As much as I love having my books personalized, I got my Maze Runner personalized back in April and I just wanted the rest of them signed, so I opted for that.

I got up in line, and he asked me where we had seen each other and I told him WonderCon and he remembered. We talked a little bit about the book and movie and especially about writing, and that was awesome.

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Here’s a flashback when I met James back in April:

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Because I already had a copy of Maze Runner, I got my hands on a second copy (thanks Cass!) and got it signed!

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This, along with some of the cool swag I grabbed (see below), will make for an awesome giveaway. Keep an eye out for it, but don’t get too excited. It probably won’t be until September, around when the movie is released!

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The pins are mine :) But I have a couple bookmarks and an extra “Shuck It” sticker that’ll be up for grabs in that September giveaway! Keep an eye out.

After the signing, we went to a nearby tire place, took care of my tire issues. The guy working there really took care of my Elphie (oh yes, I named my car after Elphaba in Wicked) and even threw in a free tire. Meanwhile, Cass and I enjoyed some sushi and ice cream. Yum!

After that, we made the long drive home. We decided to stop by Best Buy. If you went by Best Buy, you could watch the newly released Mockingjay Part 1 trailer and get your hands on a ticket to see the movie, a Mockingjay pin and a poster. Unfortunately by the time we got there all they had were posters but that’s okay because I love posters! And the trailer was AWESOME. I can’t wait for this movie to come out!

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All in all, it was a super fun day, even with all the crazy car drama! I’m glad to have my entire TMR trilogy signed and I’ll be having an epic giveaway come September!

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Tuesday Top Ten-Movies to Look Forward to in 2014

Hello everybody! How are we doing this week? We’re now a few weeks into the year, approved and a new year brings so much: new year, pills new goals, new you, new books, new movies!

I get excited every year around new year because I think…oh all those movies I’ve been waiting for are now closer than ever!

There are a TON of great movies hitting the theaters this year, and I’m excited for them. Here are my top ten:

10. The Giver

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August 15th

I’m not going to lie, this movie makes me incredibly nervous. I love this book. This book was the first dystopian novel that I ever really read and that was when I was twelve years old. This novel has definitely stuck with me, and I’m hoping that when it hits the big screen, it’ll be as beautifully filmed as it was written. The fact that there are all these big names makes me nervous because none of the people who are being cast seem to fit what I’ve imagined. I’m also not happy that Taylor Swift has any part of this movie. I mean, I can’t even handle my disappointment in that. But I’m holding out hope that despite that, and despite the most random of an ensemble cast, it’ll be the script from a beautiful book that makes this a great movie.

9. Maleficent

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May 30th 

It seems to be the hippest thing now to do fairy tale retellings now. And I’m totally okay with that. I love Disney movies, and have loved them since I was a kid. All these retellings just make it so that I can enjoy those favorite stories again and again as an adult, in a new way. I’m not an Angelina Jolie fan, honestly, she kind of bothers me. I was telling my friend that if she wasn’t such a good mom (or at least she appears to be), I would probably really dislike her. However, I think she’s an absolutely perfect pick to play the scary Sleeping Beauty villain and I think it’ll be a great movie. It already looks super great, and I’m really really really looking forward to it. The teaser trailer is just enough to make me want to watch.

8. Love Rosie

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No Release Date…Yet 

I literally have such little knowledge on this movie, its ridiculous. I know that its based off a book, but most movies are, so that wasn’t hard to conclude. But it has two of my favorite people in the world in the movie: Lily Collins and Sam Claflin. Both of whom I’ve met too! Which I just thought of and totally made me happy. But this was being filmed around the promotion time for City of Bones so it came on my radar and I’m excited to see it. There is no real release date for it because I think its super indie but I definitely want to see it, and hopefully read it, as well. I think Lily Collins is a great actress who hasn’t quite caught her break yet, and I adore Sam, who ROCKED Finnick in Catching Fire. Its bound to be a good movie, in my head.

7. X-Men: Days of Future Past

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May 23rd 

I wasn’t a huge fan of the “original” XMen trilogy. The first one was decent and the other two were just a yawn. They just didn’t impress me much. So when the prequel came out, I honestly didn’t have a huge desire to see that at all. Eventually I did watch it and I was blown away. I think the prequel was infinitely better than the original trilogy and I loved the cast immensely: James Mcavoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, January Jones and so on. I loved it so much. I would say they made one mistake in casting someone else for Banshee instead of sticking with their original choice of Robbie Sheehan. But that’s just because I’m biased and love Robbie. But because that first movie was absolutely incredible, I am DEFINITELY looking forward to the sequel. I think its going to be just as good, maybe better, and they got rid of Rogue and I’m SO okay with that.

6. The Maze Runner

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September 19th 

I really am looking forward to seeing this movie for several reasons. First off, I adore Dylan O’Brien. I wish that Teen Wolf would have grabbed me more than it did because he is SO great. So being able to see him as the main character of TMR is something I’m very excited about it. I’m also excited because it really was a good book. James Dashner is a great writer, and The Maze Runner is an incredible novel. Its also a really weird, bizarre novel, which leads to another reason I’m looking forward to seeing this movie: maybe things will make a little more sense to me when I can actually see them. Maybe seeing the maze and the Grievers and all that. I also think that its a very action-y book so it’ll work really well on the big screen. Thomas and his fellow Runners are constantly risking their lives to find a way out and I think that will translate SUPER well onto film.

5. The Fault in Our Stars

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June 6th 

Despite the fact that the fans of The Fault in Our Stars is kind of starting to get on my nerves and I’m starting to push more indie, unknown or underrated authors now, instead of just always John Green, I am looking forward to this movie. I enjoy John Green’s books and I did really like TFiOS a lot so I’m eager to see this movie. I also have a soft spot for Ansel, and I swear, it has nothing to do with his abs ;) I’m also excited because Ansel and Shailene will play brother and sister in another highly anticipated movie this year (look below!) and so I’m eager to see how they do both of them. They obviously have a chemistry on screen enough to be in two different movies together. I wish my favorites of John Green, like An Abundance of Katherines or Will Grayson, Will Grayson, on the big screen but there’s no way it’ll ever happen. So this is the next best thing. Let’s see how well they translated this book to the work of film.

4. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

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November 21st 

Duh. I mean, do I really need to go into detail with this? When I first saw The Hunger Games, I definitely enjoyed it. Its a great movie, but it wasn’t…perfect, you know? There were things wrong with it, and I liked it but it wasn’t a huge favorite. When I saw Catching Fire though, it blew my mind. Its not perfect because a movie will hardly ever be as perfect as the book but it was pretty damn close. I wanted to stand up and tackle Francis Lawrence and all the brains behind CF with hugs and kisses because it was SO SO good. I was only partly looking forward to CF because HG was just okay. Now I’m dying to see Mockingjay because I have high hopes for it. I honestly think its going to be just amazing, and the casting they have been doing for it is great and I want to do fan camp again. The whole Catching Fire experience pulled me so much back into The Hunger Games world and I’m dying to see the first part of the finale. I still don’t know why its split into two parts but whatever. Let’s just enjoy it.

3. Vampire Academy 

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February 7th 

This is only a few weeks away which makes me incredibly excited. I just read the books within the last six months but they have quickly become favorites of mine. The title and the idea of it sounded awful but Richelle Mead blew me away. Its an incredible series so I can’t wait to see it on the big screen. I’m so freakin excited. Plus I have huge crushes on both Zoey Deutch and Danila Kozlovsky and I want to see their chemistry as Rose and Dimitri. I am a bit nervous because it seems very “mean girls” but then I see a clip or a still of Zoey kicking ass and I get excited all over again. She’s super beautiful and perfect for the casting of Rose and I think its going to be a really fun movie. And I hope to get my butt down to the premiere so I can fangirl again and again over Zoey and Danila.

2. The Hobbit: There and Back Again

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December 17th 

I wasn’t overly impressed with The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug but I still feel like I need to go back and re-read the book and then rewatch the movie so I can really see whether I like it or not. It just didn’t effect me as much as the first one did. That one was just so amazing to me, the fight scenes and the elves, and Rivendell and the riddle scene with Gollum. Agh. But I’m hoping with the conclusion, it’ll comes together nicely. The end of The Hobbit is great, and a whole lot goes down so I’m ready to see that. I’m ready to see Smaug destroy the town, and I’m ready for Bard and I’m ready for Thorin to kind of go crazy and I’m ready for Bilbo to become an even bigger badass than he already was. I have some seriously high hopes for this movie (I mean, it is number 2 on the list) so I hope I am not disappointed.

1. Divergent

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March 21st 

I can hardly contain my excitement for this movie. When they first started casting for it, I admit, I was nervous. I was not a fan of Shailene Woodley. All I had ever seen her in was The Secret Life of An American Teenager and…no, just no. But the more I saw her transformation into Tris, the more I felt comfortable with her as Tris. Then I saw The Spectacular Now with my boyfriend at a special screening and it was SO good, and she really impressed me. She did such a great job. That, combined with the casting of Theo James as Four, made me more excited about the movie. I mean, have you seen Theo James. I need a bucket of cold water to the face every time I see him. Since then, we’ve gotten a TON of stills, really amazing trailers and I am just so excited for this movie. Once I saw the first full length trailer, I really thought, “wow, this could be good”. I love these books, I feel like I’m one of a small group that absolutely loved the ending and I can’t wait to see my favorite Divergent characters come to life in March. And to hopefully be at that premiere because, come on, its Divergent!

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So there you have it! My Top Ten Most Anticipated Movies of 2014! Check in next week to see my top Ten reasons why I want to be an author :)

What are some movies that you are looking forward to in 2014? Share in the comments!