Celebrities as Character Templates

Charlize Theron

Will Kemp

Romance author Portia Da Costa is talking about character templates over at Romance By The Blog. Da Costa points out that:

Everybody says you shouldn’t base your characters on real people. And, I don’t. Not really.

My heroes look like these famous hotties, but they have personalities —and quirks—that express my ideal of a challenging fantasy lover rather than reflecting any real world man.

David Louis Edelman also brought up this topic not too long ago on the Deep Genre blog in his post “Stupid Writer Tricks: Cast Your Characters,” the trick being to “cast all of the characters in your story with recognizable Hollywood actors as you write.”

Casting celebrities in the roles in my books allows me to keep physical attributes straight and just plain frees up my brain to concentrate on other aspects of the story. I’d love to hear from other writers about taking a seat on the casting couch. I definitely do and would love to share a few of them today.

The two main protagonists in River of Stars are Lieutenant-Commander Jana Romany and Brannon Bayne. I’ve always seen Jana as Charlize Theron, especially after Aeon Flux came out. As Brannon, I’ve always pictured Will Kemp of Gap commercial fame and also as the werewolf in Van Helsing.

Romany is a Joan-of-Arc idealist who has embraced the tenants of The Kinship, a tight-knit spy society whose adepts embrace their jobs with a religious fervor and routinely suppress their core personalities in favor of “cover clones” when on a mission. They do possess some wetware to enable them to swap between personalities and also nanomarkers in their blood so the Kinship can track them on the “grid,” which is both a safety net and a leash.

Bayne is an heir to two vastly different imperial pedigrees. By virtue of one pedigree he is an Iconnu spiritual leader and by choice he acts as a diplomat to negotiate a peace between his two ancestral cultures. When diplomatic efforts fail, he enlists Jana to break his cousin out of prison and wrest control away from hegemonic forces bent on controlling a subjugated populace.

And did I mention that Will Kemp is just really bendy? Have you forgotten that Gap commercial?