My love for film is no secret, nor is it a secret that I profess to draw some inspiration from film, to create the stories I write in my novels. I bear no shame in the cross pollination of the two. In fact, I think in many cases, particularly with genre fiction, they actually go hand-in-hand with each other quite nicely. I believe if they compliment each other, then it can’t be a bad thing for either industry. Good films will draw people to the books, and good books will draw readers to the film. Although, yes, I do concede that films often struggle to capture the whole essence of a novel, but that’s due purely to time constraints. You can spend weeks reading a novel and delving quite intimately into the life of the characters, but transfer that to film and you have only 2 hours to tell the story, so plot must take priority over detailed characterisation.
Anyway, I digress. In my teens, my reading consisted mainly of books adapted from film, or to film. In other words, if the book was in some way linked to a film, it sparked my interest. This snapshot to the left shows a few of the film books I collected back then. I know some avid readers out there may shudder at this image, but you know what? Regardless of the ‘quality’ of the reading material you may think this pile of books represents, the fact is, it got me reading. Yes, that’s right, it got me reading. These books tore my film-fan ass away from the TV screen and got me reading novels. And it was reading these kinds of books, that got me writing. Not such a bad thing, is it?
So, that in mind, as the launch date for my novel AURORA:DARWIN approaches, I thought I’d reveal a little more about the silver screen heroes that inspired me growing up, and those that inspire me today. These are the kind of heroes/heroines I wanted to take up ‘arms’ alongside. The ones I wanted to laugh with, drink with, cry with. The ones I desperately wanted to help make it out alive. The ones I thought stood for something good and true, those that had something worthwhile to say. Oh alright, and yes, with some of the heroes, shagability was a factor too…… 🙂
I should point out that my list contains those ‘heroes’ who’ve actually had to literally fight their way out of a situation. So, I’m taking it in the classical sense of the word.
Heroes / Kick-Ass Kings of the Silver Screen
Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) – JAWS
(photo courtesy of Fan Pix)
Chief Brody has been a hero of mine since a young age. I guess it helps that JAWS is my favourite film of all time as well, but Brody, I think is the epitome of the ‘Underdog’ hero – ‘One man against a giant killer shark and a town that won’t face the truth’. Although he is a cop, he is a somewhat reluctant hero against the challenge he faces, but when the time comes, he steps up and does what he needs to do. And let’s face it, with a monster shark like that coming at you, it really is a matter of life and death! Another thing that endeared me to Chief Brody, is that Roy Scheider, the actor who played him, always reminded me of my grandfather. 🙂
Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) – Lord of the Rings trilogy
(Sighs and smiles). Seriously, who doesn’t like a man with a big shiny sword – and one that knows how to wield it too? Aragorn is ‘the man’. He is the man who will step up and fight with the courage of a dozen men, he will put his life on the line for the good of mankind (and Hobbits, Dwarves, Elves, etc.). He is a man born to be king. And, by God, doesn’t he do it so well? (flutters eyelids and blushes)
John McClane (Bruce Willis) – Die Hard Series
John McClane is another reluctant hero. He’s the kind of guy who’s just trying to mind his own business and get on with his life, but keeps getting sucked into all sorts of dangerous dilemmas. Die Hard has always been one of my favourite films; the kind you can watch over and over, and the character of John McClane is the reason I keep going back. He’s a cop visiting town just hoping to mend his marriage, who winds up thrown in the deep end. And it’s because of this that you hope and pray he’ll make it out alive. Bruce Willis was made for the role (as was Alan Rickman playing Hans Gruber). It just makes you want to smile and say ‘Yippee Ki-yay, mother ……’
Maximus Decimus Meridius (Russell Crowe) – Gladiator
Maximus is the hero stripped of the life he loved by a spineless cretin. Wife and child killed, he is sold and forced into the brutal world of Gladiators. From the depths of despair, he finds the courage to fight on and survive, and in doing so, sees his chance for revenge. Maximus is the man who hits rock bottom, but claws his way back again. The kind of hero that makes you want to stand in that arena and cheer him on with your heart and soul. And yes, he’s another man who knows how to wield his sword….
Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) – Lethal Weapon Series
Mad Martin Riggs, played wonderfully by the young, cheeky, blue-eyed Mel. Again, Martin Riggs is a man who’s had his life devastated through the death of his wife. It’s his devil-may-care attitude that grants him courage to do the crazy things he does (and cause no end of stress to Murtaugh!). He’s a very human hero; one who fights his own demons, but one who never gives in. He’s the kind of hero you’d like to have a drink and a laugh with at the end of the day, and when you can no longer resist that cheeky smile or those blue eyes, offer him a ride home as well. 😉
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) – Thor / The Avengers.
Hawkeye/Nathaniel Poe (Daniel Day-Lewis) – The Last of the Mohicans
Han Solo (Harrison Ford) – Star Wars Series
Madmartigan (Val Kilmer) – Willow
Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) – Speed
King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) – 300
Dwayne Hicks (Michael Biehn) – Aliens
Seriously, this list could go on forever……..
Heroines / Kick-Ass Queens of the Silver Screen
Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) – Alien Series
‘Dame Ellen’, as I like to call her….. In my eyes, Ellen Ripley is the greatest heroine there’s ever been. She has smarts and courage, and despite her toughness, still manages that splice of femininity. Aliens, the 2nd instalment, is my favourite, as she is not only kick-ass, but you get to see the gentler/softer side of her too, through the mother-figure role she takes on with Newt, and the subtle romance we see brewing with Hicks (Michael Biehn). Brains, beauty and a dash of brawn. Dame Ellen, you rock!
Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) – Terminator 2: Judgement Day
When T2 came out, I suddenly wanted to start exercising and get me some muscles! Although looking back now, I think she’s a little too muscular for my liking, Sarah Connor was certainly a tough chick I wanted to emulate. T2 sees her caught up in the horrors of her past and having to overturn her prejudices in order to survive the latest terrifying turn her life has taken. She made it through the first attack, and we want to see her reconnect with her son, and make it through their latest challenge, because we know that she has it in her. And let’s face it, with ‘guns’ like that, she stands a bloody good chance!
Sorcha (Joanne Whalley) – Willow
When Willow came out I LOVED IT! In part, because the heroine was not only a princess, but also a warrior. She had that mix of courage and beauty. Ideally, that is what makes the perfect heroine for me – a woman who shows strength of character and bravery, but also retains her femininity. The warrior princess, Sorcha, knew how to wield a blade, and with her matching razor sharp attitude, she sure gave Madmartigan (Val Kilmer) a run for his money!
Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) – Star Wars Series
This is where my softer side kicks in. Princess Leia is another example of a smart, determined, brave heroine who keeps her femininity intact. She doesn’t just sit back like many royals would in times of war, while their people get slaughtered. She stands up alongside the men, against the dark forces, and does what she can. She’s a pure heroine who catches the eye of the dashing Han Solo. Now, who wouldn’t want a piece of that?
Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) – The Silence of the Lambs
Clarice is more of a subtle heroine. She doesn’t go around wielding swords or shooting relentlessly with guns, her real struggle is of the mind against the likes of the eerily evil Dr Hannibal Lecter (Sir Anthony Hopkins). Although she does rely on her gun in the end, this FBI cadet, in spite of her fears, relies on her gut instinct and bravery, not her physical prowess. She’s a solitary woman, who winds up facing her battle alone. Heart, smarts and courage, without the need to flex any muscles.
Samantha Caine (Geena Davis) – The Long Kiss Goodnight
Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) – The Matrix Series
Jordan O’Neill (Demi Moore) – GI Jane
Dr Kate McTiernan (Ashley Judd) – Kiss The Girls
Libby (Ashley Judd) – Double Jeopardy
Again this list could go on………
So, there you have it, folks! That is a snapshot of the silver screen heroes and heroines that have inspired me (although seriously, there really are far too many to mention). Will you see elements of these heroes and heroines reflected in the characters of my novel AURORA:DARWIN? You’ll just have to read it and find out!
Till next time!