One of the things that I love about writing is that it gives me the ability to bring back the dead. Not only can I bring them back, I can make them star in my own story. I imagine that would make me the envy of any casting director in Hollywood.
Take, for example, the character of Wolfgang Conti, cook to the von Burlau family in the series that I’m currently writing. As I imagine the story, the part of Wolfgang Conti will always be played by James Gandolfini. Why? Because Wolfgang is every bit as visually intimidating as Tony Soprano, but he has the warm heart and devoted loyalty of Gandolfini’s Albert in Enough Said. Wolfgang will always be James Gandolfini to me.
The other thing you can do as a writer is to throw in friends and family right alongside famous (dead) people. In The Aldana Incident, for example, my protagonist, Melissa (who, at least in my mind, is played by Sandra Bullock), has a son named Jake. I have no son. I do, however, have a nephew and he’s probably as close to a son as I will ever have, so that’s who got the part. It follows then that when I decided to give Jake a girlfriend in the story, my nephew’s girlfriend got the part.
Many characters, for example the protagonist, Amelia Schwarz, in Born von Burlau, exist only in my mind, at least for now. Maybe one day an actual casting director will help me figure out who should play her.