Sunday, July 10, 2016

Shadows and inspirations

© Michael Chevy Castranova 2016

-->I’m now at the part in “Everybody Behaves Badly,” Lesley M.M. Blume’s book about the writing of “The Sunday Also Rises,” in which she details how much Hemingway altered his fictional characters from their real counterparts. In some cases, not very much at all, and not very politely.
I’m clearly going to have to read the novel again. (That would make it the seventh or eighth time — I’ve lost count over the years.)
But I’ve long been fascinated about using real people as models for fictional characters. Writers and cartoonists often adapt the looks and sometimes aspects of the personalities of movie and sports celebrities — alive or dead — and of friends and enemies.
And sometimes they borrow both the looks and the personalities. Are these people ever flattered by the attention?
Hemingway revealed very little to his friends about how he’d taken their looks and lives and remarks and reshaped them into his version of events. Probably because they wouldn’t have liked the unkind way he portrayed them.
They had to read the book for themselves.
Have I done that in “Slipped”? Well, in the eight-plus years I’ve definitely modeled some characters real people.
For one, Dargelos is meant to look like — in a very cartoony way, of course — Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni. He died in 1996, and I’m sure he was in no way demonic. But I figured if the devil — or something like the devil — desired to tempt and trick a young woman, he’d want to look like Mastroianni — charming, smooth and handsome in “8 ½” and “La Dolce Vita,” among other movies.
You can pick up the trail of the Scarlet Sparrow — right now joined by her sister, Mendacity, and, as always, Pip — in chapter 383. Take a look.
© Michael Chevy Castranova 2016

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