Monday, November 3, 2014

Guest Post: Who would I play on the big screen ‘The French Executioner’ by C.C. Humphreys

Flashlight Commentary is pleased to host author C.C. Humphreys as a guest contributor and eagerly invite readers to enjoy his original feature, Who would I play on the big screen ‘The French Executioner’?

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Ah, the most tormenting question! And the answer to which has changed over the life of the book. I wrote it thirteen years ago so I was younger, more lithe - had knees! You need knees if you are going to leap around with bladed weaponry. And of course I always foresaw myself as one of the sword wielders, since I was – and sometimes still am – a swordsman.

I never saw myself as Jean Rombaud, the executioner himself. Too dark, too brooding, too… French! Besides – and I suppose this applies to all the main characters – you need stars for the big roles. Originally I wanted perhaps Mel Gibson – now so fallen from grace but a powerful actor. Later – and this is still possible - Javier Bardem.

So leave Jean aside and assume I am a ‘name’… I am half Norwegian but don’t think I am large enough for Haakon. He must be vast. Januc always appealed – the Croatian former Janissary, superb wielder of scimitars, wit. Alas, he should be about 25!

I would love to play Giancarlo Cibo, the Archbishop of Siena. The main villain, the role is an actor’s treat: relishing evil, totally debauched, dying of consumption, he seduces, kills, conducts a Black Mass – marvelous stuff!

However I am probably not great casting. Needs an Italian style actor. Pacino, channeling his inner Richard the Third. No, in the end I would happily settle for a very showy cameo. The one agreed when the novel was originally optioned for screen ten years ago. 

I would play the slave ship’s master, Captain de la Vallerie. He hates slaves, especially their stench, is always clutching a ball of fragrant herbs to his nose… which is so Gallically-large that everyone just calls him Big Nose. He’s a good sailor though, mad in battle, and when he charges his one ship into action to fight three pirates, he wears full black armour – and dances the galliard in it. Now there’s a scene I dream of shooting!

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Chris (C.C.) Humphreys was born in Toronto and grew up in the UK. All four grandparents were actors and since his father was an actor as well, it was inevitable he would follow the bloodline. He has acted all over the world and appeared on stages ranging from London’s West End to Hollywood’s Twentieth Century Fox. Favorite roles have included Hamlet, Caleb the Gladiator in NBC’s Biblical-Roman epic mini-series, ‘AD – Anno Domini’, Clive Parnell in ‘Coronation Street’, and Jack Absolute in Sheridan’s ‘The Rivals’.

Chris has written eight historical novels. The first, ‘The French Executioner’ told the tale of the man who killed Anne Boleyn, was runner up for the CWA Steel Dagger for Thrillers 2002, and has been optioned for the screen. Its sequel was ‘Blood Ties’. Having played Jack Absolute, he stole the character and has written three books on this ‘007 of the 1770’s’ – ‘Jack Absolute’, ‘The Blooding of Jack Absolute’ and ‘Absolute Honour’- short listed for the 2007 Evergreen Prize by the Ontario Library Association, all currently being re-released in the US by Sourcebooks. His novel about the real Dracula, ‘Vlad, The Last Confession’ was a bestseller in Canada and his novel, ‘A Place Called Armageddon’ was recently published in Turkish. All have been published in the UK, Canada, the US and many have been translated in various languages including Russian, Italian, German, Greek, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Serbian, Turkish and Indonesian.

He has also written a trilogy for young adults ‘The Runestone Saga’. A heady brew of Norse myth, runic magic, time travel and horror, the first book in the series ‘The Fetch’ was published in North America in July 2006, with the sequel, ‘Vendetta’ in August 2007 and the conclusion, ‘Possession’, August 2008. They are also published in Russia, Greece, Turkey and Indonesia. His latest Young Adult novel ‘The Hunt of the Unicorn’ was released by Knopf in North America in March 2011 and also published in Spain.

His new adult novel ‘Shakespeare’s Rebel’, about William Shakespeare’s fight choreographer at the time of ‘Hamlet’, was released in the UK in March 2013 and in Canada August 2011.

He has recently signed to write two books for Century in the UK and Doubleday in Canada. ‘Plague’ and ‘Fire’ are tales of religious fundamentalist serial killers set against the wild events of 1665 to 1666, London. They will be published in 2014 and 2015.

Chris lives on Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada, with his wife and young son.

Website ❧  Blog ❧  Goodreads ❧  Twitter ❧  Facebook

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"This unusual tale conjures visions of an Errol Flynn-type Hollywood swashbuckler...the tale's well-told, engagingly written, and includes a colorful immersion into a time when life was cheap and danger or death literally waited around every corner. A gory but fascinating...look at the world in the early 16th century. " - Kirkus

"Set against the backdrop of the Protestant Reformation, his superbloody Princess Bride-like adventure is, at its heart, a tale of redemption, well earned and hard-won." - Library Journal

“Humphreys has fashioned a rollicking good yarn that keeps the pages turning from start to finish." -Irish Examiner

"The art of writing historical fiction is to make sure the story holds the modern audience attention and the author has certainly achieved this. I am rating this story five stars for originality, lots of action, an incredible intense plot, dynamic character development and vivid scenery. Love everything about it!" - Layered Pages Review

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It is 1536 and the expert swordsman Jean Rombaud has been brought over from France by Henry VIII to behead his wife, Anne Boleyn. But on the eve of her execution Rombaud swears a vow to the ill-fated queen - to bury her six-fingered hand, symbol of her rumoured witchery, at a sacred crossroads. Yet in a Europe ravaged by religious war, the hand of this infamous Protestant icon is so powerful a relic that many will kill for it... From a battle between slave galleys to a Black Mass in a dungeon, through the hallucinations of St Anthony's Fire to the fortress of an apocalyptic Messiah, Jean seeks to honour his vow.

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Format: Paperback, Audio & eBook
Re-Released: October 7, 2014
Length: 400 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1402272349
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: The French Executioner

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