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Confessions of a Action Junkie by JJ Dare

Sometimes I’m wrong about things. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m admitting to it. I can be wrong. Once in a while. Not that often. Uhm, rarely.

It’s pretty hard to own your wrongness. But, I’m going to confess. I’m going to get it out in the open. I’m going to let the whole world know how incorrect I was in a preconceived assumption. Happily, I want to admit I’ve had a huge change of heart about Cuba Gooding, Jr.

Through the years, I’ve watched Cuba’s movies and enjoyed most of them. Over the past few years, I’ve lost track of him. With so many choices on cable, his movies were overlooked. I just kind of forgot about him.

Some of his movies in the past made me laugh, some made me cry, some just entertained the heck out of me. Up until a week ago, I had the image of Cuba Gooding, Jr., as a cute, kinda round, cuddly brown teddy bear with a sweet smile and an even sweeter voice. I had no idea the cute actor had morphed into a future Rambo.

Is he ripped or what? Just wait ’til he turns around

I watched Cuba in “Hero Wanted” by chance. I was channel surfing and stumbled on this movie; I was entranced from the beginning. As unlikely an action figure Cuba Gooding, Jr., was in my mind, the premise of this choice of movie for him was even more unbelievable.

“Hero Wanted” is about  an ordinary man who becomes an overnight hero after rescuing a little girl. This man, Liam Case, had lost his wife and unborn child in an automobile accident and he was simply existing – until he became the man of the hour when he risked his own life to save another.

The real story is what happened after his selfless act. Heroes are human and humans have flaws. Just because you performed a heroic act, it doesn’t mean you will be able to sustain that high. Liam Case realized this the hard way as the road he travels to grab another moment in the sun twists and turns. His search for redemption is the running theme.

I liked this movie and Cuba Gooding, Jr.’s steely-eyed acting. This was a Cuba I’d never seen before. I was expecting something totally different. Indeed, this was totally different. I initially judged a movie by its actor.

*    *    *    *    *

The moral of my movie tale is you can’t always judge a book by its author. While it’s comforting to know what to expect when you pick up a book with a familiar name on the cover, it’s also exciting to discover there are more sides to your favorite author than you have known. The same holds true for writers: don’t become a pigeon in a hole; don’t let your genre typecast you. Take a deep breath and fly free.

J J Dare is the author of two published books, several short stories and about thirty works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch

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Ready for the Close-Up

If a book you read and liked was made into a movie, who would you want to play the main characters?

Equally important, if Hollywood comes knocking at your door and options a book you have written, who do you envision playing the characters you have grown to think of as your own?

I have occasionally thought about aspects of different actors and how they would play my main man, Joe Daniels. From the descriptions in my books, Joe is tall, in decent shape, and has dark hair. He is not young anymore, but neither is he old.

Certain actors would capture the essence of Joe. In some cases, there are specific traits I feel some of these Hollywood guys could pull off. Here is a sampling (there are may more) from the list I carry around in my head:

Rory McCann. This Scottish actor is six and a half feet tall, has the eyes and hair, and can look pretty menacing on the big screen.

David Conrad. My guilty confession is I was glad when Jim died on Ghost Whisperer. His character was too nice. I like him better as a spirit in another’s body. Back to the topic: David Conrad has the looks as long as he can work up the kick-ass on camera.

Billy Hufsey. Billy has the dark hair and eyes, and a tender demeanor onscreen. When I told him I thought he would make a “Good Joe,” I think he agreed just to humor me.

Scott Patterson. Who didn’t fall in love with Luke and want to kick Lorelai for missing the boat so many times with him? Aside from that, Scott seems to give off a rugged, tough aura on camera that would fit perfectly.

Ben Affleck. He actually has it all, plus some. Dark hair, eyes, tall, rugged looking, and muscular. What really makes me think more about Ben than my other favs is the way the expression in his eyes goes from 0 to 100 in microseconds. I’ve watched some of his films and it is creepy the way his eyes change: one microsecond he loves you, and then, in the space of a half-blink, he’s gonna kill ya.

I like it.

In parts of my books, my main man Joe goes through the same thing. He can go from calmness to murderous rage in less than a blink. I think that’s why I like Ben Affleck; he is one of the movie masters of eye expressions.

Of course, Hollywood may have other ideas. Joe may end up as a five-seven, blue-eyed blond in his early twenties. I have seen stranger casting. One that always comes to mind is Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt as the vampires Lestat and Louis. Strange, strange, strange.

So, what are your thoughts on who you would like to see play your favorite characters from books you have written or read?

J J Dare, author of the Joe Daniels’ trilogy

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