The Conditions of Love – THE MOVIE! by Dale M. Kushner | December 23rd, 2013 Marshal Zeringue recently asked me to “dreamcast” my thoughts about a movie version of The Conditions of Love. It’s been great to have the opportunity to imagine characters I love embodied on film. Mern, one of my central characters, is over-the-moon happy about the attention. It’s also been fun to hear readers’ picks for the actors. Here is what I came up with: Once upon a time, movies shaped my education. Fiction held first place as a guide to life’s vicissitudes, but the classic movies of the thirties, forties, and fifties I watched repeatedly on our old Admiral TV provided another type of education. The actors of those films had a presence that refused to fade after the movie ended. Their characters and the situations they managed were archived in my mind as cautionary tales to be revisited when the occasion arose. In The Conditions of Love, Mern is also infatuated with movie stars. Her greatest ambition is to go to Hollywood (the Hollywood of the fifties) and be discovered at Schwab’s drugstore like Lana Turner. One of my favorite lines in the novel is when she tells a friend, “Why be Betty Crocker when you can be Betty Bacall?” With nostalgia in mind, here are my choices for actors to play in a film version of my novel. For Eunice, my narrator, as a young girl, Natalie Wood as a child star. Eunice in her older years, Lauren Bacall. As Mern, Eunice’s quirky and sometime malicious mother, Shelley Winters age 25. As Eunice’s charming and dangerous father, Frankie, a young Frank Sinatra. As Rose, the mysterious woman who rescues Eunice, Colleen Dewhurst or Ida Lupino. As Sam, Mern’s devoted boyfriend, Karl Malden. As Fox, Eunice’s older lover, Richard Burton in his youth. Happily, there have been some film folks sniffing at the book and if anyone’s looking, here are some contemporary actors I think would be smashing in the film: Maggie Gyllenhaal as Mern. Daniel Day Lewis as Fox. (If only Jeremy Irons was a tad younger!) Philip Seymour Hoffman as Sam. Juliette Binoche as Rose. John Hawkes as Frankie. Young Eunice, Kiernan Shipka of Mad Men fame; the older Eunice, Naomi Watts. Marshal’s blog collects similar “dreamcasts” from various authors about the “movie versions” of their books. Check out the list on the left of this page.