Those of you who’ve been reading this blog for a while will know that I have a very talented friend called Heidi Catherine, who is especially clever because she has written a book (which is more than enough in its own right). In addition to writing it however, Heidi has also succeeded in getting it published!
Heidi’s book is The Soulweaver, a fantasy/romance, which beautifully explores how life and love continue after death. It’s a fantastically original and deeply engaging storyline; through a series of interwoven narratives it probes the different ways love can manifest – as an ardent lover, as a soulmate, as a parent and child – and how this love can survive throughout time.
The Soulweaver begins with a cracker of an opening paragraph:
Hannah’s life began the day she died. It had happened before – both the dying and the beginning. She didn’t know it though. All she knew was now.
And from there we learn that Hannah, like millions of others, is an ‘old soul’ who has been returned to earth numerous times to live life again. Over the course of the novel, Heidi’s easy-flowing prose, thoughtful structure and creative imagery expertly leads us through Hannah’s journey, which this time takes an unexpected turn.
The book is split into five parts, chronicling the story of its five central characters: Hannah, Lin, Mathew, Reinier and Shen. This particular approach reminded me of the ‘Rashomon Effect’ in films where the story unfolds from each character’s perspective, sometimes (deliberately) in contradiction to other characters’ viewpoints. Naturally I started thinking what if – as a consequence of knocking J.K Rowling and Paula Hawkins from the bestseller list – The Soulweaver was turned into a film? What would it look like and most importantly, who would play the romantic leads?
Elle Fanning as Hannah
Much as I would love this pivotal character to be played by an Australian actor, I can see it being given to an American woman (though she’d have to master the Aussie accent). Hannah is beautiful (‘like an angel’) and she’s desperately in love with Mathew: ‘she’d placed her heart in his care and keeping. It felt safe there. He’d never hurt her. He’d sworn he’d love her until the day he died and she believed him’.
Elle would need to convey this deep connection between Hannah and Mathew, her desperation at being taken from him, as well as her ethereal goodness all at the same time. I reckon she’s up to it though.
Kimiko Glenn as Lin
We first meet Lin as a young girl living in a Hong Kong, but in the latter part of the book she’s a married woman with a son. So our actress needs to play both a teenager and a thirty-something mum. Maybe some excellent makeup would help Kimiko Glenn manage both, as she would be perfect to play Lin; a dreamer and an artist, but also a loner with a strong sense of righteousness.
She’d never had a friend from school or anyone else. The other girls found her strange. They far preferred to keep company with clones of themselves than to listen to Lin’s foreign ideas about the world, and what their place in it might be.
Lin’s sense of dislocation and isolation makes sense when she comes to understand her connection to Hannah.
Ryan Gosling as Mathew
Hannah dies in Mathew’s arms and the shock of it causes him to go blind. To fill the void left by her, Mathew takes up music, eventually becoming a world-renowned composer ‘who filled his heart with music instead of his wife’.
Mathew is of course desperately handsome, but Ryan would need to bring out his brooding, fragile nature as well: Mathew is a man that thought he’d never love again, but he didn’t bank on a complete stranger from the other side of the world knocking on his door…
Liam Hemsworth as Reinier
Reinier is Hannah’s ‘soulmate’. As he explains, ‘In some lifetimes I’ve been your husband – your intended – in others I’ve been your brother, your cousin, your son, your best friend. In each life, we meet and help each other on our paths’. Reinier is your classically rugged hero; tall and athletic, with a scar extending from the bottom of his left eye down to his chin. He travels through time to protect and be with Hannah, so it’s no wonder she’s in love with him, as well as Mathew.
Cate Blanchett as Mother
Mother’s appearances are fleeting, but vital to the storyline. Mother is the Soulweaver: ‘she weaves our souls into the lives we’re meant to live. She’s the one who decides what life we should live next for the benefit of humankind’. She is described as ‘a woman with a glowing gown and halo of hair’. After Cate’s performance as Galadriel in Lord of the Rings, who could deny her this role?
Morgan Freeman as the Author
The Author, otherwise known as the Creator, is the one that ‘makes up all the rules… the supreme being who’s created the universe’. The Author can appear in the form of anyone, but whatever shape it takes, it would need to speak in a confidence-inspiring, mellifluous voice. In my view, Morgan Freeman and his vocal chords fit that requirement perfectly.
Now, picture a movie trailer consisting of montages of lush Australian forests, sky scrapers in Kowloon, St Paul’s Cathedral in London and a luxurious penthouse suite in New York (all accompanied by some ethereal music from Mogwai). Then we see Hannah dying, Lin sketching faces of people she knows but is yet to meet, Mathew playing to an adoring crowd at Trafalgar Square, and Mother meting out her blinding light, with a voice-over from the Author explaining the film’s premise.
It’s everything you need for a night at the movies, right? But if you can’t wait til then, you’ll need to check out the book first – conveniently on sale through Amazon. The paper back is available now, while the Kindle version can be ordered from now up until its release date of 19 January 2018. You know you want to!
What do you think about my cast list? Is The Soulweaver destined to be the next global blockbuster?