Book talks for readers at Chisago Lakes Middle School.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Wildfire Run by Dee Garretson

After reading the book, Wildfire Run, by Dee Garretson, I began to think how the story might make a terrific action/adventure movie. As I thought this over I imagined myself in the role of casting director for: WILDFIRE RUN, the movie. Who would I choose for leading roles in Wildfire Run? Hmmm...let's take a look...

First, I would pick Callan McAuliffe for the part of Luke Brockett, the President's son. McAuliffe starred in the movie, Flipped, based on the book by Wendelin Van Draanen, and will star in the upcoming 2011 movie, I am Number Four, based on the book by Pittacus Lore.

In Wildfire Run, we learn that Luke may be slightly spoiled and stubbornly independent, but he's also a little vulnerable. Being the son of the President of the United States has its perks, but also complicates normal things in life like friendship. It's not easy to form genuine friendships when you're treated like royalty. It's also not easy when you can't completely relax because of a fear that someone wants to kill or kidnap you because of your powerful father.

Then there is Callie Lansa, a girl that used to be Luke's best friend. For this role I would probably select either Hailee Steinfeld who plays Mattie in the movie remake of True Grit, or Eliza Bennett, who played the role of Meggie in the movie, Inkheart, based on the book of the same name by Cornelia Funke.

When they were younger Callie and Luke played together on the Brockett's ranch in Colorado. Callie isn't impressed with how pampered Luke has become, now that he's the President's son. She probably grinned as she remembered how she teased him after he fell off his horse. Callie probably frowned as she remembered how the Secret Service agents partly blamed her for Luke's fall. Callie Lansa is the intelligent, plucky girl who isn't afraid to tease our young protagonist even if he is the President's son.

Speaking of Secret Service Agents, we need someone to play the role of Adam, the primary agent assigned to Luke. Adam's character needs to be played by someone who can be all business when he needs to be, but has a softer side to help a boy cope with the fishbowl of attention he has been forced to live in as the President's son. I imagine Ben Affleck in the role of Luke's guide and handler.

Although not in the book, I would offer a cameo role to Katie Couric from CBS News. She will calmly announce to viewers that a major earthquake has struck the heart of the nation. We will learn that the epicenter of the quake originated from the New Madrid Seismic Zone in the state of Missouri with tremors felt across the country. Like all responsible news anchors Katie will look directly into the camera and brace us for what happens next: aftershocks, floods, and fire will follow. Fires result due to broken gas lines, fallen power lines, and various other sources. Various other sources-this is where we find ourselves in the book Wildfire Run.

Due to the tremors, a fire accidently spreads from an untended campfire in Catoctin Mountain Park near the heavily guarded private retreat reserved for U.S. Presidents-Camp David. Dry conditions fuel the fire immediately. Deer and even the few bear that live in the park flee the area. In the animals' desperate attempt to escape they will act confused and behave erratically. Some of these animals may encounter a huge man-made wall meant to protect the President. Even if the animals could crawl or jump over, they would be stopped immediately by an electric fence designed to kill intruders instantly.

The Secret Service's job is to be ready for unexpected situations like these, but could they really have expected a forest fire triggered by shock waves from an earthquake hundreds of miles away to force the immediate evacuation of Camp David? Will the world's best security system unintentionally threaten the lives of those that it was designed to protect? And, how could the Secret Service agents have anticipated the erratic behavior of the President's son when he and his former best friend decide to exacerbate the situation by not doing what they are told?

Find out the answers to these questions in a thrilling adventure story called, Wildfire Run, by Dee Garretson. (Who would you cast in the leading roles?)

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