by Cathi Stoler
When I wrote “Nick Of Time,” a Nick Donahue Adventure, I created my character as an intelligent, suave, and good-looking guy who works as an International Blackjack player. If it sounds sexy and a little bit risky, it is. Nick, a good guy, often finds himself caught up in circumstances that have more to do with danger than with Blackjack—like coming to the aid of a beautiful woman in distress, Marina DiPietro, and getting kidnapped for his trouble, or helping his brother, Alex, a banker at Suissebank, avenge the death of a co-worker, or taking on the New York mob, and it’s capo, Tommy B Bonnanniao. As I said, professional gambler, not an action hero. And the settings, Venice, Zurich, and Monte Carlo, make things more exotic and intriguing.
Hmmm, I thought like so many authors before me, with all this swirling around Nick, this story would make a great movie. I believed these characters could jump right off the page and onto big screens, and small ones, everywhere. What director or producer would want to pass up such an opportunity?
With that in mind, I decided to make it effortless for any one of them to just pick up “Nick Of Time,” and go with it. And, to make it even easier, I did my own pre-casting for the main characters.
--Tom Hiddleston as Nick Donahue, a professional Blackjack player who travels the world playing the game. Nick is tall, dark, and handsome, as well as a little bit quirky, which is part of his charm. Impeccably dressed in a black tuxedo and bowtie, Nick brings a sense of humor to the table, until that is, he has to go all in in a high-stakes game to save Marina’s life.
If Tom isn’t available, although I can’t imagine he’d turn down the role, there’s always Luke Evans who could fill in nicely.
--Gal Gadot as Marina DiPietro, a tall, willowy knockout, and an insurance recovery agent, Marina entices Nick to help her to retrieve a package of gems stolen by an infamous gang of jewel thieves. As you might imagine, things don’t go as planned, and after a worldwind of missteps, Nick winds up having to rescue Marina. If Gal is otherwise engaged, Elizabeth Debicki could step in. And, she has a history working with Tom Hiddleston.
--Chris Pratt as Alex Donahue, Nick’s younger, handsome brother. Alex, a banker working for Suissebank in Zurich is at a loss as to what has happened to his former boss and colleague who has disappeared. He believes the bank has had him killed and not transferred as they claim. When Alex asks Nick for help, things spiral out of control as Nick blows the whistle on the bank and its money-laundering scheme for its biggest client, the New York mob. Chris Pine would do nicely in this role, as well.
--Kevin Costner as Tommy “B” Bonnanniao, Capo of the New York mob, Tommy B expects Nick to win at a high-stakes Baccarat game in Monte Carlo and make good on the money he lost in a money-laundering scheme because of Suissbank’s downfall. If Nick doesn’t come through, Marina could lose her life. Rough around the edges and used to getting his way, this character could also be played by Stephen Baldwin or Arian Moayed.
The option is open, so if you’re interested in a high-octane project, let me know.
Cathi Stoler, a native New Yorker, drew on her travels to interesting and exotic places to write two new mystery suspense novels, Out of Time and Nick of Time, The Nick Donahue Adventures.
Her suspense novels, Bar None, Last Call, Straight Up, and With A Twist, The Murder on the Rocks Mysteries, are set in New York City and feature The Corner Lounge owner, Jude Dillane. She is also the author of the three-volume Laurel & Helen New York Mystery series, which includes Telling Lies, Keeping Secrets, and The Hard Way.
Stoler is a three-time finalist and the winner of the Derringer for Best Short Story “The Kaluki Kings of Queens.” She is a board member of Sisters in Crime New York/Tri-State, and a member of Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. She lives in New York City with her husband. You can find her at www.cathistoler.com.