Friday, March 8, 2013

Casting Call for the Gabby Grimm Movie, Inspired by "Psych"

Who will play Gabby Grimm in the movie? Is it time for Hollywood to start casting the role? What if it was done "Psych"-style, inspired by the TV show of the same name?

This is what happens when an author gets too bogged down with the details of everyday life for too long a stretch. I've been inundated with my Practical Caregiver business of late, pouring so many hours into dealing with cancer and other health care issues. I was forced to put aside my soon-to-be-published Gabby Grimm novel, Little Red Riding Hood and the Secret Cookie Recipe, the third installment in the series, to concentrate on business.

Imagine my delight when I finally had a chance to get back to it. I've already had a couple of my most loyal fans ask, "When?" -- the ultimate author's high. Another couple of days of hard editing and I can publish it. I've already started celebrating. And that made me wonder what's next --Gabby Grimm, the movie? What an adventure!.

Picture this -- Maggie Lawson as Gabby Grimm. Let's be honest. Men think she's hot, but women like her because she's friend material. She makes the perfect good-girl deputy. She can play tough, but compassionate --she can kick fanny with the best of them, but she's also nurturing and kind. As Detective Juliet O'Hara on "Psyche", she's always game for going into the trenches and taking one for the team, but she needs to take the lead, to be the center of the story, for a change. Not somebody's girlfriend. It's time someone played her boyfriend.

I started to consider who would be good as Sam Hogan, the hunky special forces soldier who enters Gabby's life with a kiss in the middle of a gunfight. It takes a special guy to have the gall to plant one on the courageous Gabby Grimm while she's on a case. Would I be wrong to suggest James Roday? I don't think so. Wouldn't it be nice to see him in a grown-up role for a change, being the smart, tough, sensible good guy? As Shawn Spencer, he's the Peter Pan of psychic detectives, still enjoying being able to pull the wool over everybody's eyes. Why not put him on Black Forest Farm, where he can romp with the angora goats?

How could I pair those two up and not find a decent role for Dule Hill in the Gabby Grimm movie, one that didn't make him the sidekick bump-on-a-log? I've loved his creativity and stagecraft in "Psych". From the a cappella singing to the tap dancing, the man's an amazing talent. He'd be great as Robert Robella, Sam Hogan's Army buddy, all business. But that's not really a big enough part for him, is it? What if Dule played a really bad guy for a change, a character so dark and dangerous, it goes against type? Why not make him one of the ruthless terrorists who invades Latimer Falls? Trouble is I want to see him in a really good role. Maybe, just maybe, he should be cast as Sheriff Rufus Parteger, former big city cop who chooses community over career, a family man who is tough on crime because he wants a safe place to raise his kids. He's a little young to be playing the father of a kid heading off to college, but I think it could work.

It's also time to give Timothy Omundson the chance to step out of Carlton Lassiter's shoes for a while and show the people what he can do. He'd make a good George Biscuit, the go-to guy for the Latimer Falls Sheriff's Department who's happily married, another nice change from constant romantic failures of Carlton Lassiter.

Sage Brocklebank is Buzz McNab, the good-natured, gullible "go-fer" in the Santa Barbara Police Department. Time to put him in a more meaty roll, as Felix "Hellcat" Roberge, the special ops cop from the Vermont state police. Sage could play a beefier character, with more dimension and strength.

Kirsten Nelson is the tough-as-nails Chief Karen Vick in "Psych". What if she played a victim this time around, Liz Klarsfeld, whose husband is murdered by terrorists? She'd have to dig deep to be vulnerable, a mother prepared to give up her own life to save her kids. That could show Kirsten's range of acting skills beyond the "boss lady" at the Santa Barbara Police Department.

You're probably wondering who would play Gabby's father, Gerhard, the man who made a fortune when he invented the Slouch Chair. How could we not have the wonderful Corbin Bernsen in that role? Can't you see him turning his back on a successful career in the big city to buy a farm? Eddie Arnold did it in "Green Acres", but Gerhard Grimm does it better. Picture Corbin getting out in the vineyard to make his ice wine when the temperature is just right. He'd be great as the owner of Black Forest Farm and the Three Bears Winery, a successful entrepreneur who helps bring economic stability and prosperity to Latimer Falls.

And how could Cybill Shepherd not play Ervina, Gabby's stepmother, the goat cheese maker and gourmet yogurt concocter? She's a modern day mixture of earth mother, artist, and savvy businesswoman. Ervina is a people person, as far removed from "wicked stepmother" as you can get. Can you see Cybill working at her loom and tending her goats in pastoral Vermont?

Kurt Fuller plays the wacky coroner, Dr. Woody Strode, on the show. After dissecting all those dead bodies, maybe it's time to make him the victim. He'd make a good Jonathan Klarsfeld, computer expert with a tracking program that terrorists must have.

What about Gumpy Jones, father-in-law to Rufus Parteger? Wouldn't it be a nice role for Ernie Hudson? No ghosts in sight, no wacky special effects -- just a decent guy who retired from his career as fire chief and took on the job as Latimer Falls Sheriff's Department dispatcher. You need someone with common sense for that and I think he fits the bill.

What about Earl, the Latimer Falls deputy who kind of floats through life? He's not really ambitious and he kind of lost his mojo when his wife dumped him. It might be amusing to cast Nestor Carbonell in that role. As Declan Rand in "Psych", he was a total turn-on for Juliet, the man who stood a chance at besting Shawn in the romance department. It's so easy to see Nestor as a leading man. All that burning Latino sex appeal just lights up the screen. Could he contain it long enough to play a good-natured, gossipy bumbler who just can't seem to get his act together, leaving Gabby to worry that she can't count on him in the clutches?

Ally Sheedy has played the recurring role of Mr. Yang in "Psych". That's one scary character, isn't it? You do not want to run into her at a drive-in movie. Yikes. Maybe it's time to put Ally in the position of playing the psychiatrist who helps the Klarsfeld family cope with the trauma of being tortured by terrorists. She could carry a copy of the book she wrote as a 12-year-old child, She Was Nice to Mice.

In "Romeo and Juliet and Juliet", the Season Five opener, poor Ken got little respect. It's time to give Jerry Shea a role where he gets some. He'd make a good Woody, the sometimes competitive, sometimes challenging, sometimes wet-behind-the-ears partner for Gabby. In real life, Jerry's a little older than my Woody, but he could handle the stretch as an actor. Woody's like the younger brother Gabby never had, so there's a pseudo-sibling rivalry that offers some tension between the characters.

Cary Elwes? Imagine him as Danko, the leader of the Vermont state police special ops team. Can't you just see him swashbuckling his way through the terrorists?

Who should play the bad guys, the band of terrorists who invade Latimer Falls and wreak such mayhem? Why not cast Jaleel White, better known as the goofy Steve Urkel, along with Kenan Thompson and Mekhi Phifer? They could do menacing. I'll bet they could scare the begeezus out of us. Throw in Tony Cox, but don't make the mistake of belittling the man as a fairy tale character. He's no Rumpelstiltskin. Put him in a leadership role, maybe as the distant mastermind. That face, on a computer screen, issuing orders to his foot soldier from a remote location? Chilling stuff.

Even as I began to cast for this fantasy of bringing Gabby Grimm to the big screen, my ambitions got the better of me. Picturing who could play each role came easy when I thought about the actors in "Psych". And then it hit me. All those parodies, the storylines on "Psych" -- they could actually do a Gabby Grimm episode. Poor Juliet has the worst week at work ever. The Chief rides her a little too hard, making decisions that cause Juliet to chafe at the bit. Lassie gets the promotion that Juliet deserves. Shawn, always being the kid in the relationship, acts his shoe size instead of his age and that pushes Jules right over the edge --suddenly she's living a completely different life as Gabby Grimm, deputy with the Latimer Falls Sheriff's Department. New family, new friends, new start.

Note to Steve Franks -- when it comes time to write the finale of "Psych" and you want to go out with a big bang, why not go with a fairy tale ending? If Shawn and Gus have to eventually grow up and move on, let them do it with class. Have Gabby Grimm show them how to man-up in Latimer Falls, Vermont, the idyllic little village where there are more cows than people, kids are still kids, and life is good.

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