Jordana Brewster looks quite like Cecilia Lester.
Growing up can be a lonely affair, but especially when you are the half-Spanish daughter of a pirate living amongst stuffy and legalistic island dwellers. Add the death of your mother to the mix, and life becomes nigh-on unbearable. Desperate for a happy life, Cecilia coerces her father into ferrying her to London. But before they reach their journey's end, the Fee strike, determined to punish Captain Lester. Though she is combative and demanding, Cecilia's compassionate nature wins out and she attempts to save her father. Her plan goes awry, and she finds herself trapped aboard a cursed ship where she is the only hope for the inhabitants.
Her long black hair and shy but confident grin are the two most striking things about Cecilia, and Brewster captures both excellently. I've never seen Brewster in anything, but looks-wise, a younger Brewster would be perfect!
A clever captain can avoid going down with his ship, but a ship will always follow the destiny of her captain. Pepin knows this all too well, and frankly, he'd much prefer the former fate to the latter, regardless of the consequences his actions will cause to those aboard said ship. Enigmatic, charming, and ironic, Pepin commands the cursed Rose with the help of poetically nonsensical phrases, threatening powers, and hidden secrets. His one ambition is to gain his freedom no matter what the cost. However, ocean paths are rarely so straight-forward.
Gleeson looks exactly like Pepin. The red hair and cheeky grin are absolutely perfect, in my opinion. Also, this casting choice is the only place where Harry Potter crept into my story. While writing, I have to be VERY careful that what I am currently reading does not find it's way into what I'm currently writing. The same summer I wrote Esprit, I read the Harry Potter series for the first time. I paid very close attention to my writing to make sure I did not inadvertently copy anything, but, when watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, Bill Weasley played by Domhnall Gleeson appeared and I went "Dude, that's what Pepin looks like!".
Confession time: many of the themes from my stories come from internal snark regarding something-or-other. The Fee's physical appearance is no exception. The Fee are described as beautiful, nearly identical. The only truly differentiating thing about them is the specific color of their hair, eyes, and tail. This idea came to me after a day spent watching movies. Nearly all of the female leads, even though the movies were from completely different genres and times, looked similar. It made me irritated. Why is Hollywood so determined to press their idea of beauty on viewers? Why are they so determined to ignore the characterization and charm unique facial and physical features offers a story? And don't even get me started on the modeling industry.
All that to say, if you Google the word “model”, though the images that appear will be different women, you will find that they look shockingly alike except for hair and eye color. However, since there are some inappropriate pictures that will no doubt pop up, actress Amber Heard looks quite like the Fee.
The appearance of the Rose's pirates were inspired by Howard Pyle's 'Flying Dutchman'. The creepy, soggy appearance of the sailors always gave me morbidly delightful shivers, and the glare of the man in the middle (presumably Davy Jones), helped me create the aura I wanted Pepin to have. If you ever get the chance, definitely buy a book of Howard Pyle's illustrations. They are excellent for story inspiration.
There were a LOT of questions asking about the pirate theme of Esprit de la Rose and why I chose that. Well, I explained as best I could. I don't fully know the reason. I have always LOVED learning about pirates. I've always been a tad obsessed with pirates stories, legends, movies, and history. Still, I don't completely know why I chose this over my usual genre of fantasy (though there are fantastical elements in Esprit as well).
I DO know one of the inspirations for the Esprit de la Rose. It was too complicated to try to explain during the launch party, so I didn't mention it, but I believe it might have been the back-bone of everything Esprit stands for.
I was watching the 'Behind-The-Scenes' extras for the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie once when I was probably around thirteen (yes, I'm THAT person), and Geoffrey Rush, the actor who portrayed Barbossa, said something about pirates that always stuck with me. I don't remember the exact quote, but he basically said that yes, pirates are incredibly exciting to read about, to watch, to fantasize about, but the reality of piracy was a very grim and terrible thing. They hurt other people, obviously, it wasn't just fun and games, but being a pirate would also be grim. Becoming a pirate meant forever ostracizing yourself from the rest of the world, it meant abandoning any hope for basic morality to be shown to you. It meant constantly battling betrayal, sickness, and a no-doubt early death without anyone who cared about you.
This surprised me. I had taken for granted the fantasy that a couple hundred years can give a reality. I remember wishing that someone would write a pirate story that was "real", not just exciting.
The pirates of Esprit de la Rose are faced with questions of morality, while the Fee, like the rest of society, looks down in judgment. I tried to tap into the "realness" of what being a pirate meant through the fantastical elements of the Fee's world. Perhaps that defeated the purpose, but it really was interesting to think about what would happen if a group of people, who have already basically signed away their right to be moral and to have proper justice, are forced to face a morally ambiguous dilemma posed to them by the people who will kill them if they make the wrong choice. And then, there are the added complications of the people who did NOT choose a pirate's life, but were forced into it. During the 1700's, many soldiers found themselves turned into pirates because, after whatever war they had fought in finished, their countries would simply drop them off and offer them no other means to support themselves. Several of the characters are forced into piratical situations through no fault of their own. It was interesting to see how they reacted to the moral dilemma.