Meet the Cast of Mr. Smith and the Roach

Meet the Cast of Mr. Smith and the Roach

My latest novel, Mr. Smith and the Roach, will be released three weeks from today (but you can pre-order it now!), and each week leading up to the release, I’ll be back to talk a little more about the book.

This morning, I want to tell you about who would play the characters if the book ever made it to the big (or small) screen.  This is actually a pretty easy exercise, because the story originally came from a joke on a friend’s podcast back in 2007, with one of the hosts throwing out titles for absurd possible shows.  “Mr. Smith and the Roach” was one of those titles, and me, being the geek I am, came up with a premise, characters and even an online episode guide for this totally fake show (sadly, that guide is gone thanks to a website crash back in 2010).  I cast every character in the show, and they’ve lived on in my mind since then.  So when I started writing the story as a real novel earlier this year, I already had mental pictures of everyone in the “cast.”

Mr. Smith is a retired New York City homicide detective.  He’s 61 years old, and the obvious choice to play him 10+ years ago was Michael Ironside. My opinion hasn’t changed since then.


The voice of the Roach was always Anthony Steward Head.  His voice was always British, from the very beginning.

Mr. Smith’s friend, the owner of his favorite bar In Vino Veritas, Hilary Jackson, was originally meant to be played by Kathleen Turner.  But I’m not sure she’s the right choice in 2018.  It’s a completely different look for the character, but I think that Rena Sofer (currently starring on The Bold and the Beautiful) would do a fantastic job as Hilary.

Lauren Ambrose, of Six Feet Under fame, was my choice in 2007 to play Mr. Smith’s niece Jeannie.  At the time, she was 29, so playing a 22-23 year old wasn’t unreasonable.  Today, it might not work quite as well, but I think she’s got the right look and personality for the character, so we’ll stick with her.

Jeannie’s mother (and Mr. Smith’s sister) Abigail Jeanne Marie Smith Kane Jensen Morrissey Frankenhurst Blakesley, has to be played by a soap opera diva, and what better choice than Deidre Hall of Days of Our Lives.

To play Jeannie’s roommate, Melissa Barnaby, I picked another soap actress, Camryn Grimes (currently on The Young and the Restless).  She’d be a good choice for Jeannie if I had to pick someone closer to the character’s age, as well.

Mr. Smith’s neighbor, creepy entomologist Dr. Greg Brooks, is totally Fisher Stevens (I still think of him as Ethan Hawke’s scuzzy older brother in “Mystery Date”).

The super of Mr. Smith’s building, “Big Eddie” Sluntkin, was always Danny DeVito.  Who else could it be?

One of the villains of the story is a crooked Wall Street banker, Peter Franks.  I like soap star Thorsten Kaye (currently on The Bold and the Beautiful).  Doesn’t he just look like somebody who could scam retired police out of their pensions?

He doesn’t actually show up in person in this book, but mobster Charlie Peaches is mentioned several times in the book, and the sequel is titled THE RETURN OF CHARLIE PEACHES, so it’s pretty clear he will have a big role there!  And in the fake-TV version of this story, he was played by Val Kilmer.  That hasn’t changed.

Hilary’s friend, opera singer Felicia Bonaventure, doesn’t show up in this book, either, but she was a regular “guest” on the fake TV show, and I expect her to show up in the sequel.  And she’s played by British singer Kate Bush.

Felicia has a bitter rival, Callie Marbella, who’s friends with another of Mr. Smith’s neighbors in the apartment building.  One of my favorite quotes from the fake episode guide (yes, I came up with memorable quotes for each “episode”) was applied to Callie.  She’s referred to as a “tone-deaf, role-stealing, attention-seeking whore.”  So, who else to play her but an actual opera diva, Renee Fleming?  She’ll also appear in the sequel.

Callie’s friend is Caitlin Walker, who has a history with Hilary Jackson (as Mr. Smith explains to the Roach, Hilary “may have killed her husband back in the 1980’s”).  She’s played by Genie Francis.

Dr. Brooks’ scummy brother Carter could only ever be Kevin Smith, from “Clerks” (and too much else to mention here!)

Investigative reporter Alexandra Smith (no relation to Mr. Smith!) is played by Danielle Nicolet, currently on “The Flash” as Cecille West.

For imprisoned Mafia boss Jimmy Hagen, who else but James Caan?

And, last but not least, in the original fake TV show, I had the idea that real-life actress Susan Lucci was a neighbor of Mr. Smith’s.  Since I’m actually publishing this book, I can’t really do that, but in her place is former soap opera star Lucie Susans (Mr. Smith can never remember which show she actually starred on), played, obviously, by Susan Lucci.


And there you have it – the full cast of Mr. Smith and the Roach!


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