Salman Rushdie on Casting the Midnight’s Children Movie

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Photo: Getty Images

It's been a whole year since the release of Slumdog Millionaire; how much longer must you wait for another magical-realism–filled movie adventure following the exploits of impoverished children though postcolonial India? Maybe not much! We ran into Salman Rushdie at Monday's National Arts Awards at Cipriani (where he accepted an award for Outstanding Contributions to the Arts) and asked for a status update on Deepa Mehta's film adaptation of his Midnight's Children. "Right at this minute, I'm just, I hope, writing the final version of the screenplay," he told us. "Just doing some final tweakings, and then we can start making the film."

Rushdie told us no casting has yet taken place, though there are names in the running: "There are one or two people that we would very much like to be in it, but in fact, the central character, I think we have to find an unknown. I've had these people in my head for most of my life, so I have the characters in my head already, rather than having to put the faces of actors on them."

Rushdie has made no secret of his feelings for Slumdog ("I didn't like it ... It's my hometown, Bombay, so I have strong feelings about it," he told us) — but would he consider Dev Patel to play large-nosed protagonist Saleem Sinai? He would, maybe! "I happen to know that his people approached the production to express an interest. So, you know, certainly that's a possibility. But truthfully, until you've got the screenplay you can't think about the casting."

Fair enough. One lucky actor, though, is definitely in for some long hours in the makeup chair: "Nobody has the nose," Rushdie told us. "Whoever does it, we'd have to stick the nose on them."