Gotta tell ya, I agonize over coming up with character names. It’s the worst! I put so much pressure on myself to create the exact name for each of my creative darlings. Because the name has to fit. It has to have meaning. Sometimes I'm so stumped, I don’t even name a character for the first several pages, and they are given a big fat “X” as a name holder. Real personal, huh?
When I was writing Caged, it took a few hours of research (and much internal toil) in Greek names for me to know that the character “Galen” was, well, a Galen. The struggle was real, but finally I had found the perfect name! This name means “peace,” and derives from Claudius Galenus, a 2nd century Greek physician whose research laid the basis for accepted medical practices for 1500 years. 15 HUNDRED years. Because of his passion to bring healing, it effected the world for one thousand five hundred years.
In Caged No More, we meet a young man who is confronted with an unthinkable atrocity, and because of his integrity and his sense of justice, he is unwilling to look the other way. Instead, he spends all his personal savings that are reserved for his college education and risks his life to help rescue a girl being held captive in a brothel. My dream was that through the example of this remarkable man, the readers of my novel and viewers of the movie, would follow his example and perhaps be so motivated to bring healing to the real victims of human trafficking that their efforts of freedom would resonate forward for over 1500 years.
But if naming this character was so difficult, can you imagine how nervous I was about the casting?! Lisa Arnold, the producer and director, was so generous to keep me in the loop, and even, at times, be a part of some of the casting choices. But the find of George Kosturos was ALL Lisa, so when she called and said she’d found THE guy, I had to simply trust. The pictures of George were, well let’s be honest, he’s ridiculously charming. My hope was that this actor would not just “look the part,” but also be able to play what had become my favorite role. (shhh, don’t tell the other characters.) With Galen, there was a ton of emotion and depth to be exuded and not a lot of screen time in which to do it. It was going to be a big task.
I’ll never forget the moment I met George. How to describe him: the kindest eyes, the biggest heart, the most humble attitude, and filled with honest gratitude for being given the opportunity to play Galen. Oh, yeah, and all that ridiculous charm. Wow. This made me want to meet the parents of such an authentic young man. And really excited to see how he’d play on camera.
George nailed it. No wait. He didn’t just nail it. He mastered it. His portrayal of Galen captivated me with his sincerity, his broken heart to realize what Skye had been through, his deep need to help her, and his courage to stand up for what was right…even if it meant his own demise. George “got” this character and far surpassed my expectations. And to accomplish that, with such little screen time…impressive. I highly doubt this guy will ever have a problem getting more work. (Teaser: We have to make sure these movies blow up because you will NOT want to miss seeing how Galen’s character grows in the sequels). You can check out his upcoming projects at www.georgekosturos.com
George’s parting gift to me was a sweet letter letting me in on a Greek secret power of his. It’s a quality that Greeks claim as their own, and pretty much the quintessence of Galen. It’s the Greek word philotimo, and George embodies this quality. Google it, because it would take another blog to properly describe it. So now it was my turn to give a gift back to George. Because the scenes in Greece were filmed after the Louisiana shoot, I altered some of the script so that Galen’s family refers to this Greek super power, and George got to say these lines. He is, after all, the poster child for philotimo.
Let’s fill the theaters this weekend and go see CAGED NO MORE!
Have you bought the book, CAGED NO MORE, yet? You can do so HERE