I’ve done a lot of interviews about the book Here’s to You, Zeb Pike where people have asked me who I think would play the main characters, Emmitt and Dusty, if the book ever became a film. In other words: who would be my dream cast?
And I usually try to get out of answering the question.
It’s strange. Very often when I write, I have an exact picture in my mind of who would play a specific character if the book ever became a movie. But for this book, Emmitt and Dusty have always been a little bit ambiguous in my mind. I know their specifications. Dusty is 14, with shaggy brown hair and blue eyes. He’s average height and a little on the thinner side. He’s a skateboarder, and he dresses as casually as possible. Emmitt’s 16, with dirty blond hair and green eyes. He’s tall, fit, and athletic. He’s more apt to wear khakis and a button-up shirt.
I can just never seem to match any current actors on the scene with either of these descriptions. No one seems to fit perfectly. Today I even lost my mind and attempted a little Googling to figure this out. And you know what? All it did was lead to some weird (and frankly, a little creepy) Google searches. Anyone ever looking at my computer’s history could have a lot of questions about why I was Googling “teen actor blue eyes brown hair.”
So I’m still pretty lost. But I finally came up with a few ideas. (Thanks, Google.)
For Dusty: I’m thinking maybe Josh Hutcherson, from Hunger Games fame. They eye color’s wrong, but we could get him some contacts. Right?
Now, for Emmitt! According to the internets, Freddie Stroma could play the part. Not gonna lie: I had no idea who Freddie was before all this Googling starting (despite having seen Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows). But he does seem to look the part.
Weigh in with your votes! Who should play Dusty and Emmitt in the film version of Here’s to You, Zeb Pike?
Blurb for Here’s to You, Zeb Pike
Fact: When Zebulon Pike attempted to climb what is now known as Pikes Peak, he got stuck in waist-deep snow and had to turn back.
That’s the last thing Dusty Porter learns in his Colorado history class before appendicitis ruins his life. It isn’t long before social services figures out that Dusty’s parents are more myth than reality, and he and his siblings are shipped off to live in Vermont with an uncle and aunt they’ve never met.
Dusty’s new life is a struggle. His brother and sister don’t seem to need him anymore, and he can’t stand his aunt and uncle. At school, one hockey player develops a personal vendetta against him, while Emmitt, another hockey player, is making it hard for Dusty to keep pretending he’s straight. Problem is, he’s pretty sure Emmitt’s not gay. Then, just when Dusty thinks things can’t get any worse, his mother reappears, looking for a second chance to be a part of his life.
Somehow Zebulon Pike still got the mountain named after him, so Dusty’s determined to persevere—but at what point in life do you keep climbing, and when do you give up and turn back?
Johanna Parkhurst grew up on a small dairy farm in northern Vermont before relocating to the rocky mountains of Colorado. She spends her days helping teenagers learn to read and write and her evenings writing things she hopes they’ll like to read. She strives to share stories of young adults who are as determined, passionate, and complex as the ones she shares classrooms with.
Johanna holds degrees from Albertus Magnus College and Teachers College, Columbia University. She loves traveling, hiking, skiing, watching football, and spending time with her incredibly supportive husband.