The Losing Role

Steve Anderson

Book Cover

GENRE

WAR DRAMA ACTION

    Core Theme

    HUMAN NATURE, CAMARADERIE

    TIME PERIOD

    1940s & '50s

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, THE GREAT ESCAPE, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN

    CHARACTER LIST

    • MAX KASPAR: 30+. LEAD. ASPIRING ACTOR. DASHING. GERMAN SOLDIER.
    • FELIX MENNING: 25. GERMAN SOLDIER. GAY. SARCASTIC. DEFIANT.
    • RATTNER: 30+. GERMAN OFFICIAL WITH A BAD TEMPER.
    • AUBREY SLAIPE: 30+. PART OF THE AMERICAN INTELLIGENCE. CULTURED.
    • JUSTINE DETRAVE: 30+. MYSTERIOUS. BELGIUM ARISTOCRAT. SEDUCTIVE.

    Logline

    December 1944: A failed German actor tries to escape a desperate secret mission in which he must impersonate an enemy American officer behind US lines during the freezing and bloody Battle of the Bulge. Based on true events.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 35-54

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    New York City, Germany, The Russian Front, Belgium, The Ardennes

    Based on a True Story

    Yes

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Year Published: 2010

    Starting Description

    In the final winter of WWII, a failed German actor, Max Kaspar, is forced to join an absurdly desperate secret mission in which he must impersonate an enemy American officer. So Max cooks up his own fanatical plan — he'll use his false identity to escape tyranny and war and flee to the America.

    Ending Description

    Max deserts behind the American lines. A US intelligence officer catches him and gives him an ultimatum: return to Germany and spy for the Americans. When a Belgian Nazi tries to kill the American officer, Max saves him. But he then flees the scene, back to a doomed Germany.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    No

    ISBN

    Information not completed

    Mature Audience Themes

    Violence/War

    Plot - Other Elements

    Twist

    Plot - Premise

    Voyage and Return

    Main Character Details

    Name: Max Kaspar

    Age: 32

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Underdog, Charming, Clumsy, Desperate, Engaging, Gracious, Honorable, Perseverance, Aspiring, Empathetic, Naive, Romantic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Aubrey Slaipe

    Age: 33

    Gender: Male

    Role: Antagonist

    Key Traits: Honorable, Leader, Perseverance, Secretive, Aspiring, Confident, Decisive, Flexible, Strong Moral Code, Educated, Empathetic, Skillful, Sophisticated

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Felix Menning

    Age: 25

    Gender: Male

    Role: Sidekick

    Key Traits: Confident, Desperate, Narcissistic, Skillful, Adventurous, Criminal, Engaging, Perseverance, Secretive, Aspiring, Complex, Decisive, Lone Wolf, Unapologetic, Insecure, Romantic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Justine DeTrave

    Age: 30

    Gender: Female

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Faithful, Strong Moral Code, Aggressive, Decisive, Educated, Manipulative, Patriotic, Secretive, Seductive, Desperate, Insecure, Sexy, Unapologetic, Romantic, Villainous

    Brief

    In the final winter of WWII, an unemployed German actor-turned-soldier is forced to join a secret
    mission in which he must impersonate an enemy American officer. He concocts a plan to maintain
    the masquerade in order to escape to America and live out his dream of being a successful actor.
    When he reports for duty, he quickly learns that his new band of brothers is nothing more than a
    ragtag team of German english speakers disguised in American uniforms.

    What We Liked

    The Losing Role is a true gem that masterfully conveys the dramas of war with good portions of
    action, adventure and sizable human interaction, with interesting characters and interesting
    backstories. A strong cast would do absolute wonders with the script, which would have plenty of
    space for the various events presented here, as well as for the flashback scenes of the lead
    character’s life in New York, which are just as engaging as the main story.
    Film: The story offers elements to make this a classic war film, with original situations and characters
    in tow to make it memorable. A very strong cast would make it a contender for awards, as the
    material here is bound to attract great performers; and the length and structure of the book translates
    into a script almost seamlessly. The true and masterful recreation of the 1940s, both in New York and
    Europe, is something to really look forward to.
    TV: A big budget television series would work well to create a more detailed pacing of the events
    leading to Max Kaspar’s drafting, as well as his past and aspirations. The historical backstory would
    find its space here, situating the main narrative with more depth. Stand alone episodes could recreate
    the character’s life back in both New York and Hamburg, not just as short flashback scenes. This
    book would be one season. The author wrote two more books within the same universe, which could
    be considered for future stories.

    Synopsis

    Eastern border of Germany, Winter of 1944. World War II. Desolation abound with entire towns
    bombed to the ground. Caught in the middle of the crossfire, recently-drafted Max Kaspar, a dashing,
    talented actor in his early thirties, spends his days thinking about his time in New York, where he tried
    and failed to make it as an actor. As his division finds shelter in an old theater, Max wastes no time
    before singing for them, only to be interrupted by German officers looking for him. They want Kaspar,
    and every soldier with a knowledge of English, to impersonate American soldiers in order to infiltrate
    enemy lines.
    The elite group is comprised of Max; Felix, a flamboyant ex-member of the circus; Zoock, a sturdy
    sailor; and Rattner, a violent, bad-tempered official who can barely speak English and is having a
    violent, secret affair with Felix. As they run into a group of American soldiers, their nervousness takes
    over and the inconsistency is enough for them to be asked out of the car - a development Rattner
    interrupts in the worst way possible, by killing one of the GIs with his machine gun. During the
    confusion, Zoock manages to flee and a scorned Felix kills Rattner. The two remaining men separate.
    After an arduous time wandering through the Belgian border, Max runs into a villa belonging to Ms
    Justine DeTrave - but watched by Americans Captain Slaipe and his driver and German interpreter,
    Smitty. A few days pass and, even though Kaspar has, at this point, perfected his American English to
    a satisfactory point, he makes a few mistakes with his Army terminology. Slaipe finally decides to
    stop the charade and tells Kaspar that he knows he’s German. So does Smitty. There’s nowhere to go
    but back to Germany as a spy for the Americans. It’s either that or death.
    Justine overhears the conversation and outs herself as a Nazi. She attacks them with a machine gun,
    killing Smitty. In the ensuing fight, the Captain is injured by shrapnel and Max is able to disarm and
    knock Justine unconscious, saving Slaipe’s life. The grateful Captain gives him a head start to escape
    and he heads back into German territory, dressed as a civilian. He’s now just Max Kaspar, not a
    soldier for anyone, and he’s finally going back home.

    About The Author

    Steve Anderson is a historical fiction author writing novels to introduce little-known aspects of historical events, mixing in overlooked crimes, true accounts, and neglected underdogs.