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I love it when they make a movie of a book I’ve already read, because I prefer not to have any preconceptions as I cast the movie in my head. What usually happens, though, is I hear they’re making a movie of a book I’ve been meaning to read, so I start reading the book already knowing who’s in it. I did this twice a couple of years ago, with The Age of Innocence and Interview With the Vampire, and (apart from the small problem that the latter novel sucked) I regretted it in both cases. The English Patient, however, I read a couple of years ago, before I was aware of any cinematic machinations, and based on my own casting selections, I’m hopeful about the movie. I had Jeremy Irons as the Patient, but Ralph Fiennes is a good choice, dark and cold. Juliette Binoche is too old to play Hana (who’s supposed to be 20), and she’s French, but she has the right high-strung quality. I was picturing Winona Ryder, but to be honest, I am often picturing Winona Ryder. On the other hand, I had Liam Neeson as Caravaggio and the filmmakers have apparently gone with Willem Dafoe; presumably the film character will be somewhat less nuanced, shall we say, than the literary one. His creator, Canadian writer Michael Ondaatje, is probably looking forward to putting the movie behind him and being a proper novelist again, but for the time being he’s dutifully flacking, reading from his novel at 5:30 p.m. at the Freer Gallery’s Meyer Auditorium, 12th & Jefferson Dr. SW. FREE. (202) 357-2700. (James Lochart)