September 21, 2014

Central Casting Part II

Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada
I am often disappointed to see what could be very good movies ruined by poor casting decisions. The most celebrated contemporary actress is Meryl Streep although I've never been a fan.  Yes, she can play a wide range of characters with lots of different accents and chew up the scenery as good as anyone ever has but I don't go to movies for the acting; I go for the story.  With Meryl Streep, I can never get beyond that I'm watching an acting exercise to show her 'great range' so her characters never interest me. The Devil Wears Prada would have been much better served with Kristin Scott Thomas or Rene Russo...and some better writing.

Kristin Scott Thomas (top) and Rene Russo
 



 Remember the movie Unfaithful (2002) and all the buzz it caused? It was a breakthrough role for the wonderful Diane Lane and Richard Gere will always be convincing as a man who any woman would quickly grow bored with but what about the little boytoy?  Ladies, I know many of you were all agog over this slice of Latin Beefcake so you can keep him but we simply must rewrite the script to make this cupcake not an antiquarian book collector (are you f%*&ing kidding me?!?!?!) but rather a male model or waiter/aspiring actor who would much prefer to curl up with a mirror rather than a First Folio.

I'll have a couple more later in the week. Which movies would you cast differently?

Olivier Martinez in Unfaithful. I know what you're thinking...he looks exactly like
 every antiquarian book collector you know.










 

32 comments:

  1. Casting must be very daunting...
    Is Oliver the bloke that was cast in Love Actually?
    FYI GSL, I am not thinking of antique book collecting...

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    1. Hostess, I did see Love Actually and liked it; terrific ensemble cast but no Olivier Martinez that I recall or in the imdb.com cast list I just checked. I thought the whole antiquarian thing with OM beyond preposterous.

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  2. Oh yes, I know many antiquarian book collectors that look like him. I was at the auction rooms a couple of weeks ago and they had a special rare book sale going on. The room was absolutely full to the brim of book collectors, who all looked uncannily like Olivier. Spooky.
    The problem with The Devil Wears Prada was the book. It's so poorly written it's laughable. Andy keeps banging on about her desire to be a "serious writer", yet the book is written in the most base way. It needed a lot more polishing to bring a good script.

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    1. Heidi, 'tis a pity TDWP wasn't well written as I do think there is a lot of subject matter worthy of a great book in the 'Bonfire of the Vanities' tradition only with 3 dimensional characters.
      You must post on the next rare book sale you attend.

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    2. Agree, not great script, but even so loved it for the clothes and Paris scenes - would have watched just for those alone. Have no hang-ups about Meryl either - have enjoyed several films she's been in (including "Julie and Julia". But do agree it would have been interesting to see Kristin Scott Thomas in the Anna Wintour role: more similar body type and carriage and she often projects with subtlety a similar air of containment and reserve. She is always brilliant - and such an intelligent performer. Specially loved her in "The English Patient".
      Olivier Martinez is great eye candy but not such a promising actor - first saw him in the opening film of the French movie festival some years ago here - in "Le Hussard sur le Toit" (from novel by Jean Giono). Not a fabulous film but visually stunning, set in Provence, with the deliciously handsome Olivier in almost every frame. Perhaps he'll be more acceptable to people once he ages and loses some of his pretty boy looks - and hopefully improves as an actor. He was Kylie Minogue's beau for some years and read that he and his family gave her a lot of support when she was being treated for breast cancer, even though they'd broken up by them. So sounds like a basically decent sort of guy.
      Are we going to any rare books sales, Heidi?
      Best wishes, Pamela

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    3. Hi Pamela,
      The English Patient is my favorite movie and KST and Juliette Binoche have had a special place in my heart ever since although JB first beguiled me in Unbearable Lightness of Being. You make very good points about KST in the Anna Wintour role. I also saw The Horseman on the Roof when it came out thus beginning my distaste for OM further exacerbated by his off-screen romance with my on-screen crush the divine Miss Binoche.

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    4. Agree about Binoche - she was luminous in '"The English Patient" and also wonderful in "Lightness". Think my favourite of her film roles so far was in Kieslowski's "Three Colours Blue". It's also one of my favourite films (as is TEP). Haunting as she struggles through the loneliness and alienation of her grief to greater understanding, re-connection with others and freedom from her demons. Kieslowski was such a brilliant director! Best wishes, Pamela

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    5. Pamela, I did see 'Blue' (along with Red and White) and she was very good in that is really all I remember. As someone who regrettably doesn't speak the language, I've never been able to connect to French cinema but have seen nearly everything JB has ever been in.

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    6. A pity because there have been so many wonderful French movies. Perhaps worth going to a few French classes, just to begin a connection? As you're such a movie buff. Or are you not terribly Francophile? Once tried to get my husband along to Alliance Francaise classes long ago. Unfortunately coincided with a time when the French were misbehaving in the South Pacific. He was so angry with the French just then that he refused to learn anything or do any of the assignments. But it wasn't a total waste of time as some did sink in and when we attended an opera in Paris in June with the surtitles in French - he was able to read them and follow.
      I also really liked Red too. White OK, but not so much. Blue was brilliant. Pamela

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  3. When you are done bad casting move on to actors who were robbed of oscars or oscar noms - I always think of Demi Moore in GI Jane.

    Bad casting? Almost any vanity project by a star, though they are all escaping me now. I love Meryl myself. Agree about diane lane's boy toy - should have been a bad boy.

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    1. I think I last saw Demi in that awful movie with Robert Redford, Woody Harralson, and a $1,000,000 on offer to to sleep with her. That's now the approximate price I'd require to spend 90+ additional minutes with her.

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    2. Ha! One of my favourite lines in a piece on Joan Rivers was when she met one of her best friends: “"Marjorie was the only person who laughed out loud when someone said Demi Moore was talented,” jokes Rivers."

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  4. And talking of bad casting, has Keanu Reeves done anything good since Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure? I cannot take the man seriously in any other role.

    I love Kristin Scott Thomas and I thought she did an excellent job in Keeping Mum, which was probably the last film I saw her in.

    Oh, and the last antiquarian book seller I met looked so much like OM it was uncanny (admittedly I did meet him about fifteen years ago):

    http://www.richardkingofhay.com/

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    1. I last saw K. Reeves in that devil movie with Al Pacino; he was bad then and I suspect worse now as a dim intellect ages even worse than warm milk.

      I've had a huge crush on KST since English Patient and unfortunately she's been in a lot of bad movies...Gosford Park a rare exception. I hate seeing her in the many dumbed down roles she has recently taken and her eagerly anticipated turn in Evelyn Waugh's 'Up at the Villa' was a big disappointment as Sean Penn, at times quite good, was miscast and they had zero chemistry.

      I like your Richard King of Hay and wonder if there are any Ladies in Waiting to have a go at him in a powder room stall.

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  5. Right now all I can think of is the movie about the bootleg brothers with Tom Hardy and Shia LeBoef (sp?). Memory fads. Tom Hardy can do no wrong...Locker is excellent...but Shia LeBoef?! He ruined the Indian Jones movie single handily. Meryl Streep's best movie is still Sophie's Choice. I also don't much like when they cast forty year old men with twenty year old "women". Pet peeve of mine.

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    1. I just looked it up and that movie you refer to is "Lawless" and had a fab cast that also included Gary Oldman and a new crush of mine Jessica Chastain. Oh I had it when they put somebody in there who is all wrong. I also think May-December romantic pairings can ruin a movie and I don't much care for them in real life either

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  6. I agree with you across the board-OM cast as a rare book collector is pathetic and Meryl needs to say "No" to some roles. The offspring and I love Mama Mia and sing our hearts out but Meryl should not have been anywhere near that film. Im sure she was great in Sophies Choice but Id rather light myself on fire than watch such a horrible tragic story.
    I cant think of any recent movies; I always prefer to rewatch favorites than see new ones (read:fuddy-duddy), they so often disappoint.

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    1. I would love to hear you and offspring warbling Momma Mia and would prefer that to anything Meryl Streep has ever been in. My dear Beebe, I've seen maybe 2 new movies in the last 4 years so have similar tastes there as well although was amused by the recent rental I got of Grand Budapest Hotel.

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  7. Wow.....you said it. Once I was at a party, and freely mentioned how much I don't like the Meryl show, and how she put me off my childhood heroine, Julia Child. The daggers came out.......You would have thought I had three heads the way people were staring at me. On a more pleasant note, I am thinking maybe Adrian Brody could pull off the book collector?

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    1. Cynthia, how dare they give you a hard time over not being enthralled with MS. In a movie such as Unfathful even the more intellectual Adrian Brody doesn't work as well as making that character a pretty boy male model or waiter/aspiring actor. Boys that pretty never ever have serious intellectual pursuits is my experience. It would be difficult to convincingly establish an attraction between a smart older woman younger man in a movie of such short running time.

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  8. Miscast roles...have to think on that one,though the one's you have mentioned seem to be just that! Given they are miscast...they don't seem to stick with me;-)
    I am not a big fan of Meryl Streep,either. She seems to gobble up the screen. I am on the fence about her!
    KST...always a favorite! The English Patient,of course, but also enjoyed her in Sarah's Key!
    I enjoy,Wes Anderson films, hometown boy that he is, but found TGBH to be just slightly entertaining. The Royal Tennenbaums is my favorite WA film to date. Have a great week,G!

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    1. Dearest Trudye,
      You and I are two peas in a pod as English Patient is our fav movie and love your great taste in fashion over on Pinterest. I suspect EP a good indicator as to whether someone is keen on Meryl Streep or not as the beauty of EP was how beautifully understated it was and MS always seems to want to help the audience every step of the way with an exclamation point on every emotional phrase. I don't need or want that much help.
      I have always heard good things on Royal Tennenbaums so will make a point of seeing it this winter.

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  9. Hi GSL, a quick thanks for all your comments and support along the path...
    I love all the women you have here, especially Diane Lane who is so nuanced in all her roles.
    I wonder if sometimes actresses (I've seen it in Julia Roberts and also Meryl Streep) who if unchecked their acting becomes a series of cute tics (for Julia its that adorable looking behind her shoulder.)
    Meryl has gotten all the roles for the past few years, it must crush the other,.
    A friend of mine does not like Kristen ST because she has a prominent blue vein visible in her forehead.I adore her but once it was pointed out to me it was hard to concentrate on her other stellar performance. Actually I should not say performance as once you're aware, that is not good acting.

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    1. I know that blue vein on KST and shame on you as now I'll have to try not to notice/focus on it!!! But Jody you are forgiven and let me welcome you back from 'The Camino' as you have been a constant inspiration here at The Den and one day GSL will retrace your steps.

      I know how you love movies and with your sis Pietra in the biz we shall have much to discuss as literary movies with smart women is a passion of mine too and will be regular feature in The Den....you do recall I had your SF Chronicle movie critic colleague Mick LaSalle for Freshman Compostion (of course I made an A!).

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  10. Meryl is an excellent actor but I can barely watch her , it is always about the performance not the character . Miscasting - almost any pretty boy American actor over 45 , Tom cruise in reacher was just wrong . I am also over the age difference romances , it is not normal usual for a sixty something male to have a thirty something partner wife

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    1. Anon, we are in agreement although I would also include the under 45 pretty boy American actors and say that affluent 60something men often do couple up with women much younger but I do find large age disparities unseemly.

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  11. I'm a terrible grump and think everything I've ever read has been miscast. I'd be happy to Steve Coogan and Helena Bonham Carter reading out cereal ingredients however. I like them both a lot.

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    1. I just looked up Steve Coogan and while he looked familiar and is extremely busy I don't think I've ever seen him in anything. I'm a huge HBC fan ever since A Room With a View with Julian Sands, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, et al. I'm glad she and Tim Burton are over as he just seems so ghoulish and she took on a personae as a character in one of those movies of his that never interested me. She was superb in Wings of the Dove adapted from a Henry James novella.

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    2. Oh Room With a View has been one of my favorites forever. When I was 18 I went to Florence just to live the movie

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    3. I think Bebe's reminiscences of Florence would make for an interesting AA post.

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  12. I haven't met a rare antiquarian book collector, but one assumes they know how to read and I'm not quite sure OM looks like he's capable of it. Bad casting is legendary and causes one to ponder the casting couch chronicles.
    Consider KR as Little Buddha! WTF?

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    1. J, As CD mentioned above the only role KR can manage is as dim-witted stoner but he aged out of those roles 25 years ago. I do hear the casting couch is alive and well and with all those under 30 starlets so interchangeable and unmemorable it's no wonder

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