Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Casting Coup: Hercule Poirot's Christmas

*This one's from one of the Hollmann Holiday Extravangaza posts, my annual Christmas celebration. It is only one of two times that I have made a Casting Coup for an Agatha Christie. These are not the original pictures, by the way, as my hot-linking craziness from the LJ days had to be dispensed with.*

I know a few of you out there have never before read Hercule Poirot's Christmas. Thus, the following casting session may be confusing, or meaningless. However, I love Agatha Christie, and casts, and Christmas, and last time I checked, this was the HOLLMANN Holiday Extravaganza. So, allow me to be as selfish as Scrooge pre-Marley and Marley pre-death, and present my cast for the Agatha Christie classic Hercule Poirot's Christmas.

Synopsis (from us.agathachristie.com):

It is Christmas Eve. The Lee family reunion is shattered by a deafening crash of furniture, followed by a high-pitched wailing scream. Upstairs, the tyrannical Simeon Lee lies dead in a pool of blood, his throat slashed. But when Hercule Poirot, who is staying in the village with a friend for Christmas, offers to assist, he finds an atmosphere not of mourning, but of mutual suspicion. It seems everyone had their own reason to hate the old man...


Colonel Johnson
Who is He: Chief Constable of Yorkshire and friend of Poirot's. "I know criminals. Chicken-livered, most of them."
Originally played by: Nobody. In the TV version, Colonel Johnson was replaced with series (and short stories) regular Chief Inspector James Japp, who took the case for Scotland Yard with little or no argument from the locals, curiously enough. He was played by Philip Jackson.

My Choice: The great Bill Nighy, always an able supporting man, and who would work wonders with this small yet humorous role.

Superintendent Sugden
Who is He: Superintendent of the Middleshire Police. Johnson says he has little imagination.
Originally played by: Mark Tandy. Much younger than this photo, and with a mustache.

My Choice: Toby Stephens, who has at least four kick-ass roles to his credit: Bond villain (Die Another Day), murder suspect (Poirot: Five Little Pigs), Mr. Rochester (Jane Eyre), and Maggie Smith's son. Only, he too needs a mustache. He's the one on the left.

Better look:

Anywho, moving on...


Simeon Lee
Who is He: The patriarch of the Lee family, with legitimate and illegitimate family members all over the place. How much of a dick is he? He gathered his family together for Christmas just to psychologically torture them for his own amusement. He gets his throat sliced open.
Originally played by: Vernon Dobtcheff, who was also in Sidney Lumet's Murder on the Orient Express.

My Choice: An aging family patriarch with a wicked sense of humor? Hmm, let me think.


Alfred Lee
Who is He: The eldest son. Kind of a pushover, since he still lives at home and serves his father like a Nubian slave. Hates his brother Harry. Simeon hated him because he was boring.
Originally played by: Simon Roberts.

My Choice: Academy Award Nominee Kenneth Branagh

Lydia Lee
Who is She: Alfred's wife, "an energetic, lean greyhound of a woman", stronger than her husband. She at least tells Simeon what she really thinks of him.
Originally played by: Catherine Rabett, who was on "You Rang, M'Lord?", my favorite Britcom of all time. More importantly, she played Elizabeth in Frankenstein Unbound.

My Choice: She even looks like an energetic, lean greyhound of a woman. Academy Award Winner Cate Blanchett.

George Lee
Who is He: An MP, if you can believe it, which means he's pretty high up on the social food chain! Also, he's a bit of a moron, cheap, and just dull as dirt.
Originally played by: Eric Carte, who has not changed a bit since 1994.

My Choice: I tend to typecast, giving the role of a cheap snob to someone who can play snobs really well. Ladies and gentlemen, the manager of the Spice Girls, Richard E. Grant.

Magdalene Lee
Who is She: George's much younger wife, a blonde beauty with a blank expression. She spends like it's going out of style. Everyone thinks George a fool for marrying her.
Originally played by: Andree Bernard, who is still quite a beauty.

My Choice: Another beautiful, sexually-charged blonde, Sienna Miller.

David Lee
Who is He: The youngest son, he has yet to recover from his mother's death twenty years ago. Coming back home reverts him to a childlike state.
Originally played by: Nobody. His character, perhaps the most complex and interesting of all, was cut out of the film.
My Choice: The youngest guy here, Ewan McGregor.

Hilda Lee
Who is She: David's plain wife, extremely devoted to her husband, in an almost scary amount.
Originally played by: Well, without David, there could be no Hilda.
My Choice: Plain but with an extreme force of character, Academy Award Nominee Samantha Morton.

Harry Lee
Who is He: The prodigal son, a dishonest swindler and forger of cheques. Naturally, his father's favorite.
Originally played by: Brian Gwaspari. This is an old picture.

My Choice: Dougray Scott, whom you may remember from Ever After, starring Drew Barrymore. Or Desperate Housewives.


Pilar Estravados
Who is She: The estranged granddaughter of Simeon's dead daughter, who married and lived in Spain. Pilar is beautiful and full of gumption. She also becomes a favorite of her grandfather's.
Originally played by: Sasha Behar, who is actually kind of pretty in an exotic kind of way.

My Choice: The only beautiful Spanish actress old enough, yet young enough, to play this part: Academy Award Nominee Penelope Cruz.

Stephen Farr
Who is He: A mysterious stranger from South Africa, claiming to be the son of an old family friend. But who is he, really? Can he be trusted? He and Pilar are in a constant state of eye-fucking.
Originally played by: Nobody. Again, one of the three most intriguing characters was cut out. Only Pilar remained.
My Choice: That master of accents, Academy Award Nominee Tim Roth.


Who is He: Simeon's valet, a mysterious man who comes and goes as quietly as a mouse. Or a cat, even.
Originally played by: Ayub Khan-Din, and they turned it into a race thing.

My Choice: Let's go crazy, let's go wild, let's go self-referential. I say Poirot star David Suchet!

Who is He: The butler, he has been in the family for something like a thousand years. Knows all the secrets, but would be willing to die if it meant protecting the family.
Originally played by: John Horsley, who co-starred with Catherine Rabett on "You Rang, M'Lord?"

My Choice: The always-dependable 200-year-old Irish actor David Kelly.

I know, I know. This is really what you came to see.

Hercule Poirot
Who is He: The world's greatest detective.
Originally played by: Bunches of people, but in the original Christmas show, it was David Suchet.

My Choice: This is kind of cheating. There's a movie called Murder by the Book, in which Hercule Poirot and Agatha Christie have an intellectual duel of sorts. The Poirot in that is the Poirot in mine: Academy Award Nominee Ian Holm.

Don't worry, he's used to playing small people with French accents.

And that is my cast for Hercule Poirot's Christmas.

*It is here that I traditionally do a Christmas song, but the one I chose is so epically long... We're better off without it.*

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Casting Coup: Breakfast at Tiffany's

*From ye old days of the Livejournal comes this neat little Casting Coup, probably one of my favorites. I like how the post just ends: no wrapping up, no entreaty to the audience to participate. Just cuts off. These pics are new, by the way, because of my hot-linking. The text is not.*

Because you asked for it, begged for it, and demanded it, here it is...


Who is He: One of the richest men under forty in New York City. Holly sets her sights on him early on in the novella.
My Choice: Tony Award Winner Dan Fogler (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Balls of Fury)

Who is He: The handsome Brazilian playboy with whom Holly hooks up with between the middle and the end of the novella.
My Choice: Rodrigo Santoro (Love Actually, 300)

Who is He: A convict Holly visits in prison, unaware of the fact that he is, in fact, a mob boss still controlling his operations from behind bars.
My Choice: Academy Award Nominee Chazz Palminteri (Bullets Over Broadway, Running Scared)

Who is She: Holly's roommate, rival, and fellow model, who is also looking for a rich man under forty.
My Choice: Molly Shannon (Saturday Night Live, How the Grinch Stole Christmas)

Who is He: Holly's neighbor, a Japanese photographer who befriends the narrator.
My Choice: George Takei (Star Trek)

Who is He: Holly's hillybilly husband.
My Choice: Academy Award Winner Chris Cooper (Adaptation, October Sky)

Who is He: Holly's manager/agent
My Choice: Gary Beach (The Producers)

Who is He: Holly's gay writer friend, kept anonymous in the book
My Choice: Alan Tudyk (3:10 to Yuma, Serenity)

Who is She: The free-spirited runaway-turned-call girl, blonde and curvacious, who hates the Mean Reds.
My Choice: Maggie Grace (Lost, The Jane Austen Book Club)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Casting Coup: Lolita

*This is from the first 'audience pick' I ever did. I wound up doing all of them, of course, but this (understandably) got the most votes. It is also my favorite novel. Few votes, due to the small number of LJ readers I had at the time. Pics are different now, since some of the hot-links I used then are no longer in service.*

Lolita: 3 (2 on lj, 1 in person)
Ethan Frome: 2 (1 on lj, 1 on facebook)
Breakfast at Tiffany's: 2

Becca's helpful and comprehensive list was the berries. I think everyone should do that from now on.

So, Lolita is clearly the winner.

On with the show then!

Who is She: "A woman in her mid-20s with whom Humbert has an affair".
My Choice: Christina Ricci (Sleepy Hollow, Black Snake Moan)

Who is She: The headmistress of the "progressive" Beardsley School for Girls.
My Choice: Elaine Stritch (Small Time Crooks, Monster-in-Law)

Who is She: A friend of Lolita's, who may or not know the "real deal" about Humbert.
My Choice: Emma Stone (Superbad, Archie: The Motion Picture Epic)

Who is She: One of Charlotte's friends in Ramsdale, a neighbor lady who crushes on Humbert.
My Choice: Cheryl Hines (Waitress, "Curb Your Enthusiasm")

Who is He: Jean's husband; on the surface, they are the Cleavers.
My Choice: Dylan Baker (Across the Universe, Spider-Man 3)

Who is She: A religious woman, mother of Lolita, throws herself at Humbert, generally unpleasant.
My Choice: Felicity Huffman (Transamerica, Magnolia)

Who is He: A popular playwright, a producer of child pornography.
My Choice: Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote, The Savages)

Who is She: The titular character, a nymphet, a young girl that drives men crazy, the lover of Humbert Humbert.
My Choice: AnnaSophia Robb (Bridge to Terabithia, Charlei and the Chocolate Factory)

Who is He: Our protagonist, "a middle-aged scholar with an obsession for nymphets."
My Choice: Colin Firth (Love Actually, What a Girl Wants)

Who is She: Quilty's writing partner and companion.
My Choice: Maggie Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko, Stranger Than Fiction)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Casting Coup: Anything Goes

*This was only the third one within a four-month span, so I don't know why I call it a monthly or bi-weekly feature. I guess by this time, I knew what was going to happen. This is also the first musical to be cast. New pics have been used, since the hot-linking habit did not serve me well. Also, I did this play the summer before this post, so there's a lot of references to people involved in that production.*

So, now we come to my monthly casting session. Maybe it's bi-weekly. I really don't know. Today, we have a look at the Cole Porter classic, Anything Goes.

First is the cameo role, Reverend Henry Dobson.

Played here by Richard Briers. Briers has played a priest seventy-five times, and is a regular in Branagh's Shakespeare films. When not doing supporting roles for Branagh, he does cameos in other films.

Then, of course, there's the purser, originally played by Jason Haft.

Now played by Seth Meyers (American Dreamz, Saturday Night Live). He's tall, skinny, wiry, great at physical humor and facial expressions. In fact, he's the perfect complement to the captain:

That's right. Jon "not the one we know" Lovitz! A short, tubby guy with fantastic comic timing would work great with a tall, skinny guy with fantastic comic timing.
Songs for these two include: Group numbers.


Sings: Buddie Beware, Group Numbers

My choice: Amy Spanger (Reefer Madnes: The Movie Musical, The Wedding Singer: Original Broadway cast). This may be typecasting, but we know she can play the part. And also, she's got the voice. And also, she's hot. So there.

Sings: The Crew Song, Group Numbers

My choice: Academy Award Nominee Elliott Gould (Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, The Ocean Movies). This kind of role is a walk in the park for Gould. Can he sing? Probably not, but if you know the show, you know this doesn't require much.

Sings: Group Numbers

My choice: Duh. Rue McClanahan (The Golden Girls, Out to Sea)! Even the costume notes say "Golden Girls". So there.


Sings: The Gypsy in Me, Finale, Group Numbers

My choice: Ewan McGregor (Down with Love, Trainspotting). Oh my God, think about Ewan singing about how can't wait to get the stage all set so he can let the gypsy in him yet. Cue swoons.

Sings: Be Like the Bluebird, Friendship, Group Numbers

My choice: Academy Award Winner Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote, Boogie Nights). Of course he can sing. Haven't you seen his Jesus Christ Superstar in Along Came Polly?

Sings: Goodbye Little Dream Goodbye, It's De-Lovely, Finale, Group Numbers

My choice: Academy Award Winner Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line, Rendition). She has a beautiful voice, and she shits doves. Besides, if Raye can't play it, Reese would be second-best.

Sings: You're the Top, All Through the Night, It's De-Lovely, Finale, Group Numbers

My choice: Christian Campbell (Reefer Madness). Yeah, he's got that charming, boy-next-door quality that's perfect. Yeah, he's got the voice for it. Yeah, he's perfect.

And finally, the moment you've all been waiting for.......

Sings: I Get a Kick Out of You, You're the Top, Friendship, Anything Goes, Blow Gabriel Blow, Finale, evry other song in the show

My choice: Academy Award Nominee Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense, Little Miss Sunshine). She's hot, she's brassy, she's ballsy, she's that perfect combination of tough-as-nails and sex kitten that Reno needs. And she has a beautiful voice.

Comments? Disagreements? Satisfaction?