Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Casting Coup: The Jungle

*Oh, wow. Pre-Oscar noms, clearly, as I call Viggo Mortensen a "potential" nominee. Ah, the days of Livejournal, when I still had to call a Globe/SAG/BAFTA nominee a potential Oscar one as well. This is also the last time I put pictures before the "My Choice" label. The ones there now are new, by the way. I was quite the hot-linking fan back in the day. My God, and did I really misspell Von Sydow's first name? *


Today, let's honor Paul Thomas Anderson's latest film, There Will Be Blood, by visiting the world of Upton Sinclair. His novel Oil! inspired the first half of the Daniel Day-Lewis flick. Yet Sinclair is more famous for the high school required reading: The Jungle. In fact, until There Will Be Blood came out, The Jungle was the only Sinclair book available at Borders and Barnes and Noble.

Despite its popularity, there is only one film version of The Jungle, a lost silent made in 1917. Perhaps it's Sinclair's socialist leanings. Perhaps the concerns of foreign workers at the turn of the century has no modern day equivalent. And perhaps people just don't want to see a film version of The Jungle.

Well, I know I would.


Who is He: A corrupt politician. Jurgis actually works for him for a time, but that's before the socialist thing. Scully "owns the festering dump in which...children forage for food."

My Choice: Sam Neill (Jurassic Park, Dead Calm)

Who is She: The forewoman where Ona works, she also sells girls into prostitution. Ona won't, so Miss Henderson gives her hell.

My Choice: Conchata Ferrell (Edward Scissorhands, "Two and a Half Men")

Who is He: The foreman where Ona works. He sexually harasses her, destroys Jurgis's work in politics, and is generally evil.

My Choice: Academy Award Nominee Danny Aiello (Do the Right Thing, Leon)


Who is He: Near the end of the book, there is about a chapter's worth of dialogue explaining the ideals of socialism and why it's a practical alternative to capitalism. This is the guy who gives the speech.

My Choice: Academy Award Nominee Judd Hirsch (Ordinary People, A Beautiful Mind)

Who is He: He first educates Jurgis on Socialism, introducing him to Nicholas Schliemann. He's a Pole, fluent in Lithuanian, and he gives rousing speeches on politics.

My Choice: Jesper Christensen (Casino Royale)

Who is He: Owner of a small hotel, he hires Jurgis, making the them a pair of hospitable socialists.

My Choice: Old favorite Richard Schiff


Who is He: A kind deli-owner now fallen on hard times thanks to his move to America.

My Choice: Academy Award Nominee Michael Lerner (Barton Fink, The Missiles of October)

Who is He: My favorite character. And also, a charming criminal who inducts Jurgis into his trade.

My Choice: Academy Award Nominee/Playwright Sam Shepard (The Right Stuff, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford)

Who is She: A socialist as well, but before she came to America. She lives in Packingtown and, having seen a number of families try to make it, she knows the score.

My Choice: Academy Award Winner Olympia Dukakis (Moonstruck, Away from Her)


Who is He: Elzbieta's brother, it is he who convinces everyone to come to America. He's also the first to book it when the going gets tough.

My Choice: Mark Boone Junior (Batman Begins, Memento)

Who is He: Jurgis's elderly father, forced to work in deplorable conditions to support his family. And did you know, there is no happy ending for any of the characters?

My Choice: Academy Award Nominee Mac Von Sydow (Pelle the Conqueror, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)

Who is She: Ona's cousin, more adept at kicking ass and taking names most other immigrants. For a while, anyway.

My Choice: Academy Award Nominee (for writing!) Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Connie and Carla)

Who is She: Ona's stepmother, she cares for the children and the rest of the family despite all their troubles. She is a strong woman who never forgets her heritage.

My Choice: Julie Kavner (Awakenings, The Simpsons Movie), a wonderful character actress

Who is She: Jurgis's wife, "a kind, lovely, optimistic girl...ruined by the forces of capitalism".

My Choice: Ayelet Zurer (Munich)

Who is He: The novel's protagonist, an optimistic Lithuanian immigrant who becomes disillusioned with America, eventually turning to socialism.

My Choice: Potential Academy Award Nominee (please?) Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises, A Perfect Murder)

Agree? Disagree? Tell me what y'all think.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Casting Coup: Ethan Frome

*A Livejournal post, courtesy of the Wayback Machine. Even though I use the word "again" in the first sentence, I believe this is the first time I ever used the phrase Casting Coup Tuesday, a feature that would become my favorite aspect of this blog. Of course, I had to add some new pictures (I was a hot-linking fiend), but otherwise these are untouched, unaltered, uncensored. This was the first Patty C post, P.S.*

It's Casting Coup Tuesday again!

Today, I present my third favorite novel of all time, and my favorite assigned reading from school. By this, I refer to the sexiest book since, I don't know, Atonement maybe:


Who is He: He bookends the tale for us. Unidentified, so it's like he's us! How exciting!

My Choice: Paul Schneider (Lars and the Real Girl, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), an everyman's everyman. Totally rocks the following expressions: listening with interest, inner curiosity.

Who is He: One of the guys who lives in Starkfield. Enjoys a healthy, open relationship with Ruth Varnum, and even ends up marrying her. Aww...

My Choice: Sam Rockwell (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind), who seems like one of those dependable, dorky guys. Like Edward Norton, without the Oscar nom.

Who is She: Ned Hale's main squeeze, a "refined and educated" woman who freaking loves Ned. Aww...

My Choice: Claudie Blakley (Pride & Prejudice, Gosford Park), who is about as popular on Google Images as she is in America.

Who is He: Ned's Daddy, a builder with barely enough money of his own. Ethan approaches him for a loan, but Andrew is too busy being awesome.

My Choice: Christian Clemenson (Hannah and Her Sisters, an episode of The Golden Girls), who I cast before in The Great Gatsby, because he is a reliable character actor.

Who is He: A guy who totally wants to bang Mattie. Totally.

My Choice: Garrett "Is He Gay Or Not" Hedlund (Four Brothers, Death Sentence), whose looks are better than his talent. As this role calls for much staring and little speaking, he's perfect.

Who is She: Maybe I'm crazy, but I believe she's Andrew Hale's wife. Accidentally guilts Ethan.

My Choice: Academy Award Nominee Patricia Clarkson (Pieces of April, Lars and the Real Girl), the female Christian Clemenson, in that she's dependable, and can do whatever she wants. Does anyone else find her strangely attractive? No? Moving on.

Who is She: Named by retarded parents, Zenobia is Ethan's wife, a hypochondriac (maybe) and a bitch (perhaps). Or is this just as Ethan views her? Either way, for a sickly gal, she wears the pants better than anyone else.

My Choice: Academy Award Nominee Emily Watson (Breaking the Waves, Hilary and Jackie). Who better, right?

Who is She: Zeena's cousin, the complete opposite of Zenobia. She bonds with Ethan, and of course, the two fall scandalously in love.

My Choice: Academy Award Nominee Natalie Portman (Closer, The Darjeeling Limited), and I think everyone can agree that Ethan can be forgiven.

Who is He: One of them tall, dark, handsome guys, sensitive, a nature lover. Deeply spiritual, very quiet.

My Choice: Christian Bale (3:10 to Yuma, Newsies), who apparently is unable to look less than sexified in every picture he takes. I wonder if he and Brad Pitt have a club where they meet in a room full of mirrors and laugh at the normies.