*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? *
It's CASTING COUP TUESDAY!!!
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.
THE CORRUPT CAPITALISTS
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)
DEDE ANTANAS RUDKUS
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)
TETA ELZBIETA LUKOSZAITE
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.