Friday, February 1, 2008

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Casting Coup: Gone with the Wind

*The very first entry in the very first Casting Coup Month. I know it's heresy to recast Gone with the Wind. Looking at it now, I really don't know if this was the best cast I could have come up with. But hey, it was my first time, it was 2008, and hullabaloo. I have replaced all the pics used then with new ones, since I only hot-linked back in the day. I also didn't use screencaps then, for some bizarre reason. Enjoy.*

CASTING COUP MONTH begins now, with a remake I've been planning for ages.

I am speaking of the romantic Civil War/Reconstruction epic, Gone with the Wind (in glorious Technicolor!)

It was quite a landmark film. Though Victor Fleming won the Oscar for directing duties, everyone knows that it's really David O. Selznick's picture. Besides, Fleming was, what, the fourth or fifth director to work on the film? He was much busier with a film of his own; The Wizard of Oz.

Gone with the Wind is worthy of note, if just for the number of Oscars it garnered. Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (you better believe it) for the great Vivien Leigh, Best Screenplay for Sidney Howard's single-handed adaptation of the 1024-page tome, Best Cinematography (Color--Ernest Hailer/Ray Rennahan), Best Film Editing, Best Art Direction. Most significant, of course, was the Best Supporting Actress win lobbed at Hattie McDaniel, the first black actor ever honored with such an honor. Thomas Mitchell, who played Scarlett's dad, also won Supporting Actor, but that was for another movie--Stagecoach. And the immortal score somehow lost out to the cringe-inducing Wizard of Oz.

So, why a remake? That's a fair question. Let me explain. Actually,

Who Are They: Hopeful suitors of Miss Scarlett, important mainly to show how desirable she is.

Originally played by: George Reeves (you know, Superman?) played Brent, while Fred Crane played Stuart.

My Choices: I, too, can get jock-types who vaguely look alike to play twins. And Walter only makes all-star extravaganzas.

Channing Tatum (She's the Man, Step Up) as Brent (or Stuart)
Chad Michael Murray ("One Tree Hill"[?], House of Wax) as Stuart (or Brent)

Who is He: The overseer over at Tara, until he knocks up Emmy Slattery. After the war, they lord it over the fallen Southern aristocrats, but who cares? They'll always be trash.

Originally played by: Victor Jory (just add mustache)

My Choice: Come on. Like there's any doubt?

Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men, American Gangster, In the Valley of Elah, Grindhouse)

Who is She: No good piece of white trash impregnated by the overseer. Trash.

Originally played by: Isabel Jewell

My Choice: There is this one actress I admire. She could do this role.

Heather Graham (Boogie Nights, From Hell)

Who is She: A Woman of the World, if you know what I mean. She knows her way around town, if you get my drift. She's pals with Rhett Butler, if you catch my meaning. But she's got a heart of gold, and actually winds up being one of the five best characters in the film.

Originally played by: Ona Munson

My Choice: La Muse

Drew Barrymore (Music and Lyrics, Lucky You)

Who is She: An old Atlanta gossip.

Originally played by: Academy Award Winner Jane Darwell (The Grapes of Wrath)

My Choice: To the left.

Kathy Lamkin (No Country for Old Men, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning)

Who is He: An awesome Atlanta doctor who does not suffer fools gladly. Number Four of the Awesome Five.

Originally played by: Harry Davenport

My Choice: In keeping with the 1939 tradition of having Brits play Southerners...

Alan Rickman (Truly Madly Deeply, Something the Lord Made)

Who is She: Scarlett's aunt by marriage, Melanie's aunt by blood, Pittypat is a flighty woman who insists on wearing shoes way too small for her ample figure. Says one of my favorite lines in the movie: "Yankees in Georgia!"

Originally played by: Laura Hope Crews, who should just come back from the dead and replay the part.

My Choice: But since that's impossible, we have...

Margo Martindale (Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, The Hours)

Who is He: Captain Hugo P. Sideburns himself, his muttonchops are a force to be reckoned with. Suellen's intended, but he winds up being the second Mr. Scarlett O'Hara. And, to be honest, he's kind of a pushover.

Originally played by: Carroll Nye (tiny pic, but look at those sideburns!)

My Choice: Maybe too old?

Hugh Jackman ("Viva Laughlin", Someone Like You...) -- and look at those muttonchops!

Who is He: Melanie's dorky brother. Becomes the first Mr. Scarlett O'Hara; Scarlett does this to get back at Ashley for marrying Melanie.

Originally played by: Rand Brooks

My Choice: This is a tough one, and I still don't think I made the right call here.

A.J. Trauth ("Evens Stevens", Happy Endings), who, in this photo, appears to be giving the "come hither" look to Joey Lawrence.

Who is She: Ashley's sister, who seems to, shall we say, not have the best of friendships of Scarlett.

Originally played by: Alicia Rhett

My Choice:

Jenna Fischer (Walk Hard, Blades of Glory), who may be way too hot for this role.

Who is He: The foreman on Tara, he is a devoted servant both before and after the War and Reconstruction.

Originally played by: Everett Brown

My Choice:

Academy Award Nominee Michael Clarke Duncan (The Green Mile, The Island), and holy shit he's a gorilla.

Who is She: A whiny servant who don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies. She gets smacked around a lot.

Originally played by: How can anyone forget Butterfly McQueen?

My Choice:

Sharon Leal (This Christmas, Dreamgirls)

Who is He: Another devoted slave, this one working in the house.

Originally played by: Oscar Polk

My Choice: Okay, it's another Dreamgirls star.

Danny Glover (Gone Fishin', The Royal Tenenbaums)

Who is She: The O'Hara matriarch, the beautiful Ellen is in control of her household affairs, ruling Tara with an iron, but lovingly matriarchal, fist.

Originally played by: Barbara O'Neil, and she was wonderful

My Choice: Speaking of powerful beauties...

Academy Award Nominee Catherine Keener (Capote, Into the Wild)

Who is He: The Irish patriarch of the O'Hara clan, a horse-ridin' fellow who goes a little crazy post-Yankee victory.

Originally played by: Academy Award Winner Thomas Mitchell (Stagecoach)

My Choice: A writer/director/actor...

Peter Mullan (Children of Men, On a Clear Day)

Who is She: The real head of the household. She's not afraid to give an open, honest opinion to Scarlett. Or anyone else for that matter. We know who's pulling the strings! Number One of the Awesome Five.

Originally played by: Academy Award Winner Hattie McDaniel (Gone with the Wind)

My Choice: The always reliable...

JoMarie Payton ("Family Matters", "The Proud Family")

Who is She: The sweet and honest and selfless bride to Ashley, she is a weak creature. And the childbirth doesn't help. Come to think of it, I really don't like Melanie. Bloody do-gooder.

Originally played by: The STILL-LIVING Academy Award Winner Olivia de Haviland (To Each His Own, The Heiress)

My Choice: More Brits as Southerners...

Emmy Award Winner Kelly Macdonald (The Girl in the Park, No Country for Old Men)

Who is He: Though he seems slightly fey in the film, in the book, Ashley is a stand-up kind of guy. With a mustache. Married to Melanie, he is faithful and true, while totally aware of Scarlett's feelings for him. He's not bad.

Originally played by: British wuss/Academy Award Nominee Leslie Howard (Berkeley Square, Pygmalion). Seriously, Scarlett? Him?

My Choice: Doesn't he look sensitive? Like Ashley?

Academy Award/Hollmann Award Nominee Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson, Lars and the Real Girl)

Who is He: You fucking know this guy. He's Number Two on the Awesome Five. He's the most quotable pre-Bond cinematic character. Hell, he's the most James Bond pre-Bond character.

Originally played by: Academy Award Winner/Bad-ass Clark Gable (It Happened One Night)

No one eye-fucks like the original.

My Choice: I'm sorry, but George Clooney's too old for the rest of the cast. But how about Choice #2?

Christian Bale (Newsies, Reign of Fire)

Who is She: The heiress of Tara, the heroine of the story, the bitch with the money.

Originally played by: Academy Award Winner Vivien Leigh (Gone with the Wind, A Streetcar Named Desire)

My Choice: Now this is a tough one. Someone unconventionally beautiful (the book says she was not, but everyone thought she was because of the way she carried herself). Someone with that dark hair/light eyes look. Someone that we could see chasing Ryan Gosling and getting chased by Christian Bale.

Rachel McAdams (Red Eye, The Family Stone)

And there you have it: Walter Hollmann Presents Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your choices for Pork and Ashley Wilkes are most accurate. However, Rhett Burler would look better with someone more accurate to Mitchell's description, 'almost too muscular for gentility and with a swarthy, apraising grin like a pirate about to ravage a maiden'. He should be more impertinent. As for Frank Kennedy, he ought to be played by an older actor, since he is an 'old maid in britches'.