Sunday, March 29, 2009

Early Bird Actress Predix

Once again, I am taking part in the Best Actress Psychic at the Film Experience. Can I correctly predict the five Best Actress Nominees for 2009, this far in advance? Let's see...

My nominees are...

Once again, I am taking part in the Best Actress Psychic at the Film Experience. Can I correctly predict the five Best Actress Nominees for 2009, this far in advance? Let's see...

Carey Mulligan, An Education
Release Date: October 2009
In 1960s suburban London, a teenage girl's life changes with the arrival of a playboy nearly twice her age.

Michelle Pfeiffer, Cheri
Release Date: June 26, 2009
An older woman educates the son of a courtesan in the ways of love in 1920s Paris.

Natalie Portman, Brothers (still not from film)
Release Date: TBA
The wife of a soldier gone MIA in Afghanistan begins connecting with his ne'er-do-well brother.

Gabourey "Gabby" Sidibe, Precious: Based on a Novel by Sapphire
Release Date: November 6, 2009
In Harlem, an overweight, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction.

Meryl Streep, Untitled Nancy Meyers Project
Release Date: December 25, 2009
A divorcee falls for a new man as her ex-husband reenters her life.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Faith and Frocks

This is the post I wrote for my class, as referenced by the previous blogpost. Enjoy.

Maybe it's just my fascination with the fashion of the time, maybe it's my Higgins-esque desire to make a woman into a lady, but I found the costumes in Carrie to be most telling. Most telling, indeed.

I love, for example, Margaret White's frock. For the majority of the film, she is only seen in that huge black frock. It is like a nun's habit, but without the head covering, appropriate enough for a woman as tied to God as Margaret believes herself to be. But oh! It is so much more than just a frumpy frock donned by your everyday religious nut (Is there any other type? In the movies, I mean?). That final monologue Margaret delivers on her knees, in confession to the "devil child", is so telling. Succumbing to sex not once, but twice, despite praying for the strength to resist -- AND SHE LIKED IT! And at the beginning, the recitation of Eve's original sin as she smacks her daughter in the face with a pamphlet. It is clear that Margaret sees herself as Eve: having been tempted by the devil's forbidden fruit (sex, sex, sex!), she is forced to cover herself to hide her shame. A fig leaf for Eve is a black gown for Margaret.

Likewise, Carrie covers herself after the prom. She dishonors her mother, even forcing the woman down so that she can go to the prom. She allows herself to be "tempted" by a cute boy and a shallow gym teacher, even committing the sin of pride when she votes for herself for Queen, even tempting the Devil himself as she does so! And yes, she is punished for this by the blood of a pig, an animal sacrifice, perhaps, though one that comes from an unclean meat (Leviticus 11:7). (May I point out, though, how even at the prom, she still has a bit of her mother's infuence, covering her "dirty pillows" with a shawl until her name is called to go onstage?)

So, yes, after the humiliation of it all, after the mass murder, after sending John Travolta and Chris into a roadside fireball, after bathing the blood off (high school can be so treacherous, you know?) -- Carrie comes out of the bathroom in a white frock, matching her mother. And yes, it is a nightgown, and perhaps that's all there is to it, but think about it. After she commits her own sins, not only does she return to her mother, the only person left who she thinks can understand her -- she dresses conservatively, covering her body. Covering her shame.

And now she and her mother both wear white gowns, white ceremonial gowns. Which only makes sense, because Margaret is about to murder her daughter with a huge fucking butcher knife (can I say fucking in a post, Andrew?). Now, this follows two Biblical passages. While the action of murdering her daughter with that huge knife is primarily reminiscient of Abraham showing his dedication to the Lord by sacrificing his son Isaac, it is also in accordance with Deuteronomy 21:18-21, in which it is outlined that a disobedient child should be stoned to death. "You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid (DEU 21:21, NIV)."

Margaret becomes avenging angel, with her white gown, sleeves spread like wings. Check out that ceiling above her, with the light reflecting just so; a halo, perhaps? And she is so gleeful. She is finally doing the Lord's work, just the way she always saw herself doing. The Old Testament fire-and-brimstone thing, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the death of Aaron's sons, Jezebel mauled by dogs. Of course, Piper Laurie's Oscar-nominated performance is just incredible, but the gown! The gown is really what sells this!

The religious elements of this film are just fascinating, and I adore how much of this is conveyed, not just through Margaret's dialogue or the creepy Jesus figure, but through these costumes. There is no better way to contrast high school and home, popular girls and outcasts, prophets and prom, than through these ingenious designs.

Do forgive the length, but Hot Damn do I love this movie!

Why Must Movies Be So Awesome?

May...may I post something here from something else? You see, I have this class that makes us watch movies every Tuesday and Thursday, and then we blog about them. And last night, we saw one of the best movies I have ever seen. It shook me to the core, and this, alongside Elmer Gantry, give me reason to reevaluate my Top Ten Films of All Time.

Now, help me out here. I want to make sure I'm not crazy. My recent obsession with Xanadu was absurd, I know (though justified). So maybe I'm just crazy. Surely it isn't normal to sit sobbing in a movie theater for the entire final ten minutes of the film. And surely it isn't a sane person who downloads both the movie score and the Broadway soundtrack the day after seeing this.

I don't know. Last night, I sat down to watch a horror movie. I wound up seeing one of the most beautiful, horrifying, truest portraits of high school (and adult) insecurities I've seen. It's haunting and magnificent, and making me question whether or not this should be the landmark film of 1976, instead of Network and Rocky.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Belated Wishes

I can't believe I let this slip by without any comment. March 20th marked the 59th Birthday of one of the Phallic Phive. They are, of course, the elite group of male actors that hold a special place in my heart for being so goddamn awesome. He can currently be seen in a recurring role on Damages, a television show I need to catch up with. I mean, this guy, Glenn Close and Marcia Gay Harden??? It's almost too much.

He also has a a few films coming out. The Countess has him playing the man who investigated claims that Elzbieta Bathory bathed in the blood in the virgins. Endgame recounts the end of Apartheid in South Africa, with Chiwetel Ejiofor as President Thabo Mbeki. And he'll be playing H20 in The River Why, which sounds...intriguing.

Happy Belated Birthday, Billy Boy!


Obviously, when I watch The Golden Girls, there is nothing else in the world. Just me and Sophia and Dorothy and Blanche and Rose (and sometimes Stan). Then the commercials come on, and I just kind of tune them out. Blah-de-blah, you know? I usually adore commercials, but when it's interrupting a Very Special Episode, I have no patience for them.

Except for her. I don't know what it is about her, but I have fallen and fallen hard. It's so odd, I've never done this with a commercial actress before, but sometimes Love comes calling when you least expect it.

So get ready, Flo. This time, you're approved.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Casting Coup: Wicked

My favorite blog put up a challenge yesterday. Nathaniel was on his way out to see Wicked for the second time, and he asked his faithful readers to consider options for, as he put it, "the inevitable movie version." Indeed, I responded to him then and there, but I felt it necessary to allow my own readers in on this.

If you know me in real life (and I have a suspicion that most of my readership does), you know Wicked thrills me not at all. I have been told that it needs to be seen to be appreciated, that the emotion of seeing it played before you takes over and sweeps you along with it. This could be so. I have, after all, heard nothing but glowing reviews from people who have seen the show. But the music, man...I just don't care for it. "One Short Day", the Wizard's songs, "No Good Deed", "The Wizard and I"...ugh. They bother the shit out of me.

You're more than welcome to disagree. Hell, I own Mamma Mia! and one of my favorite all-time musicals is Xanadu (the movie!). Either way, it would be remiss of me to miss out on an opportunity like this. I know so many people that love the show. It's a Tony-winning musical. People love it. There must be something to it, right?

And so, knowing full well that a movie is already in the works fr a planned 2010 release, I'm ready to ride this pony and give you some suggestions of my own. Because sometimes, looking at how a non-fan perceives things can be fun.

Who is He: An Animal who teaches at Shiz, the University attended by Elphaba and Galinda. As a goat, he is under some pressure: the last Animal permitted to teach at Shiz, a number of Animals have lost their jobs and ability to speak. Dillamond is next on the chopping block as the Animal Suppression Act gains strength.

Song: Something Bad

Originally played by:

William Youmans

My Choice: SAG Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (Waking Ned Devine) and Best Ensemble (Waking Ned Devine)

David Kelly (Laws of Attraction, Stardust)
Sometimes, I don't feel I have to explain myself.

Who is He: A Munchkin, smitten with Galinda, but forced to remain with Nessarose. Winds up as the Tin Woodsman.

Songs: Dancing Through Life, March of the Witch Hunters

Originally played by: Tony Award Nominee for Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Young Frankenstein)

Christopher Fitzgerald

My Choice:

Josh Peck (The Wackness, Mean Creek)
It's so hard to do this when all you know is the music and a general understanding of the plot. From the picture and what I can ascertain, given that he winds up with a cripple and then a Tin Man, I am going to say that Boq is kind of a dork? Is that right? I don't know, Josh Peck has done musical theater, so here he is.

Who is She: Elphaba's sister, bound to a wheelchair. Elphaba takes care of her, but Nessa is also embarrassed by her. Falls for Boq, then becomes governor of Munchkinland and the Wicked Witch of the East.

Songs: Dancing Through Life, The Wicked Witch of the East

Originally played by:

Michelle Federer

My Choice: SAG Award Nominee for Best Ensemble (Into the Wild)

Kristen Stewart (Twilight, Panic Room)
Something clicked. I don't quite know why this works in my head, but it does.

Who is He: A prince, and a rebel! At first attracted to Galinda, he later falls for Elphaba, a result of his arc from self-centered to open-minded. Turned into the Scarecrow to protect him from severe beatings.

Songs: Dancing Through Life, As Long As You're Mine

Originally played by: Tony Award Winner for Best Actor in a Musical (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels)

Norbert Leo Butz

My Choice: SAG Award Nominee for Best Ensemble (Hairspray)

Elijah Kelley (28 Days, the upcoming Red Tails)
Talented, young, and studly. Could totally nail that transition. Besides, I think we all want to see him in another musical.

Who is She: Headmistress of Shiz University, she's the real villain of the piece. Morrible is in cahoots with the Wizard to repress Animals. She can control the weather.

Songs: The Wizard and I, Thank Goodness

Originally played by: Tony Award Winner for Best Actress in a Play (The Elephant Man)

Carole Shelley

My Choice: Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actress (Gaslight, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Manchurian Candidate), BAFTA Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actress (Death on the Nile), Golden Globe Winner for Best Supportng Actress (The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Manchurian Candidate)

Angela Lansbury (Anastasia, Nanny McPhee)
Number One: Angela can sing. Two: This is the type of role she used to OWN with an iron fist. Number Three: See those two films listed beside her name? Those are last two feature films she was in. We've been Lansbury-less since 2005. It's time.

Who is He: At first, he seems to be a fatherly sort of chap, a sentimental man who, without children, has instead adopted all of Oz as his kids. But no, instead he's more of a dictator, secretly oppressing the Animals of Oz. There's also a secret bond between him and Elphaba.

Songs: A Sentimental Man, Wonderful

Originally played by: Tony Award Winner for Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Cabaret)

Joel Grey

My Choice: Academy Award Winner for Best Supporting Actor (Cabaret)

Joel Grey (Dancer in the Dark, Choke)
Well, okay, I do like it when an Original Broadway cast reprises their roles for the movie. However, Idina and Kristin and the rest are too old to play the same roles on-screen. We're dealing with close-ups, after all. Carole Shelley as Mme. Morrible? People, we need marquee value -- Angela appeals to theatre queens and old people. Ah, but Joel Grey! Oscar-winner, the oldies remember him, he is a legend among the theatre lovers. Yeah, Joel Grey! Perfect! Ooh, and remember when he talked to Josh Brolin at the Oscars for Best Supporting Actor? Fun times.

Who is She: Beautiful and ambitious, Galinda is Elphaba's unikely roommate at Shiz. They do not get along, as Galinda is perky and seems superficial and vain. The two eventually become friends, but Galinda's status-seeking, and the triangle involving Fiyero, threatens to estrange them.

Songs: No One Mourns the Wicked, What Is This Feeling?, Dancing Through Life, Popular, One Short Day, Defying Gravity, Thank Goodness, I'm Not That Girl (Reprise), For Good

Originally played by: Tony Award Winner for Best Actress in a Musical (You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown)

Kristin Chenoweth

My Choice: SAG Award Nominee for Best Ensemble (Hairspray)

Brittany Snow (John Tucker Must Die, Prom Night)
Perky, beautiful, and blonde. We know she can play the social climber, for what was Amber Van Tussle but a little hussy on her way to sleeping to the top? Galinda/Glinda is a character with more depth, though, and Snow could show what a great actress she truly is.

Who is She: The green-skinned gal of Shiz. She has amazing magical abilities, and Mme. Morrible and the Wizard soon take advantage of this. She is rivals and friends with Galinda, and beloved of Fiyero. After rebelling against the Wizard, she is soon branded a Wicked Witch...of the West!

Songs: The Wizard and I, What Is This Feeling?, Something Bad, Dancing Through Life, I'm Not That Girl, The Wizard and I (Reprise), One Short Day, Defying Gravity, The Wicked Witch of the East, Wonderful, As Long As You're Mine, No Good Deed, For Good

Originally played by: Tony Award Winner for Best Actress in a Musical (Wicked)

Idina Menzel

My Choice: Golden Globe Nominee for Best Actress in a Drama (Thirteen), SAG Award Nominee for Best Actress (Thirteen)

Evan Rachel Wood (The Wrestler, Across the Universe)
Her performance in The Wrestler impressed me, and I already know she can sing. Can she sing like Idina? No, and thank God. What this role could bring are memories of earlier promise.

Best Actress: Brittany Snow, Evan Rachel Wood
Best Supporting Actor: Joel Grey, Elijah Kelley, Josh Peck
Best Supporting Actress: Angela Lansbury, Kristen Stewart

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Birthday Wishes

Ah, what a two days this has been for birthdays!

Yesterday, my second favorite living actor celebrated his 59th birthday. Later this year, we'll get to see him in Robert Rodriguez's family-friendly Shorts.

As for today, it's the 76th year for my main man, the Number One Greatest Living Actor in the World. He's got two films due for release this year. In Is There Anybody There?, he plays a magician who befriends a boy whose parents run the retirement home where he lives. In Harry Brown, he plays the titular hero, bent on revenge. Seventy-six and doing action flicks? Hell yeah...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Casting Coup: American Gods

Over a year ago -- waaaaaay back in the day -- I asked that people send in requests for books or plays they could recommend, and then I would cast them. Now, I'm sure some of you think by this point that I was just whistling Dixie. "Why Walter," you declare, "WHEN THE FUCK IS MY BOOK GETTING CAST?!?" Well, Gemma and Lea and Becca are satisfied, at least, with Slaughterhouse-Five, Pippi Longstocking, and Beauty and the Beast all done.

Today is another day in which Gemma will nod and go, "Good. Goooood...." For today, we have another book highly recommended by her. Written by her future husband, it's the story of an ex-convict who gets out earlier than expected...due to the death of his wife. In search of a job, he meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday, who seems to already know a great deal about him. Shadow soon becomes Mr. Wednesday's bodyguard/escort (but not like that), but comes to realize that this is no ordinary conman he's helping. Instead, Shadow finds himself in the center of an epic battle between the Gods of Old -- Norse, Egyptian, Indian, etc. -- and the American Gods of New -- Media, Technology, the Internet, etc.

The novel ranks among one of the most imaginative enterprises ever embarked upon. Most of the characters are Gods or mythological characters, but given human form. None are inventions of the author meaning that if one does their research, they can find much to read about Czernobog, Anansi, and Loki. Others are given different names, but are identified through context clues. It is, by far, the most interesting book I have ever read. Indeed, I kind of feel bad for casting it. Not only would much have to be cut out (and who would want that, given the full feel of the novel?), but it seems kind of pointless. If your main antagonists are the Gods of Television and Media and all that, wouldn't making a movie seem...disrespectful?

Ah, but that's the beauty of American Gods. You never really know who the heroes are, where the villains hide, what is going on, until the very end. And even then, can we judge? Who are we to place our code of ethics onto the immortals of old? The book's a thinker, one that would be a page-turner if I didn't enjoy prolonging my time with it. I highly recommend it to anyone who has yet to read it. And when you do, why not have these faces in mind?


Who is She: Supposedly another prostitute, she is actually an incarnation of the Queen of Sheba. Seen as a kind of succubus, she swallows her customers through her vagina during intercourse. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is something you have to read to believe.

My Choice:

Josette Simon (Cry Freedom, Poirot: The Mystery of the Blue Train)
There is something regal and goddess-like about Simon. She's like the less terrifying Grace Jones. She is remarkably beautiful, of course, and that would only help her image as the Queen of Sheba. Good actress, too, probably the best part of the Poirot episode she was in.


Who is He: A Slavic god, traditionally known as one of the dark, evil gods. In the novel, he is a temperamental man, old but strong, who uses his sledgehammer in battle. And in bets. Plays chess against Shadow.

My Choice:

Boris Leskin (Everything is Illuminated, Cadillac Man)
The Russian actor is pushing ninety, but he still looks like he could kick my ass. No great feat, true, but I like to think with a man his age, it would be about even. It helps that he is from the right area, too. I've seen him in Everything is Illuminated, where he demonstrated both the temper and the tender. It should be fine.


Who is She: A pagan goddess for whom feasts were served in the month of April. Camped out on the lawn in California now (right? Gemma, did I remember that correctly?), Easter is approached by Wednesday to join the Resistance, as it were. She is of great importance when the Gods of Old and New are preparing for battle: it is she who must get Shadow before first blood is shed.

My Choice: BAFTA Award Nominee for Best Newcomer (E.T. The Extraterrestrial), Golden Globe Nominee for Best Supporting Actress (Irreconcilable Differences), Razzie Award Nominee for Worst Actress (Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle & Duplex) and Worst Supporting Actress (Freddy Got Fingered)

Drew Barrymore (He's Just Not That Into You, the upcoming Whip It!)
Drew can be sexy and mysterious and friendly. There is a great maturity to her work, just not in her more famous movies. I imagine her Easter would be like Sugar's looks with Lindsey's attitude. Yeah, look 'em up, they're both great Drew performances.


Who is He: Writing a history of mythology, he also runs a funeral parlor. But mostly, he is an incarnation of the Egyptian God Thoth: arbiter, writer, magician, and Judge of the Dead.

My Choice:

Shaun Toub (Crash, The Kite Runner)
Of Middle Eastern descent, Toub is another one of those great character actors that is every casting director's dream. He looks the part, he is becoming more bankable, and Lord is he talented.


Who is He: Mr. Jacquel works alongside Mr. Ibis in the funeral parlor. Shadow meets up with both them again much later on. Of course, he is an incarnation of Anubis, the Egyptian God who oversaw mummification of the dead and the afterlife in the Old Kingdom.

My Choice:

Homayoun Ershadi (The Kite Runner, the upcoming Agora)
He looks kind of like a dog, I think. I do. I don't mean that offensively, just some people look like ibises, and others like dogs. He and Toub have worked together before, so the comfort level would already be there. It's a nice choice, I think.


Who is He: A leprechaun, but rather larger than what you might think. Mad Sweeney drinks, fights, does coin tricks, the whole nine yards. The first thing he does is fight Shadow, but he is in a worse state when he sees Shadow again. It is he who gives our hero the Coin. A Coin, mind you, of great importance.

My Choice:

Zach Galifianakis (Out Cold, Into the Wild)
If ever there was a man who looked a part.... Galifianakis is mainly known for comedy (what with him being a comedian), but he has done some low-key, dramatic work as well, and has been well-received for such roles. His turn as Mad Sweeney could be both humorous and tragic. There's always a hint of sadness to Zach's schtick, and it would serve him well here.


Who is She: A form of Kali, Hindu goddess of death and destruction. She is, surprisingly, reluctant to take part in Wednesday's plan. When the American Gods spring an ambush, however, she is more willing to listen.

My Choice: Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actress (House of Sand and Fog)

Shohreh Aghdashloo (American Dreamz, X-Men III: The Last Stand)
Aghdashloo could put on that fierce face and just own it. She is very pretty. I like to think she smells like cinnamon, because she reminds me of a woman I once went ot church with who smelled like cinnamon.


Who is He: A yellow-gloved storyteller, Mr Nancy is often upbeat and helpful. He is also a form of the West African and Caribbean culture hero Anansi, the trickster and storyteller, the bringer of rain, the son of the sky god Nyame. Mr. Nancy is one of the more charming characters in the novel.

My Choice:

Sy Richardson (Men at Work, TV's Pushing Daisies)
Richardson has a delightful smile, and truth be told, I thought that was important to the role. He is well-known as a great teacher and orator, so he could convincingly sell the storyteller aspect of Mr. Nancy. And I've always loved his line delivery in Pushing Daisies, in which he plays the grumpy coroner. A higher-profile role would suit him.


Who is He: The confidence trickster who ropes Shadow into this whole rigmarole. He spends much of his time hiding Shadow and recruiting the ancients into his campaign. Mr. Wednesday's name comes from Woden's Day, Woden being a Germanic form of Odin. That is, Wednesday is Odin, the chief of the Norse gods. He is a conman, one of trickery and war and cunning and victory.

My Choice: Academy Award Winner for Best Actor (Kiss of the Spider Woman), BAFTA Award Winner for Best Actor (Kiss of the Spider Woman), Golden Globe Winner for Best Actor in a Drama (Kiss of the Spider Woman, Children of a Lesser God), Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy (Broadcast News) and Best Newcomer (Altered States), SAG Award Nominee for Best Ensemble (Into the Wild)

William Hurt (A History of Violence, The Incredible Hulk)
Hurt is still sexy, as you can see. He gets that scruffiness just right, doesn't he? The man has a regalness about him, a sort of royal charm. He's one of the greatest actors living, utterly convining as both heels and heroes. The Wednesday role covers all grounds.


Who is He: Not so much a God as he is a figure of mythology. Shadow meets him in Whiskey Jack's trailer, which is, you know, here, there, and everywhere. Chapman is the true name of Johnny Appleseed, and though the man really lived and died, his spirit remains as long as people believe.

My Choice:

Michael Rooker (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Slither)
Rooker has the gravelly voice that I would like for this role. It's a spin on the Good Old Boy, the old man drinking and shooting the shit. Neat little cameo by an accomplished character actor.

Who is He: An incarnation of technology, I believe the Web in particular. He has no blood or bones, just parts and sparks. The Fat Kid is the youngest of the New Gods. He has a chip on his shoulder, but when those same chips are down, he realizes just how much shit he's in. He is young an unprepared, and when he starts to break down, the New Gods begin to worry....

My Choice:

Jonah Hill (Accepted, The 40 Year Old Virgin)
He's not skinny, okay? And this guy is clearly one of the New School. It's a good idea, I think, to have those most associated with current trends and popular culture to play the New Gods.

Who is She: An incarnation of Media, she is well-coiffed and well-spoken. But not trustworthy. Not by a long shot.

My Choice:

Melora Hardin (The Hot Chick, 27 Dresses)
Yes, that is Jan Levinson-Gould, from The Office. Again, a face we immediately associate with popular culture. Media is described as looking like a television anchor. Melora Hardin has always reminded me of a Fox News reporter. Consider this A-plus.

Who is He: Not a God, a mere mortal, but one who works closely with the New Gods. He carries out Mr. World's orders, is pushing fifty, and has no idea what's going on. Nevertheless, he's doing a job, and the only thing that can get in the way of that is the touch of a woman.

My Choice:

Patrick Warburton (Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, Get Smart)
If you're hiring a bodyguard, you're going to get someone imposing and wall-like. And that is Patrick Warburton. His voice is quite famous, of course, enabling him to emphasize the Big Dumb Brute, and that eye-fuck he always gives is an asset to the role. Warburton is also just old enough to play the part.


Who is He: Whiskey Jack keeps a trailer here, there, and everywhere. A figure in Algonquian mythology, Whiskey Jack is similar to the trickster gods of Ojibwan and Assiniboinian mythologies. He never seems to be ruffled, and helps out Shadow more than once, though he regards the Old and New Gods with bemusement. An American God, but he does not choose sides, really.

My Choice: Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (Dances with Wolves), SAG Award Nominee for Best Ensemble (The Green Mile)

Graham Greene (The Education of Little Tree, Snow Dogs)
Greene is one of the only Native American actors I know, it's true. But he's also really great at what he does, so it would be remiss of me not to give him this role.

Who is He: The mysterious figure pulling the strings of the New Gods. No one knows who he is, they just follow his orders.

My Choice: SAG Award Nominee for Best Ensemble (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)

Jason Flemyng (From Hell, Marple: The Murder at the Vicarage)
Well, he looks the part. Exactly like the part. Like, the book is clearly describing Jason Flemyng. Great actor, too. He's appeared in a number of Casting Coups, and I do hope Benjamin Button brings him more recognition in America.

Who is He: The town's oldest resident. Hinzelmann organizes little contests and maintains town traditions. He picks up Shadow when first he enters Lakeside, the small town where he is to hide out. Hinzelmann is a kindly, helpful old man, and comes to Shadow's aid when he is needed.

My Choice: Golden Globe Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (Nashville)

Henry Gibson (TV's Boston Legal, TV's Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In)
As those who've seen The Luck of Irish know, Gibson has that elfin appearance. He's old and kindly, but he's also a little mischievous. Look at that grin! Or don't, because it's not pictured. Anyway, we all know he's one of my favorite all-time actors, so he gets in.

Who is He: Sheriff of the county. Nice guy, even befriends Shadow. Has a "kissin' cousin" with a bizarre link to events Shadow's involved in, but he appears to be in love with someone else in town...

My Choice:

Gary Cole (Office Space, Breach)
Sometimes, a face just pops up. This was one of those times. But Cole has played nice guys before. He's more or less typecast as the Man in Charge, whether he be in charge of drug operations (Pineapple Express) or a rugby team (Forever Strong). Sheriffs? He's played a few. Chad Mulligan is right in Gary Cole's element.

Who is She: Shadow's neighbor in Lakeside. A divorcee, Marguerite has two kids, but only one of them is at home. The other has disappeared, one of many youngsters who disappear from the town every year. Mayhaps there are tender feelings between her and Mulligan? She does invite Shadow to dinner, though...

My Choice: Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actress (Being John Malkovich, Capote), BAFTA Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actress (Capote), Golden Glob Nominee for Best Supporting Actress (Being John Malkovich), SAG Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actress (Being John Malkovich, Capote, Into the Wild) and Best Ensemble (Being John Malkovich, Capote, Into the Wild)

Catherine Keener (S1m0ne, Synecdoche, New York)
Ah, the delicate sadness of a mother. The loneliness of the divorcee next door to a sexy, mysterious man. The familiarity of living in a small town. Has she not demonstrated her abilities to play all three? The combination gives me chills, the kind only Catherine can give.

Who is She: A girl Shadow meets during his travels. The college student is getting over a bad breakup, but she doesn't like Shadow that way. Happens to be related to Marguerite.

My Choice:

Margo Harshman (TV's Even Stevens, Fired Up!)
Harshman has features that could easily pass for half-white, half-Native American, I think. I mean, it's not a completely ridiculous portrayal. And she looks enough like Catherine Keener so that you could believe their relationship. She's a good actress who should be doing better work than she's been giving. Perhaps this year's Sorority Row?

Who is She: Shadow's late wife, who unexpectedly comes back from the dead. Because of this state, she is a little...ethereal, I guess? Detached?

My Choice:

Zooey Deschanel (Almost Famous, (500) Days of Summer)
I've always felt Deschanel had this "other" quality. It's her features, her voice, her acting style -- it all suggests something not quite real. And she's incredibly beautiful. For me, she would be the actress we could most believe as Laura.

Who is He: The protagonist, an ex-convict who gets involved with the Gods after his wife dies. In the meantime, he discovers a little about himself, his country, his wife, his parents, and so on. Shadow may be of Native American descent. He is also tall, muscular, wide of frame, and in his thirties. Practices coin tricks.

My Choice: Razzie Award Nominee for Worst Actor (The Chronicles of Riddick), SAG Award Nominee for Best Ensemble (Saving Private Ryan)

Vin Diesel (The Iron Giant, The Fast and the Furious)
So he's about seven years too old for the part. So what? Did you know Vin Diesel was 42? I didn't think so. He's a great actor (he is) with some great acting chops. He can bring the "don't fuck with me" look, but also the sensitivity for the Laura scenes. Out of everyone in Hollywood, in Diesel is the only one who can both look and act this part.

Best Actor: Vin Diesel
Best Supporting Actor: Gary Cole, Jason Flemyng, Henry Gibson, William Hurt, Boris Leskin, Sy Richardson
Best Supporting Actress: Drew Barrymore, Zooey Deschanel, Margo Harshman, Catherine Keener