Monday, March 2, 2015

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Casting Coup: A Clockwork Orange

I am not one of those people that immediately objects to a remake. I always want to see where it's gonna go, what it's going to do with the material, if it's going to have a neat new spin or follow things beat for beat. But I grew up in the theatre, where everyone got to play the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz at least once, each serving a different director's vision, each following their own instincts.

And so it is that I have Casting Coup Tuesdays (now basically Casting Coup Weeks), where I reimagine the cinema as Broadway, and cast a Revival -- easier to do with something like Fiddler on the Roof, which started as a stage play. But this week I'm tackling all five of the Best Picture nominees from 1971, which means taking on the task of re-casting classics like The French Connection, The Last Picture Show, and today's gem...

Best Picture
Best Director - Stanley Kubrick
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium - Stanley Kubrick
Best Film Editing - Bill Butler

The story of an impossibly violent teenage hoodlum in the near future whose crimes eventually catch up to him, landing him in jail; he attempts to get out early by undergoing an experimental behavior modification treatment called Ludovico's Technique. The film, and the novel before it, wants to talk about free will, governmental control, fascism -- all that good stuff. Kubrick's film ends on a distasteful note of Alex embracing his true, horrible nature, but at least he's exercising his free will. This excises the final chapter of Anthony Burgess's original novel, which has a little more hope for innate goodness, but which Kubrick felt wasn't true to the tone of the rest of the novel. I can see that.

A note before we begin -- when I originally planned this Casting Coup Week, it was to go along with my 2014/1971 connections. Thusly, each cast features one or more Academy Award-nominated actors from this year.

Let's get to it, shall we? After the jump, mind.

Dad and Mum
originated by Philip Stone & Sheila Raynor
Far too accommodating, non-confrontational. But when Alex leaves, they certainly don't drag their feet about renting out his room.

My Choice: She's a BAFTA Award Nominee for Best Actress (Truly Madly Deeply)
Juliet Stevenson & Tim Innerny

The Lodger

originated by Clive Francis
Rents out Alex's room during the our humble narrator's prison stay. Apparently comes to see Alex's parents as his own family, and even manages to convince them to kick Alex out when he returns.

My Choice: SAG Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor and Best Ensemble (Finding Neverland)

Freddie Highmore
Look at this sweet boy. His sweet face. His sweaters. He's the polar opposite of Alex.


originated by Warren Clarke
Oh, talk about a fitting name! Temperamental, weak, a follower. Someone who couldn't make it on his own, but oh how he yearns for power! Explains his eventual job, doesn't it?

My Choice:

Will Poulter
Watch him in The Maze Runner if you don't believe me.


originated by James Marcus
Makes a play at taking Alex's place in the group. I believe it is he who suggests the break-in at Mrs. Weathers...a trap!

My Choice:

Will Merrick


originated by Michael Tarn
He's the quiet one, the young one. Better than this, really. The first to mature.

My Choice:

Olly Alexander

Mr. Deltoid

originated by Aubrey Morris
Alex's parole officer. A little rapey.

My Choice: Hollmann Award Winner for Best Supporting Actor (In the Loop)

Peter Capaldi
We've gotten trollish, wispy-haired Deltoid. Now let's get tall, older, Scottish Deltoid, with the same bit of oddness Capaldi brought to Paddington.

The Psychiatrist 
originated by Pauline Taylor
Helps to rehabilitate Alex after his fall from a window.

My Choice: Academy Award/BAFTA Award/Golden Globe/SAG Award Nominee for Best Actress, SAG Award Nominee for Best Ensemble (The Theory of Everything)

Felicity Jones
Her warmth, that smile, her ability to read as, that's not kind. Particularly since she really was quite phenomenal in The Theory of Everything.

The Prison Guard

originated by Michael Bates
Officious, good at his job, doesn't trust Alex one bit.

My Choice: Hollmann Award Nominee for Best Adapted Screenplay (Submarine)

Richard Ayoade
I think, oddly, it's his deeper intonations during the interview segments of Garth Marenghi's Dark Place that convinced me he could do this.

The Prison Chaplain

originated by Godfrey Quigley
A good man, a righteous man, a man who genuinely believes Alex can reform, and who does not trust the Ludovico technique.

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

Chris O'Dowd

The Prison Governor

originated by Michael Gover
Doubtful of the Ludovico technique. Doubtful of any hope for Alex's reform, actually.

My Choice:
Julian Sands

The Minister of the Interior

originated by Anthony Sharp
The public wants crime decreased? He'll fill the prisons. They want prison reform? He'll enact the Ludovico's Technique. They want to reverse the treatment? He'll do that, too. Whatever it takes to keep up appearances, whatever it takes to keep his position, whatever it takes to maintain control.

My Choice:

Robert Powell

Dr. Brodsky

originated by Carl Duering
Very cold and clinical -- when he realizes an unplanned side effect in the treatment, he reasons that it "can't be helped." As long as he gets the desired results, right?

My Choice: Golden Globe Nominee for Best Actor (Wilde), SAG Award Winner for Best Ensemble (Gosford Park)

Stephen Fry
Has the perfect voice for professional distance.

Dr. Branom

originated by Madge Ryan
Not as cold and clinical as she seems, I think -- while proud of her work, she looks a little squeamish as she watches Alex react to the treatment.

My Choice:

Olivia Colman

The Tramp

originated by Paul Farrell
A drunk man beaten by Alex and his droogs.

My Choice:

David Bradley
Filch! I hate to typecast Filch. But he's so good! Gruff and old and a voice like rocks.

Mr. Alexander

originated by Patrick Magee
A writer and social activist whose wife is raped by Alex.

My Choice: Hollmann Award Nominee for Best Actor (Twelve Years a Slave), Academy Award Nominee for Best Actor (Twelve Years a Slave), BAFTA Award Winner for Best Actor (Twelve Years a Slave), Golden Globe Nominee for Best Actor (Kinky Boots, Twelve Years a Slave), SAG Award Nominee for Best Actor and Best Ensemble (Twelve Years a Slave)

Chiwetel Ejiofor
We don't get to see him go crazy nearly enough. Have we ever? I don't remember. But I do know, thanks to Twelve Years a Slave, that the amount of hurt and suffering he can put into one look is pretty devastating.

Mrs. Weathers

originated by Miriam Karlin
A cat-lady and health nut, murdered by Alex.

My Choice:

Josette Simon
I swear, I saw her one time in one episode of Poirot and have not been able to get her out of my mind. She's elegant, fit, and unforgettable.

Alex DeLarge

originated by Malcolm McDowell
Our friend and humble narrator, a lover of Beethoven, a rapist, a bad apple, a genius, highly intelligent -- and unbelievably cruel.

My Choice:

George MacKay
From Pride!

Tomorrow -- re-casting this beloved musical classic is as reckless as a fiddler...on the roof!

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