Tuesday, May 17, 2016

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Casting Coup Tuesdays: The Right Stuff

The Right Stuff
Best Picture - Nominated
Best Supporting Actor, Sam Shepard - Nominated
Best Original Score, Bill Conti - WON
Best Cinematography, Caleb Deschanel - Nominated
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Geoffrey Kirkland/Richard Lawrence/W. Stewart Campbell/Peter R. Romero/Jim Poynter/George R. Nelson - Nominated
Best Editing, Glen Farr/Lisa Fruchtman/Stephen A. Rotter/Douglas Stewart/Tom Rolf - WON
Best Sound, Mark Berger/Thomas Scott/Randy Thom/David MacMillan - WON
Best Sound Effects Editing, Jay Boekelheide - WON

May I confess: I've never been one for space? Partly related to fear of the unknown, yes, as well as a natural instinct to not purposely venture forth into places devoid of oxygen. But I also never really got the Space Race in general. Closely related as it is to the Cold War, to me it's always seemed like peacetime dick-measuring, a way to show off our superiority without dropping another atomic bomb. So we made it to the Moon, we've seen evidence of water on Mars, we can tell the difference between a planet and a sub-planet -- so bloody what? What does it all mean? What was it all for?

That said -- I do get shockingly giddy -- awestruck, heart swelling with pride -- when I watch what the men of the Mercury 5 mission accomplish in The Right Stuff. It takes a genuinely interesting subject - don't get me wrong, it is fascinating what people went through to soar among the stars - and manages to make what should have been a documentary series work within a narrative feature. Do we get to know all of the astronauts? No, but you'd be surprised how many of them we do get to know, plus the men who tried but didn't make it, plus their wives, plus the men in Washington. The ego of politics, and the politics of scientific research, ground the proceedings with realism, a certain cynicism, lest we think this was all about virtuous intentions. And, of course, they make sure to address things like holding in a colonic and pissing inside your spacesuit.

Yet there is an appropriate awe about the undertaking. Even when we're earthbound, the majesty of the sunsets... And when Chuck Yeager flies up into the clouds, the endless billowing clouds, the sun blinding us, blinding him. Actual space entry takes on an almost psychedelic look, like Heaven exploding through a kaleidoscope. Even a watering hole like Pancho Barnes' Happy Bottom Riding Club is given its due, home as it was to the beginnings of the program.

The Right Stuff is good as it is. Folly to mess with it. But let's. Because after all, this is Casting Coup Tuesday.

(except for Annie Glenn and Louise Shepard, all Right Stuff pics originate from Aveleyman)

The Astronauts

United States Navy. The second American to orbit the Earth.

Originally played by:
Charles Frank (The Other Side of the Mountain: Part II, Lucky Stiff)

My Choice:
Mark Webber (For a Good Time, Call..., Green Room)

United States Air Force. First to sleep in space. Last of the Mercury astronauts.

Originally played by: Golden Globe Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (Far from Heaven), SAG Award Winner for Best Ensemble (Traffic)

Dennis Quaid (Footloose, Truth)

My Choice: 
Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World)

United States Marine Corps. The starriest of the original astronauts. The first to orbit the Earth. Lights up Australia as he passes over, almost experiences trouble with the heat shield. Almost.

Originally played by: Hollmann Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (Pain & Gain), Academy Award Nominee for Best Actor (Pollock) and Best Supporting Actor (Apollo 13, The Truman Show, The Hours), Golden Globe Winner for Best Supporting Actor (The Truman Show), BAFTA Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (The Truman Show, The Hours), SAG Award Winner for Best Supporting Actor and Best Ensemble (Apollo 13)

Ed Harris (Nixon, Snowpiercer)

My Choice:

Corey Stoll (Midnight in Paris, Ant-Man)

United States Air Force. Second American in space. Nearly drowns escaping his hatch upon its return to Earth, which becomes a topic of quiet scandal.

Originally played by:

Fred Ward (Short Cuts, 30 Minutes or Less)

My Choice: 

Lee Pace (Lincoln, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug)

United States Navy. Develops the life-support systems. Fifth American in space.

Originally played by:

Lance Henriksen (Jagged Edge, Near Dark)

My Choice:

Jon Bernthal (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Sicario)

United States Navy. The first American in space. Does a killer Jose Jimenez...he thinks so, anyway.

Originally played by:

Scott Glenn (Nashville, The Paperboy)

My Choice:

Jason Sudeikis (We're the Millers, Mother's Day)

United States Air Force. One of the original Mercury Seven.

Originally played by:

Scott Paulin (Cat People, Turner & Hooch)

My Choice:

Adam Pally (Iron Man 3, Dirty Grandpa)

United States Army Air Forces. Chuck never actually made it into the astronaut program (they wanted men with a college degree), but he was the first pilot to break the sound barrier. Without him, they wouldn't be looking for the men with the right stuff.

Originally played by: Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (The Right Stuff), BAFTA Award Nominee for Best Adapted Screenplay (Paris, Texas), SAG Award Nominee for Best Ensemble (August: Osage County)

Sam Shepard (Crimes of the Heart, Midnight Special)

My Choice: SAG Award Winner for Best Ensemble (Argo)

Scoot McNairy (12 Years a Slave, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice)

The Wives

Gordon's wife, who fears becoming a widow...and can't believe she goes along with him on these things.

Originally played by:

Pamela Reed (Junior, Bean)

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

Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, 10 Cloverfield Lane)

The wife of John Glenn, who refuses to comply with LBJ and give an interview, shy as she is about her stuttering.

Originally played by:

Mary Jo Deschanel (TV's Twin PeaksThe Patriot)

My Choice: SAG Award Nominee for Best Ensemble (Bridesmaids)
Ellie Kemper (TV's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, 21 Jump Street)

The wife of Gus Grissom, who wonders why her husband's space flight resulted in them almost being shoved aside.

Originally played by:

Veronica Cartwright (Aliens, The Witches of Eastwick)

My Choice:

Anna Camp (The Help, Pitch Perfect)

The wife of Alan Shepard, who gets to have a chat with Jackie Kennedy!

Originally played by: SAG Award Nominee for Best Ensemble (The Cider House Rules)

Kathy Baker (Saving Mr. Banks, The Age of Adaline)

My Choice:

Melanie Lynskey (The Informant!The Perks of Being a Wallflower)

The wife of Chuck Yeager, his partner, his equal, his love.

Originally played by: Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actress (The Portrait of a Lady), BAFTA Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actress (Hannah and Her Sisters, Black Swan), Golden Globe Nominee for Best Supporting Actress (The Last Temptation of Christ, The Portrait of a Lady), SAG Award Nominee for Best Ensemble (Black Swan)

Barbara Hershey (Beaches, Insidious)

My Choice:

Olivia Wilde (TRON: Legacy, Love the Coopers)

And featuring

The proprietor of the Happy Bottom Riding Club.

Originally played by: Hollmann Award Nominee for Best Actress (Seance on a Wet Afternoon), Academy Award Nominee for Best Actress (Seance on a Wet Afternoon) and Best Supporting Actress (Frances), BAFTA Award Nominee for Best Foreign Actress (Seance on a Wet Afternoon), Golden Globe Nominee for Best Supporting Actress (Frances)

Kim Stanley (The Goddess, To Kill a Mockingbird)

My Choice: SAG Award Nominee for Best Ensemble (August: Osage County)

Margo Martindale (Beautiful Creatures, The Boss)

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