Saturday, September 27, 2014

Page To Film :: Brave New World

Welcome once more bibliophiles and film buffs alike to the latest installment in my ongoing and completely irrelevant project, Page To Film!

Today's adaptation casting is for none other than the classic Dystopian novel by Aldous Huxley, "Brave New World" (only took five years ...).

I remember reading BNW my senior year in high-school and just being blown away by what I still believe to be Huxley's prophetic vision of the future.
The struggle of the main characters to choose between the pain and complexities of a life of meaning or else sacrifice their humanity for a counterfeit existence of stability captivated my naturally cynical heart. 
The foreboding conclusion still haunts me with each re-read and it remains in the top 10 of my most favorite books of all time.

While I am aware that a potential re-make is on the table and those currently rumored to be attached are Ridley Scott(!) and Leonardo DiCaprio (meh...), I will construct this casting as if no such project exists and will reflect only my own casting opinions and not that which I think would be most appealing to Hollywood.

<<>> Cast <<>>
{warning: mild spoilers below}

(Reservation and Post-Reservation)

John the Savage
Tom Hardy

If there's one word to describe John, it's intensity.
You need an actor who could really swing from John's highs to lows convincingly - whether whipping himself in moral self-cleansing, whispering Shakespearean sonnets in admiration, or verbally warring with Mond, there has to be always a slow burning fire behind John's eyes, a restrained passion waiting to be provoked into a fierce blaze.
Were either Kenneth Branagh or Christian Bale a bit younger, they would have been my first choices. As it is though, I settled on Hardy because he seems to be the most easily believable in the role, more than able to convincingly portray the wide spectrum of emotions John feels as the tormented advocate of humanity.
Plus Hardy cleans up real nice even while maintaining a rough, restrained countenance that I imagine a "savage" such as John would have. 

Lenina Crowe
Emily Blunt

Two Reasons why Emily Blunt should be Lenina:
1. She's gorgeous 2. She can act
Longer explanation: Emily has always struck me as someone who can really sell a complex female character. Lenina is not an especially likable character but with such abnormal "quirks" such as dating only one man at a time, you sympathize with her and pity her life of shallow pleasures and self-inflicted ignorance. That being said, I hate the idea of a helpless, victim Lenina; she has to be played as being powerful, but with a power of seduction which she uses not out of ambition, but of fear/defense.
I think Ms. Blunt would be the best choice and would ground the character who too easily could be (badly) played by a swoony, doe-eyed broad with immpressive measurements but no acting chops.

 Bernard Marx
Giovanni Ribisi

Bernard's character always was the hardest for me to reconcile as a reader.
Maybe it was because I identified with him more than I liked - a restless outsider in the beginning who questions the status quo, and later as a man who, as his 15 minutes of fame dial down to nothingness, desperately courts the favor of a society he once felt mistreated him.
I felt almost betrayed by his about-face - duped by the superficial questioning that so quickly turned to pandering when he had the prestige and accolades to satisfy his ego.
Ribisi seems a good choice to work that angle of fluctuating sense of inferiority/superiority. I also wanted Bernard to be more slight in stature and less intimidating - playing off the rumor in the book that he was actually a mistake, an Alpha with the physical characteristics of Beta due to some chemical-conditioning oversight before his "decanting" or birth.

 Helmholtz Watson
Henry Cavill

"Did you ever feel as though you had something inside you that was only waiting for you to give it a chance to come out? Some sort of extra power that you aren’t using..."
 Helmholtz Watson is the Man's Man of BNW society and yet, like Bernard, he has begun to question its validity.
Unlike Bernard however, Helmholtz's convictions are not tied up in the conditions of his acceptance - while Bernard questions a society that has ignored him, Helmholtz questions a society that has welcomed him with open arms, indulged his every pleasure, and yet left him empty.
I like the idea of Cavill as Helmholtz because he is very much an "Alpha" in looks and presence (amirite ladies? ^-^) but he also has an intelligent air about him and would be believable as an inhumanly perfect, dogmatically resistant, budding intellectual.

Mustapha Mond
Ben Kingsley

In this day and age, only the great Sir Ben Kingsley could do all proper justice to a film portrayal of Mustapha Mond. Although both understanding and sympathetic, it is Mond who is ultimately the enabler of the BNW society, the censor of humanity, and supreme controller of the world.
Having satisfied the masses with diversion and security at the cost of all personal freedoms, Mond acknowledges the shallow and meaningless existence of those who live under the dominion of the caste society of BNW. He argues however that such a sacrifice of individuality must be made to preserve the human race and achieve stability. I'm convinced that Kingsley would be nothing short of brilliant in this role - the role of a benevolently restrictive leader would suit him like a glove.

Fanny Crowe
Amanda Seyfried

Fanny is the archetypal "it" girl within the BNW society.
Beautiful, superficial, and completely satisfied with her role as sexual object, Fanny is concerned for her friend Lenina when she is not promiscuous enough and cautions her against being too "anti-social". Seyfried plays shallow well (see: Mean Girls) and would be a smart choice for a sexy futuristic gal-pal.

Mia Farrow

Mia was one of the first persons to come to mind when I imagined what Linda might look like. Although I know in the book she is described as fat and ugly, I rather liked the idea of a more fragile Linda - one who, due to her hard life after being lost and abandoned, is considerably older in looks than her former lover back home. I like the idea of her sticking out like a sore thumb not so much because she is unspeakably ugly, but because her looks have degraded in a manner no one in the "non-savage" society would recognize as normal and so would label such proof of natural aging as "disgusting". And of course it goes without saying, Ms. Farrow is an incredibly talented actress and would do excellently.

The Director - aka Thomas "Tomakin"
Liam Neeson

Director of the Hatchery and Conditioning Center in London, Thomas is a bigwig in the BNW society. I can't help but think that Neeson would just nail the rigid, bullying bureaucrat schtick and oh how satisfying would be his downfall when his shameful secret is uncovered for the whole of society. And I love this pick even more when I imagine how he would handle his character in relation to the character of Linda.


<> Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more! <>

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Word From ~ Madeleine L'Engle

Wonderful insight into the relationship of fact, fantasy, and truth within a life of faith.
Don't let the minute count intimidate you - this is an hour well spent.