Tuesday, August 27, 2013

50 Shades of Grey:the only possible casting

Yesterday my daughter asked me to give her my ideal cast for "Fifty Shades of Grey" and it made me think hard.I am following the struggle the studio is having,the rejections,the wishes,the mess and I understand their problem completely.They want a hit so they want superstars and yet no superstar will commit to the project for various reasons.

On the other hand,there are tons of wannabee superstars who would do anything to star in it and who are unfortunately not good enough.I have read the book,without prejudice,I had fun and enjoyed Christian Grey,Anastasia not so much.It is a softer than soft erotica,but essentially it is fun.The success of the book kinda baffled me but I am happy for the writer.Good job,winning such a large audience.

And then the film deal,Universal took it and the agony of finding the right director and actors started.There were so many rumors and I forgot most of them.It was clear from the beginning that Hollywood royalty would not honor us with steamy Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele love scenes.But when finally Sam Taylor Johnson accepted to direct,things got interesting.

Even though she made only one notable movie,"The Nowhere Boy",that one was good enough to respect her.Decent work,great story and excellent casting.Aaron Johnson was a very welcome discovery and he is today one of the most interesting European young actors with successful international career.

But, with 50 Shades project, Mrs Taylor took a great risk.There are so many wishes to be fulfilled,so many prejudices to be won and one true nightmare:the casting.She is probably bound by producers ideas about the perfect pair but the names that are constantly flying around are far from perfect for her.

The worst mistake would be to take some tv stars,known for their average work in teen shows or to insist on some "serious" actors who would do the work with disdain.

In this particular casting,the looks of the leading artists are essential.The subject pushes You to have great looking actors,charismatic,sexy,and of certain type.70 million people who bought the book have probably 70 million ideas about perfect physique of Christian and Anastasia and many features are already given.

The director could choose to follow a different path and cast according to her own perception but I honestly don't think that she has that degree of liberty in this movie.And nobody wants to disappoint so many fans and their visions.

So in my humble opinion there is only one way she should go : find a pair of completely unknown actors,anywhere in the world and make them superstars.In that way she will avoid all the troubles that come with fame-casting (it means choosing someone because they are mega popular and yet completely wrong for the role) or compromise-casting (taking the closest best thing since your first,second and third choice rejected the offer).

Passion-casting (taking the actors You are passionate about and leading them to perfection) is probably not an option, so I would suggest the star-making move.

Finding two completely anonymous actors,with killer looks and decent dose of talent and making them the best they could be.She could probably pull it of,and the whole book mega success will bring the public to the cinemas in any case.

And let's not forget that everyone in the movie business,including the public,is hungry for fresh faces.Yes,we love to see our favorites for the 100th time but the excitement of finding a new favorite is what pushes us to watch more and more movies and tv shows.

So good luck to Mrs Taylor Johnson and I hope she makes the right choices.

Cast so far:

Update:Dakota Johnson will be Anastasia Steele,I have seen her, I like her,very good choice for the movie but not so good for her.Good casting decision,she is not an anonymous but she is decent actress,good looking and funny,I am surprised she took the role.

Let's wait and see the next step,the casting of C.Grey which is now even more important since Dakota Johnson is a good actress with lots of spunk.

Update:Charlie Hunnam gets to be Christian Gray!
Big flop,awful couple,back to my initial suggestion,it should have been a fresh new face and Dakota Johnson is far better than him.

So a big mystery is solved and the fans can eagerly await the movie.

Update: Schocker,Charlie has left the project!Good for the movie and I think it's a pretty decent move if he really wasn't into it.So again they have a chance to do the right thing,since they will never get the actors they covet,find a new steaming hot actor who will be eager to work and put all of his effort into it!

Update: They are allegedly considering Jamie Dornan,an Irish actor who was very good in BBC series "The Fall" and I must admit I like the possibility.He is very good looking,dangerous,sexy and unknown enough to be eager to do it.That could be good.

Finally: Yes,Jamie Dornan is the new Christian Grey,very good decision,he is a star material and I am glad they have decided to go with a fresh face.It is a chance for him to pursue a decent career.Congratulations to whoever made the final choice and best wishes to Jamie Dornan,let's hope that the debut with Sam Taylor Johnson will be as good for him as it was for her husband.

Update:I was checking some photos from the shooting and I am kinda disappointed by Dornan and Johnson's physical appearance.There is something wrong with them as a couple but I am not quite sure what.She seems to big for him,maybe.Can't pinpoint it.

More casting news from 50 Shades:

- Eloise Mumford will be Kate,the girl looks gorgeous, let's hope she won't upstage Dakota Johnson

-Luke Grimes is Elliot,another good looking guy,seems a good choice for Jamie Dornan's brother

- Victor Rasuk is Jose,great choice,very interesting actor

- Jennifer Ehle,Anastasia's mother Carla,no no no,I never liked her,she is bland, this is a first really bad casting decision for Sam Taylor Johnson,but her role is small thank God

- Rita Orra as Jamie Dornan's sister, a first major casting disaster

- Marcia Gay Harden as Dornan's mother,very nice surprise

- Callum Keith Rennie,my personal object of desire,Lew Ashby from Californication is Anastasia's stepfather,great choice

So far,the casting is surprisingly ambitious for such a tricky project,the major flop is Rita Orra and I sincerely don't see the reason for taking her but the rest of the cast is promising.Sam Taylor continues with smart choices and it seems that the input of all the other participants is quite controlled.Good for her.

Update:The trailer for the movie is out and as I predicted,Sam Taylor Johnson apparently did a good job.It looks good and kinda tense but unfortunately,the main thing is off. The couple is not right.Dakota Johnson doesn´t look good but is far better actress than Jamie Dornan who looks ok.There is something wrong about them but she seems seriously into giving a decent performance.Dornan´s face is inexpressive but not in that "I actually have a big secret" good way.He is simply flat and empty,at least for now.

Final update:Unfortunately I have seen the movie and all I can say is BORING as hell.The trailer was far better,the books,as stupid as they are are far better,the movie is slow,dull,not sexy,not exciting,simply tedious.
Dakota Johnson did her best,she did it with panache and serious effort,she was funny,sexy enough and sweet enough and she did her number of extremely stupid scenes with dignity.

As for poor Dornan,he got lost somewhere between awful hair and all the great expectations female audiences maybe had.For all of us who know his work from the excellent series "The Fall",the disappointment was even bigger since we have seen how hot and dangerous he can really be.He held back,the director held back,but most of all,the script was awful.They just threw scenes from the book,the dialogues were dead and completely senseless and in the end so was he.Dead and completely senseless.The two of them had no chemistry and it was not her  or his fault.It was the fault of all those experts who cast this movie for all the wrong reasons.To bad for Johnson and Dornan since they both deserve better.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ben Affleck : can he finally make up his mind?


In the light of the general riot about the new Batman casting I was thinking about Ben Affleck's somehow debatable career.

From the first time I saw him with his best buddy Matt Damon receiving the deserved Oscar for their script writing in "Good Will Hunting",I had ambiguous feelings about the guy.I didn't like him,something in him seemed edgy but I genuinely loved the movie and thought the idea to be brilliant.

His career path from then on seemed pretty bipolar.

On one side there was Ben Affleck,the typical relatively good looking guy in typical action/disaster/romantic movies,never interesting enough but somehow very popular.He seemed to take every possible role ever offered to him,his choices were strange and sometimes truly idiotic but he was simply an average Hollywood product.I found it regretful since his Oscar for screenwriting seemed promising but who can really discern the real reasons for his decisions?

Some of his roles showed a glimpse of interest from his part,like "State of Play" or "The Company Men" but mostly he seemed hostile and not really engaged.His heart wasn't in it and he didn't have the necessary skill to hide it.

He had a lot of pure disasters,the roles that could have ruined him if it wasn't for the other side of his split professional personality.That other side  is a smart, tough, ambitious guy with a very original imagination,excellent writer and decent director.

The other Ben Affleck is the guy who can create really good movies like "Gone Baby Gone","The Town" and "Argo".That side of him shows a person invested in meaningful subjects and also an actor who can give engaging performances when his heart is in the right place.

So who is Ben Affleck really?Gigli or the director of  "The Town"?

How can a movie professional mash up so many absurd choices and still be able to deliver decent work?

In my opinion Affleck should tone down on acting and dedicate himself to directing,writing and producing because that's what he does the best.And to be honest,I find it a bit insatiable to meddle in everything.He is blessed with some talents,let other people who have more acting talent shine.

The whole outrage over his Batman role is very endearing,there are so many people who are really invested in Hollywood studios decisions and it shows the true great strength of the movie industry.I agree,it can't solve world hunger but for us movie aficionados,it is a serious subject.We want those who are privileged with positions to make choices, to make the right ones.

Ben Affleck should never have accepted the role because he knows he is not right  for it.He knows it in his guts but his vanity has taken over.

There are actors who could have given the public excellent Batman but unfortunately,due to the exceptionally bad judgement of producers and directors and Ben Affleck's weakness we will never see them.

So please make up Your mind Affleck,will You continue to steal chances from the actors who are passionate about their acting and who are not blessed with so many other talents or will You finally take the path that You are better at and give us some more meaningful movies?

Decide, because right now You just seem very  very greedy.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Ireland's finest

I have watched a lot of Irish movies and tv recently and admired some fantastic acting.Here are my favorites,in random order and without the artists I have already mentioned in my blogs.

1.Brendan Gleeson,absolutely fabulous

2.Fionnula Flanagan,impressive cv,great actress

3.Ciaran Hinds, a legend

4.Fiona Shaw,exceptional

5.Tom Vaughan Lawlor,fantastic face,lot of talent and charisma

6.Kerry Condon,very interesting actress

7.Chris O'Dowd,brilliant,the comedian of the moment

8.Deirdre O'Kane,exquisite comic talent from "Moone Boy"

9.Colm Meaney,amazing career

10.Susan Loughane, the new girl,brilliant performance in"Love/Hate",I hope to see more of her

11.Ciaran McGlynn,very interesting fresh talent

12.Aidan Gillen,exciting actor with an amazing career

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13.David Wilmot,fantastic actor whom I discovered in the quaint comedy "Gold"

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14.Charlie Murphy,versatile girl with an enviable  career