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Thursday, December 06, 2007


Adventures In Casting: Why Following Paris Hilton Is Never A Good Idea


One advantage of the writers' strike, I guess, is that since there are fewer scripts moving to production, great actors are piling on top of each other to get in the high-profile projects of 2008. Case in point: Gus Van Sant's Milk, the biopic of openly gay, San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk who was savagely murdered, is bringing buzz-heavy Josh Brolin (No Country For Old Men) and Emile Hirsch (Into The Wild) along to join leading man Sean Penn (Mystic River). That's a pretty great trio....let's hope they won't be too distracted by James Franco (Spider-Man), who will play Milk's lover. What, Gyllenhaal was busy?

I don't want to mis-speak here, because My New Plaid Pants will tear my face off. But about horror films: to put it subtly, they aren't necessarily the province of great acting work. Usually, I find, it's better if horror actors are C-listers who can't act...then I don't feel so bad when Leatherface or Michael Myers has his way with them. This is why I'm so conflicted about Peter Sarsgaard -- who's done such great work in Kinsey, Broken Glass, etc. -- deciding to join the cast of Orphan, a children-are-terrifying nailbiter to be directed by the guy who did House of Wax. Yeah, the horror movie with Paris Hilton. Is it ever, really, a good idea to be the follow-up project to Paris Hilton? Methinks not.

Doesn't this sound fun? Edward Norton (The Painted Veil), who always seems too brainy for whatever picture he's in, will play identical twins in Leaves of Grass, written and directed by Tim Blake Nelson, who's both a comic actor (O Brother Where Art Thou, The Good Girl) and a pretty depressing director (). Norton's twins are a professor and a criminal. Oooh, I smell the basics of Aristotelian drama cooking already!


If the Coen Brothers are Oscar-bound with their film No Country For Old Men next February, Ethan Coen may have to skip the Golden Globes in January...he'll be in previews for Almost An Evening, three short plays he wrote that will premiere at the Atlantic Theatre Company. He's got a brilliant cast to work with: F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus), Jonathan Cake (Cymbeline), Mark Linn-Baker (A Year with Frog and Toad), Elizabeth Marvel (Hedda Gabler), and Joey Slotnick (Nip/Tuck). The plays sound delightfully wacky, too.

Baryshnikov is acting in Beckett. This is either going to be brilliant, or a disaster. Either way, I can't wait.

Friend of ModFab Anthony Rapp (Rent, A Beautiful Mind) is testing out a new project at Ars Nova on December 17th. It's a solo show, loosely based on his memoir Without You: An Evening of Love, Loss and the Musical Rent...which (side note) is a great read and would make a marvelous Christmas present for the show queen in your life. But back to the show: two performances, at 7 PM and 10 PM, will include his band Albinokid and feature music from Rent (obviously), Hedwig and The Angry Inch, REM, Radiohead, and original songs from his own album, Look Around. Tix are available at 212-868-4444 or here. Anthony's been having a hard time personally of late (no need to go into the details), so he could use supportive faces in the audience.

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Blogger JA said...

Look what you made me do!!! Now I've got... face... all over my hands. I'm totally wiping this off on your shirt.

Ahem. Anyway, regarding the horror bits of this post, it all depends on the movie though. This Orphan movie sounds exactly like this year's Joshua, which, um, also starred Vera Farmiga as the parent of a possibly EEEEVIL child. I guess she's cornering that market. Anyway, yes, it depends on the movie, the level of acting prowess needed. If it's a silly slasher like House of Wax (which, btw, is way more fun than it had any right to be; plus, they stick a pipe through Paris Hilton's forehead) then Acting isn't really what you're going to see. That's not to say that it's not welcomed - there was some terrific acting going on in, say, the Scream movies; I mean sure, it's not the sort that wins awards, but look at what Drew Barrymore did in the first one - but it's just a bonus, good acting, if it occurs in a horror movie that's going for fun. But there are more horror films than I could possibly even name that have GREAT performances within them. Sissy Spacek in Carrie, Ellen Burstyn in The Exorcist, Nicole Kidman in The Others... those are just the first ones that pop into my head; I could name a hundred more. So let's not be reductive, ModFab! I've already got face all over me! ;-)

12/6/07, 9:50 AM  

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