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Thursday, January 03, 2008


Adventures In Casting: Kneel, Peons, Before the Awesomeness of Streep!


- Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, and see the first shot of Meryl Streep as Sister Aloysius in Doubt, the adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play due out next Christmas. Magnificent, isn't it? Shooting on the film (co-starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Viola Davis) began recently. I love it already...Streep looks more terrifying than a hundred Transformers ever could, and Hoffman seems perfect in these photos. They are going to rock the shit out of these roles, mark my words. (Thanks to my buddy Rocco at What's Good/What Blows for the tip.)

- Although his imminent adulthood is making Daniel Radcliffe an increasingly dubious boy wizard, his age seems to be exactly perfect for Journey, a film about photographer Dan Eldon's experiences during the Somalian civil war in the early 90's. The rumor is that Radcliffe beat out Hollywood heavyweights Heath Ledger, Orlando Bloom, Ryan Phillippe and Joaquin Phoenix for the role...due in large part to being the closest to Eldon's age at the time of his death (22). Looks like he'll squeeze this film in between the currently shooting Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and his Broadway debut in Equus next fall.

- The latest James Bond film (tentatively and unimaginatively titled Bond 22) started filming last week...and I should be thrilled, because I'm an enormous Bond fan. But the comments of director Marc Forster ticked me off. Over at MI6, he reveals that he would have liked to cast Bruno Ganz (Downfall) as the film's villain...but the part was sadly already taken by Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly). To take nothing away from Ganz, I think it's really insulting to Amalric, who is a terrific actor and a veteran bad guy from way back. Not a good start, in my opinion.

- Remember Aussie soap star Natalie Imbruglia, who had a one-hit wonder called "Torn" back in the 90's? (If the answer is "no," you're probably under the age of 25.) Well surprise, surprise, surprise...she's not dead. In fact, she's auditioning for the new Wolverine movie with Hugh Jackman. I wonder who else has been in to audition: Jane Child? Joan Osborne? Tasmin Archer? Damn, I loved that song...

- You know something's a bit askew when the guy who played Borat and Ali G gets cast by none other than Steven Spielberg as one of the major anti-war figures of the 1960's. (Everybody calm down, he's not playing Martin Luther King.) But when you're hot in Hollywood, you're hot, and Sacha Baron Cohen is smokin' these days...which is why we'll all be treated to his performance as Abbie Hoffman in The Trial of the Chicago Seven. And if it works, don't be surprised when you see Johnny Knoxville as Ethel Rosenberg in Honey, Communists Shrunk The Kids, or Martin Lawrence in Big Momma's House 3: The Black Panthers Come Over For Dinner.

- No casting on this one yet, but director/actor Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, The Kingdom) is going to remake Frank Herbert's sci-fi classic, Dune. I'm all for it. I love Berg's work, and the books are some of my all-time favorite reads. Plus, I was never a big fan of David Lynch's odd variation.


- In a last-minute casting coup, Alan Cumming (Cabaret, Josie and the Pussycats) will be joining two-time Oscar winner Dianne Wiest (Bullets Over Broadway) downtown at Classic Stage Company next month for their revival of Chekhov's The Seagull. Wiest, of course, will play the aging actress Madame Arkadina; however, I can't think of a more interesting choice than Cumming to play the poet Trigorin. Rehearsals must start pretty soon...the previews begin February 20th.

- Add another big name to Broadway's all-star Cat on a Hot Tin Roof revival. Obie winner Giancarlo Esposito (The Usual Suspects, Mo Better Blues) is joining the previously-announced Terrence Howard, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose and James Earl Jones in the Tennessee Williams classic, which begins previews February 12th. Esposito will play Gooper, the craven brother-in-law of Maggie (Rose). Am I wrong, or is this rapidly becoming the starry theatrical event of 2008?


- Washington, D.C. looks like it's the place for serious theatregoers to be in 2008...or the first half of the year, at any rate. The Kennedy Center is cooking up an international event of the first order with August Wilson's 20th Century, a month-long presentation of the late playwright's ten-play cycle. Among the actors onboard already: Tony nominees and/or winners Anthony Chisholm, Keith David, Charles S. Dutton, Lynda Gravátt, John Earl Jelks, Ron Cephas Jones, Harry Lennix, Anthony Mackie, Bill Nunn, Afemo Omilami and Ruben Santiago-Hudson.

- And if that's not enough to get you to the U.S. Capitol, then perhaps you need The Visit. The long-gestating Kander and Ebb musical adaptation of Durrenmatt's play already had a top-notch director (Frank Galati) and choreographer (Ann Reinking). Now it's added two powerhouse stars for its out-of-town tryout at the Signature Theatre: Chita Rivera (West Side Story) and George Hearn (La Cage aux Folles). If they can't make it work, I venture that no one can.

- London seems an odd place for the premiere of the musical version of Gone With The Wind, but that's exactly where it'll be come next April, far from the plantations of Georgia at the New London Theatre in the West End. The production, to be directed by the legendary Trevor Nunn, has finally found its Scarlett O'Hara: Jill Paice, who can currently be seen stateside in Curtains...at least for a few more performances.

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Blogger FleshPresser said...

Cumming as Trigorin? Holy fuck! I'll go see it, and I don't even LIKE Chekhov... :)

1/3/08, 12:08 AM  
Blogger Jill said...

Well, it's not as if they can make a Cyclops movie, not after Marsden's turn in Enchanted....

1/3/08, 7:52 AM  
Blogger Vance said...

Plus did you see Marc Forsters blandly directed Kite Runner? Cue the orchestral scores and tears... gawd... if he's going to play other casting choices, then why couldn't they have chosen Paul Greengrass to direct Bond 22 in the first place?

1/3/08, 8:06 AM  
Blogger ZenDenizen said...

OMG I must stalk Terrence Howard on Broadway!

1/3/08, 9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why have Nat as the sole Aussie ex-soap pop diva?

When's Kylie's audition!?

1/3/08, 11:30 AM  
Blogger Esther said...

Hey, great roundup!

Wow, Meryl Streep does look rather severe, doesn't she? I never saw the play, so I'm really looking forward to the movie. I'm excited about Amy Adams, too. She was awesome in Junebug and I enjoyed her in Enchanted, too.

OTOH, I'm not now, nor have I ever been a Sacha Baron Cohen fan. I find his whole shtick offensive and obnoxious. But I am interested in a Chicago Seven movie. I met Tom Hayden once, back when he was still married to Jane Fonda.

I've never seen any of Peter Berg's films, but I'm a big fan of Dune, too, ever since I read it in high school, a long, long time ago.

The Cat on a Hot Tin Roof cast does sound great. I mean wow, James Earl Jones! That would be enough for me.

And despite my love for Jill Paice in Curtains, I am not especially looking forward to a musical version of Gone With the Wind. It should just stay gone.

1/4/08, 12:47 AM  

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