Thursday, July 31, 2008

Casting Around for News

I’m sure there’s plenty to talk about on the local theater scene that I’ve missed lately because of being mired in my own little world. I could, for instance, berate myself further for not getting out to see SPARC’s “West Side Story,” which everyone has been telling me was just awesome. I could also comment on the summertime shows that are going to have cast substitutions soon – Harry the Horse in “Guys and Dolls” and a couple of folks in “There Goes the Bride” – and ponder how those kinds of changes alter the chemistry and timing in a show (does it tend to throw other cast members off or is everyone actually a little sharper? Discuss.)

But instead I find myself wondering how it is that Fergie got cast in “Nine?” Fergie? Maybe I shouldn’t judge; I mean, she did pull off a couple of great one-armed cartwheels during the American Idol finale. And I didn’t realize she had acted before. Perhaps I’ll rent “Grindhouse” and then judge the wisdom of that casting decision…

The Fergie announcement also had me thinking about stage-to-screen adaptations in the past and how they seem to always lead to some controversy over casting. Ever since the big “My Fair Lady” dust up more than forty years ago, second-guessing directors who look at star power versus vocal ability has been a national pastime. Rob Marshall definitely heard about it when he went with Renee Zellweger in “Chicago” and there were those who doubted both the leads in “Sweeney Todd” and I still don’t get the inspiration for John Travaolta in “Hairspray.” But, judging by the relative success of all of these adaptations mentioned, maybe directors actually know what they’re doing? Who’d’a thunk it?


Angelika HausFrauSki said...

OMG, Daniel Day-Lewis is playing the lead?


When is this movie coming out again? So I can set up a countdown clock? Daniel Day-Lewis = the dreamiest of the dreamy

Fergie's been in showbiz in one form or another since she was a child...I used to watch her on Kids Incorporated. I'm sure she'll do just fine.

I mean, hell, they gave Jennifer Hudson an Oscar...

Also, Travolta can sing and dance his @ss off, so I have no qualms with that casting.

Thespis' Little Helper said...

Oh, come on!

Jennifer Hudson worked it out!!!

John Travolta kinda blew in Hairspray. That whole thing was just a misstep.

If commercial success proves that directors know what they're doing...but then again, film really isn't so much about art anymore, so...yeah...they've learned to play the game. Ugh. Sad but true.

I'm excited about Equus because it's Equus with some fine actors.

And I would see Jude Law in anything...and not JUST because he's beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit I kinda dig Jennifer Hudson. I think as an actress she's sort of a diamond in the rough, and hopefully will continue to improve with experience. As for her singing voice well, it's pretty amazing.

I thought that John Travolta gave a dedicated but misguided performance in Hairspray. Some friends of mine who live in Baltimore said his accent was spot on. But then no one else in the movie did it so it made him sound weird. I also think he really wanted to make his portrayal of a woman genuine...but I missed the campy element that is the fun of a man playing that role. But it was definitely a strong choice on his(?? or the director's?? who knows?)--just one that I didn't enjoy so much.

Angelika HausFrauSki said...

I truly thought Jennifer Hudson's acting was abysmal. Her singing was technically impressive, but I didn't believe her emotions for a minute.

I know a lot of people disagree with me on that, but it's how I feel.

There are films that are there for art, and there are films that are there to make money. Just like plays.

Anonymous said...

i always have mixed feelings on celebrity vs broadway casting choices. for instance, chicago: queen latifa? LOVED her. renee zellweger? HATE her. also, while i certainly enjoyed the 'sweeney' adaptation, i really really REALLY missed the strong voices, despite how much i love love LOVE johnny depp (dream boat) and helena bonham carter (can i be you please?)

when it comes down to it, in a musical, i want to hear people who can sing AND act. thats the whole point. i hate watching an actor who has an amazing character going on, but not the pipes to back up the power of his emotions (i.e. mr. depp in 'epiphany.') singing on pitch and turning up the volume ain't gonna cut it.

i want both! which is why i enjoy people like jennifer hudson. i know some people think that her acting was 'bleh.' but i guess i'm just not that picky about acting...especially in musicals. (oh god i feel all my acting teachers wrath right now, lol)

god why can't they just all be as good as 'the sound of music?' is that really too much to ask? REALLY??!?

Angelika HausFrauSki said...

OMG, "The Sound Of Music" is one of the most perfect movies ever, it's really true.

You wanna be HBC...I wanna be Julie Andrews. :D