Friday, October 22, 2010

Who Would You Cast In The Remake Of My Man Godfrey

As I was getting ready to write yesterday's post about remaking the brilliant 1934 file The Thin Man, I found this half finished post on a similar topic. I was working on writing this in June of 2009 and didn't finish it. I'm sure I got distracted by something much more important and interesting (not really, just lazy). So, I'm going to go ahead and try to finish it, a year and a half later. I'm not going to really change anything that was already done, so that's why a good chunk of it refers to things that happens last year as though they just happened to today. This is kind of like time travel. I'm not going to change the past, I don't want to be my own grandfather!

I don't know if you've ever seen My Man Godfrey. I saw it for the first time almost exactly one year ago. I was in a Los Angeles hotel room, unable to sleep and flipping through channels. I stumbled on a black and white movie starring William Powell. Now, that alone is enough to get me to stop flipping. William Powell was an amazing actor. And, I'll watch anything if he's in it. It was this silly comedy about a rich girl on a scavenger hunt looking for a 'forgotten man'. Someone who'd fallen through the cracks. It's set during the great depression and was a movie that was meant to show the divide between the two worlds. Rich vs poor. It's funny and amazing and I absolutely fell in love with this movie. The only problem was that I had no fucking clue what it was called!

It was two days later that I learned it was My Man Godfrey. I eventually bought the Criterion Collection DVD and have been listening to the commentary on it. It's really a wonderful movie that I just can't recommend enough. However, and I'm being honest here, I think it's ripe for a remake.

Credit where credit is due. It was Caitlin at 1,416 and Counting that left my mind open to this idea. She posted about remakes*, and I took a decidedly rational approach. I know, how dare I! This is the INTAWEBS! Look, I can be as petty and childish as anyone. There are blogs and bloggers that I just plain don't like, and I can be vocal about that. People can get me riled up. Politics can upset me. Remakes I'm okay with.

Now, don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with the original. It's a classic in every sense of the word. I think though, that it doesn't resonate in today's world. I think it could actually be remade successfully. You won't get an actor of Powell's caliber for it. And, I don't think you need it. Now, after some thought, I'd like to play a bit of a game. It's a game that I'm calling Who Would You Cast In The Remake? It's actually an old game that my friend and I used to play while watching Godzilla movies and drinking beers.

As you can see, all I really got to was the setup. So, let's pick it up from there.

Let me set the scene for how this all started. Back in the year 2003, my friend and I used to spend our Friday nights watching Godzilla movies. One night, we were watching Godzilla 2000 and noticed something strange. It was uncanny how much some of the actors could be Japanese doppelgangers for American actors.One actor looked like Riker from Star Trek: The Next Generation, one looked like Bruce Campbell, and so on like that**.

Long story slightly less long, I thought it would be fun to try to cast a remake of My Man Godfrey. Now, I'm just going to go for the lead roles, Godfrey and Irene. Let's start, not with Godfrey, but with with Irene Bullock, originally played by the beautiful Carole Lombard. I'm going to try to go with my gut feeling here. I'm not sure she'd be perfect, and it might be a bit unconventional, but I think she could play spoiled brat well in a romantic/screwball comedy. I'm thinking of Kristen Bell.

Of course, the most important role is Godfrey himself. Here you need someone who can exude the affable charm embodied by William Powell. This seems like it would be a tough choice. For some reason though, it's not. There's an actor out there whom I think would be ideal for the role. He's British, but does a perfect American accent and he's an excellent comedic actor. I'm talking about Hugh Laurie. Yeah, the guy who plays Dr. House.

The other great thing about My Man Godfrey is the excellent and eccentric supporting cast. So, play along! Who would YOU cast in these roles?

*Edited to update the link
**It's worth noting the Winona Ryder ALWAYS was always the leading lady.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Remaking The Thin Man

I'm going to let you in on one of my worst kept secrets, I don't generally have a problem with remakes. I'm not a huge fan either. I'd say I'm mostly ambivalent about remakes. Occasionally, they give an interesting and fresh new take on an old idea, more often though, they're a quick way to grab for a little cash. Don't get me wrong, I'd still rather see an original idea than a rehash of something I've seen before, but I understand the desire to play it safe and stick with a known quantity.

I bring this up because I read something earlier:

Johnny Depp May Remake 'The Thin Man' with Rob Marshall - The Moviefone Blog

The film is the four-time Oscar nominated 'The Thin Man,' and according to the rumor mill, Johnny Depp wants to remake it with 'Pirates of the Caribbean 4' and 'Chicago' helmer Rob Marshall.

According to Vulture, Depp is "aggressively courting" Marshall to direct him in a remake of the film with Warner Bros. As of now, there's no script, but they claim that Depp is in full pursuit of making this passion a reality.

Ok. Depp is certainly a fine and interesting actor, but is he the type that could play Nick Charles properly? And who would play Nora Charles?

As a big fan of both Dashiell Hammet's novel and the movie The Thin Man. It's gotten me to thinking. Who in today's Hollywood could play these roles. And that's setting aside the more interesting question of how you could even make this movie in today's politically correct environment. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that that could be a whole post unto itself!

William Powell was, really, an almost perfect choice for the role of Nick Charles.In fact, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for the role! This is where you fall into the remake trap though, these were iconic roles. Both Powell and Myrna Loy were perfectly cast and had great chemistry together (the two were a staple in the 30s and early forties staring in all 6 Thin Man films and 8 other films as well). There is no way to remake a movie like this without inevitable (and probably harsh) comparison to the original.

This is getting away from me here though. What actor in Hollywood today could exude the wit and charm required for Nick Charles? We need someone about the right age, late 30s to early 40s. I'll refrain from saying Keanu Reeves (though I would certainly want to see him try!). Hugh Laurie I think could do it, though he's just outside the age range I'm thinking of. You know who I think would be very good in the role though? Nathan Fillion. Captain Tight Pants himself. I think this would be right in his wheelhouse.

That gets us halfway there. It also gets us to the harder question. Who on Earth could play Nora Charles? In this case we need someone...around let's say 30. Drew Barrymore would have the right look, and she's only 35...not a bad choice, but not the right choice. Zoe Saldana would make for an interesting choice. Katie Holmes perhaps as well, but...still, no. Natalie Portman, Anne Hathaway or Rachel McAdams maybe? No. Rachel Weisz would be a good choice, but if I'm eliminating Barrymore based on age, then Weisz is out too (sadly, since she's a large part of what made The Brothers Bloom so fun and charming, IMO). No, I'm going to go with Zooey Deschanel here I think. I'm just playing a hunch here, but I really think she could come closest to pulling the role off.

The question I now pose to you is, how far off do you think I am? And, more interestingly, who would YOU chose for the roles of Nick and Nora Charles?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Beer and the bottling of.

You may recall that a couple weeks ago, in this very spot, I was talking about making beer.

Well, last night it was time to bottle it. 48 bottles of beer plus a bit extra that I just put into a growler. I'm very excited about it. In about a week, I should be able to refrigerate it and drink my first ever beer made by me!