My “Virginia Woolf” Cast WON!

16 06 2010

Back in May, I alerted you to a contest I was participating in, “LAMB Casting,” over at the Large Association of Movie Blogs (LAMB).  The premise was to recast a classic movie with modern actors.  The last contest asked bloggers to take their best crack at creating a new cast for Mike Nichols’ censorship-defying “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Andrew from “Encore Entertainment” was in charge of the event, and he created some great graphics as well as great write-ups on each of the casts submitted.  Go over to the LAMB and check out his hard work, or better yet, go look at his site itself.

Andrew’s comments on my cast were as follows:

Marshall’s cast is the most Hollywood, and that is a compliment. I can see this one being made and the casting of Ms. Bening is largely responsible for that. From Carolyn Burnham to Julia Lambert to Deidre Burroughs how could I not think she can handle this? I’ll admit George Clooney does nothing for me, and though I’m somewhat sceptic of his ability to succeed Richard Burton he would probably surpise me. It would be interesting see good-boy Jake playing Nick, but it is the sort of role he could make work and his pairing would Amy Adams would be believable (who gets chosen once again).

My Favourite: Annette Bening

Sure enough, in a close race, I (or really, my Hollywood cast) won by two votes.  So, for my victory lap, I’ll explain my casting choices.

As soon as I heard that “LAMB Casting” was covering “Woolf,” I knew two things.  The first was that the cast needed to be all highly respected and established actors, preferably Oscar nominees since the entire cast received nominations back in 1966.  The second, and probably most key to my victory, was that Annette Bening had to be Martha.  She’s the best actress at suppressing rage underneath a fairly calm exterior and still making it terrifying when it inevitably explodes out of her.  Carolyn Burnham, her character from “American Beauty,” was incredibly influential in my decision.  Her constant frustration with her husband and the mediocre life they live clearly takes its toll on her to the point that she completely alters her lifestyle to keep from boiling over.

The other quick decision was casting Amy Adams, an Oscar nominee for “Junebug” in 2005, as the more innocent yet feisty Honey.  Few others can play that level slightly above ditzy, and none to more acclaim than Adams.  As for being sweet and lovable, look no further than “Enchanted.”  She hasn’t really taken on a role that shows us her wild side (the closest she got would probably be “Talladega Nights”), but the movie would definitely prove a chance for her to wow us with something new.

As for her husband, Nick, I was looking for someone with a good amount of charm and someone fairly “good looking” by Hollywood standards.  Thinking of Oscar nominees, Jake Gyllenhaal kept coming to mind.  His first big role was the modest and humble Homer Hickam in “October Sky,” which is enough to convince me that he can handle the at first polite Nick.  But as the movie progresses, he’ll have to become more serious and stand head-to-head with Bening.  He could clearly match her in intensity, as roles in movies like “Brokeback Mountain” and “Brothers” have shown.

My last role to cast, George, was kind of a toss-up.  I couldn’t really think of anyone with the same qualities as Richard Burton, who was very grave and serious basically throughout – a counterpoint to his wife who’s drowning in alcohol.  Ultimately, it came down to finding someone who could have some compelling arguments with Bening and wouldn’t be totally overshadowed by her either.  I settled on Clooney because “Up in the Air” showed us that he can share the spotlight with women, and I think his generally friendly personality might lend a little bit of lightness to George that wasn’t there with Burton.  And after that final scene in “Michael Clayton,” I know he can make one heck of a great argument (start the “Michael Clayton” video at 3:30 to see Clooney in action).


So, in closing, let me give a big “Marshall and the Movies” THANK YOU to everyone who voted for my cast.  As a result, I now get to pick the next “LAMB Casting.”  Any suggestions?  My initial thought was to keep the Mike Nichols theme going and recast “The Graduate,” but that has such a small cast.  I’ll field any ideas, no matter how crazy, in the comments below.

LAMB Alert: “Virginia Woolf” Casting

23 05 2010

Another day, another blogging event.  A few days ago, I told you I was committed to being more involved in the blogging community.  In the words of Horton, “I meant what I said, and I said what I meant.  An elephant’s faithful, 100% percent!”

This time, it’s over at the Large Association of Movie Blogs (LAMB).  Every once in a while, Andrew at “Encore Entertainment” does a little event he calls “LAMB Casting.”  I find the idea fascinating: he takes a classic movie from decades ago and then asks us to recast a present-day remake.  People can submit their own casts, and then those casts are presented to the public for voting.

The latest edition of “LAMB Casting” dealt with Mike Nichols’ 1966 film “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” At the time, the movie was incredibly controversial due to its sexual content and language, pushing the boundaries of censorship to their breaking point.  But there was more to the movie than just history being made, as I saw when I watched the movie several months ago.  There is an incredible screenplay based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by one of my favorite playwrights, Edward Albee.  Perhaps above all, there are fabulous performances by all four leads.  Everyone earned an Oscar nomination; Elizabeth Taylor won Best Actress, and Sandy Dennis won Best Supporting Actress.

Knowing “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” fairly well, I felt compelled to submit a cast to the event.  Now, it is one of the six that you can vote for in the poll.  In the spirit of voting for truly the best cast, I can’t reveal which of the six is mine.  But I encourage you to go and vote.  Perhaps you will agree with my casting.

Let the games begin.