Thursday, June 14, 2007

I can't say enough good things about Campbell Scott.

In my last post I talked about my fantasy cast for the Valerie Plame movie. My dream cast included Patrick Fitzgerald being played by Campbell Scott. Afterwards I wondered if that choice was ill considered. After all, he looks nothing like him. He's not as hugely tall as Fitzgerald. So there is the different physicality there. Maybe I was just trying to slot Scott into something that he wasn't right for, because I want him to get important roles. Thought I should correct my post, but with the changeover of the Blogger site I lost access to this blog for a couple of months. I finally got logged back on and now I'm glad I left it as is.

I think he could play him remarkably well.

My first introduction to Campell Scott was in The Secret Lives of Dentists. I told everyone I knew at the time to watch this movie. But not sure if anyone did. It's not the most exciting title, which maybe doesn't grab people. But the movie itself is more than worth the trouble. For me it was the most true picture of day to day middle class family life I've ever seen depicted on screen. Scott plays a dad with two young daughters. He and his wife are dentists who work together. He suspects his wife is having an affair. His mental anguish, along with the day to day life of parents with kids is subject of the film. It's dramatic, and also very funny. Scott is amazing in it. Supporting cast, including some very natural child actors, is also great: Dennis Leary as a sarcastic figment of his imagination who tries to counsel him, and his wife is played by Hope Davis, another great actress who should be getting all the roles that the over-used and, (in my opinion not all that spectacular) actress Laura Linney gets.

The next was a stumble upon situation. I occasionally subscribe to the movie channel on cable, when the Sopranos is broadcasting. And one night I came across Roger Dodger, about a quarter of the way through. Campbell Scott plays an absolute jerk in this movie, but an incredibly articulate, intelligent and somewhat humourous jerk. It was late at night, I knew nothing about this movie and I watched it with fascination, till I started to feel a bit drowsy and lose the thread of the story. It wasn't because the movie was boring: it was three in the morning. it was me watching a movie when I woke up in the middle of the night and happened to turn on the tv. At the end of the film the character he plays has a comeuppance of sorts, and I remembered the story only vaguely. But the memory of the actor who played the creepy, arrogant uncle stayed with me. I didn't put it together that it was the same actor who played the long-suffering and gentle dad who was in the Secret Lives of Dentists. The characters were that far apart in attitude and feel. Just a dramatic representation of this actor's amazing range. I've since watched Roger Dodger a couple of times and highly recommend it.

My third Campbell Scott experience was his Hamlet. I'd received the DVD through Peerflix, a DVD sharing group. I had randomly added it to my list on based on the rave reviews it had received, and because I'd never really read the play. Missed studying it in school and it was a slightly embarrassing knowledge gap I wanted to remedy. Received it but didn't watch it for quite a while. One Sunday afternoon I was out at my schoohouse in the country. No tv reception there, so it's a great place to watch movies. It was raining and I was inside painting some furniture. I put on Hamlet, and it was on in the background, so I didn't watch every scene carefully. But I enjoyed what I saw and heard. (And felt quite chagrined to discover all those famous lines I heard were from that play and that I hadn't known where they came from till now.)

About a month later I read Rozencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead for my book club. Of course you can't understand this play without being quite familiar with Hamlet so I resorted to my usual Book Club Cheat. I got out the movie and REALLY watched Hamlet this time. It was fantastic. Quite a revelation. I've read elsewhere that other people consider this the best Hamlet committed to film. I haven't seen any of the others, but I do plan to now. Something tells me that Campbell Scott's is going to be hard to beat.

Friday, March 2, 2007

The PlameGate Movie: Please don't ruin it, Warner Brothers

So the Wilsons have sold the rights to their story to Warner Brothers.
This make believe casting for the movie is a fun exercise, and I've been thinking about it since I read Joe Wilson's book, The Politics of Truth. It’s also driving me crazy to imagine how much Hollywood might blow it.

Here is my casting prayer: please Warner Bros. can you refrain from casting mega stars that we have seen a zillion times in a zillion movies. There are so many actors that don’t get roles who have really great acting skills and this is such an important story. Please hire actors who can really inhabit these roles, not those who can’t help but give off their tiresome movie star flavour.

So please no George Clooney. Same goes for Richard Gere and Ben Affleck.

Similarly obsessed Plamegate watchers have suggested Harrison Ford and Redford and Douglas for Wilson??? No a thousand times no I say! These ancient guys have been in every second movie ever made in Hollywood for the past 3 decades. Likewise please don't put Meryl Streep in this movie anywhere - or in any movie at all for at least seven years. (I'll never forgive you Hollywood for casting Meryl in the Devil Wears Prada when the role so obviously should have gone to Miranda Richardson).

Joe Wilson should be a distinguished older guy with his youthful handsomeness now fading into a slight jowly-ness. Joe Wilson earned those jowls and that stature by standing up to Saddam Hussein when he was ambassador. We can't have anybody who would be a present day pretty boy, like Clooney. I vote for Liam Neeson.

And now the mystery woman, Mrs Wilson. Valerie Plame. She of the gently rounded forehead, the movie star smile, the cheekbones. The one who looks more like Sharon Stone than Sharon Stone. OK, Miss Stone is 4 years older than the real Valerie but big deal. I vote for Sharon Stone. Put away all thoughts of Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts, Jodie Foster or other chiseled waifs.

And of course Judy Davis was put on the planet to play Judy Miller.

For the prosecutorial god that is Mr. Fitzgerald, I submit to you Campbell Scott, an amazing and unsung acting genius. Handsome but not too handsome, like Fitz, and also like Fitz, he oozes humanity, intelligence and authenticity.

For the rest of the crowd, I'm not sure yet. But I'll be scanning the crowds.