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.

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