Monday, April 28, 2008

The ReMake Story


Everyone who is a film buff or a theater fan loves to sit and daydream, even discuss what they would do with a revival or a remake -
how they would cast one of their
favourite
shows. It's something that Pat and I do often.
It's something that I do with certain friends - even strangers from time to time. It's just a fun little game that we play.

Now, usually I am not in favour of remaking good movies. It would be one thing if someone wanted to remake MAME or MAN OF LAMANCHA - both original films were pretty bad (even though there are those who like them - I, myself, have acknowledged moments in these movies that I enjoy; but they are still pretty bad.) When they did the remake of THE LION IN WINTER, I was sickened (even with a cast of actors I love). I was reviled by the remake of CHARADE, which starred my idol, Mark Walberg. It just doesn't seem like a viable option, most of the time. However, I did like the remake of SLEUTH that was done last year. I also happen to be one of the few who like the remakes of SABRINA and BORN YESTERDAY (in spite of my deep, abiding love for the orignals). The idea of remaking a classic seems, most of the time, to be a mistake.

I read the other day that they have finally started work on the remake of THE WOMEN. I have some opinions on it, not the least of which stems from their insistence on modernizing it to today. That, however, led me to think... wouldn't it be fun...? Well, I actually liked what I came up with and I called Pat and told him about it. He was intrigued, though surprised, to hear what I had come up with. After all, it is my favourite play, my favourite movie and my favourite actress; but I thought it would be neat to see a modern film version (still set in the original era, though) of the great work by Phillip Barry: THE PHILADELPHIA STORY.

Picture, my dear friends:


Katharine Hepburn's character, Tracy Samantha Lord, would be played by the beautiful and brilliant Naomi Watts, while her ex husband, C.K. Dexter Haven would be passed from Cary Grant to Jude Law.
Playing the part that won Jimmy Stewart the Oscar, Mike Connor, would be the wonderful Matt Damon; and Connor's counterpart, the photographer (and wisecracking good old dame) Elizabeth Imbrie (a part played in the film by the under rated and fantastic Ruth Hussey) would be

Ann Hathaway, whose star is on the rise and who should ONLY be playing the leading lady but who is the clear choice for the multi faceted role. These four main characters being cast, thus, we have the supporting players: is there anyone better to play the towering George Kittredge than the towering Ben Affleck? And though, most of the time, Dinah should be played by a ten or eleven year old, my favourite young actress these days is Abigail Breslin, who can do anything -- even appear a couple years older than she is.



To play the parents of the Eastern society girls, Tracy and Dinah, you would have to have truly Eastern high class folks - a man and a woman who fit, perfectly, the idea of American Aristocracy. Look no further for Seth and Margaret Lord than Victor Garber and Christine Ebersole! Lord Have Mercy. What gorgeousness for one movie!




Now.
Let's talk about the wicked, the wiley, the wonderful Uncle Willy, that booze guzzling, bottom pinching ladies' man who spends the entire movie partying and chasing Miss Imbrie... It has to, has to, HAS to be one of this country's greatest (and funniest) actors, Mister Frank Langella.
I wish I were a Hollywood film producer... or even a casting director... or anyone with the power to get this idea into the heads of someone in power.
This is a remake I would go see. It's a remake I would champion. Alas, I will just have to remake it in my head.
What fun.
Please note: I did not do the photos in this story.

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