I’m putting my lazy ass in time-out for total posting FAIL recently. I will sit in this corner and think about what I [haven’t] done. And while I ponder the effects of procrastination and an indifferent attitude, here is a round of “good call, bad call”, Hollywood edition.
Good call: Chris Evans as Captain America
After much speculation, Chris Evans was recently announced as Captain America for the upcoming The First Avenger: Captain America, which will lead into The Avengers movie. There were a lot of names on the list–John Krasinski, Channing Tatum, Ryan Phillipe, and useless Chace Crawford were among the front-runners at one time or another–but Evans’ was a dark horse contender. Some will recognize him from Fantastic Four, but generally, Evans’ resume is not distinguished. He’s kind of made his living as the poor man’s Ryan Reynolds. I think that’s about to change. Where Reynolds is certainly a charismatic leading man, he is a fantastic douche. Evans has a lot of the same charisma and none of the overtly douchey mannerisms of Reynolds, which bodes well as he gets ready to be in a pretty bright spotlight. Marvel is betting their whole future on the idea of an Avengers franchise/spinoff/beast and Captain America needs to be more Iron Man than Incredible Hulk for that to happen. The scrutiny and attention will be intense for Evans. Also, he has two projects this year of some note. The Losers this spring and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Check him out in The Losers. Likeable, yes?
Bad call: Katherine Heigl as Stephanie Plum
If you don’t know, Stephanie Plum is the central character in Janet Evanovich’s insanely drawn out mystery series, and a movie adaptation has been in the works ever since the first book, One for the Money, became a hit a million years ago. After passing through the hands of the likes of Sandra Bullock (would’ve been perfect) and Reese Witherspoon, Katherine Heigl of Grey’s Anatomy fame has landed the part. I do not approve. Heigl annoys me to no end with her consistently ungrateful attitude–I don’t care if you think Grey’s Anatomy is cheesy, it made you famous so keep that to yourself–and her penchant for ass-talking. No one ass talks like Katherine Heigl ass talks. Every time she opens her mouth something obnoxious and disingenuous comes out of it. That said, her screen presence is tolerable. I actually like her in some of these romantic comedies, like 27 Dresses. She does uptight and anal retentive well. Stephanie Plum, however, is neither uptight nor anal retentive. What she is is sassy, a little tough, sharp-witted and lucky. A lingerie buyer turned bounty hunter, Stephanie bumbles her way through hunting down criminals in New Jersey, eluding disaster and nabbing her man through a combination of persistence and sheer dumb luck. I am not sold on Heigl getting this right, and expectations are through the roof given the books have had a bajillion years to build up a fanbase. If things don’t go well, you can bet on Heigl saying something snotty about it.
Good call: David Fincher to direct The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
We can have a discussion about the merit of remaking excellent foreign films into an English version—and we will—but since this particular adaptation is happening, we may as well cross our fingers and hope for the best. Based on Stieg Larsson’s book of the same name, the Swedish thriller was a huge hit in Europe last year and it’s currently playing to solid art-house audiences in North America. The original is a fantastic movie, but I doubt it spreads much further than the jewel box theaters that specialize in foreign fare. Americans just do not like to read their movies. Since the original, regardless of how good it is, isn’t in English, of course we’re getting a Hollywood remake. Sony bought the rights to the whole “Millenium Trilogy”, and green lit Dragon Tattoo to go ahead this year. While everyone was busy speculating about who would play the central character, computer hacker Lisbeth Salander, Sony conducted their director search. They’ve tapped David Fincher (Zodiac, Fight Club) to helm the project (for the record, Fincher wants to cast an unknown as Lisbeth). Selecting Fincher is a step in the right direction. Larsson’s books are dark, in turns brutal and scary, and no one does twisted thrillers better than Fincher. He can build anxiety out of nothing and create fear from the most mundane moments. I don’t think we need a Dragon Tattoo remake, but since we’re going to get one, at least David Fincher promises an interesting result.
Bad call: Remaking The Crow
The Crow is the 1994 cult classic starring Brandon Lee (son of Bruce). It was to be Lee’s breakout role. Instead it was his swan song. Lee died in a freak accident on set involving a prop gun. The movie was finished with stand-ins. While The Crow is not as recognizable as Rebel Without a Cause or The Dark Knight, like those movies it is clearly identified as a kind of memorial to a specific actor. Is it beyond touch? I think so. The Crow has had several sequels, and they’re all bad so we will pretend like they never happened, but now Stephen Norrington (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) is proposing a remake for 2011. It is important to note that right now Norrington is still shopping for a green light, but even the mere idea of considering a remake is awful. When I asked around about this idea, I was met with a resounding, “That’s in bad taste.” The Crow is good. Really good. And the role of Eric Draven is indelibly Brandon Lee’s. How about instead of a remake we invest in a remastered release in 2014? Twenty years on from the movie, bring it to a whole new audience in all its gritty, grainy, tragic glory. But a remake? Bad form. Really terrible form.