Dream Casting

This is a guest post by Scott Beauchamp. Scott is a writer living in New York City.

Rarely do good books get turned into good movies. And rarely do good movies come from good books. Of course everyone can think of a few examples (Deliverance, The Thin Red Line, The Last Temptation of Christ), but they’re so outnumbered by their lackluster cousins that they just might be the exceptions that prove the rule. And isn’t it frustrating, to be watching the film version of your favorite book just utterly failing, and there’s nothing you can do about it? You feel powerless. You feel like a victim.

Ah, but then there’s the liberating power of the imagination. And if in high school, most of my efforts went towards imagining a “dream band” (Levon Helms, Brian Wilson, Chuck Berry, Neil Young, Al Kooper), I spend a good portion of my inner life as an adult imagining the movie versions of books that I like. It seems self-explanatory, so I’ll jump right in with some examples:

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On The Road by Jack Kerouac

Sal Paradise: Tom Hardy

Carlo Marx: Adam Goldberg

Old Bull Lee: Gary Oldman

Dean Moriarty: Matthew McConaughey

I’m shocked that this teen classic hasn’t already been made into a blockbuster. Tom Hardy has the young, athletic, and slightly romantic look of a Sal Paradise. He’d just have to work on the accent. Adam Goldberg, with his own sort of avant garde aspirations, could play Carlo Marx to a tee. Gary Oldman is Old Bull Lee. Oldman, arguably the best actor of our time, has played both Dracula and George Smiley. Some would say that Old Bull Lee is a perfect combination of the two. You can make the argument that McConaughey is too old to play Dean Moriarty, but with some soft lighting, he’d make up for what he lacks in youthfulness with his reckless attitude and hinterland drawl.

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Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

Patty Berglund: Gretchen Mol

Walter Berglund: Ed Norton

Richard Katz: Fredrick Weller

OK, so maybe she’s too short to believably play a former basketball player, but Gretchen Mol can pull off the conflicted woman bit pretty well. And Ed Norton can play two types of guys: the psycho and the nice guy. Perfect for Walter Berglund. Fredrick Weller just looks like a jerk. He’d be perfect to play Richard Katz. Plus, he’s an incredibly talented actor who should get more work.

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Remainder by Tom McCarthy

Unnamed Protagonist:  Benedict Cumberbatch

According to the Internet Movie Database, a movie based on this novel is already in development. I can only hope that they cast someone as well suited for the role as Benedict Cumberbatch . Anyone who’s seen him in the contemporary BBC revival of Sherlock Holmes, knows that his intensity and other worldliness is absolutely perfect for the main character of Remainder.

So there they are few examples of some of my dream casting. Got a few of your own? I’d love to hear them!

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