Someday when I’m in charge of all of Hollywood…

Both times that I’ve written and directed a short play, one of the most fun parts of the process has been casting. Other people might have found it frustrating or tedious, but trying to find that perfect combination of actors was, to me, a delightful challenge. And as soon as the chemistry was there, the satisfaction was exhilarating. I think being a casting director would be a pretty sweet job. So, let’s play a little game called Fantasy Cast. I’ve been talking a lot about remakes lately, so here’s the assignment: cast a remake of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Bonus points for showing your work.

Step one: Holly Golightly, originally played by the unparalleled Audrey Hepburn. What contemporary ingenue could play this country-turned-city girl, equal parts ditzy and deep? We have to love her even when we’re exasperated by her, and want to make things better for her even as she keeps messing them up. My pick for this role would hands down be Michelle Monaghan. She’s a great actress, warm and funny, obviously beautiful, but most importantly, indisputably likeable. (Yes, I’ve said before that I have a huge girl-crush on her, which further illustrates why she’s perfect for the role: the women in the audience have to want to save Holly too, not just the men. So no Jessica Biel-types. Bleh.)

Step two: Paul ‘Fred’ Varjak, Holly’s dashing wannabe-paramour, baffled and fascinated by her without really being able to say why, and hiding some secrets of his own. Originally played by George Peppard, handsome and elegant with just a stripe of ruggedness. Who can fill those requirements and look good on screen with Miss Monaghan? I’d throw a couple million at Ryan Gosling for that. Okay, the thought of the two of them kissing in the rain at the end of the movie just got me a little hot and bothered…moving on…

Step three: the supporting roles. First of all, I’d forget all about Mr. Yonioshi, played with legendary racism by Mickey Rooney. Even if you made the role PC for a remake, it’s a pointless character. Any decent writer could come up with much more interesting ways to demonstrate that Holly doesn’t have her life together than having her landlord yelling at her for the rent. That leaves us to contemplate ‘2E’, the slightly older, married woman Paul is sleeping with, and Doc Golightly, Holly’s ex-husband. For 2E, I like Andie MacDowell. She’s maybe a bit older than the role calls for, but still looks seriously good, and could definitely project the combination of longing, sympathy, and cynicism that 2E represents. As for Doc, I’m thinking a contemporary version of the movie is going to require someone a little better looking than Buddy Ebsen for that part. Not too good-looking, though, and with the right amount of country in him…I can’t think of anyone I’d prefer over Woody Harrelson.

Ooh, that was fun. Who would you cast? I’ll pick my favorite and then buy you a pastry some hungover morning.


8 Responses to “Someday when I’m in charge of all of Hollywood…”

  1. 1 Brando October 18, 2007 at 11:05 am

    It has been a while since i have seen “Breakfast”, so this might be TOTALLY OFF, but it would be fun to see:

    – Holy = Kate Bekensale (sp?) – she is british, so we know that she has regal in her blood, and she has played a hot vampire, so she has the intrigue and mystery that i feel when ever i see the hepburn picture from “breakfast”, though her eyes are not a huge. I think she would be a good fit.

    – ‘Fred’ – Daniel Craig (i have got a british theme going!) – I think with teh mix of “casino” and “Layer Cake” , you have got a better mix of sleek w/ a dash of rugged that Fred needs. Women will swoon, even when he screams “you are mine!”. While he has the power, he is not too “big” to over take the scene, and can be subtle. I think this would be a strong choice then Gosling. i jsut don’t the “ruggend stripe” in Gosling, so you are going to need to explain.

    – Mr. Yonishi – Paul Giamatti – i like your idea going away from the rascit idea for this character, but i feel that he could be a good “Frustrated, door mat, artist neighboor” that is always doing nice things to get those “pciture” holly has been talking about

    – Dr. golightly – Patrick Dempsy – two reasons, he has experience being the “other man” (i used your idea of gosling to think of sweet home alabama) and he has expereince being a doctor. i think he could be an ass, while still being able to home the scene.

    so, when do i get my doughnut?

  2. 2 Brando October 18, 2007 at 11:11 am

    i forgot director

    this is jsut a “shot in the dark”, free association thought processes:

    Director – Stephen Fears (know for ‘High Fedelity’) – I loved his work on “fedelity”, and appreciated how he was able to take a WONDERFUL book, and be able to make a movie addaptation that keep a VERY similar feel to the book. So knowing this, i think he would be able to adpat this classic to a modern “look”, but keep the classic feel that made “breakfast” such a classic

  3. 3 patty October 18, 2007 at 12:26 pm

    I’ve never seen Breakfast At Tiffany’s so please don’t slap me.

    My girl crush is Elizabeth Banks (and I don’t even go for blondes!), and from your description, I think she could really pull off Holly Golightly. We know she can do ditzy (maybe too well?), but when she smiles, you can’t help but want to hug her and giggle.

    Not a big fan of Ryan Gosling. I was hoping that Lars and the Real Girl would change my mind, but I can’t even watch it because of that stupid mannequin. So I’m going to go with… Ryan Reynolds. Going from Two Guys… and Van Wilder to Smokin’ Aces, I’m excited to see what else he can pull off. Plus, I would totally like to bed him.

    That’s all I got.

  4. 4 patty October 18, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    PS – Did Brandon take too many bong hits at Bastyr before he posted that?

    PPS – Just kidding, Brando, I love you.

  5. 5 Chelsea October 18, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    Holly – this was a tough one since I adore Audrey Hepburn and generally resent any actress trying play one of her roles or portray her (e.g. “The Truth About Charlie” or that horrible made-for-TV movie starring Jennifer Love Hewitt). That being said, I think Natalie Portman would be acceptable in this role. She’s cute and has that innocent look about her while still being able to play characters with depth. I think she has the range to make us like Holly, even though she can be quite despicable at times. It also doesn’t hurt that she looks a little like Hepburn.

    Fred – I like Matt Damon for this role, though he’s probably pretty expensive.

    2E – Jane Seymour instantly popped in my head for this one. She’s damn hot for her age and I think her being British adds to the sophisticated vibe the character puts off.

    Doc – I’m thinking Bill Paxton as Doc. Even though Holly was married to him, he was also sort of a father figure to her and Paxton has that quality to him. He would bring a lot of sympathy to this character, you’d just want to give him a hug when he gets rejected.

  6. 6 patty October 19, 2007 at 9:44 am

    oooh, chelsea, natalie portman is a good choice! well done.

    and scratch my ryan reynolds-elizabeth banks idea. they’re already doing a movie together. ah!

  7. 7 celeberrimous October 23, 2007 at 10:50 am

    Great cast, Chelsea! Natalie Portman and Matt Damon would be hot, why have they not done a movie together already? Bill Paxton is also a good choice, his work on Big Love has really shown his range. We should round those guys up and go with Brandon’s idea to get Stephen Frears to direct–he’s a master at doing twisted spins on genres, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s is certainly a twisted romantic comedy. Ok, who has an investor?

  8. 8 Carly October 28, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    dammit! i wrote a really long reply on a work computer and then it didn’t post!

    man. well, first i expressed my surprise/concern at brandon’s spelling. and also at the idea that ‘breakfast’ could be injected with a lot of british-ness without becoming a very different story. half the cinematography in the original is an ode to New York, which has changed considerably since the ’60’s, and any remake worth its salt would have to tackle that.

    then i said how i adore Natalie Portman and think she could pull it off (i mean, she does fit into the dress perfectly, as seen on the cover of harper’s bazaar), but also that she made her own very quirky/lovable-girl-archtype turn in Garden State and that i would love to see Rachel McAdams or Emily Mortimer given the chance to charm and disarm us, as they are both capable of hilarity and heartbreak by turns. yes, i know Emily Mortimer is british, but she does a very convincing american accent, and she’s got that fragile quality that i think Holly needs.

    i am ALL about Ryan Gosling, but as he and Rachel McAdams have already starred together, and are now broken up in real life, i also think Leonardo DiCaprio has steered pretty clear of romantic comedies, even though he can be excellently subtle, funny, cruel, and could absolutely charm my pants off. and it’s been awhile since he did a love scene in the rain, but we know he’s got it in him still. and i’d be curious to see Patrick Wilson in there too, although he looked more the part 5 years ago…

    for Doc, i’m kinda into Phillip Seymour Hoffman. i know he wouldn’t be quite old enough, but a) it’s less creepy that way and b) he’s got such the right affectionate but not cosmopolitan vibe. and he’s got that capacity for kindness which makes it believable that he came looking for Holly out of love, not from a complete sense of possession.

    and for 2E i would love to see Catherine Keener drop the scattered, insecure bit she’s so good at and really attack the controlling uptown bitch i know is lurking inside. plus, she’s got the chops to let the part be sad without being desparate. and if Kim Basinger wanted to don a Chanel suit, i’d give her a screen test too.

    sorry this is so behind-the-times.

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