Friday, September 26, 2014
11/22/63 Fantasy Cast
Wow. It's been so long since I actually opened this account, let alone write an entry. But I was so excited when I found out that Hulu was working on a web series based on 11/22/63 by Stephen King, that I just couldn't contain myself any longer. Guys, another King series!!
So it's very easy to get lost when adapting a book to the small screen. I find it almost more painful to watch than a silver screen adaptation that robbed the gold from the soul of my favourite book. If it can't be adapted into something better, than don't touch it. Right?
And I am so biased when it comes to King adaptations because frankly, they can't go wrong. They just can't. There is too much framework and solid foundations in Stephen King's body of work that it's almost impossible to fuck it up. People have been adapting King novels for over three decades, ranging from Carrie to The Shining and without forgetting the abysmal yet still entertaining Storm of the Century.
Lately, King has been dropping bricks for novels and his two latest projects, Under the Dome and 11/22/63, have both been critical and commercials successes. Under the Dome was not only a fantastic book, but Brian K. Vaughn (peace be upon him) also managed to make it into a top-rated TV drama which saw it change major key elements that grounded the book in science-fiction, while still retaining that very quirky side of King that either makes or breaks the tone of the work.
I'm just thinking about It, where King's macabre view on childhood was mixed with a somewhat comical view on adulthood. It was a perfect blend of horror and slapstick. Or how about Pet Sematary, where we have zombie cats and murderous children all wrapped up in the same movie. It blended scare and laughs brilliantly.
With that being said, I hope they keep the quirky style that has been attributed to King while not being afraid of exploring the macabre and mysterious point of view of one of America's most recognized author.
You can read my Under the Dome Fantasy Cast blog entry here and see how my wishlist did not come to life. At all. lol. Still wish they had picked better actors. Buggers.
Now on to my top ten list of characters I believe should carry forward with the adaptation and which actor I would like to see portray them. Enjoy!
Milo Ventimiglia as Jake Epping AKA George Amberson
Jake Epping is the protagonist of this time-travelling story but also the antagonist, in the sense that he is creating all of these problems by changing what was. And who better to play Happy-Yet-Sad than Milo Ventimiglia, the king of the happysad face. He also has the ability to play older and younger quite well as evidence by his portrayal of Peter in Heroes. Overall, Milo has the sex appeal and charm to carry the weight of a character that is both troubled and optimistic, both in the past, the present, and the future. Take note Hulu, I want Milo.
Gemma Arterton as Sadie Dunhill
Sadie Dunhill is the typical 60's woman; soft, gentile, and loyal to her man. And what is great about this character is her willingness to become a modern woman; a desire that sets off a chain of events that puts Jake's mission in jeopardy. King has always been good at writing strong female characters, and he doesn't disappoint this time again. So it took all of one second to think of Gemma Arterton in this role: she's young, she's soft-spoken, and she can pull off the complexity of Sadie's character.
Hal Holbrook as Al Templeton
Al Templeton is the man that starts the fire but doesn't stay around to see its path of destruction. He's a very mysterious character and has a small but pivotal role in the novel. That is why I hope they expand his role for the Hulu adaptation. So many questions derive from this character: how did he find the timeloop? What does he know about the future that makes him so determined to send Jake, specifically, to the past? Why doesn't he keep this for him and take over the world? I know Holbrook is on the verge of dying but this man is flawless when it comes to drama and mystery. He has the face for it! Somebody give this man a role with substance!!
Scott Patterson as Deke Simmons
If the term "Bromance" had existed in the 60s, Deke Simmons and Jake's relationship would have been the perfect embodiment of it. Deke is not only Jake's best friend in Jodie circa 1960, but he's also his confident and helps Jake move along in his mission. I have a soft spot for Deke because he just doesn't know how to be mean-spirited. If there was ever a character that gave me hope for humanity, it's Deke Simmons. Scott Patterson has those charming eyes that would make anyone believe in him. And yes, another The Event alumni on the list.
Monica Potter as Mimi Corcoran
Mimi Corcoran is an odd character in the sense that she doesn't fit the 60's Texas era. I always suspected that Mimi knew more than she let on about Jake/George and the whole timeloop but it's never explicitly written in the novel. So I really hope they cast a big name to play this part and expand her character to someone more dubious or all-knowing. And I'm a sucker for Monica Potter's dramatic timing and southern flare.
Derek Luke as Harry Dunning
Harry Dunning is the janitor at the school that Jake works at prior to him jumping back in time. He's a very soft-spoken, quiet man who shares his childhood horror story with Jake, which touches the latter's heart so much that he jeopardizes his mission in the past to reconcile Harry's traumatic and violent childhood. During this time, Jake stumbles upon the kids in Derry. You know, the same kids who battled an evil clown in another King novel... Plus it would be the perfect role for Derek Luke, since he still has those boyish looks even though he's far from being a boy.
Lili Taylor as Ellen Dockerty
Ellen Dockerty is the quintessential stuck-up teacher that everyone had at least once in their lifetime. She plays by the book and her loyalty to the rules of life are challenged when she meets George/Jake in Jodie circa 1960. It takes a special kind of charm to pull off this kind of character because Ellen is both tough yet maternal, impulsive yet instinctive. And Lili Taylor proved more than once that she can play a character with dual personalities. Mel Gibson's Ransom, anyone?
Michael Stahl-David as Lee Harvey Oswald
This is where it gets interesting. Lee Harvey Oswald is the man responsible for gunning down and assassinating former president, and civil rights activist, John F. Kennedy. King's approach to this historical event is both well-researched and thoroughly detailed. Although he manages to humanize Oswald, he also doesn't back down from the hard facts: Oswald was deranged and believed himself to be a messiah of sorts. It won't be easy to play this part, but I believe Michael Stahl-David would be perfect at portraying Oswald, insanity and all. Whoever gets cast will surely have a lot of material to work with so I'm expecting a flawless performance for this part.
Sarah Roemer as Marina Prusakova
Another The Event alumni! Sarah Roemer is the only person I had in mind when thinking of Marina Prusakova, Oswald's mouthy yet loyal Russian bride. She stole my heart with her portrayal of Leila in The Event, and I'm hoping she does the same as Prusakova. It's going to be a tough part to play since the role Prusakova played in the assassination is both theoretical and documented, with everyone agreeing that she was kept in the dark about it all. I hope they venture with this role and flesh out the character of Prusakova as she was both the lover and the confident of Lee Harvey Oswald. Nobody knew him like she did.
Gil Bellows as James Hosty
James Hosty is the real life detective who worked on the JFK assassination and King took that ambiguity (a lot of conspiracy theorists believe Hosty played a part in the assassination) to insert Hosty into the narrative of 11/22/63. Throughout the novel, it is implied that Hosty has some sense of what is going on with Jake/George and every good mystery show needs a snoopy detective. And Gil Bellows personifies that characterization flawlessly. If nobody in this list gets cast except one, I hope it's Gil Bellows.
Agree or disagree with this fantasy cast? Either way, I think King fans are in for a treat! :)
Candles are out,