Saturday, 14 July 2012

Inverse Casting: Glengarry Glen Ross

Consider this as Take Two of my tentative re-casting series “Inverse Casting”. Over at the Large Association of Movie Blogs (The LAMB) I run the LAMB Casting feature where LAMB members recast older films. As the moderator of that feature, I don’t participate but this is something of a new take on that where I re-cast older films but in some inverse way – changing the nationalities, race, gender, age.

(By the way, go vote for your favourite re-imaging of the On the Waterfront cast here).

Today, I’m recasting David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross - a typically all-male piece spending two days in the lives of some insurance salesmen. I don’t know about you, but I’d relish the idea of seeing such a wordy drama adapted for some fine female actors to fill the rolls. So, my dream cast would go something like this.

Blaire (Blake) – Claire Danes
…the sometimes arrogant, often narcissistic young saleswoman sent to motivate the office…
Even as I’d firmly say that the sympathy of the audience almost always lies with the admittedly rough-around-the-edges Carrie Mathison in Homeland, one of the best things about Danes’ characterisation of the role is the way she is unafraid to reveal the more conventionally aspect of the character. Such that I’d savour the chance to see her tackle a truly repellent character, like that of Blake. I’d wager she’d be able to encapsulate the slick oiliness which Alec Baldwin managed back in 1992.

Jamie (James) Lingk – Laura Dern
…the easily manipulated, awestruck client of Roma…
This is not expressly against type for Dern, but as a performer noted – more often than not – for the singular characters she plays I’d be intrigued at seeing her tackling the role of dull, harried potential client of Roma. Dern’s always captivating to watch, I’d imagine she’d so something interest with the seemingly mundane Lingk.

Georgiana (George) Aaronow – Kathleen Turner
…the irresolute, unenthusiastic, aging saleswoman with a disinclination for individuality…
Historically Turner is notable for playing more assertive women which would make her appearance as the indecisive Aaronow an interesting change of pace for her. She’s made only occasional appearances on the big screen over the last two decades but it’s hardly likely that her talent has dissipated – she seems to have a proclivity for the screen. I suppose Aaronow is not quite the role that’d lure her to make another film, but it’s a role I’d appreciate seeing her in.

go below the jump to see the Emmy nominee who plays Moss, the BAFTA winner playing the antagonistic Williamson, the Oscar nominee playing Roma and the Oscar winner playing Levene...

Davinia (Dave) Moss – Sandra Oh
...the loquacious saleswoman with big schemes and big dreams…
I’d indict her eight years on Grey’s Anatomy for the reason behind it, but I’m not quite sure that that’s the reason that Sandra Oh remains such a woefully underrated performer. She’s had practice playing vaguely giddy personalities before, but never quite someone with as little money behind their words like Moss. The drive (however ill-advised) and broad imagination would make for just the type of obsessive personality I could see her excelling at.

Joana (John) Williamson – Thandie Newton
…the antagonistic office-manager with little appreciation for her salesmen…
Even as I’ve grown warmer to Newton over the years, I still find her to be something of a naturally abrasive personality. This makes me appreciate the chance of seeing her take on the especially hostile Williamson, the mean-spirited office manager of the firm. Newton is just the type of performer who I could see making this character work, and just imagine how well she’d deliver that “Because I don’t like you” towards the film’s end.

Rachael (Richardon) Roma – Michelle Pfeiffer
…the successful, brutal, deceitful, top saleswoman of the lot…
Pfeiffer is another performer who is more absent from the screen and the ruthless Roma would provide her with a tremendous opportunity to display her talent. Over the last decade Pfeiffer has had a few key roles, and one of the most key (her work in White Oleander) makes a nice audition piece for her playing the ruthless Roma.

Shelley Levene – Dianne Wiest
….a once successful saleswoman now fallen on hard times…
Two years ago Dianne Wiest gave one of the finest performances in the year as the congenial mother of our protagonist in Rabbit Hole, this only a few months after wrapping up an excellent performance on In Treatment. This woman’s talent hasn’t diminished over the years and she’d bring just the right amount of sensitivity to the ambiguous Levene.

Perhaps, in a way, some of the themes of Glengarry Glen Ross wouldn’t land quite as effectively with an all-female ensemble, but I’m convinced any (sure-to-be) minor issues could be easily tweaked.

(Previously Inversed: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf)

What do you think of the all-female real-estate drama? Which of my cast intrigues you most? Who would you pick?


Nick Prigge said...

Damn, man, this is really interesting. I think all these are spot on but that Danes selection intrigues me most of all. I'd LOVE to see her try something in that vein.

MovieNut14 said...

Pfeiffer as Roma? Sounds like all sorts of perfect. And Wiest as Levene? Nice.

(What's next? A modern film starring classic actors?)