Thursday, May 25, 2006

The World is Catching Up...

Bob and Joan and Cate and Brad

BREAKING NEWS. About five weeks ago, we published a scoop about George Clooney's new movie Weekend at Berchtesgaden. Some people laughed at the reported casting of Barba Streisand as Joseph Goebbels and Whoopi Goldberg as Nicholas von Ribbentrop. We may have been slightly premature about Clooney's next project, but we were right on the money about the newest fad in movie-making -- casting against gender type. Today's Drudge contains an item about a new film biography of Bob Dylan, in which one of multiple actors playing him  is Cate Blanchette.

[O]n Dylan's birthday, the Hollywood press reported that Blanchett would be among several actors -- also including "Brokeback Mountain" star Heath Ledger and Richard Gere -- to portray the great American folksinger in a film.

Blanchette as Dylan. Of course. Wrong nationality, wrong ethnic type, wrong sex -- sounds about right to us -- right in the sense that the world is indeed catching up with Instapunk predictions. The article fails in one respect, though; it doesn't mention the equally sensational casting of the Joan Baez role, which will be played by Brad Pitt. Our sources tell us that Tom Cruise was briefly in line for the part but was considered "too deeply weird" by the producers to be convincing as Baez. (Yeah, that doesn't sound right to us, either. Oh well.)

We suspect this is the beginning of an onslaught of double-switch casting, which offers multiple advantages to the Hollywood movie industry. First, as Instapunk pointed out just a few days ago, there's a real and increasing shortage of male actors capable of playing men who aren't metrosexual castrati. Couple this with the increasing aggressiveness and ambition of contemporary women, and you have a solution to a longstanding problem. There still aren't many interesting dramatic parts for women, for some reason, and today's female actors are therefore determined to cross gender lines to get more screen time and juicier dialogue. Filmgoers will benefit too, particularly in the red states where attendance at Hollywood movies has been declining because of the perception that they're way too gay. Here's where the double-switch can come to the rescue at the box office. When Cate and Brad get it on as Bob and Joan, viewers will still be able to imagine that the traditional unseen parts are operating in traditional ways, even though the visible parts are bass-ackwards, if you know what we mean. Everybody wins. Female actors get to pretend they're brilliant men instead of frustrated feminists. Male actors get to indulge their ballooning feminine side. Movie audiences get to pretend that sex itself is still pretty much proceeding the way it always used to (even if it isn't). And Hollywood producers will make enough money to keep all their gay lovers happy.

Here are some similar projects rumored to be in the works:

A new film biography of Napoleon with Janeane Garofalo as the short, humorless emperor and Orlando Bloom as Josephine.

A blockbuster remake of Gone With the Wind starring Ashton Kutcher as Scarlett, Demi Moore as Rhett, Halle Berry as Ashley, and Bruce Willis as Hattie McDaniel.

An Andrew Lloyd Webber musical adaptation of Citizen Kane in which the eponymous protagonist will be played by Rosie O'Donnell and Dakota Fanning (Kane as a child sledding on Rosebud), while the part of Kane's tragically unhappy wife will be filled by Johnny Depp.

What's that? You're not excited about these developments? Then we won't even mention the planned Godfather remake with Kirstie Allie as Don Corleone, Anjelina Jolie as Michael, and Matt Damon as Diane Keaton. Not one  word.

Bet you're sorry now.

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