You Be the Director!

As I’ve probably posted here before, I love movies. I’m by no means a Cinema Expert, like a friend of mine who was a Film Studies major. I don’t much like going to the movies with him because afterwards he always wants to talk about camera angles and filters and other techie stuff I don’t understand. I just want to talk about the characters. And the dialogue. And the costumes. All much too amateur for him. πŸ™‚

Anyway, I do enjoy movies. So, I’ve been following the news out of Cannes this week. I love Cannes, too, for being so goofball and overblown and, well, so French. Who else boos movies? Not the Canadians, I bet. Toronto is probably far more civilized and not nearly as much fun. I’d like to know what all those actresses are thinking when it comes to their gowns, though. Kirsten Dunst, who I like because she’s usually so quirky and cute, gets herself up to look like Fraulein Maria at the abbey for her big premiere??? Monica Belluci in a Christmas tree skirt trimmed with feather dusters??? This is France, people! FRANCE! (Sofia Coppola sure had some great shoes, though).

But I digress. Fashion will always do that to me. I’m here to talk about movies. I think. One movie in particular–Marie Antoinette, the one reportedly just booed at Cannes by moviegoing members of the “petit bourgeois” (according to one French critic). Now, I haven’t seen this film–it doesn’t open here until October. I’ve only seen a trailer, and I don’t know why it was booed (though I’d dearly like to find out). I will definitely see it, for the elaborate costumes, Versailles, the reported neo-punk soundtrack, and because I’m always a sucker for overblown, pre-Revolutionary shenanigans. But I have some reservations, mostly about the casting. As I said, I do like Kirsten Dunst. But does “quirky” equal “Austrian princess in powdered wigs”? Just not sure. I also don’t know who I would cast instead, if it was MY movie. Maybe Anne Hathaway? Or Emmy Rossum, if she wasn’t so tall?

Anyway, here is your task, if you choose to accept it. Let’s imagine we’re making a film about, say, the life of Byron (forget the one from the BBC a couple years ago–ours will be better!). Who would you cast in the lead parts? As Byron? (I would vote for Johnny Depp, I think. Or Keanu Reeves, if he had the acting skills to equal his looks, darn it). Caro Lamb? (Now there would be a part for Kirsten Dunst!). The Shelleys? Annabelle Milbanke? Lady Melbourne?

Serious and/or goofy answers all happily accepted! As are suggestions for Marie Antoinette. Or any other movie you choose to make. YOU are the director now! I may even give away a free book to the most, er, creative ideas…

About Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Writer (as Amanda McCabe, Laurel McKee, Amanda Carmack), history geek, yoga enthusiast, pet owner!
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Diane Perkins
16 years ago

I am hopeless in casting, because it demands I remember names and I am so impaired when I try to remember names upon demand. But I could not resist reminding you of when we watched Byron together–in England!!!!! What fun to watch with other Regency lovers.

Johnny Depp works for me to be Byron. Alas, I do not think Gerard Butler would do. Too tall and muscular (same for Keanu Reeves, actually) Besides, GB will be playing Burns, if the movie ever gets off the ground.


Janet Mullany
16 years ago

Of course, the lovely and talented Rufus Sewell (I have this feeling he’s quite short). Clive Owens, who was my first thought, is too tall. Or, the guy who played Jeffery in “Coupling” (BBC, not the American disaster)–he starred in the BBC “Lorna Doone”–duh, not as Lorna, as hero John Rudd (gawd, what a name, what were you thinking of, Mr. Blackmore?)

Megan Frampton
16 years ago

I might think of Christina Ricci as Caroline Lamb–she’s got that edge of insanity. Or maybe, just for a goof, Maggie Gyllenhaal. Or how about Jake Gyllenhaal as Byron and Maggie as Caro? Ooh, life imitates–life.

Ioan Gruffid (cannot spell his name) might make a good Byron also.

Johnny Depp is a good choice for Byron. Keanu cannot act, so he’s no good.

Hm. I’m right with you in liking movies for the exact same reason, Amanda, and I will be seeing Marie Antoinette (did you see the Norma Shearer version? Her off eye always freaked me out a little, which is totally un-PC, but I never understood why she was a star. Except that she was married to a big producer AND her brother was the driving force behind sound in pictures, I think.)

16 years ago

Byron– Clive Owen, he proved he could play a part like Byron from his role in the movie *Closer* a role that’s definitely Byronic. And he looks more like Byron than Depp.

Poor Caroline Lamb–Hmmm. Jodhi May

Shelleys and Circle
Percy: Hugh Dancy or Paul Bettany
Mary: Samantha Morton or Claire Dane
Claire Clairmont: Kiera Knightley

Annabelle Milbanke–that’s the most difficult one. Justine Waddell.
Lady Melbourne–Polly Walker

Diane Perkins
16 years ago

I just saw the movie Closer last night, Jane. Clive Owen is wonderful, but that movie gave us four characters who were none of them likable. Plus the story made no sense (IMO, some critics loved it). There seemed to be no motivation behind who coupled with whom.
You are great at casting, by the way!

16 years ago

Diane, you are right. That was a grim movie. Who could like those people! OMG! It was depressing, a sort of post-modern tale on well,
post-modern love. They were all liars.

Thanks on the casting. Let’s just get the movie MADE! LOL!

16 years ago

Janet, you read my mind! I immediately thought of Rufus Sewell. Plus he hasn’t done anything noteworthy in a while…Or, in the alternative, my new crush Jonathan Rhys-Myers…

Jane, I like Hugh Dancy or Paul Bettany for Shelley…good choices.

For Caro Lamb, I think Keely Hawes could pull it off. She can do that manic edge that Caro needs.

The movie I’ve always wanted to make is about the Pre-Raphaelites…there is so much drama there—the affairs, the grave robbing, the menagerie…Rufus Sewell would make an excellent Dante Gabriel Rossetti, too.

Amanda McCabe
16 years ago

Great casting choices, Jane! And good call on Rufus Sewell, Janet. I just love him, but haven’t seen him in anything for a while (just can’t quite make myself watch that new Tristan and Isolde…) I think we have the makings of a fab movie here, if we just had the $$$ to pull it off. :))

Diane, of course I remember seeing “Byron” in England! I watched it here when they reshowed it on BBC America a few months ago, and didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as in London. πŸ™‚ Remember the Beethoven movie, too? Good times!

Amanda McCabe
16 years ago

p.s. Megan, you are onto something with the Gyllenhaals, I think. Let’s cast her as Augusta Leigh and him as Byron, and then we’ll put Kirsten Dunst in there somewhere and..well, it will be interesting. πŸ™‚

Mandacoll, I’d love to see your movie about the Pre-Raphaelites, too. What a twisted story THAT would be! Great costumes, too, I bet.

And Keely Hawes can’t be in the movie because she is married to MY Mr. Darcy. So there.

Amanda McCabe
16 years ago

And p.p.s. I’m sure we can fit in Gerard and Orlando somewhere in the cast…

16 years ago

This is freaky but I picked the same exact people for Byron and Lamb. I can’t think of anyone to play the Shelleys except the woman who first started in Proof on Broadway for Mary Shelly. Her name escapes me right now but I know she has at least three of them!

Diane Perkins
16 years ago

Gerard must be Burns – he’s NOT going to take second billing to some English fellow named Byron!

And the Beethoven movie is hazy, but remember the soap opera we were hooked on after only seeing it twice. I wish that would come to America!

16 years ago

Rufus Sewell is one of my favs. He’s the model for one of my character and believe it or not, he is a Pre-Raphaelites character, only one I made up. He lives next door to Rossetti.


Maybe we should all go into writing screenplays!

16 years ago

Amanda! I had no idea Keeley Hawes was married to Matthew McF! You are right. She is definitely out of our movie. Hisssssssssssss.

Amanda McCabe
16 years ago

Thanks for the support, Manda! I knew I could count on you. πŸ™‚

Jane, I think you deserve a book for your efforts. πŸ™‚ Just send me your address at

Cara King
16 years ago

Santa, the actress in Proof you’re thinking of was probably Mary Louise Parker, who originated the role. Though you may be thinking of her three-named replacement in the role, who also got great reviews — Jennifer Jason Leigh!

(BTW, my husband and I obsess about actresses with three names. Probably because I am always blanking on those names, and saying, Oh, it was one of those actresses with three names! Too many Marys and Sarahs and Parkers and such… Mary Stuart Masterson, Mary Louise Parker, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jennifer Jason Leigh…)

BTW, I heard that the new Marie A. movie is not terribly interested in historical accuracy. Perhaps that was why they booed? (Or, um, yet another bizarre and self-indulgent performance by Sofia Coppola’s other weird cousin, Jason Schwartzman, as King Louis?) (Her first weird cousin of course being Nicolas Cage, who thankfully has mellowed into a good actor.) πŸ™‚


16 years ago

Address coming! I am all for books.

Diane, I am gloaming you right now.

Today, I have the big problem of deciding who is going to be the model for some characters I am writing.

I think I have narrowed it down to a toss between Gerald Butler and Orlando Bloom. Oh, the horror of casting your own books!

Amanda McCabe
16 years ago

Ah, Cara, so THAT explains why he was cast as King Louis! I haven’t been able to figure it out. πŸ™‚

Jane, those are some great choices for casting your book. I would definitely go for them. πŸ™‚

Wow, I’m so smiley today.