Monday, August 16, 2010

two is a crowd, but three is a party

Just mere months after two Marilyn Monroe biopics were announced, starring Naomi Watts and Michelle Williams, respectively, news is breaking that Angelina Jolie will take a stab at the role of the late screen legend. Jolie is set to star in the film version of "The Life and Opinions of Maf the Bog, and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe," by Andrew O'Hagan.
O'Hagan's tale tells the story of the controversial last two years of Monroe's life, told through the eyes of her Maltese terrier Maf (short for Mafia). In real life, the pup was a gift from friend Frank Sinatra, who is to be played by George Clooney in the film. Monroe toted Maf around to the residences of her famous friends, and got his belly scratched by the Rat Pack and President Kennedy.
The 35-year-old Jolie is in the perfect age bracket to portray Monroe in her later years, as she died in August 1962 at the age of 36. But is Angelina - who allegedly beat out contenders such as Mad Men lovely Christina Hendricks (my personal swoon) and Monroe-lookalike Scarlett Johansson - best suited to play Marilyn? She will have to put on some serious curves if she wants to go from her svelte ass-kicker physique in Salt to the delicately feminine form of Monroe. And also, will a woman who made a career out of playing action heroes, assassins, and sociopaths be able to bring the charm and vulnerability to this role? Though her turn in Changeling is a good indication of her range, one has to consider that the careful direction of Clint Eastwood had to do with evoking those emotions.
And for George Clooney, whose acting empire includes his takeover of the role Danny Ocean, a role made legendary by Frank Sinatra in the original Ocean's Eleven, is an interesting choice to play the blue-eyed crooner. Though names like Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Harry Connick Jr. were danced around for the role, the charming leading man won the role of ... a charming leading man. But it's hard to form an opinion around this casting choice. First off (and perhaps most inconsequentially), George Clooney has hazel brown eyes. Frank Sinatra was known for his ice-blue eyes. Sure color contacts are no problem, but so much of Clooney's handsomeness is centered around his gently wrinkled sad brown eyes. Would color contacts change his physical appearance enough ... or too much? He's got the rough brash handsomeness that Sinatra had, but I don't know how to envision him as the late legend. I want to closely monitor Clooney's development of the Sinatra role, because Frank Sinatra is near and dear to my heart (as a six-year-old, I expected to marry him by 13. Sadly, he died before my teen years).
With the prospect of Angelina also taking on the role of Cleopatra, made famous by Elizabeth Taylor in the 1963 MGM megaproduction, it seems like a major 1960s redux in Angelina's career. While both Jolie and Elizabeth Taylor shot down rumors that Angie would be portraying Taylor in a biopic of her life with Richard Burton (with Liz even tweeting "No one is going to play Elizabeth Taylor, but Elizabeth Taylor. Not at least until I'm dead, and at the moment I'm having too much fun being alive"), rumors still swirl that Angie will take on one of Taylor's most famous roles. With at least 28 film depictions of Cleopatra, does the world need another Hollywood version of the life of the Egyptian queen? Producer Scott Rudin (No Country for Old Men, Revolutionary Road, Julie & Julia, and all of the Wes Anderson films) has the rights for the film version of the book Queen of the Nile, Cleopatra: A Life. The book's author, Stacy Schiff, who will be involved in the film adaptation of her biography has stated that she wishes to mirror the on-and-off screen love affair present in the 1963 version between Elizabeth and Richard Burton. Her perfect Marc Anthony: Brad Pitt.
Controversy over Jolie's casting in both life stories of Marilyn and Cleopatra is blasting over the internet. Though many say that Angelina is 'too white' to play the African queen, I think that the edginess of Queen Cleo's life is better suited for the acting talents of Angelina Jolie. I could much sooner envision Angie in gold bracelets, heavy cat eye liner, ruling a country and seducing the world's most powerful men than hear her impersonate the breathy girly voice and ditzy persona of Monroe. We can already kind of envision Jolie in each of the roles: she had a Monroe-esque platinum blonde cut in the romcom Life or Something Like It, and she was picture perfect as the Greek queen Olympias in Alexander.


Baroness E said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I understand that film-makers are pressured by the studios to attach big names to their projects to bring in money, but it's starting to annoy me more and more especially when it comes to biopics. I like Angelina, but cannot see her as Marilyn at all, nor Clooney as Sinatra. Big biopics like that need people with less of a back catalogue, so that the make-believe could happen much more easily.

Queen Jane said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Baroness E- I completely agree. Instead of compromising a film with a big-name mismatched talent, whatever happened to using a brilliant unknown?

shaney said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

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lah-summerbaby said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

She don't even look like her for a start! lol I think they should just leave Marilyn to rest.Instead of milking her name all the time.Even Marilyn said herself that she hoped no one makes a crap film about her when she's gone.It looks like its gonna happen...

By the way i love your blog :)

Queen Jane said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thank you Shaney, it's always nice to hear that there are people out there who like the same things that I do! It gives me faith that I can meet people in real life who don't immediately dismiss B&W films as "boring"

Queen Jane said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Lah Summerbaby -
I agree, let Marilyn rest in piece. I remember reading about how she never wanted to be the subject of a film ... I believe that was right after she was offered to star as her idol Jean Harlow in a biopic, the one that eventually turned out to star Carroll Baker. Good choice on MM's part, that film was wretched.

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