A sign of the times?

By , 15 August 2008 12:00 pm

There are lots of things I feel inclined to comment about at the moment; including the great topic of British conversation: what happened to the weather? We seem to have seamlessly slipped from a wet and windy spring into a wet and windy autumn. Hang on, isn’t there supposed to be something in between? I’ve also got an iPhone 3G which I think is fantastic and I want to make some observations on it coupled with some damning comparisons with Microsoft’s offering in this area. But that can wait. And no, the phone hasn’t yet rung to say ‘you’re a grandfather’. Mind you given the weather, I can understand why the baby is staying inside as long as possible.

Curiously enough, the topic this week is that of Hamlet, that most curious of plays. Having watched the excellent Kenneth Branagh version recently I felt that it is really one of those southern European Catholic revenge dramas which has mysteriously (and not terribly convincingly) been transposed to a Protestant Denmark. Anyway, as you may or may not know depending on which part of the globe (no literary pun intended) you’re in, a new production of Hamlet has opened at Stratford starring David Tennant as dithering hero. That is of course the David Tennant, the current Doctor Who. To round things off nicely, the villain of the piece, Claudius, is played by no less than Patrick Stewart. That is, of course, the Patrick Stewart, formerly Captain Picard of Star Trek. And the reviews have been very good indeed. The reviewers have, however, all gone out of their way to remind us that both are highly trained actors and had good credentials well before they became famous in science fiction.

To be honest, I’m not quite sure what to make of this. Does it indicate that, in order to make the fantastic credible today you need to get the best possible actor or actress you can? Or does it indicate that fantasy/science fiction is now coming in out of the cold and is something that no longer blights an acting career? Frankly I rather hope it’s the latter. Indeed, I hope that Hollywood will realise one of the advantages of filming epic fantasy is that actors are prepared to fight for what is a proven career-building privilege. If they want an epic fantasy to test this theory then I suppose I can think of a trilogy that might be suitable.

Have a good week

Chris

11 Responses to “A sign of the times?”

  1. bdwlf says:

    Geeks, Nerds, and Fanboys(and girls) Unite! Victory is within our grasp. First the Globe…Next the World.

    No longer will we be marginalized, ostracized, or given that “duh” look when we expound upon the relevance of Starfleet’s Prime Directive on current foreign policy.

    The revolution has begun, brothers and sisters. Soon the hallowed halls of the Senate (and Parliament)shall be filled with pointy, prosthetic ears. Modeling runways will sport Hobbit-esque footwear and mysterious robes. Playgrounds will resound with the taunts of the new class of “cool” kids. (“What? You’ve never even read The Two Towers? What a jock. I bet you don’t even know what system Farholme is in.”)

    Viva la revolucion!

    P.S. We’ll be having a bake sale next Saturday for the “David Tennant for Emperor of the World” campaign. Please sign up in the foyer.

    Seriously though, Shakespeare and sci-fi goes so well together. It gives me chills.

    (Oh and thanks for posting some of your vacation pictures. Wow!)

  2. Catherine Brislee says:

    So who would you pick to play Merral then? Somehow I can’t see David Tennant in the part.

    What about Patrick Stewart as Corradon?

  3. geoffs says:

    Actually, I rather favor Patrick Stewart in the role of Jorgio. My image of Jorgio just seems to “mesh” with Stewart’s looks and mannerisms. But, that’s just me…

    These books seem perfect for a movie series. But would Hollywood go for a theme that is so blatantly and unabashedly Christian in nature?

  4. Boaz says:

    I think they would. Look how CSL’s The Chronicles of Narnia are doing.

    As far as actors in roles go, I recall Vero telling Merral that Isabella looks to be almost pure Chinese, in marked contrast to the majority of others outside Ancient Earth where racial mixing is the norm. (OTOH, makeup departments can work wonders.)

    I’d nominate Kevin Spacey in the role of Nezhuala.

  5. KIRSTY says:

    How about a (far darker and a bit younger) Barack Obama for Vero?

  6. Chris says:

    I am enjoying these! Keep them coming. Incidentally, when I first started sketching out this series I saw myself as Merral. Now a quarter of a century on I am beginning to feel more suited to being cast as Jorgio. :-(

    Chris

  7. daniel says:

    I can see Summer Glau in the role of Perena…

  8. Catherine Brislee says:

    Let’s not forget the really important question:

    Who’s going to play Lloyd?!

  9. geoffs says:

    Yes, Spacey as Nezhuala would be pretty spot on. But, somehow, I could just not even begin to imagine Obama as Vero (probably because there’s just too much political association involved).

    While it is true that Chronicles of Narnia’s overriding theme was a Christian one, there was not the open theological dialog such as is present in Chris’s trilogy. I guess Hollywood could “cleanse” the dialog, but if they did, wouldn’t that gut the most important parts of the story?

  10. Kirsty says:

    Re Barack Obama: I was just thinking of looks – I know practically nothing about him politically – I’m in Scotland, so it doesn’t affect me much! His face seems the right shape, somehow.

    OK, so what about a younger and more serious-looking Craig Charles for Merral?

    I’d never heard of Summer Glau, but I’ve just looked her up, and she does look right for how I imagined Perena.

    No, I can’t see Hollywood doing it justice (not that they do any book justice) they would a) water it down (which would lose the whole point – in fact, you probably couldn’t) and b) make it too melodramatic. Maybe a Christian filmmaker? But then no-one else would see it.

  11. Boaz says:

    Or do animation/CGI and just look for appropriate voice talent, which could work wonders.

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