Diva, the Movie

Didn’t mean to mislead you. There is no Diva movie in the works, nor is there likely to be. But a person can dream, right?

The book was released a few days early, and I’ve done my best to guilt almost everyone I know into buying it or at least into pretending they intend to buy it. If you haven’t read the book yet, you might be mystified by the wildly unrealistic and stream-of-consciousness ramblings in this post. Go read DDDD then come back. You can get it on your Kindle right now!

Are you back? Now you can comment on my casting decisions and make a few suggestions of your own.

My first choice would be to use real opera singers. With the business as competitive as it is, there are plenty of attractive, not-so-young or particularly successful singers out there who could fill the bill. Look at Baz Luhrmann’s La Bohème. If you haven’t seen it, you just have to. Right now. Get out of here.

Baz would make a marvelous director for my movie!

Of course Hollywood’s way is to cast with stars; then the stars refuse to be dubbed, and the audience, horrifyingly, seems to be okay with that. Witness Ewan Mcgregor in Moulin Rouge. Ewan, you’re gorgeous and you can certainly act, but your singing in that movie was substandard, and your neck muscles looked as if they were about to burst. However, Ewan, you can still be in my movie. If Johnny Depp doesn’t want the part, you can be Lawrence. True, Johnny isn’t a tenor, and I don’t recall seeing him play “gay.” I have seen you play sexy gay characters. With a lot more vocal training, you might make a pretty good character tenor. Johnny, you sang remarkably well in Sweeney Todd, but that’s a baritone role, and I don’t know if you can carry off an opera aria. However, I’m pretty sure no one would care if you fell short in that area, not even me. (Confession: I have an action doll of JD from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow sitting next to my computer.)

Ewan and Johnny … I’m glad we had this little chat. Now, back to my movie …

If Baz isn’t available to direct, I would welcome James Ivory. I have no idea why reviewers are so lukewarm about many of the Merchant Ivory films—such as Le Divorce (LOVE Diane Johnson’s novels) or City of my Final Destination. I went through a phase where I saw every M&I movie I could get my paws on, even Ballad of the Sad Café and Born into Brothels (basically unwatchable). Although I enjoyed all of the rest, some were too tragic for my taste—life is sad enough so I prefer escapist art. Nevertheless, they were all satisfyingly complex and sophisticated, and the actors were top notch. It’s true that the Merchant Ivory style doesn’t really lend itself to farce, but I’d be willing to take my chances.

For Debbie, let’s go with Kate Hudson or Jennifer Aniston, although technically both are too beautiful.

Sven … Damian Lewis? At least he’s a true redhead. Only 6’1”, though. Howard Keel would have been perfect (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers), although he was only 6’4”. Kevin McKidd of Grey’s Anatomy might work, but he’s only 6’ tall. Of course if you cast everyone else short … And it is a movie; you can fudge those things. I always figured Paul Newman for a tall guy, and it turns out he was 5’9”—uh, officially.

(Can we get Stephen Fry and Rupert Everett in there somehow? I’m definitely writing characters for them in the sequel. And someday I’ll publish The Past Rising, my novel about the poet Guillaume Apollinaire. Stephen would have been my dream choice for Gui.)

As for Reade, in the book he is constantly compared to Stewart Granger, who I’m sure is a big question mark to most people under 60 unless they’re fans of TCM. There aren’t too many gorgeous “manly men” in Hollywood these days. Well, I guess I could settle for George Clooney. (Am I giving too much away about my fantasy life?) All right, back to reality. John Hamm from Mad Men will do.

How about Amanda Seyfried for Amelia? Too beautiful?

Helena Bonham Carter would make a terrific Camille. Jennifer Coolidge (Best in Show) for Lisette. Ulrika …  Courtney Cox. Especially if Jennifer Aniston is Debbie. Friends goes to the opera!

Amy Adams, how would you feel about playing the gorgeous lesbian Corabelle? You might have to get a drastic haircut to carry it off. I think it’s time to expand beyond cute. The logical next step would be cute and butch, right? All the hetero actors want to play gay—even über-macho Sean Penn. It’s a great way to get an Academy Award. Think Hilary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry

Angelo … if only Tom Jones the pop star were just ten years younger … Can we think of another aging pop star who can really sing? Darius Campbell’s too young, but if the movie gets made 20 years from now … On second thought, let’s go with Tom Jones. I bet he could sing the part, and if he’s willing to dye his hair …

I’ve already blown my budget, so I’ll let James or Baz cast the rest with unknowns.

Or maybe I can convince Seattle performance artist Nick Garrison to play Camille in the all-drag stage version? Debbie’s numerous naked mishaps would be tricky, but an actor might be able to carry them off with a body stocking …

John Waters, how do you feel about opera?

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