by Bronwyn Jameson
During this past week an email arrived in my inbox promoting the musical Dirty Dancing. Now I knew there was a stage version, but I hadn't thought much of it until I perused this flyer. I'm always open to seeing a musical, you see, and given how much I adored the movie you would think this would be right up my alley.
But…no. The thought of anyone but Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in the lead roles turned me right off. I just can't imagine anyone else doing Johnny and Frances justice.
Which got me thinking about other iconic (if that is the right word) musicals/movies. Grease, for example. I adored the movie and John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John made the roles of Danny and Sandy their own, not to mention the stellar supporting cast. But I've seen, and loved, several stage versions of Grease. I think because that experience is an adoration of the singalong, an enjoyment of the songs and the music and the sheer fun and energy, rather than the characters and story.
So, yeah, I can enjoy pretty much any version of Grease or The Rocky Horror Picture Show or even The Sound of Music as long as they sing and dance their hearts out. But Dirty Dancing has to be the movie version or nothing. So I've been thinking of other roles which are totally owned by an actor. Mary Poppins, for example, *is* Julie Andrews…or should that be the other way around?
Do you have a special favourite on-screen characterisation that cannot be matched?
The other thing on my radar--and written all over my calendars and schedules so I don't forget--is the TV series of Outlander debuting this Thursday night. Cannot wait! I've heard really good things from readers who've already seen it in America, so I'm *slightly* more relaxed than I might otherwise have been about how Jamie and Claire are portrayed. Although still anxious. I so want them to get the chemistry right.
Do you have very specific ideas about your favourite book characters, as I do Jamie and Claire? When a book favourite is made into a movie or TV series, do you worry so much about them "being done right" that you're afraid to watch? That you don't watch?
Bronwyn, I definitely have specific ideas of how I want Claire and Jamie to be portrayed, which maybe quite different to what you're expecting, as we tend to add our own little things as we read the story. It can put me off if the film is one of my favourite stories. I try to pretend it's a whole new one but that doesn't always work.ReplyDelete
That's a great strategy, Sue. I notice that Diana Gabaldon calls this an "adaptation" of the book(s) and that's the right attitude, I reckon. Are you getting it in NZ???Delete
Yep, it's coming down our way too. Looking forward to it.Delete
I've been thinking about this all day, Bron, trying to come up with something I love that wouldn't want to go and see on the big screen or remade into a musical etc. I love all the films you mention (can't comment on Outlander as I haven't read it yet), but I've been happy to see them made into musicals etc. I'd go and see Dirty Dancing on the stage too, even though I don't think anyone could do it as well as the originals.ReplyDelete
I quite like seeing other's takes on films and books I love even if I'm not convinced by them. Will have to ponder this some more.
Michelle, you have the open mind to accept the adaptations and this is a fine character trait. Perhaps I need to see the Dirty Dancing musical before deciding that no-one else can play the roles. I could be pleasantly surprised!ReplyDelete
It's only a fine character trait until I get to the point where I feel the beloved book/film/play has been butchered…and then I find I'm not quite so tolerant, Bron. ;-)Delete
A woman after my own heart. :-)Delete
Ha. That sounds familiar, Michelle. :-)ReplyDelete
I am a bit that way as well even though it is not a musical I will only watch one of The Little Woman movies the one with June Alyson and Elizabeth Taylor in I love that one so much that I never wanted to watch the newer version or the original one either :) and yes I don't think anyone else could play Johnny and Frances I am happy to see a movie from a book I have read and make a decision after I have seen it and I have not read Outlander so don't have any expectations from this one
Helen, when there's a movie we truly love it is impossible to imagine anyone else in the roles, isn't it? Or perhaps we just don't want to contemplate those favourite characters in any other guise.Delete
Thanks for visiting and commenting,
Sigh.....I adore Johnny and Frances.ReplyDelete
Katherine Heigel as Stefanie Plumb was such a disappointment to me - I;d always thought of her as a younger Marissa Tomei. And my daughter is till MAD AS HELL at whoever cast the actor to play Gus in The Fault In Our Stars - he's *not* Gus, Mum!
They are pretty sigh worthy, aren't they?Delete
Oh, I blocked out that "casting" of Stephanie Plum and won't see the movie. Like you, I see her as a younger Marissa Tomei. That's her look and her spirit.
I have to say I'm not worried about other people appearing in new versions of musicals. At least that means they're being produced again for a whole new audience. For me the one thing I'd hate to see is a remake of a truly fabulous movie. I never want to see anyone but Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in 'Casablanca', for instance. I know remakes are popular but when the original is so special it seems a shame to mess with it.
Annie, I need to train myself to think like you because I really do love that live theatre of all kinds is being produced…and it won't if we don't form audience for them. Someone needs to force me along to DD The Musical! I might even love it!Delete
And yes on recasting/remaking the classics. No one puts Humphrey in the corner!
Not a musical, but I was disappointed at Isla Fisher being cast in Shopaholic. I like Isla Fisher, I just didn't picture her in this role and couldn't watch the movie.ReplyDelete
Another excellent example, Claire. I haven't read the Shopaholic books but from what I've read about them -- and from other Kinsella books I have read -- I also was slightly bemused by this casting.Delete
Bron, I know what you mean about Patrick and Jennifer in the lead roles in Dirty Dancing... hard to put anyone else there!ReplyDelete
I have found that favourite books made into movies can be a real disappointment - but a series that hasn't been in the least disappointing is Harry Potter. I loved the books and loved the movies too.
I missed Outlander... I wonder if there's an encore...
Sharon, thanks so much for bringing up some positive casting and Harry Potter is a great example.Delete
I do believe there are several encores of Outlander. Check your Foxtel guide; it's on SoHo.
Bron, that's a really interesting point. I agree - I'm up for other versions of Grease and Rocky Horror, but Dirty Dancing is only PS and JG for me too. I wonder if it's because the others are more about the fun and entertainment, but I had a strong emotional connection to Dirty Dancing and the characters?ReplyDelete
I'm so hugely jealous about Outlander! I don't have pay TV so I'll have to wait for the DVD.
I think you hit the nail (or the watermelon) on the head, Rachel. For me, Dirty Dancing was all about the emotional connection to the characters and the storyline, whereas the others are like a grand music concert to singalong to/with.ReplyDelete
I will let you know what I think of Outlander. It's taped but I've not had a chance to watch yet.