Thursday, 25 August 2011

Controversial Casting Choices

As the film adaptation of David Nicholl’s bestselling novel One Day hits cinemas this week, spare a thought for the unfortunate Anne Hathaway, the movie’s much maligned lead actress.

From the moment news broke of Hathaway’s casting as Emma Morley, the book’s dowdy but much-loved heroine, fans of the novel have not been shy about expressing their outrage.

Their chief complaint seems to hinge on the assertion that a beautiful Hollywood movie star like Hathaway could not possibly do justice to Emma, the frumpy and bespectacled Yorkshire lass.

Being a fan of the book, I must admit that, initially, I too was perplexed at the unusual casting choice for the character of Emma. But, on reflection, I resolved to keep an open mind and withhold judgement until the movie’s release. After all, Renee Zellweger had to contend with a similar degree of consternation when she bravely took on the lead role in the movie adaptation of Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’ Diary. And that particular casting gamble proved to be a stroke of genius – Zellweger’s outstanding portrayal of our beloved Bridget silenced each and every one of her critics.

Unfortunately for Hathaway, it would appear that she is not destined to replicate Zellweger’s success. For the most part, previews of One Day have been negative, with Hathaway’s poor attempt at a Northern accent coming in for particular ridicule. In this case, it seems, the naysayers have been proved right.

Incidentally, Zellweger and Hathaway are not the only actresses to encounter severe opposition to their casting in film adaptations of iconic books. Incredibly, Audrey Hepburn in the role of Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s was far from a unanimous choice. In fact, Hepburn’s most vocal opponent was none other than the novella’s author, Truman Capote - who, rather implausibly, was intent on Marilyn Monroe for the part!

Hmmm … one can’t help but feel that this was one casting decision the movie execs got right!

Truman Capote died on this day (August 25th) in 1984.

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