Darling Dilemma

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One of my allllllllll-time favourite book series is the Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty. I read 'Sloppy Firsts' and 'Second Helpings' back in my angsty teenage days and was so moved by them, I emailed Megan to thank her for writihttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifng the books, and actually received a really lovely reply that I've buried in my emaihttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifl account to this day.

One of the questions I asked in that email was why the book hadn't been made into a movie or TV series. Oh naive me. Looking back, and thinking about how Hollywood has a tendency to BUTCHER book adaptations (at least 50% of the time), do I really want them to make a movie? Urgh, well in light of the terrible potential Sex and the City prequel casting, I'm a little apprehensive about seeing Notso and friends appear on screen.

Megan, for her part, has been spreading the word by asking fans to vote for who they'd like to see in the semi-iconic roles of Jessica Darling and Marcus Flutie. The thing is, these books have been released over the last decade, so many of the actors and actresses that I (and fellow readers) have maybe once considered are probably wayyy too old now.

I went to a movie camp one summer, and this guy there was a dead ringer for Marcus in my head. He had red hair, just not in dreadlocks, and he was good-looking in that ruffian, artistic kind of way. Seeing as how he is not an actor (that I know of) and I have no clue what his name is, or for that matter, the fact this happened nearly a decade ago and therefore he is ALSO too old, it's time to move onto other prospects.

I gave a haphazard answer on the Megan-post on Facebook about who I'd cast in the Sloppy Firsts movie, but now I'm trying to think a little harder. My main criteria for each character:

Jessica:
- Needs to LOOK young. None of this twenty-five-year-old playing a seventeen-year-old business (ahem, guess that counts me out).
- Needs to embody the 'everywoman' in terms of facial beauty. This is why I'd love to cast someone from Degrassi - the people on there just look normal. I don't want goddam Emma Roberts invading my screen for this.
- Ideally lanky in frame, although petite would work also. Va-va-va-voom curves are out.
- Needs to be able to carry off the whip-smart personality of our girl Jessica. No cutesy pandering to cameras, a la most Hollywood starlets.

Marcus
- Needs to be interesting looking, the type of guy that not all girls will immediately admit they're attracted to
- Again, ideally lanky in frame - not a muscular guy
- Slightly more okay with him looking mature (based on his reputation of being a dropout of sorts) - although depends on the actress he's paired with.
- Needs to have a very expressive face. Marcus is such a complex character - you always get the sense there is WAY more going on behind his eyes, just by the way Jessica describes his mannerisms, and the actor that takes on the role needs to be able to capture someone who is smart yet also a tad emotionally unavailable / chameleon-like.

Now. Ideally I think this film would cast some unknowns because what I've just described there doesn't describe very many people...at all...in Hollywood. But I'm going to try.


Saoirse Ronan
This photo of Saoirse makes me think she'd be an amazing Jessica Darling. She has an everygirl beauty about her, but her eyes really make her pop and stand out a little - much as I pictured Jessica. She's definitely got the long, lanky frame, and as an actress, from what I've seen her in, I think she can tackle Jessica's mix of self-assuredness yet also pull off her reactions when she gets hurt / has a wake-up call. She did a solid job at being an American in 'The Lovely Bones' so I think she could do this.


Ashley Rickards
A lot of people on Megan's Facebook discussion topic picked out Ashley Rickards, who I first encountered on One Tree Hill. I think she's definitely got the right personality - snarktastic to the nth degree - and her everygirl looks are pretty dead on. I'm a little worried this role might be too close to what she's currently doing on 'Awkward' - an outsider that has a surprisingly good grasp on navigating the social sharks of high school. Maybe that's not a bad thing? I wouldn't be disappointed if she got the role really.


Hailee Steinfeld
I just considered Hailee as of this morning. It's a really tough call for me though, because she's only been in True Grit, and really...that's not much of an audition for the role of Jessica Darling, other than the fact she held her own on screen with a very experienced, male-dominated cast. I'm not sure how she'd handle the petulant teenage role. And she's a touch young...but if the movie weren't being made for a year or two? I feel like she's got a sweet kind of pretty and as of right now, the right body type...hm.


Jamie Bell
THIS is what I'm talking about when I say Marcus should have an interesting, good-looking quality to him. Jamie Bell (of Billy Elliot, once upon a time) is not a ripped Prince Charming type. He has an impish quality that I always associated with Marcus. Now obviously, he would not be a good fit for someone like Hailee. He'd need an actress that's a little closer to his own age. But I think he's a solid contender.


Aaron Johnson
He came off a little weasely-voiced (given he's a Briton) in Kick Ass, but from a looks standpoint alone I think AJ here would be a fantasmic choice for Marcus. He is riveting to watch on-screen, has that charming smirk down pat, and is able to embody the nuances of a character incredibly well (see: his portrayal of a young, complicated John Lennon in 'Nowhere Boy').


Tyler Blackburn
The numero uno pick for Marcus that I saw on MM's Facebook wall. As someone that watches Pretty Little Liars, I don't disagree - his role as Caleb, the burnout cell phone hacker with abandonment issues works as a great audition tape for Marcus. He's a little too pretty and a little too wooden as an actor to fully make him my dream choice, but again, wouldn't be disappointed / surprised if he got the part. He can work a smoldering bad boy eye.


Munro Chambers
It's incredibly difficult for me to picture Degrassi's Munro Chambers without his trademark dark emo-cut and guy-liner, but from an acting standpoint alone, he would be a phenomenal choice. He is easily one of the most winsome young male actors I've seen on the screen in forever, and his role as Eli - manipulative, hot & cold, passionate, independent - is a fantastic foundation for playing Marcus. However, Munro is known to be a short guy, and Jessica is known to be a tall character...can it work? Hm.


Paul Dano
Believe it or not, Paul Dano is actually 26 already, which makes him probably too old to play Marcus, although I think he has an interesting look that would work for the part. I've only seen him in Little Miss Sunshine where he played a mostly mute role, but his ability to win you over in that film with little more than facial expressions proves he's still a potential dreamcast member


Hmmm...I need to think more. Hollywood is rife with young starlets, but few that I'd even remotely consider for the part. That being said, the b-cast members, man the possibilities are endless!

- Britt's On

Dreamcasting

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I just finished the second book in 'The Carrie Diaries' series - Candace Bushnell's YA look at Carrie Bradshaw BEFORE she was Carrie Bradshaw. If you're not familiar, the first book took place in Carrie's small town, in her final year of high school. This book covered Carrie's first summer in New York, where she's a temporary resident attending a writing program, contemplating whether University is really the right place for her come fall.

For people expecting a carbon copy of the bits and bobs of origins that the TV show covered - LOOK ELSEWHERE. There are tons of anachronisms that will probably irritate or confuse most diehard Sex and the City fans...like say, how Carrie lost her virginity, or what her family life was like. As an example, apparently in this world, she had sisters!!! Carrie always screamed only child to me so this was shocking.

Regardless, I would genuinely be interested in seeing the books come to the big screen. Or even the small screen. I'm not sure how well it would go over because they're set in the 80s and you can tell Bushnell is longing to make her characters appealing to the modern reader, but thankfully she doesn't pull a Francine Pascal and time warp her characters to be modern but un-aged. I talked before about my casting choice for Carrie, but after reading this book I now have picks for the young 'un versions of the fab four.

Playing the part of Carrie Bradshaw...

Degrassi's Charlotte Arnold


Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Charlotte Arnold would be a phenom choice to play Carrie. She's got similar enough looks / voice to SJP, and she's a great, endearing actress. I don't know that she'd actually do it since she seems pretty focused on her journalism schooling, but I imagine if the opportunity came up, she'd take it.

Playing Samantha Jones:

Glee's Dianna Agron


Kim Cattrall as Samantha Jones

I'm not a huge Glee fan whatsoever, but I've caught a couple of episodes, and for some reason Dianna Agron popped into my head while reading this book. She's supposed to be older, confident, street smart, and snappy in the book - but also with a tinge of vulnerability. I think Dianna would be an awesome choice to embody all of that, plus I see a bit of resemblance with her and Kim!

And now onto Miranda Hobbes...

Parenthood's Sarah Ramos


Cynthia Nixon as Miranda Hobbes

I had to think about this one a lot before landing on Sarah Ramos, who is a wonderful actor on NBC's Parenthood. Once I thought of her - it clicked! She's got the ability to have that sort of tough sneer that Miranda has, but also to be hilariously caustic. And I think based on the maturity level of the characters, Sarah has a great ability to come off as both a know-it-all and know-nothing. Again, there's enough of a resemblance between her and Cynthia Nixon that I could see it working.

Finally Charlotte York, who only has a bit part...

Gossip Girl's Leighton Meester


Kristin Davis as Charlotte York Goldenblatt

Another character I didn't give much thought to because I didn't even expect to see her in the books, but I think Leighton Meester would do a fine job with it, even if she's a touch older than the other girls. The brand of comedy typically used for Charlotte-centric scenes is very campy, and that's exactly what Leighton employs on Gossip Girl. She'd have to tone down her manipulative girl bit and go for a more airy, less self-assured gal though.

NOW. I did google ideas for casting Charlotte when I wrote this post - Leighton came from a list of the hottest stars under 25 - and was surprised to see the prequel has been green lit (not sure if it's the original C Diaries or the latest book). No official casting news has been made, but the four rumored potential starlets for consideration are...


Carrie - Elizabeth Olsen
Lizzie Olsen (yes, of the Olsen dynasty) is about to make her feature film debut, and has been making a splash on red carpet as the more sane, relatable member of the clan. In a picture like this, I can see the resemblance, however I need to see the girl act before I can gauge whether she can embody SJP's punny, brassy take on the everywoman Carrie.


Miranda - Emma Roberts
I find this a really odd choice. Nothing Emma Roberts' has done has impressed me to date, and her on-screen persona is more indie dreamgirl waif than tempestuous activist / feminist. I also don't see a huge resemblance between her and Cynthia Nixon at all.


Samantha - Blake Lively
I mean...really? I have Blake burnout at this point. And this is totally the wrong role for her. Blake's whole thing is this irresistible, indecipherable charm / coquettishness - and Samantha's whole thing is bold, upfront, I KNOW WHO I AM AND WHAT I WANT. Maybe it's from years of watching Serena on Gossip Girl waffle on just about everything, but I find this one really hard to envision from both an acting and even a physical point of view.


Charlotte - Selena Gomez
This is BY FAR the weirdest rumored choice of all. No offense to Selena, but her doll-ish ethnic-flavoured looks are not matched to Kristin Davis' WASP appearance at ALL. Granted she's barely in the film (in theory) but if they go with Gomez because of her tween popularity I'm officially calling this prequel a fail.

Seeing this potential foursome makes me think a prequel will be an epic fail. Not saying my casting is perfect - Leighton is too old I think - but it's definitely more inventive than what Hollywood can come up with. Leave it to the big wigs to pick the four prettiest starlets they can find, when part of what made the original show so appealing was that the stars really did look like your gal pals, or women on the street (albeit with crazy styling), with different body types. The actresses I picked celebrate each woman's key features without downright re-envisioning them as glam, size zero starlets. Sigh.

- Britt's On

Are You Listening?

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So we're more than halfway through Degrassi's summer season, and while I'm enjoying it and clamouring for the next episode the second the one I'm watching is done...something feels off about it and I can't put my finger on what. I actually like what they're doing with the season, and I've thought all of the storylines have been good apt choices, and I appreciate that they're not neatly (or ambiguously) wrapped up in 22 minutes...but what is it? Maybe that there is a certain level of inevitability to most of the storylines? Or all the previews online kinda spoil a lot of the drama? Or that there isn't this insane level of buzz that surrounded the show the first time they did the 24 episode summer? I'm debating.

Either way, thinking about Degrassi and Project Runway - my two fave summer TV fixes, along with Pretty Little Liars - inspired me to look back at two posts I wrote about last year in regards to stuff these shows had (surprisingly) not tackled yet.

The Degrassi post touched on issues I was surprised weren't that prevalent in this incarnation of the Degrassi-verse. Here's a quick rundown of what I said, and what Degrassi has or hasn't done about it:
- Adoption: Came up in a big way this season with Holly J's increasing health worries. I appreciated that they put a very tricky, sticky human life element into the story...but I also feel like Holly J's health issues have overshadowed the turmoil of emotions she should be experiencing right now. Consider Wheels' downward spiral in the original Degrassi compared to Holly J's laissez-faire "Well I'm still reeling, but I need a kidney so whatever." There's no family drama to be seen - it's all health-based.

- Suicide: I listened to a Stephen Stohn interview while making dinner one night and he explained the discrepancy here. First, he didn't think the way they handled Claude in the original series was the best storyline, and I agree - the show wrapped up shortly after that episode if I recall so there was a lack of reverb (particularly for Kaitlin). Second, they were worried about copycat situations in real life. Third, and this was skirted around, they don't want to kill off a character the fans are invested in. Obviously Eli would make the most sense at this point, but can you imagine the Eclare hysteria??? HOWEVER. I suspect that if Eli is scooped up by a US network at some point, he'll be the one to carry the suicide storyline.

- He Said, She Said: I'd say to a degree this has happened with Clare and Eli, although Adam seems to be doing fine straddling their collective friendships. There has been a big focus on "I heard you..." between the two of them, Jake, Katie, Imogen, etc.

- Duelling Exes: Underway with Eli and Jake. Weird - I'm feeling like the Degrassi people read this blog lol.

- Interracial Dating Tension: This is sort of happening with Alli and Dave right now, however it's more about Dave as a person versus Dave's 'race'. But the Bandari household is a copout for this plotline - we've seen seasons worth of material regarding Sav not being able to date who he wants to date.

- Aboriginal: Still no aboriginal characters, which is a shame. Like I said before though, I see why the show is probably super hesitant to dip their toe in this - from a political and a story-relevance-based point.

- School Cheating: Still nothing major here, which is so weird to me. Oldest trick in the book I say, and I can't think of a single major example of this being pulled off effectively. I can't believe I'm saying this, but Season 4 of One Tree Hill had a cheating storyline as a major plot point, and they did it well.

- Depression: Eli was on anti-anxiety (codename for depression?) drugs this season. I'll give the writers credit there.

- Stalking: Imogen seems to be a borderline stalker / psychopath so far, which I appreciate. I like that she's in the school versus an outsider, like Darcy's temporary stalker.

- Uppers & Downers: Ummm hm. Anya's cocaine addiction is similar, but not directly tied to this plot point.

Now I also wrote a post about Project Runway challenges I was surprised they'd never done.

The only piece of advice they heeded from me was...oddly...fitness wear. Except it was 'active wear' for Heidi's Amazon.com line, and it was really moreso loungewear. Not stuff you'd actually work out in, but might run around town in, or wear post-gym while grabbing a carton of milk on your way home.

I still think my other ideas were awesome. And the season is still young, but I doubt I'll see any of them come to fruition. I also thought the other day about designing tennis dresses! It harkens back to the practical-meets-fashion requirements of designing a skating costume of one of the earlier seasons, but tennis wear is KNOWN to be super innovative and interesting and downright trendsetting. Having Anna K or Maria Sharapova or one of the Williams sisters in the house would make for an interesting judging panel.

Now to brainstorm a dozen other ideas for Degrassi to steal...use...in Season 11!

- Britt's On

Bits & Bytes

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Some musings on various television-watching excursions this summer:


1) I'm currently watching 'The Riches' with my boyfriend, after the owner of the company I work for lent it to me. We watched the premiere eons ago (okay, months) and are finally making our way through it. Such an interesting show because SO much happens in every freaking episode, and yet...it's only been a week or two at most in the character's lives. And we're on episode eight already. I can see why the show got cancelled ultimately - their skewering of us everyday 'buffers', aka the people who watch highbrow cable concept shows like The Riches, would definitely alienate the show's target audience. Plus I want more 'gypsies fitting in the 'burbs' hijinks and less 'gypsies are going to hunt you and kill you' nastiness. Generally though, I'm enjoying. Super bizarrely funny.


2) Just thinking about Pretty Little Liars. This season has definitely been slower-paced than the previous one, and the revelations not quite as revelatory...almost reminiscent of the final seasons of Lost. It's nice that the girls clued in on Garrett and Jenna, and the show clarified that Jarrett are NOT 'A' based on the fact they 'suspect' the girls know that Ian didn't kill Allison (when in fact, A has told them as much). A is also getting pretty damn crafty, sneaking into Emily's hospital room, medicine cabinet, and garbage.

One thing that has crossed my mind this season in particular is how refreshing it is to see Aria outside of her still-wrong-still-creepy relationship with Ezra. Season 1 was SO focused on them being together, and Season 2 they're in this weird in-between of allowed to be together (and Ezra's ex KNOWING they're a couple) but also it still being super weird and they're clearly trying to split them apart via Jason.

I bring up Aria because the way she was introduced - and really, the way she's focused on in a lot of the marketing of the show, at least initially - pointed to her as the slightly-more-important / relatable protagonist. But really, out of the three girls, she is the character I understand the least. I could easily classify the other girls' personalities:


Hanna - often there for insensitive, slightly dumb-blonde-esque comedy relief. Defensive but also fiercely loyal. Critical. Along for the ride compared to the others.


Spencer - the brainy, investigative one who is easily the most consumed by the Ally affair. She will be the last one to let it go, even when she says she is. Her type A, overachiever traits are well-suited to being the ringleader of the Ally-vestigations.


Emily - the most anxious and freaked out of the bunch, she's also the most introspective and independent - surprisingly really. Just the fact she has other activities and friends that are often the focus of her plots makes me think she's okay being a bit of a loner, apart from the liars.


Aria - is a big question mark. She never really initiates things in the group, especially when it comes to Ally. The other three girls all have three very distinct viewpoints on every decision they make - Hannah, hells no! Spencer, hells yes! Emily, let's think about it! Aria...I just never remember her contributions to things, and it seems like she's only randomly involved in anything the group does, like Spencer pulling her into last night's candy striper mission.

Anyway, still a fun and twisty and freaky show. I'm curious to see where they go with it, but concerned they blew their load in season 1 a bit.


3) Degrassi is back! Hallelujah! Overall enjoying the season so far. I think they've come a long way in the way they're blending characters together - last season struggled when you had episodes focused solely on the characters who had plot lines in that episode. This season they're giving many characters a few lines per episode, even when it's not their episode. It helps progress people's relationships in a much more organic way - see, Fiona and Eli's little bed bug exchange in the last episode, although their relationship is odd to me, or Bianca's excursions with Anya - and is a nice way to keep new characters top-of-mind. I'm kind of glad they haven't pitched this as something that will peak in the mid-season finale like last year's 'Boiling Point', which was ultimately a letdown. The teaser stuff with Drew and the gun has already rolled out and we're now enjoying the aftermath. Sigh. Sometimes I really wish this show had an hourly format to really stretch its legs, although they manage to do so much in a half-hour.

S'all.

- Britt's On

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