Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Perfect P&P

Today I'm supposed to talk about what my dream casting for a new adaptation of Pride and Prejudice would be; not by finding certain actors, but just talking about what I think they should be like.  It's a very good idea but I must admit at this time I do not have much enthusiasm for writing about it.  Sooo I'm going to be kind of minimalist and just talk about five of the characters.

Also, I'm going to be boring and not include any pictures.  We're supposed to be picturing the characters for ourselves, after all.  ;)

Elizabeth Bennet
We must start with her, mustn't we?  Let's see now.  My perfect Lizzy Bennet would be between the ages of 19 and 24, not very tall in height (Mr. Bennet refers to her as "my little Lizzy", and Lydia is the tallest of the family; her figure is also not supposed to be perfect and in S&S JA mentions height as an 'advantage'-- those are some things that brought me to that conclusion), have dark brown hair and eyes, and be on the lighter side but not skin-and-bones like Keira Knightley.  Her eyes really should be striking, and very expressive.  Her face in general should be expressive when she's animated, so that it's interesting to watch her talk and display emotions.  She needs to have a very good smile.  She should be pretty but not perhaps in a very usual way.  (Jane should be more regularly pretty.)  Like, the more you get used to her looks the more you like them.  

As for acting... the actress herself needs to admire Jane Austen and Elizabeth Bennet, because I really think that makes a big difference as to how an actor portrays a character.  I really have hardly anything to complain about when it comes to Jennifer Ehle's acting... there are a few lines I might say in a bit of a different way if it were me, but... yeah.  So basically she needs to be as good as Jennifer Ehle and that might be difficult. ;)

Mr. Darcy
Heh, heh, heh. ;)  Okay, so.  Yes, Colin Firth made an excellent Mr. Darcy.  Buuut I think it could be improved upon, I really do, and please don't kill me, fellow P&P95 fans.  He does need to smile from time to time, at least in a small sort of way, and maybe say things so that those who have an ear for a more dry kind of humor would recognize it as such.  (Because he CAN be funny sometimes... more on that if I EVER get my post about Mr. Darcy written!)  To be honest, I'm not exactly sure what he should look like.  I often have a harder time picturing male characters.  The book does describe him as tall and handsome, and at first everyone decides he's handsomer than Mr. Bingley.  So he needs to be those things. (Not overly tall, though. Just on the taller side.) He has to have dark hair, okay, he just does.  

I think a trap most of the actors fall into is that of being stoic.  Darcy should not be stoic.  His displayed emotions should be subtle, yes, but that is not the same thing.  For instance, he needs to be able to look offended at jabs Mr. Bingley makes at him.  He needs to look like he's trying to hide what he's feeling rather than like he's not feeling anything at all.  (Cough cough, David Rintoul, cough.)  Does that make any sense?  He should be able to maintain a feeling-awkward-in-social-situations-and-not-having-a-good-time look that can be misinterpreted as proud, but only to people who are predisposed to take it that way.

I really don't want to ramble on all day about it, though... let's make this into a discussion.  What do YOU think?  Then I can tell you whether or not I agree, and you'll know what I think. :P

Jane Bennet
Jane needs to have that aura of quiet sweetness about her which only certain actresses can actually pull off. She should have a classically pretty face-- one that could be considered beautiful now and then, haha, so as to avoid the Susannah Harker argument. ;)  She does not need to have blond hair, in fact I wouldn't mind seeing that stereotype broken and giving her a dark brown.  I'm particularly partial to blue eyes with dark hair, but it wouldn't break my heart if that didn't happen. ;)

The Other Bennet Sisters
I'll just group them into one here and not be too detailed... basically, I'd like them to all LOOK like they could be sisters, and not be way older than they're supposed to be.  (No, this really is not a criticism of P&P95.  Shhh.  Don't look at me like that.)  Other than that, have them act exactly like they do in the book (and it doesn't seem like it's very hard to figure out for them) and I'll be happy.   Mary should be plain, but they don't need to go overboard with that.  I think something like giving her complexion problems would be accurate.

One more... whom should I choose... 

Georgiana Darcy
Emilia Fox came close to the mark on this one, but she didn't quite make it... for me, Georgiana's always been a character who is subtly intriguing, and I would want a new adaptation to show that.  They should not, however, try to make her different personality-wise.  None of this bubbly-perky stuff.  Also, she should look like she could be Mr. Darcy's sister... and she needs to look like she's about eighteen, I think.  Yes, she's supposed to be sixteen, but she's supposed to look and act mature, and after all, this is a girl who was thinking about getting married when she was fifteen-- and not the Lydia type, either.  She should be a little taller than Lizzy, but not overly so.  (To match the book. ;) )

Now, it's your turn... how do you think these characters should be portrayed?  What about some others?


Heidi said...

A note on Darcy: I grew up watching David Rintoul's Mr. Darcy and (while I still like that version) I totally agree about his acting. :) In fact, I've seen all four available versions multiple times and I think Colin Firth's Darcy has the perfect "emotion play" balance for the story...illuminating the part for our current era, relaxing it a bit, showing Darcy's side of the story and so on-but any more might get a little soupy. (And he actually does smile quite a bit.) But then I'm partial... :)

BTW: I sent an email to shelvesinthecloset a while ago, but I think it might have gotten lost in cyberspace. Just wondering if it went through. :)

Melody said...

I would be one of the first to agree when you defend Colin Firth! ;) And he doesn't not smile. I definitely concur with that. (And he definitely smiles at the end. :D And then that seems so special.) Sometimes I just think it's a leeetle too subtle. The his actual mouth doesn't move much. Ha. ;) It would be tricky to get it just right, and he was definitely the closest!

Oh! When did you send it? I just checked and didn't see it in the inbox, and I usually don't store things unless they've been answered. Sorry about that!

Melody said...

Did you remember to include the 95 on the end? (That is, it's "shelvesinthecloset95". Shelvesinthecloset was already taken. ;) )

Anonymous said...

You should have talked about Mr. Bingley! I think he's the one character who I've never been satisfied with, in any adaptation. While Simon Woods is absolutely adorable, he's simply too silly, and the one from '95 isn't right either.

Naomi said...

I couldn't (never) cast a different Lizzy or Darcy although Colin Firth could have smiled a teeny weeny bit more.
I would certainly choose a different Jane though.

Heidi said...

I'm glad you agree! ;)

And yes, I checked and I did have the 95 on it. Hmmmm. I'll try again and we'll see what happens.

Miss Dashwood said...

Definitely, a 'real' Lizzy needs to have truly striking eyes. I have nothing against Jennifer Ehle's or even Keira Knightley's eyes, but they really aren't particularly remarkable. Plus, they're both brown-eyed, and Ashley Clements is too. I don't think the book says Lizzy has brown eyes so they really could be any color... it would be fun to see a Lizzy with really bright blue eyes, or maybe a sparkling green or something.

Indubitably, any actress (or actor for that matter-- this particularly applies to Mr. Darcy, YES HELLO MATTHEW MACFADYEN I'M TALKING TO YOU) needs to be a big fan of JA and P&P in particular in order to properly play a part in a film adaptation of it. Which is part of the reason why I like Ashley Clements so much. Heehee.

Basically my thoughts on Mr. Darcy are "ditto to everything you said and he has to be really handsome, sorry Colin Firth. :P"

Classically pretty and quietly sweet-- bingo for Jane. And I'd like to see the blonde stereotype broken too... only didn't Sabina Franklyn have reasonably dark hair?

Definitely, the younger Bennet sisters need to actually LOOK younger... one thing 95 got wrong. Haha. Julia Sawalha ACTS fifteen beautifully, but sorry, she just doesn't look it.

I like how whatever-her-name-is who plays Georgiana in DCTP LOOKS-- tall and graceful and elegantly pretty in a sort of unconventional way-- but I'm not sure she's really Georgiana, if you know what I mean. Then again I still haven't finished it so I shouldn't judge.

The End.

Melody said...

I thought about him... but to be honest he didn't interest me enough to be included in the five. ;) Simon Woods was dreadful... but I actually don't have much of a problem with the guy from 1995. ;)

Sometimes I feel that way too... I have a feeling nobody could be more perfect than them. ;)

Miss Dashwood,
*clears throat*
*straightens hair and clothes*
*steps up to microphone*
"But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she had hardly a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes."
Dark. Eyes.
And that, I think, is why Lizzy always has dark hair, too... because it's natural to assume that one goes with the other. People have lighter eyes with dark hair much more often than they have light hair with dark eyes. I guess they don't have to be brown, but striking dark eyes generally are... a certain shade of green could work, though. :) But I don't think Jennifer Ehle DOES have brown eyes... I think they're kind of green-hazel-ish and just give the illusion of brown sometimes. ;)
And it's part of the reason I like JE so much. :D That she understood P&P, you know. Heehee. And I'm not sure Ashley Clements was a BIG Jane Austen fan... but definitely a fan in general and that's SO COOL.
Well, I think that Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy IS rather handsome, whatever you may say. :P Buuut if I read the book first it's probably not how I'd have pictured him.
Yes, Sabina Franklyn had very dark hair... darker than Lizzy's, and that's one of the things I liked about that version. :)
Yeah, DCTP's Georgiana did look the part tolerably well, except that she didn't really look like Darcy's sister in that version. And yeah... I didn't find her striking. :P

Would you rather hear the story...

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