October 5th, 2002

Photo - leaves

something that's going to bug me for ages.

right. so after seeing "the phantom of the opera" at the symphony hall, i decided that they should really make more silent movies. and if any modern director/producer was going to do it, i think baz luhrman could pull it off. this is the man who put the original text of romeo and juliet into a modern setting, and who pulled the movie-musical out of obscurity with 'moulin rouge'. a modern silent movie wouldn't even have to be in black and white (although that would be cool, and tim burton shot all of 'ed wood' in b&w with some degree of success. he'd probably be my second choice as a director if one were to get made.)

but, as this is an age of special effects, the only real way to get anyone to see it (and note how i'm cleverly resisting the urge to rant about stupid people...) would be to cast big/well-known stars in it. and most likely, having baz luhrman's name attached to it would help, too, and people wouldn't go to see it and expect a 'normal' movie.

as for who to put in it, therein lies my problem. stephen and i had a conversation about this while he was fixing my computer, and, it seems, most modern movie stars simply wouldn't have the visual range to do it. in fact, we came up with a whole list of television stars who'd be much better.

these included:

~ ben browder; claudia black: just watch any episode of farscape where the final few moments have no dialogue. these two have done scenes of over ten seconds long or more with absolutely no words passing between them, but with every word they're not speaking being perfectly comprehensible. (which is also a credit to farscape appreciating the intelligence of its viewers and not 'dumbing down')

~ david hyde pierce; kesley grammer - in frasier, these two use their facial expressions for comic effect. frasier's tend to be much more exaggerated, i'll admit, and i do recall several scenes where niles could have been chaplin in disguise... (there was one where he was attempting to get ready for a date [or, knowing niles, probably two accidental dates at once] and went through a catastrophic series of events that began with him cutting his finger, fainting, seeing the blood, fainting again, then burning a hole through the trousers he was trying to iron, etc, etc. and they did the whole thing with no words. les ross of b.r.m.b. actually commented on his silent-comedy-esque performance in that.)

~ kate mulgrew (janeway in voyager): i remember thinking this a while back, after first seeing the movie of SB and following it several days later with the 'bride of chaotica!' episode of voyager. she has that sort of silent movie queen thing going for her ;) (and i remember commenting at the time that she'd make a fantastic norma desmond... she also looks and sounds a heck of a lot like katherine hepburn...)

~ gillian anderson: who, it must be said, is a brilliant actress in her own right. and after 9 years on the x-files, she's got the non-speaking thing down to a tee...

~ oh, what the heck - faith brown: if the opening/closing moments of SB aren't proof enough, i don't know what is...

and then i started trying to think of movie stars. the only few i could come up with were:

~ glenn close. she's played norma on broadway, admittedly, but she's also been in an incredibly diverse selection of roles. (compare 'dangerous liaisons' [great film, by the way] with '101 dalmations', for example...)

~ johnny depp: burton uses him a lot because he's similarly diverse. and if anyone's seen 'sleepy hollow', he has a vast range of expressions to his name. by constrast, in 'edward scissorhands', he was basically expressionless for the entire movie (which i imagine is actually bloody difficult to do)

~ at a push, jack nicholson: again, the diversity of roles he's played in his career.

and that's really all i came up with. i admit my knowledge of movie stars is probably not completely reliable. which is why i need you lovely people to help me come up with ideas. not that i'm going to send it to baz luhrman or anything; i'm just curious as to whether it could be done.

what do people think?