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How to cast The Da Vinci Code without pissing me off.

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Once my wife Jen was finished devouring The Da Vinci Code, she frequently regaled me with disserations on how this movie oughta be cast. And though nobody loves a good Jen rant more than me, it was pretty much wasted because I haven’t actually, you know, read the book. So I threw her my blogging hat and told her that she might as well expand from her audience-o-one and preach her sermon to the choir of people who’ve read the book and/or are interested in the upcoming flick. So, without further adieu, heeeeere’s Jen:

Like many, I am lamenting the casting of the movie version of the most beloved, super-hit book of the past year–The Da Vinci Code. The thing is, those of us who love this book, are likely going to whine every step of the way until (and after) this thing hits the big screen, and yet who will be more excited than me when those long-awaited teaser trailers hit theatres? It’s a love it/hate it roller coaster ride for me any time a book I love goes to film. But let’s face it–this book was born to have a movie version–murder in the Louvre, a handsome scholar turned detective, and chase after suspenseful chase through Paris and London–not to mention its fair share of controversy, which never hurts. The truth is that the cast of this film could be made up of total unknowns, and it would still make money because this is such a widely read–loved and hated–book which has become more of a phenomenon, spawning many knock-offs and “non-fiction” rebuffs and praises alike.

Of course there has been much speculation all over the internet on who should play the characters in the movie which is set to be directed by Ron Howard and released in 2005. After reading Peter Howell’s article “Da Vinci Code: Don’t Blow It!”, I have to admit for the most part I agree with his choices; however, I have a few ideas of my own… So here are my opinions on the “Big 6″:

Robert Langdon:

First of all, I’m tired of people bitching about the possibility of Russell Crowe in this part. Don’t you people remember that Crowe is a chameleon? I mean did you see The Insider? Think he’s too rough to play a scholar? Hello? What about A Beautiful Mind? Putting aside my bad feelings about the man himself (I have had a huge crush on Dennis Quaid since elementary school–yes, I admit I was one of the three fans of the early 80’s HBO fave The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia–where have you gone Kristy McNichol? You’ve got to love a movie based on a Vickie Lawrence song!) Russell Crowe can act, and that’s just a fact. So, I would have no problem with him as Langdon. Besides, as has been said by countless others, Harrison Ford is just too damned old! Langdon is 40, not 60! Anyway, other names that are being tossed about that I could live with are George Clooney, Aaron Eckhart, and maybe (just maybe) Hugh Jackman (he’s never really had a chance in a true dramatic role, and he sure doesn’t do so well as leading man, but hey, I’m willing to give him a chance). As much as I love Edward Norton, he seems kind of wrong physically for the part, but I could never complain about Norton being cast. The worst name being tossed of all is Tom Hanks! Even though I have made my peace with him over winning two Oscars in a row when Pacino only has one. I cannot let this idea stand, man! Hanks is best when director’s allow him to be his charming, adorable self as in this summer’s The Terminal. Yes he can do things like Cast Away well, but he is just not meant to play a scholar. I just can’t get the inherent comedy out of his face, and I keep expecting him to break into “Zippety Do Dah” all Splash style or to spit out his beluga caviar. Hanks by far would be the worst choice of the big names being thrown about.

Sophie Neveu:

I really only have one choice here, and that is Rachel Weisz. I disagree with Howell who says that the actress must be French. I mean, isn’t the point of good acting just that? Acting? Weisz could work on her French accent and she’d be absolutely perfect. I can buy her as smart, strong, and no one can deny her beauty–she’s totally gorgeous! A few other good choices I think would be the amazing Cate Blanchett–who can do anything–and Kate Winslet who I’m sure can do a great French accent. Those “Kates” I can handle, but not the Kate being talked about for this role–Beckinsale. Though she can be beautiful, has she shown us any great acting ability (think: horrible accent in Van Helsing and just being in the horrid Pearl Harbor). She’s not special enough to be Sophie, whose role is crucial to the center of Da Vinci Code.

Captain Bezu Fache:

I have to agree with Internet junkies and Howell alike who say that Jean Reno is the one to cast here. I can think of no one better, and he already has the French accent!

Leigh Teabing:

Connery is being talked about for this role. Can we say “hideosh cashting”? Teabing is supposed to be brilliant, but unassuming. He will have to walk with braces and have a “portly” build. He has to come across as physically frail, and I don’t think Connery will do for that. Not to mention the whole “brilliant” thing. Connery may be able to pull of “cunning,” but not “brilliant.” They’ll probably cast him if they can though, and I’ll have to live with it–but I don’t have to do so without bitching! I agree with the consensus that Jim Broadbent is perfect. I can think of no one better.

Silas:

Obviously, there will have to be some great makeup artistry done with this character–I mean, how many “hulking” albinos are acting today? Bettany is a good choice. I could see him playing evil. And hey, he’s practically an albino anyway. Or how about William Fichtner? He can play creepy, for sure. This time he gets to be the “Albo gator”–cinematic karma! Jackman is too conventionally handsome to play this role. Really it’s going to be all in the makeup, especially since Silas is a man of action, not words. It’s this role where they could cast a complete unknown and it wouldn’t make a bit of difference. Since Adrien Brody loves to play weird–and he does it so well–he might be a good scenery chewin’ choice.

Jacques Sauniere:

This role has not been as talked about as much as the other five, but I feel it is one of the most important to cast well. This character must be played by a big name actor who will do what is essentially an unforgettable cameo. In my opinion, here’s where they need to spend some bucks to get a big name. Even as I read, I saw this character as Anthony Hopkins. They may want to use Connery here, where I actually think he works better, but still my heart is with Hopkins on this one. The biggest mistake they could make with Sauniere is to cast a lesser known actor. This one has just got to be BIG.

More than the casting, I’m most afraid that the filmmakers will screw with the whole point of the book–that which makes it better than your run of the mill airport novel–and that is to cheat us out of Dan Brown’s exhaustive research and historical detail. It would be very easy to focus only on the suspense part of this story when translating it into film, and that would be a huge mistake. It’s going to be a hard screenplay to write–I wouldn’t want to decide what to leave out–but they will be doing such a huge disservice to this book if they gloss over the important historical, religious, and gender issues it brings to the table. I mean, hell, that’s the whole point!

Related tune: Mary by Tori Amos (mp3 via deadboots.com)

Jen And Drew can be found with a bone to pick about something at any given moment at Drew’s Blog-O-Rama.

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  • judy the obscure

    All good choices except Sauniere should be played by Max Van Sydow.

  • judy the obscure

    oh yeah and Monica Belluci (?) (Cleopatra in “Asterix et Obelix: Mission Cleopatre” and Mary Magdelene in “The Passion”) should play Sophie Neveu.

  • Iluvrob

    Suggested cast:

    Robert Langdon : Viggo Mortensen (intellectual type)
    Sophie Neveu: Sophie Marceau (French beauty)
    Silas: Ron Perelman (big and ugly, will need white makeup)

    Have not thought of the others…

  • todd

    I honestly think Quaid should play Langdon, but I dont have a problem with Crowe. kate Beckinsale Im not sure about. I just dont think she has the chops and she is way too young. But hey at least its not Julia fucking roberts. I was thinking Sandra Bullock but shes not a redhead and Im not sure if she can adopt a convincing french accent. Kate Winslet would be perfect or sophie Marceu, Juliane Moore (shes a redhead and a great actress) And NO TOM HANKS FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!!! I hate the fact that hes name is even considered.Jim Broadbent or Ian Holm for Teabing great. And Ed Harris or Adrian Brody for Silas.Yeah all good choices. Just no Tom Hanks or Julia Roberst. Keep them away. Far away.

  • Popi

    Silas: Paul Bettany
    Sophie Neveu: Rachel Weisz
    Robert Langdon: George Clooney
    Jacques Sauniere: Ian Holm
    Bezu Fache: Jean Reno

  • kristen

    ok here’s my two cents…

    robert langdon = Clive Owen
    Sophie = Natascha McElhone
    Leigh Teabing = Timothy Spall
    Silas – Victor Varnado

    that’s all i have so far

  • John

    George Clooney is too much of a lightweight as is Quaid. For Sophie you should consider Sasha Alexander (Navy NCIS) and Bruce Willis would make a great Silas (as he was the Jackal)

  • Suzi

    For what it’s worth my Deam cast:

    Robert Langdon – Gary Oldman, Billy Bob Thornton or Jeff Bridges

    Sophie – Sophie Marceau or Juliette Binoche

    Jack Sauniere – Lance Henrickson

    Bezu Fache – Jean Reno

    Teabing – Ian Holm

    Silas – John Malkovich (in white makeup)

  • Larry

    I would prefer to see mostly unknowns cast for what should be an incredible movie. No “icons” with excessive movie baggage for the lead roles, please! Remember, Harrison Ford was known mostly as a guy who played Han Solo before he BECAME Indiana Jones, and his career exploded. Both Langdon and Sophie need to be played with depth, searching, wit, awe and believeable humanness by people we may recognize but who have not necessarily hit the big time. For “Harrison Ford in Harris tweed” I like DYLAN WALSH. His eyes alone tell stories. He’s early 40s, and plays smart, inquisitive and caring very well. Kate Beckinsale in auburn hair LOOKS exactly like how I envision Sophie, but the newly slimmed down KATE WINSLET will play Ms. Neveu (the living blood of Christ) with far more range of emotion and give her something beyond Titantic to define her career. I believe Sophie must be played as a tough-exteriored lost soul for most of the book, but so vulnerable and receptive to the truth of her being. Winslet can do that. Teabing is critical, but needs to be someone we don’t expect at all to be evil, so I do not like Ian Holm, but I cannot yet say who it should be. JEAN RENO for Fache is TOO perfect. So is RON PERLMAN as the hulking albino. All other actors could be unknowns.

  • Sabs

    Okay some pretty interesting cast suggestions. I am in complete agreement with Jen on Teabing/Sean Connery. I *love* Sir Sean, but not here. Here my suggestions (or agreements with others):

    LANGDON: 1st choice George Clooney, 2nd choice Denzel Washington (Langdon doesn’t have to be white does he?)

    I don’t think Clive can do American and Rus la Roc? God bless him but I don’t see it…

    NEVEU: Totally agree on picking Rachel Weisz. Natascha McElhone would be good as well, except if Clooney ends up being Langdon…the chemistry between them would suck. Anyone see Solaris?

    And the British Kates…the obvious ones are too “plucky” and Beckinsale? PULEEEZE

    SAUNIERE: Definitely Sir Anthony

    FACHE: Jean Reno is simply awesome, but you know who would be even better? Tcheky Karko (sp)…He was in the original “La Femme Nikita” film (the part Gabriel Byrne played in the crappy Bridget Fonda version).

    TEABING: Is Sir Richard Attenborough still alive? I could see him in this role

    SILAS: Ron Perlman would be great but wouldn’t he be too old for the character? Paul Bettany would be the next choice (and Makeup wouldn’t even have to spend that much time with him…hee hee)

    And Frank Langella can be the evil head Cardinal.

  • http://www.oestre-gasvaerk.dk 5th Beatle

    Casting suggestions:

    Robert Langdon: Peter Coyote or Gabriel Byrne

    Sophie Neveu: Emmanuelle Seigner

    Leigh Teabing: James Fox or Sir Ian McKellen

    Jacques Sauniere: Ian Holm

    Bezu Fache: Jean-Marc Barr

  • Irvine

    i like cowgirls

  • http://333333333 nickie n kellen

    u suq u fucken lil ho i ht u

    phoebe says hi

  • Irvine

    sophie: muh cowgirl mama down in dem dere parts of mississippi ya know?

    robert: muh brotha ichabob ’cause one time he fished this real big ol’ fish out of dat dere mississippi riva’ you know and den he cooked it and choked on it, but he’s alright now, just sometimes he goes into a caesar

    the cop guy: i think my wife/cousin mary-lou-bettie would be a good cop guy ’cause she’s a guy and uh, wait.. den how are dem dere kids arunnin around now dammit

    SUSIE GET THE DAWG BACK IN THE HOUSE I DON’T CARE IF BOBBY-BILL IS LOST HE CAN SIT HIS LAZY ASS OUT IN DEM WOODS LIKE HE SUPOSSED TO

    i need me some beer

  • Irvine

    oh n i almos forgot

    i like cowgirls so if ya’ll lookin’ for some southern lovin’ come on down to my shack

  • Timmo

    Definitely John Malkovich for Silas!! and go Richard Attenborough for Teabing. Also George Clooney for Langdon

  • A. Garcia

    Robert Langdon – Russel Crow (NOT HANKS please)
    Sophie – Audrey Tautou is just perfect.
    Bezu Fache – Jean Reno
    Jack Sauniere – Gerard Depardieu
    Teabing – Ian MacEllan
    Silas – John Malkovich or Gary Oldman
    Aringosa – Alfred Molina

  • Willox

    That was Kate’s natural accent in Van Helsing…

  • Eric Olsen

    um no, she’s English

  • cracker

    Robert Langdon – Bill Muccay
    Sophie – Virginie Ledoyen
    Bezu Fache – Peter Falk
    Jack Sauniere – Frankie Faison
    Teabing – Gene Wilder
    Silas – Now here is where you would want Gerard Depardieu
    Aringosa – Johnny Depp

    I think Giancarlo Giannini may be able to handle the dectective part if Columbo has a scheduling conflict.

  • Matt

    Robert Langdon- Russel Crow
    Sophie- Monica Bellucci
    Fache- Jean Reno
    Teabing- Ian Holm
    Silas- Paul Bettany
    Aringosa- Alfred Molina

  • Welfare Cheese

    Robert Langdon- Peter North
    Sophie- Jenna Jamison