Thursday, February 11, 2010

Release the Kraken

Someone is remaking Clash of the Titans, and it isn't me.  But I sure do have a story about that.

Here is what we can tell from the trailer already:
1.  things will fly
2.  people will throw their arms out to the sides with great force
3. there is a big scorpion
4. the editor has had too much Red Bull
5. the ancients, as always, will have British accents

Here is what we know without the trailer:
it has to be better than the 1981 original.

Dodie and I had (2) recurring themes in our play: Gone With the Wind and Greek Mythology.  Say whatever you care to about your Barbie, but mine wore armor and the head of a wolf.  So show her some respect.  We were capital-A APPALLED by this mess of a movie, and I am not referring to the stop-motion special effects.  That is unfair.  While they were not "state of the art," they were not what drove us to write a multi-page screed of what was wrong with it -- from the minimalist conception of Olympus, to the pouty non-hero casting of Harry Hamlin, to the cartoonish inclusion of Bubo, the ROBOT OWL.  I'm sorry, did I shout?  Honey, you had me at Burgess Meredith.

If that white paper still exists, it is in Dodie's General Archive.  What I have is the Casting List of our remake.

This document lives where it has always lived: pressed in the pages of my Bulfinch Mythology. One side is our brainstorming casting session, rewritten and categorized on the reverse, as we had designed the credits to roll.

We would film in Cinemascope, naturally, as we felt the current film had over-used close-ups of very ungood-looking people and missed the majesty of Olympus.  (If I appear to be italicizing more than usual, you must understand that in our girlhood, we always spoke emphatically.)  Keep in mind that we had never actually seen a film in Cinemascope as it was meant to be seen.  We were used to Sunday TV airings of "One With the Win" and "Klahom," where Shirley Jones sings in profile, then cut to Gordon McRae grinning in the opposite direction. We fully expected our stars' names to be cut off as well, and we found this hilarious.

I do intend to run the full credits, but I want to caution that in addition to real actors, we cast other celebrities we liked, and people from the neighborhood.  We figured they could act as well as Ursula Andress, and it was our movie dammit.  We also said "dammit," a lot, which we thought sounded very grown-up, or at least like Guiding Light.  So for the sake of those people from our high school that we cast, I'll just describe them parenthetically, so you can get the gist of the casting decisions.  We stayed with Roman names because Dodie is Italian and insisted.

Please remember that it is 1981.  And we still had Olympic Fever.

The First Six
Jupiter - Richard Burton
Neptune - (the local piano teacher.  I forget why.  Perhaps because he was bald, and we felt that Neptune should be)
Pluto - Christopher Bernau (Shout out, fans.  this is Alan Spaulding from GL, who also had the distinction of being on Dark Shadows)
Juno - Elizabeth Taylor (not yet a car wreck in a dress.  And we thought, Cleopatra AND Juno?  Yeh, that's about right)
Ceres - Vanessa Redgrave (the Zionist Hoodlums boooo)
Vesta - (our Latin teacher in a cameo role)

The Children
Mars - Michael York
Vulcan - Gary Burghoff (if your spit-take is over, let me explain.  We felt this could be his dramatic breakout role and allow him to exploit his withered hand)
Hebe - (one of our classmates - Hebe was a favorite of mine, an obscure descendent that I thought needed more screentime.  And it rhymes with Pheobe, you wiseacre)
Apollo - remains uncast.  I think we could not agree on Parker or Shaun
Artemis - June Allyson (note that we also had the power to cast younger versions of people as we saw fit.  In retrospect I like Susan Hayward better here, or a teenaged Maureen O'Hara.  One thing is certain -- we thought Artemis was a redhead)
Venus - Vivian Leigh
Mercury - Mark  Hamill
Hercules - Christopher Reeve
Prosephone - what's written here is "Hope Bauer."  See how nicely that goes with our casting of Alan at Pluto?  ha-HAH, you're catching on.  For the record, we meant Elvera Roussel.
Bacchus - (Dodie's first kiss.  It was a joke.  oh, how we laughed)
Young Cupid - Ricky Schroeder.  (I really wrote "Ricky")
Cupid - Randy Gardner (don't worry...Tai will play Psyche)

Minor Olympians  Dodie has scratched this and written Featuring
I guess there were Union troubles
Pan - George C Scott (known in our secret twinspeak as "Pig Paws."  His name is never meant to be spoken, so Dodie has written "G.C.S")
Prometheus - Richard Chamberlin (I wanted him shirtless)

The Heroes
We scratched Orpheus here, moved him to a section called The Lovers, then cut that entire section.  It was made up of the A-List couples in school and Ben and Amanda from GL.
Perseus - Harrison Ford.  Seriously.  Harry Hamlin?  Please remember that in 1981, Ford looked like Indiana Jones.
w/Dodie as Andromeda
Theseus - (Dodie's current crush)  w/Eve Plumb as Ariadne.  We wanted to rescue her from Brady Brides
Jason - Timothy Murphy (this is a real one-hit wonder.  He was in the Kent Chronicles movies.) w/ (the English teacher we hated) as Medea.

The Iliad
I would think I had added this on my own, if not for Dodie's handwriting in the casting of Paris.  I made sure Parker got in the movie by putting him here.
Achilles - Parker Stevenson
Helen - myself.  I cast myself as Helen of Troy.  I looked like this at the time.
Paris - Robin Cousins
Aeneas - Clark Gable (maybe with a moustache.  definitely with an open shirt)

There follows another section of cameos of people we just liked, like our World History teacher, my next door neighbor, the spinster/sister school teachers who all lived together and probably were Graeae already.  ("GIMME THE EYE!")

There is also a note that Katharine Hepburn and George Cukor should be "Associate Directors."  Cause that's a thing.

Like most great is in permanent Turnaround.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments Build Community! We thank you for yours. Spam comments are not welcome and will not be posted.