I'm a little late on this now, since the movie version of All the King's Men has been out for weeks, but as a wise man once said, "Justice delayed is justice that gets there a little bit later."
So, All the King's Men, which is a fictionalization of the reign of Huey Long, the nearly dictatorial 1930s Governor of Louisiana, is one of my favorite books. This is perhaps weird, since its kind of florrid, over-the-top Gothic prose and college-sophomore philosophizing is kind of contrary to my previously discussed tendency to get embarassed by sincerity, but I read it at an impressionable age, so as far as I'm concerned it will always be the bee's knees.
So you can imagine my disappointment when I learned that the casting director for the new movie version had done her job by drunkenly throwing darts at a list of Prestige British Actors, and, when a couple of reasonable choices slipped in there, cheekily switching them to the wrong role. In case you have not re-read the book dozens of times since high school, I provide you with the following re-casting in order that you should re-imagine it as it should have been:
Jack Burden: Average-looking, aristocratic, arguably alcoholic newspaperman who digs up dirt on political enemies for Governor Stark, and meditates gothically on history and his unrequited love for Anne Stanton. Theirs: Jude Law. Could not be more wrong for this part if he were a tall, cold, blond British man . . oh wait. Redo: Mark Ruffolo
Adam Stanton: Tall, cold, blond, driven, accomplished surgeon with a "mouth like a clean knife wound"; childhood friend of Jack, brother of Anne. Theirs: Mark Ruffolo. WTF! Redo: Jude Law.
Anne Stanton: Beautiful, reserved, tragic aristocratic daughter of a former Governor, nearing spinsterhood, doomed never to find love because of epic failed childhood love for Jack--but wait, what's going on between her and Willie? Theirs: Kate Winslet. Too vivacious and young, not to mention British. Redo: Patricia Clarkson
Sadie Burke: Smart, tough, pockmarked, crazy-haired, jealous right hand woman to Governor Stark, in more ways than one. Theirs: Patricia "Gorgeous" Clarkson. Redo: Amy Sedaris.
Judge Irwin: Tall, handsome, good-postured, aristocratic, honorable--or is he?--judge, longtime friend of former Governor Stanton, sometime political supporter of Governor Stark, and father figure to Jack. Theirs: Anthony Hopkins. Can I get you a side of flabby with your order of slouch? Redo: Paul Newman
And finally . . .
Willie Stark: The hick, populist, charismatic, corrupt, Louisiana governor based on Huey Long. Theirs: Sean Penn. Good actor and all, but you wouldn't call him charming or charismatic, and his arms are short like a band nerd's. Redo: Bill Clinton. Mmmmmm.
When somebody remakes this again using my casting, I am going to totally demand a free ticket.