A few days ago, a second international trailer was released for the upcoming film Water For Elephants. It stars Robert Pattinson, one of the biggest fangirl crushes of the moment, and former sorority girl-turned-lawyer Reese Witherspoon. Take a look.
The film is based on the best-selling book which is beloved by many, including me. Yes, it’s a little cliche to whine about how the actor they cast in the film adaptation of your favorite book doesn’t fit how you pictured him or her. I’m sorry they didn’t consult you when picking who would star in Harry Potter/Twilight/The DaVinci Code (seriously though, Tom Hanks?). I’m usually the first person to tell people to stop whining and suck it up when a good book makes the jump to the big screen. It’s never going to be exactly how you imagined it.
But the casting director of this movie has some explaining to do.
I’m not offended that Edward Cullen himself is starring in this film, although I think it has a few people outraged. What concerns me is that Witherspoon is playing Marlena, the circus’s star performer. In the novel, the 23-year-old narrator Jake (Pattinson’s character) says the beautiful Marlena looks remarkably like a girl he had a crush on in college. So even though she’s married to that crazy, schizophrenic old animal trainer August, we can assume she’s pretty young herself.
In a deleted scene in the 2004 film Vanity Fair, Witherspoon played Pattinson’s MOM. Reese, I’m sorry, you’re too old for this role. It’s an irrelevant (if not true) point that even if she were in her Elle Woods days ten years ago, she’d still have too bright and sparkly of a look to play the ethereal Marlena. She’s over a decade past Marlena’s age now, and even if she weren’t she still wouldn’t be right for the part. She can take comfort in the fact that she’s an Academy-Award winning actress and America’s sweetheart, but she’s all wrong for this role.
And if the casting director for Water For Elephants were to call me up and say, “You think it’s so easy? I’d love to see you do a better job,” I’d have this list handy to do a little gloating:
1. Amanda Seyfried
You’ve seen her in films like Mean Girls and the acclaimed Mamma Mia!, and Seyfried is playing it smart in Hollywood. She choosing different roles to figure herself out as an actor, and everyone she works with has nothing but good things to say. She left her praised role in the Emmy-winning Big Love this year to focus on film, and Water For Elephants would have been a good place to start.
2. Michelle Williams
After her stint as the hot girl next door Jen on Dawson’s Creek, Williams went on to prove she’s the real thing. Her performance in Brokeback Mountain got her an Academy Award nomination for supporting actress, and her latest project Blue Valentine has every film festival and critic’s circle nominating her for best actress last year. She takes her work and herself very seriously, and she’s got enough of that mystery and sadness to be perfect for the role of Marlena.
3. Sienna Miller
She might be known a little too widely as Jude Law’s on and off (again and again) girlfriend, but if Miller could shake that label she might have a real career ahead of her. She is the description of Marlena to a tee, from the blue eyes to the freckles across the bridge of her nose, but Miller has the acting chops to back up her looks. In 2006 she starred in Factory Girl, and while the film received mixed reviews, her performance as Edie Sedgwick received overwhelming critical acclaim. She could bring that same dedication to Water For Elephants.