Sunday, June 12, 2005

From Dolores Claiborne to Dolores Umbridge?

Today I found myself re-reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, sorta getting refreshed before the next book in the series comes out in another month. And this past week I finally saw the teaser trailer for the movie version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, out this coming holiday season. It looks promising, but we'll see how well a 734-page book translates into a three-hour movie. Personally, even though it grows with each new viewing I was a bit disappointed when the movie for Prisoner of Azkaban came out last year, 'cuz it left out a LOT of neat items from the book, like who "Mooney, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs" really were, and Sirius giving Harry written permission to visit Hogsmeade, which is how the book ended.

My two favorite characters in the series so far have been Sirius Black and Professor "Mad-Eye" Moody. Moody's being played by Brendan Gleeson in Goblet of Fire, and it really does seem like he could look the part, that kind of wise/creepy combo. But as I was reading Order of the Phoenix I found myself wondering: who in the world could possibly play Dolores Umbridge?

For those who haven't had the mispleasure yet, Umbridge has to date been the most LOATHSOME character that J.K. Rowling has created in the Harry Potter books. Even more than Voldemort, you find yourself wanting this *itch ("w" or "b", your choice) to die die die. She's the bureaucrat from the pits of Hades. Imagine Nurse Ratchet from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest with a magic wand and gone insane with power. Umbridge is a metaphor for everything that is horribly wrong with modern public education, I'm positively certain. Yes, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a damning indictment against big government in the education business, which should... should mind ya... make some self-professed "religious conservatives" very happy were it not for them being too fixated on burning Harry Potter books. And most of this is all because of the character of Dolores Umbridge.

So who should play her when the movie version of Order of the Phoenix comes out? Call me crazy, and maybe it's only 'cuz I've spent the better part of the past year watching and re-watching Misery as reference material for my own motion picture, but it hit me today that Kathy Bates could probably pull it off beautifully... er, I mean wickedly. She's got that ability to turn on the faux charm and concern for others before trying to make their lives a living Hell. The only real strike against her is that she's not British (I think) and to date all the principles in the Harry Potter movies have been from the United Kingdom. There probably won't be any deviation from that and I couldn't really blame the producers for that, but the more I think about it, the more I'm coming to like the idea of Kathy Bates in what would certainly be the most EVIL role of her career.

But we'll have a little while yet to see how that turns out. And there'll be some other roles to fill too. I'd be willing to bet good money that Keira Knightly will get considered for the Tonks role. And isn't it hard NOT to imagine Samuel L. Jackson as Kingsley Shacklebolt?

7 comments:

jmccormick said...

Funny, I re-read the entire series every few months ( I really need to invest in a life) But when I have read and re-read Goblet of Fire I always imagine Samuel L. Jackson as Shacklebolt

Christopher said...

Jackson might be too old to play Shacklebolt. Order of the Phoenix makes him out to be about the same age that Lily and James would be (the same approx. ages of Lupin and Snape). Maybe Wesley Snipes could play him? :-)

jmccormick said...

You know I also think Shacklebolt would look a little like the black guy in The Neverending Story that works for the Empress. He has a kindof oddly shaped head. Tall, lanky, but again, not as old. I think Lily and James were a little older when they became parents for them to have been contemporaries of Snape, Lupin, and Black, all of whom I think of as mid 40's. My son is about to have a fit for the new film to come out.

I just saw you and your wife live in NC, us too

Christopher said...

Very nice! Whereabouts? We live near Greensboro. We shot our movie all over the place around here including the mountains :-)

Fred said...

Patricia Routledge is my nominee for the role of Umbridge. If you've ever seen her on Keeping Up Appearances you might understand why. Not to mention the fact that she absolutely looks the part.

Fred said...

... And she's British...

jmccormick said...

We live in Lenoir, a sprawling metropolis at the foothills of the mountains. You might have heard our lovely hamlet mentioned lately due to all the factory shut downs. Before long we are going to be like the West Virginia coal mining areas. Teenagers in youth groups will be doing mission trips to fix our poarchs and operate vacation Bible schools. It is really getting awful. Fortunately, I don't work in furniture.