Wednesday, January 4, 2012

"...This Pretty Much Assures Her The Center Square on Hollywood Squares Someday..."

First, for all the offended purists in the crowd, let's be honest.

There's nothing new going on here.

More on that in a minute.

(The Huffington Post) From heartbreak to Hugo: Taylor Swift is growing up.

The country star has been offered the role of Eponine in the star-studded upcoming film adaptation of the musical "Les Miserables," TwitchFilm first reported and confirms. Amanda Seyfried, the sites report, has been offered the role of Cosette.

If a rumor first reported by the NY Post in late November is true, Swift's casting represents not only a major step in her acting career but also a major and perhaps unexpected victory over a number of star actresses vying for the part in the Tom Hooper-directed film. The Post reported that Scarlett Johansson, Lea Michele and Evan Rachel Wood were all auditioning for the role as the daughter of the Mr. and Mrs. Thernardier, who will be played by Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen. To date, Swift's acting has largely been confined to music videos, a part in "Valentine's Day," a guest spot on "CSI" and upcoming voice acting in "The Lorax."

Seyfried, who is classically trained as an opera singer and appeared in the film musical "Mamma Mia!," also has an interesting challenge ahead of her: she will be portraying the daughter of Fantine, who is to be played Anne Hathaway, who is just three years her elder.

The stars round out a cast that also features Hugh Jackman in the lead role of Jean Valjean and Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert. Eddie Redmayne, who was seen this fall opposite Michelle Williams in "My Week With Marilyn," has been cast as Marius, which given the casting of Swift and Seyfried, continuing his streak of epic good luck.

It's understandable that, given Taylor Swift's marginal vocal abilities, there would be, at the very least, a little hue and cry about her being cast in a major role in a major motion picture adaptation of a major Broadway musical.

But the precedent of casting "stars" in roles better suited to "singers" was established long ago.

Julie Andrews sang the part of Eliza Doolittle like a house afire in the Broadway version of "My Fair Lady". When it came time to make the movie, though, Julie's designated driver was Audrey Hepburn, a bigger movie "star" at the time.

Irony being what it is, of course, Julie had her own turn when she was cast as Maria in the movie version of "The Sound Of Music", usurping the Broadway star who had made the part, and the play, a mega hit, Mary Martin.

And, then, Patti Lupone became Patti Who? when it came time to cast the movie version of Eva Peron.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Tony award winning, legendary Broadway show stopping...Madonna?

Uh, yeah. Okay.

In the grand scheme of things, there are worse offenses than casting lightweights in heavyweight roles simply because the lightweights bring an extra dollop of "celebrity drawing power" to the cobbler.

Celebrity drawing power that puts people in lines at box offices and bodies in theater seats.

But if those of us who love musical theater have to concede the advantage of said celebrity factor, those who would cast Taylor Swift in Les Miserables' should, in fairness, concede us this...

It might raise the gross, but it lowers the bar.

And nudges these movie versions ever closer to crossing line into dinner theater territory.

So, break a leg, Taylor. I'm gonna let this one slide.

If, though, I read that the Kardashians have been cast in a biopic about the Andrews Sisters, we're going to have problems.

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