Thursday, February 7, 2008

In the Company of Hedda

I watched a lovely little Australian documentary this evening called In the Company of Actors. It follows the cast and crew of an Australian production of the Norwegian classic Hedda Gabler as they embark on a string of performances at New York's Brooklyn Academy of Dance two years ago. Amongst the cast of Hedda are Hugo Weaving (Little Fish), Justin Clarke (Look Both Ways) and Aden Young (The Bet). Of course, as Hedda herself, there was Cate Blanchett - she missed the chance to hand out the Best Supporting Actor oscar a year after winning because she was on stage. Click here for the New York Times' review.

It was a new adaptation, directed by Robyn Nevil and written by Blanchett's husband Andrew Upton. And as Nevin says in the film the new interpretation being spoken by Australians is something that could have been hard for people that grapple with. The response though - and I'll get to a delicious bit of actressexuality in a few minutes - was apparently very strong. It makes me wish that a) the Sydney Theatre Company had performed this in Melbourne and b) I had have went and seen it.

Then after watching the doco I had a thought that they should make it into a movie. We all know that movies being turned into Broadway shows (musical or not) are gradually getting worse and worse, yet there are so many stage shows just begging to be adapted to the silver screen. And I'm sure Upton could do a further twisting of the familiar tale. Could it even be reset to Australian shores? I'm not particularly acquainted to the story of Hedda so I'm not sure if it could be done. Although, in this day of age, I'm sure a Norwegian tale spoken by Australian actors would be far from absurd. And it's not like Australia can't do period dramas. We've done period dramas and they're some of the best. Make Hedda here with a budget of a few million, which they would certain recoup in foreign sales and box office. That would at least make sense. I don't think anybody needs to spend a $50mil budget on something like this, yet film studios routinely do. No wonder they lose money like it's going out of fashion.

It would be a great chance for Blanchett to finally win that Best Actress award everybody wants her to win - and it wouldn't be for playing a real life personality, so that's a bonus! Also, anything to get Justine Clark - she of the amayzing Aussie flick Look Both Ways - back onto the big screen the better. She could be the "next big thing"! There's a new one of those every week, right?

But back to In the Company of Actors, there was one bit that I must discuss for all you actress-loving fiends out there. During the closing credits they show clips from after the performances. Amongst the usual autograph signage and bow-taking there is a moment when, standing in a line, were Cate Blanchett!!! Meryl Streep!!!!! and Jane Fonda!!!!!!! Okay, now, I'm not entirely sure if it was Fonda or not - it sure did look like her - because they didn't seem to focus on her. They did, however, focus on Streep gushing with praise for the likes of Clarke, Aden Young and Anthony Weigh. And then there was Martin Scorsese, too!

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