The ideal hero? The Libertà blog has included a number of posts about heroes, most recently one I wrote about whether a plumber can be a hero. Also posts about villains, who can be more than a little droolworthy, especially when played by Alan Rickman.
Just my opinion. Feel free to disagree. 😉
Today I want to ask about casting your ideal hero in the movie of a favourite book. Any book you choose. Maybe even one you’ve written yourself?
The key question is: who is going to play your hero? And why?
Ideal hero in Gone With The Wind?
For example, Sophie recently blogged, in a more serious context, about Gone With The Wind. The hero, Rhett Butler, was played by Clark Gable in the film. (Yes, I know Sophie reckons Butler was “a spiv, a blockade runner, a bully and a rapist.” Ergo, not a hero. But a lot of cinema-goers did see Butler as a romantic hero, even though Sophie never could.)
Was Clark Gable the right man for the part? David O Selznick is said to have wanted Gable—and to have delayed filming by two years in order to get him—but was he the ideal hero?
Apparently Gary Cooper was also considered at one stage.
Might Cooper have been better?
Might he have seemed less of a spiv? (That one’s for Sophie, but feel free to have your say, too.)
A bit of extra background here, in case it helps you make up your mind.
Wikipedia contradicts itself over this. The GWTW entry says Clark Gable was Selznick’s first choice; the Gary Cooper entry says Cooper was Selznick’s first choice, but turned it down. It quotes Cooper as saying:
“I said no. I didn’t see myself as quite that dashing, and later, when I saw Clark Gable play the role to perfection, I knew I was right.”
So what’s your verdict there? Does Rhett Butler have to be dashing? Or a bit of a spiv? Or perhaps both? Which of these two fits your bill here? Or would you pick someone else entirely?
Ideal Hero for The Grand Sophy?
Now, this one is a bit of a poser. As some of you will know, because I wrote a love letter to The Grand Sophy, it’s one of my favourite Georgette Heyer books. I think the heroine is terrific. But the hero?
Charles is the heir in an aristocratic family that lives beyond its means, largely because of a gambler father and a weak-willed mother. Charles, being the responsible eldest son, has good reason for trying to make his family economise, but he does come across as dictatorial. Sophy declares she would not allow her own father to become like him.
As well as being an autocrat, Charles has terrible taste in women, having become engaged to the very eligible but uptight and humourless Miss Wraxton; and he has missed the obvious signs of distress in two of his siblings which has distanced him from them. A host of missteps, in fact.
So far, not very heroic?
Sophy teases Charles and sometimes mortifies him, too. She astonishes him with steely resolve and clever machinations. But it is her gentle kindness that finally gets through to him, when she’s nursing his little sister, and which makes him realise her loves her.
A bit slow on the uptake? Again, not very heroic?
Which actor could play Charles and make him fit all of these conflicting roles? Peremptory and quite abrasive at the start and then softening, but honourable with it? (Of course, Sophy’s greyhound approves of Charles from their first meeting which does suggest he has something that’s not necessarily obvious…).
I think I might give my vote to Richard Armitage, largely because of his performance in the TV series of North and South where the character has similar conflicts and, like Charles, starts off having little time for the unconventional heroine. But what do you think?
Your ideal Hero?
Now it’s over to you. Do you have a favourite book and an actor that you’d love to see playing the hero’s role? It doesn’t matter if the actor in question is already dead (like Alan Rickman) or too old for the part now. You’re welcome to suggest a young Robert Redford if you want to. Please do share your thoughts and choices. (And enjoy the eye-candy below, of two heroes in their prime. Plus one for a giggle)
Jonas Kaufmann in Verdi’s Otello and Sean Bean as Richard Sharpe. Oh yes, and Baldrick…
From Joanna, trying not to laugh…