A.k.a. Why we all need to calm the eff down about casting movie musicals.
Ok, friends. We all know that casting directors for movie musicals don’t always get every note right. Star power often overwhelms the need for the best voice. Especially in musicals such as Les Miserablés or Mamma Mia! with many lead and supporting roles, it’s easy to justify putting a less qualified star in a major singing part and satisfying the need for musical talent in other roles.
However, while movies like the Academy Award-winning Chicago achieve the most perfect combination of talented performers, casting whims can go dangerously awry when star bankability can be impossible to ignore. Pierce Brosnan remains the worst casting choice in movie musical history.
I know what you’re thinking – what about Russell Crowe’s lackluster performance as Javert? While vibratto wasn’t something that appeared to be in his vocabulary, at least he had some vocal talent and even had a legit moment when he belted “reprieved” in his (SPOILER ALERT) suicide scene. Plus the rest of the cast was fantastic, which helped make up for it.
Alas, I digress.
The Pierce Brosnan problem lies in the fact that he can’t sing at all. I’m sure he gets an A for effort but his voice is terrible. Sure he had the Sam Charmichael charm but WHY would you give the earsore of an otherwise talented trio of male suitors the part with twice as many songs?
That reason alone is why we need to be very careful about who we publicly proclaim as a good choice for a movie. I know we’re all relieved Taylor Swift never made it to Eponine, but things like that can and will happen if the fans don’t speak out.
All of this stems from all the rumors/casting polls happening for the future film adaptation of Stephen Schwartz’s musical Wicked. Broadway.com’s weekend poll asked fans to vote for their top choices to play Fiyero and the results (listed by popularity) is as follows:
1. Justin Timberlake
2. Nick Jonas
3. Harry Styles.
Dear friends who voted for one of these choices…what are you all on?
First off, JT is the only one on this list who I would be okay with. He’s definitely got the moves and has majorly improved his hairstyles since the ramen-noodle bleached tips days. While he’s never been on Broadway, he’s got a serious set of pipes and could definitely sing the part. I’m just never the biggest proponent of putting a pop star in a theatrical role. (I’m sorry but Carly Rae Jepsen cannot fill Laura Osnes’ shoes. She sings the in the Brandy key in all the songs and it’s just not the same).
Nick Jonas should be kept far away from the project. Yeah, he’s been on Broadway, but he’s also still a pop star. Unless they’ve been trained to sing for musical theater they honestly just don’t know how to do it properly. (I’d have more faith in vocal coaches had Russell Crowe learned vibratto during the months of training for Les Mis). I still HATE that Jonas on the Les Mis 25th anniversary concert (which has an otherwise flawless cast). “Empty Chairs and Empty Tables” is the best song he does, yet even there it’s still incredibly evident that he can’t hold notes out like Marius is supposed to. And that’s not personal preference, haters, that’s HOW IT’S WRITTEN IN THE SCORE. Don’t even try to live through the section of “Look Down” with all the students…it’s the saddest imbalance of Ramin Karimloo’s effortless Enjolras and Jonas’ inability to hold a note more than two seconds, much less flip into a falsetto.
Harry Styles should keep going in the One Direction he is already in. He’s too pop-y and too much of a novelty (i.e. You show up on the cover of that many Tiger Beat covers, you’re going to need at least 5 years before I’ll take you seriously in pursuing another career path.
Sure, this is all purely hypothetical and there aren’t any concrete casting decisions being made yet. But I would bet public opinion could give producers ideas for who to cast or where to look for stars. All I ask is that we all think a little more carefully about our choices when tweeting about our dream cast.
And, for goodness sake, while she rocked as Donna Sheridan and will probably be good in Into the Woods, KEEP MERYL AWAY FROM WICKED.