One of my favorite pastimes is to create dream casts for plays and films – to conjure up actors I admire in roles they haven’t yet essayed. This week the game had me recasting the leading men of the Les Miserables film in Shakespearean parts.
Hugh Jackman as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. Jackman has had classical training in his native Australia, and his transformative performance as Valjean revealed the dark depths and redemptive heights to which he can take a character. His Shylock would likely be towering, terrifying, but ultimately capable of projecting pathos.
Eddie Redmayne in Romeo and Juliet. Not only has Redmayne a resume which supports his romantic leading man status (Les Miserables, My Week with Marilyn), but he proved an exceptional Richard II on the London stage a few years back. He has just the right blend of youth, innocence, vulnerability, and passionate abandon to be this decade’s Romeo!
Aaron Tveit as Puck in Midsummer Night’s Dream or as Ariel in The Tempest. Tveit has not done Shakespeare on the professional stage, but his impeccable diction and the glorious musicality of his voice – speaking and singing – make these interesting possibilities. Both Puck and Ariel have ditties to sing and they are both immensely kinetic characters, requiring just the kind of magnetic, sometimes dancer-like physicality Tveit has brought to his stage performances. For example, think of the mercurial mix of mischief, danger and seduction he conveyed in his feline, acrobatic performance as Gabe in Next to Normal.
Play this dream casting game with us. Share your comments about your casting wish lists.