Saturday, February 28, 2015

Fox lures Rosamund Pike to join Christian Bale in The Deep Blue Good-By


It took awhile but it looks like not only is Christian Bale firmly onboard as Travis McGee in The Deep Blue Good-by, now so is Rosamund Pike. I think my husband owns every colorfully titled book in John D. MacDonald's 21-book series about the laconic McGee and I've read most of 'em myself. While I love Bale (can't wait to see him in Terrence Mallick's Knight of Cups, so much so, I'm sharing the non-book related trailer below) as I've told you before, I just don't see him as Trav,—Leonardo DiCaprio, who is still producing for the Fox project, was going to play McGee; I'd vote for him or McConaughey—the self-described beach bum, fond of mixing up a batch of drinks and inviting fetching young women up to the lounge of his boat, The Busted Flush. I have a hunch though, Bale will change my mind.

Will Rosamund Pike play gal pal Chookie McCall, who dances in and out of the book series? Hubby and I agree it's doubtful as the role is too minor. We think Rosamund is more likely to play Cathy Kerr, a bit of a broken woman, a complete 360 from her manipulative Gone Girl character. But just for fun let's take a look at both characters. First, here's how MacDonald describes Chook in The Deep Blue Good-By which reveals Travis' outdated machismo attitude, at once dismissive and affectionate. I hope Hollywood doesn't try to clean up his image too much but I wonder whether today's audiences have the sense of humor and understanding for the way it was, to appreciate a 1960's era dino like McGee.
 
"Chookie McCall was choreographing some fool thing. She had come over because I had the privacy and enough room. She had shoved the furniture out of the way, set up a couple of mirrors from the master stateroom, and set up her rackety little metronome. She wore a faded rust-red leotard, mended with black thread in a couple of places. She had her black hair tied into a scarf.
She was working hard. She would go over a sequence time and time again, changing it a little each time, and when she was satisfied, she would hurry over to the table, and make the proper notations on her clipboard.
Dancers work as hard as coal miners used to work. She stomped and huffed and contorted her splendid and perfectly-proportioned body. In spite of the air-conditioning she had filled the lounge with a faint sharp-sweet odor of large overheated girl. She was a pleasant distraction. In the lounge lights there was a high-lighted gleam of perspiration on the long, round legs and arms."


And now for  Cathy Kerr, the woman taken in by villain Junior Allen, a big ol' boy with a deceptively grinning facade. While Cathy has a heart of gold, Junior Allen had a heart of darkness. So let's take a look at Cathy, the 'elderly' dancer Chookie convinces Travis to talk to about a certain problem and some treasure Junior Allen has taken from her. Travis, in case you're not familiar with MacDonald's 'salvage consultant', gets 50% of whatever missing monies he finds for his clients. The thing is, Allen didn't just take what rightfully belongs to Cathy, he's a sadistic sexual psycho who also took her self-respect. That really makes McGee mad.
"She was a sandy blonde with one of those English schoolboy haircuts, where the big eyes look out at you from under a ragged thatch of bangs. She had overdressed for the occasion, the basic black and the pearl clip and the sparkly little envelope purse.
In explosive gasps Chook introduces us and we went inside. I could see that she was elderly by Chook's standards. Perhaps twenty-six or -seven. A brown eyed blonde, with the helpless mournful eyes of a basset hound. She was a little weathered around the eyes. In the lounge lights I saw that the basic black had given her a lot of good use. Her hands looked a little rough. Under the slightly bouffant skirt of the black dress were those unmistakable dancer's legs, curved and trim and sinewy."
Nothing like a damsel in distress to get McGee's motor running; this is his first book but it's a theme he returns to time and time again.

So, John D. MacDonald fans? What's your take on Bale as McGee and Rosamund Pike as Cathy Kerr? Pike, an integral part of Gone Girl's $350 million success story, has completed the shooting of the thriller Return to Sender with Nick Nolte, but she's attached to both The Bends with Joel Kinnaman and The Mountain Between Us based on the novel by Charles Martin. It looks like they're waiting for the right weather conditions to be in effect for The Mountain Between Us (about a plane crash in the mountains) so the McGee movie will come first.

And just because it look so spectacular and it stars Christian Bale and it's about a Hollywood screenwriter, and it's set here in my hood, here's the trailer for Knight of Cups from Tree of Life director Terrence Mallick. Long time to wait though, it doesn't come out until December 11th.


5 comments:

  1. In my humble opinion, The Deep Blue Good-By is a remarkable piece of work by whatever standards you’d like to apply. I’m not talking about McGee’s comic book like superhero antics in subduing and killing Junior Allen (after all, one of the main purposes of this kind of fiction is to entertain); rather, the intricacy of the plotting, the razorsharp characterizations, the finely tuned and highly observant sense of place (which MacDonald fails with, somewhat, in the McGee novels that he moves outside of Florida), the observations and ruminations of McGee – these are all superb, even amazing.
    http://postmoderndeconstructionmadhouse.blogspot.com/2015/03/john-d-macdonald-deep-blue-good-by.html#.VRTpydKUc7W

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    1. McGee's ruminations, his protective and somewhat prehistoric views on women, and his depiction of Florida are what I love about MacDonald. And I see now I was completely wrong about Rosamund, she's playing Lois. I'll have to do an update!

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  2. Here’s a quote about John D. Macdonald that I often see bouncing around the web (I hesitate to quote from Wikipeida, which we all know is generally stuff we can wipe our asses with, but this seems legit). “Macdonald is by any standards a better writer than Saul Bellow, only Macdonald writes thrillers and Bellow is a human heart chap, so guess who wears the top grade laurels?” That’s from Kingsley Amis.
    http://postmoderndeconstructionmadhouse.blogspot.com/2015/01/john-d-macdonald-look-at-some-aspects.html#.VNHn89L

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  3. I just don't think Christian Bale is tough enough looking. McGee was a Marine in WW2. He's killed men there and as a 'salvage consultant', not just by pulling a trigger, been shot, knifed, beat up and is tough as nails. Bale just looks too pretty. And too pale. And too rich. And too arrogant.

    James Garner could have done it. Maybe Paul Newman. They just don't make guys like that anymore. At least in Hollywood.

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    1. Too pretty and too pale?! I agree he looks pale in the shot I used but did you see him in The Machinist, The Fighter? Too arrogant, I might buy that but I think he’s an excellent actor who can overcome that. I’m hoping so anyway!

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