I just finished reading “The Da Vinci Code”, and while doing a bit of research online to check some facts (or myths), I stumbled upon the notice that Ron Howard has picked up the script to turn it into a movie. Well, I went to IMDB to check out the cast, and it would be a severe understatement to say that I was surprised. Now, if you’re familiar with the book, and I’m positive most of you are, then you’ve probably painted some mental pictures of the characters. Right, so whom exactly would you cast as Robert Langdon? I think one of the best would be someone like Billy Bob Thornton. Put him in a suit and he’s your average Harvard scholar (don’t believe me? Watch “The man who wasn’t there”). Well, that would be one of the ideal choices, but even if I’m opting for second, third, fourth choice…why on earth would I cast Tom Hanks for the role of Robert Langdon? While Hanks may be a fine actor, is it really necessary to cast him for every role, regardless of the total lack of credibility?
And here’s another one: Sir Leigh Teabing. In the book he’s a fat historian, obsessed with the Holy Grail, who’s got antiquated manners and is ultimately not the full sandwich. Once again, adhering to what the novel tells us is not an option for the producers. They rather decided to choose an actor who may be well-versed in what he does, but does neither bring the necessary physique nor the air of ambiguity you’d expect: Ian McKellen. Sure, he’s probably the hottest choice for mystery/fantasy vehicles at the moment, but does he really need to be cast for every role, regardless of the lack of credibility?
Finally, the French policeman. Now, this is actually too ridiculous to waste too many words on. Think French, think policeman, think gruff: Yeah, they cast Jean Reno. Again, Reno is a fine actor, he’s got his gruffness down, but hell, did anyone of the people involved actually read that novel? Here’s a quote from the book:
Captain Bezu Fache carried himself like an angry ox, with his wide shoulders thrown back and his chin tucked hard into his chest. His dark hair was slicked back with oil, accentuating an arrow-like peak that divided his jutting brow and preceded him like the prow of a battleship.
Does that sound like Jean Reno to you? Exactly! Hell, after losing a few pounds and some dyed hair, even Gerard Depardieu would fit that description better than Jean Reno. And by the way, according to the CIA Factbook, France has a population of over 60 million people. Roughly 24 of these are men older than 14. My guess is that among these 24 million men there must be an actor who is fairly fluent in English, not total shit, and not Jean Reno (and fits the damn description).
Well, here’s the link to the IMDB listing, just in case you think I’ve made all that up.