Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Who IS and WHO SHOULD BE Dr Kay Scarpetta? Open Letter to Columbia Pictures

  For those of you not familiar with this wonderful literary figure, Dr Scarpetta is a forensic pathologist, psychologist and lawyer (I might, ahem, have both a Psych degree and be a qualified lawyer in some small way as homage to her greatness), please let me further enlighten you.

  Dr Kay Scarpetta, probably late 40's if not older, Italian American crime solving genius, amazing cook, stroppy paranoid blonde and aunt to the definition of the modern 'Alpha Female' Lucy Farinelli, is the creation of Patricia Cornwell in 16 crime novels. I've read almost all of them. She's mostly based in Richmond, Virginia and is ably assisted by balding, semi-obese but incredibly loyal lovesick Officer Marino and has an on-off love affair with the mysterious Benton Wesley. These are characters that jump right off the page into your imagination. I care for them a great deal, so you can imagine my chagrin when I read the following (and other) news stories on the casting of Angelina Jolie as Scarpetta in the forthcoming feature film.

  Why this is so wrong? here are just a few of my thoughts:

  1. Angelina isn't Scarpetta. Dr Kay Scarpetta is an ice cool short-haired blonde with an Italian American no-nonsense attitude (much like Cornwell herself, I reckon). She is also much older than Angelina and nowhere near as overtly sexual, both factors which are imperative in evidencing her honed pathology and legal skills. This is a figure who has helped to stop many a serial-killer in their tracks through her quick-witted thinking and an understanding of the criminal mind. Jolie wasn't bad in the Bone Collector granted, but if said serial killer runs up to your home and you defend yourself by having violently your arm shattered, you need to look less like a girl who hasn't had a good meal in the last year. I have seen Changeling and A Mighty heart, I don't doubt that Angelina can act, but she needs to act her age first.

  2. Scarpetta is a role model. This is a role made for an older female actress. Meryl Streep is playing the love interest at 60 so she told Vanity Fair, Kathryn Bigelow could soon be the first female to win the Oscar for Best Director yet this is a step backwards for feminist casting. What will this tell school girls, that you can't fight crime over 40? How about Diane Lane? Joan Allen? Even Sharon Stone could carry this role off with greater panache and gravitas as is required. Of course Helen Mirren or Meryl herself would do the role justice. But you need to take it seriously and be taken seriously.

  3. Scarpetta is not Bourne, nor is she Harry Potter. There are 16 books in the series and I am willing to bet that there will not be 16 films. Its all fine and well getting the funds together to purchase a franchise, after all the movie business needs to make money, and nothing sells like sequel after sequel, but I do worry that the Columbia execs have become completely blindsighted by this. Turning this into a turgid Wanted rip-off is not only a waste of money but it will also denigrate the name of a critically and commercially popular literary series.

  4. Benton Wesley. My body fairly shivers at who they may deem to cast as Scarpetta's love interest. On the page you see Grissom from CSI meets the beautiful but angry Mark Harmon. This is not a role suitable for the gorgeous but YOUNG James Macavoy. For goodness sake Columbia, send some flowers to George Clooney now, you know it makes sense.

  To Columbia I would conclude: Fire Jolie, hire Bigelow, Ang Lee, Mendes or Eastwood if you have to (although I'd even be partial to a Tarantino version - without all the violence), have an open audition for actresses aged over 45 and cast Alec Baldwin as Marino and Kristen Stewart at Lucy.

  And if all else fails, just take a look at Patricia Cornwell below, see any resemblance Hollywood.......?

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Friday, 15 January 2010

The Man Diet - Self review

  I am not sure where the phrase came from, I blatantly have stolen it from some other woman who reads 'He's Just Not That Into You' once a month, but with the new decade has come a new approach to my relationships.

  Two people (a guy and a girl) who are both very important to me, separately suggested that I might be becoming a little obsessed with the finding a mate. I now concur that they were right. I am in my early thirties, I had exited from yet another failed long-term relationship. Couple this with being at a crossroads where society's preconceived views silently slip into your consciousness and you start asking yourself: why, just why am I not married, with three nippers, living in a nice little house in the country and giving up my youthful life as I know it? I don't want these things as of yet, but I used to want to want them - I thought they were the universal barometer for earthly happiness and success.

  I am nowhere near this stage, I have spent the last ten years asking myself if I like my career, did I actually want to be with any of my ex-boyfriends? should I live in this city? What exactly IS the meaning of life? How much can I blame my parents, friends, exes (anyone else but me) for? And what happens when we all shortly become vampires?! On and on the questions go around my head with no let-up.

  I was spiritually holding my breath, thinking that if the perfect other half comes along and 'completes' me then suddenly the answer to all of these questions would become sparkingly clear (except maybe the vampire question, I shall be pondering that for some time...).

  Then it struck me over Christmas, when I spent a lot of time with me, myself and I. I am a whole person, I don't develop a whole new personality and sense of well-being because I am with soemone else. In fact most of the time I become depleted, less of myself and more of my misconceived notion of what Mr A N Other wants me to be. I may miss physical touching and companionship, but I don't miss picking fights and trying to calm a 'grass is always greener' inner monster whispering in my ear. Ultimately only I can fight my demons and generate more fixed rather than transient happiness throughout this life.

  So here it is: no dating, no drunken snogging, no waking up in the morning and thinking WTF, no waiting by the phone (or nowadays the computer), and no feeling let down by someone who could never have fixed my inner leaky tap no matter what they said or did. 

  Also, for clarification purposes: I don't dislike men, I dislike myself as a girlfriend, lover, whatever.

  I will let you know how it goes. Existing side effects are thinking that Taylor Swift song lyrics are a direct call to arms, an ever-increasing addiction to cheesey rom-coms and a desperation to buy a kitten. But I haven't felt any stress in weeks. I quite like myself it seems.

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Monday, 4 January 2010

Dear Future Me...

Dear Future Me (let's say in 2020).

  Well, you'll be 41 but you'll probably still feel 20, like I have always done (even when I was 6).

  I hope that you will have learned that years of sweating over the small stuff was a terribly pointless exercise and I expect you'll be much more chilled. You'll have finally cottoned on to what is important in life. Even though you'll know that personal happiness does not come solely from your loved ones, you'll probably be married with a child or two, living the traditional 20th Century dream, but being grateful for what you have, in 21st Century fashion. But if you're not with The One(R), I feel that you will still be happy, because you will have sorted out what work and love mean to you.

  You'll be finally settled in yourself but you'll be raring to go, with lots of different projects and an ongoing sense of optimism. You'll still be using your creativity.

  You won't regret the past and you'll be reconciled with those you had previously tussled with. You'll do the forgetting, as well as the forgiving. You'll hopefully be less focussed on yourself and you will find you can truly marvel at the beauty of a rainbow inside a raindrop.

  I am looking forward to being you. Enjoy!

  Lots of love

  Sarah Lou 2010

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