Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Dream Cast

Hello again, my fellow film buffs, I just wanted to give my two cents worth to you all once again... simply because a) I've recently picked up the pace again, thus rendering my writer's block a near extinct facet of my psyche/thing of the past, and b) I really dig this whole new series of dream cast lineups; which tends to keep the creative juices flowing long enough, simply when I can't think of something better to write. Not that this here piece is filler or anything, far from it... a lot of thought went into this dream cast lineup proposal, so pay attention!

As you may all already be aware, I hadn't written some blog posts in quite some time, and had to resort to the usual public service ads (i.e. filler material) that I let loose every now and again to help out some of my friends that are currently up to something, but ever since that incident with the old woman hitting the postal service entrance on Monday... I figured I might as well live every moment as if it were my last and every minute as if it were my first; before I spring myself off of this mortal coil and whatnot. So, since I'm still under the impression that I still have a few good ideas left in me, here goes... This here's my latest piece that I'd like to share with all of you fellow Hitchhiker's out there in the blogosphere.

Anyways, as you can already tell by the title, one of favorite books of all time, and its adaptation onto the big screen (without a doubt) is none other than: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I've always been fond of the original BBC production, which featured members of a yet even more original inception of the series, which was a BBC radio broadcast; going by the same name of course! The movie, on the other hand, had been in development hell for a little over two decades and finally made it to theaters in 2005. However, despite all the impressive visual effects, revamps, and little tweaks here and there to the original, it still doesn't match the brilliantly produced and awfully lower budgeted BBC television series, in my humble opinion. The shortcuts taken really didn't do the characters justice, such as that of Ford Prefect. His introduction into the story was almost completely butchered by the decision to have him wheeling in a shopping cart full of beer (or should I say pints of bitter?) so that he and Arthur can prepare for the hyperspace jump onboard a passing Vogon constructor fleet spacecraft... try saying that three times fast!

80's Cast

Gone was the clever exchange between the chief foreman of the demolition crew and Ford, which is one of the best moments from the television broadcast. What I do commend the casting department on was the actor that they chose as the demolition foreman; due to the fact that in the novel he's described as a far removed descendant of Genghis Khan, which is closer and truer to Douglas Adams' vision than the actor they chose to portray him in the television series. Another omission was the Dentrassi, which are in the in flight caterers responsible for beaming Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect onto the ship. That was perhaps one of the highly overlooked little tidbits, which may perhaps even be one the biggest plot holes out there. As some of you in the sci-fi geek community may know, Dentrassi dislike the Volgons and like to upset them by doing something like beaming stowaways aboard without the proper paperwork signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public inquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as fire lighters! I guess that's what happens when most of the budget for a film is spent on very gear looking Volgon costumes.

Another little gripe of mine is the trimmed down explanation of a Babel fish, omitting the whole God does not exist argument. It is featured in a deleted scene if you purchase the DVD, but I suppose the God fearing bible belt climate of film goers probably objected to it during test screenings, thus rendering it on the cutting room floor. What was clever was the substitution of the cow getting milked and falling in love with its farmhand. And cows, by the way are sacred in India... so maybe that was the best consolation prize they had to offer. Speaking of which, the character of Trillian Astra or Trisha McMillan as she's known on Earth was originally meant to be a slim, darkish humanoid, with long waves of black hair, a full mouth, an odd little knob of a nose and ridiculously brown eyes; to which I can only presume to be of an Indian-like descent; or to be more exact... in accordance with Douglas Adam's account; of an Arabic descent. Ford Prefect was described as being not conspicuously tall, with features that were striking but not conspicuously handsome. He had hair that was wiry and gingerish and brushed backwards from the temples. His skin seemed to be pulled backwards from the nose; all of this of course is almost the exact polar opposite of Mos Def, who's almost completely clean shaven for the film, and taller than you would expect Ford's character to be. The one thing that I do give him props for is the fact that he held onto his American accent for the film, making the claim that he was from Guildford seem yet even more odder than it actually was. The scene with him greeting an actual Ford Prefect automobile, under the impression that it was the highly evolved species on the planet, was also a very nice touch.

Still, I can go on and on about how I admire certain aspects from specific versions of this film and nitpick on a bunch of others. Everything is okay the way it is; and it will never be perfect, understandably. But, if the BBC does decide to perhaps consider developing the series once again (especially with its highly anticipated sequels) with a completely new cast, I'd urge them to consider this lineup. Arthur Dent should be played by Jack Davenport, simply because he's taller than your average apelike descendant (who probably knows no more of the history of the tea leaf than the East India trading company) while Ford Prefect could be best portrayed by David Tennant. Both of them hands down, are my number one choice. Oddly enough, Jack was also in the talks for playing Arthur in the movie version of this sci-fi classic, and Douglas Adams did write some episodes for Doctor Who, so it wouldn't be that much of a stretch to incorporate these two brilliant actors, based on that sort of obscure cosmic connection.

Dream Cast 1
L to R: Jack Davenport, David Tennant,
Emmanuelle Chriqui, Rhys Ifans

The characters of Trillian and Zaphod, on the other hand, are complete toss ups; heads or tails, that is. My first choice to play Trillian would be the gorgeous Emmanuelle Chriqui and Rhys Ifans could play the best interpretation of Zaphod Beeblebrox. Of course, in the busy world that is Hollywood, chances are that these actors and/or actresses can't make it due to some other kind of contractual obligation, which is usually why film projects take so long to make, or why sometimes you just gotta make do with what you got. So, let's just say that this project can't get the whole lineup together and they'd have to settle for alternate choices to play the parts and what have you. I, myself, couldn't think of anybody better suited for the main two roles, however I did a little thinking and thought up of some rather suitable second choices to play the parts for Trillian and Zaphod. And the nominees are (drumroll, please...)

Dream Cast 2
Alternate choices for Trillian and Tricia McMillan
L to R: Thandie Newton and Zoe Saldana

We ought to get Mick Jagger to play the role of Zaphod. No joke! Mick's no stranger to acting, for he has done his share of performances (pun) on film, and most importantly his flamboyant rock n' roll persona is almost the perfect embodiment of what Zaphod is, with just the right touch of bureaucratic incompetence to boot; which I'm definitely sure Mick can pull off ever so masterfully. And as for Trillian, it might be a good idea to enlist the services of Zoe Saldana and/or Thandie Newton, simply because she can easily bring just the right mix of brainy sophistication to the role (without a hitch). And also because people usually mistake them for one another... which would make perfect sense for the sequels to the first book, due to there being an alternate reality version of Trillian, so the inclusion of a celebrity doppelganger here would be brilliant! And the caveat to all this is that either one of them could play the role perfectly, that is... if the series were to last that long and not get canceled due to heavy production costs and what have you.  What would also be awesome would be to have cameos from the old cast. Like, for example, Mark Wing Davey can play Beeblebrox IV; ie. Zaphod's deceased great grandfather (as a great nod to the old series); and Simon Jones could play Max Quordlepleen while Geoffrey McGivern could play Hotblack Desiato, as they both suggested in this interview. So that's about it for me and this lame brained idea Hollywood... (which took about a month to write, since I'm such a literary slacker). Thanks for putting up with this fan's humble request.

And one more thing I almost forgot to mention... you must leave the soundtrack intact, so that the Eagles still get their fair due; because as you all know, it's their song Journey of the Sorcerer (hit play on the embedded video below) that was used as the main theme music for both the television series and the movie version.




This has been P.S. Elliott (or Dr. Gonzo XXVII) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

And Now, A Word from Our Sponsors...