Hope everyone has had a wonderful New Year’s Eve and that you’ve been surviving without your shitty fiction fix. Fear not, though, we’re here with the 2013 Erotic Year in Review!
Major things happened for two of our favorite (read: worst) series. The Crossfire series is coming to the small screen while, of course, Fifty Shades is coming to the big screen. We’re here to bring you the same quality of hype and speculation you could get from a network like E!
Fifty Shades of Casting
There’s been quite a lot of drama and hype surrounding the casting of the Fifty Shades film. We gave you our own suggestions for the cast, and Hollywood gave us the real cast (and some changes along the way). We haven’t commented on it in a while, so what better time to address these new nails in the coffin of good taste than on New Year’s?
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
Matthew says: Probably the biggest thing that’s happened in the presumably miserable world of Fifty Shades movie news, Charlie Hunnam left the movie, very briefly leaving the movie without a Christian Grey and making the world a better place. So for whatever the reason – scheduling conflicts, fan backlash, actually reading Fifty Shades of Grey – Hunnam’s out and Jamie Dornan is in. Once again, I’m not really “in the know” enough to comment on how good he’ll be in the role, except he’s willingly taking on the role of Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, which probably means expectations are irrelevant anyway. Although he was on ABC’s Once Upon a Time, so hopefully he can bring the much needed cheesiness to the role.
Ariel says: Well let me tell you, as a reluctant–in an “I-hate-myself-for-loving-it” kind of way–Once Upon a Time fan, I have to say I have mixed feelings about Dornan as Grey. I mean, he keeps the movie blandly whitewashed (just look at that cover. They both have that quintessential dull, almost unnoticeable, attractiveness about them), which is true to the book, so yay accuracy I guess? But back to the whole OUAT thing. I actually remember liking Dornan on the show, but it was because I liked his romance and interactions with another character. Given I already know I hate Christian’s romantic interactions with Ana, my hopes are not high.
The thing is, though, it would be really hard to cast a man that embodies everything Ana describes when it comes to Christian. I mean, he’s is supposed to be this god-like man whom every woman finds attractive. Nay. Not just attractive, but so attractive that jaws drop and eyes are always on him whenever he enters a room and women make total asses of themselves even when his wife is standing right next to him. Given attraction is so subjective, this is a pretty tough role to cast. As I said before, though, Christian’s personality is so unattractive that I think he could potentially ruin even the sexiest of actors for many sensible viewers who don’t confuse abuse and romance.
Matthew says: See, Fifty Shades has passed into such legend for us here at BBGT that I forget how awful it really was. Ariel’s sobering words of how the character of Christian Grey himself is so unattractive that it could very easily ruin anyone who plays him. If there’s any one bit of good that could come out of the movie, it would be if they’re so faithful to the source material that all its fans stumble out of the theater dazed and confused, thinking, “Is… is that really what I liked? I thought that was sexy? I… I was so wrong. I was wrong. I’m sorry. I’m… I’m just so sorry.”
Ariel says: I’ll leave you with this bit of news hype from Glamour, which hilariously emphasizes that Dornan might appear NAKED and that Fifty Shades can’t be turned into a Disney movie. I don’t know how to create video masterpieces, but if anyone out there reading this is capable of such things, please make Fifty Shades: The Disney Version. My only request is that the parts of Mrs. Jones and Taylor are played by adorable woodland creatures. For any South Park fans out there, I do NOT mean woodland critters.
Marcia Gay Harden as Christian‘s Mother, Dr. Grace Trevelyan Grey
Ariel says: Why an Academy award-winning actress would star in this film, even in a minor role, is beyond me. I can only assume she’s lost some sort of bet, or someone is blackmailing her pretty hard. Really, I think in the first book, Christian’s mother shows up that one time when Ana is in bed, and she’s like, “OMG we’re just so happy Christian is fucking someone” or whatever. Otherwise, I can’t remember which other scenes she was in, and all she ever says are things along the lines of, “Oh, Ana, you’re so great! You’ve saved Christian from himself!”
My guess is not actually blackmail, though I think it’s a good theory. I do think that someone working on the film begged and pleaded and owes her some massive favor now. OR she owed someone a massive favor. Maybe she sold her soul to the Devil! Unless I’m completely off base and she was just drawn to the prestige of playing a doctor.
Matthew says: This was probably the biggest casting news that came out after that whole Charlie Hunnam-Jamie Dornan-Some People Who Still Think Ryan Gosling Would Seriously Consider This Role For Some Reason debacle (Ariel says: Christian Grey could even ruin RYAN GOSLING for me), presumably because Marcia Gay Harden is one of the more real actresses attached to this project now. Pretty much every headline about this story was “The Newsroom‘s Marcia Gay Harden joins Fifty Shades cast”, not to inform readers about Harden’s credentials, but rather to express surprise, like “Seriously? Someone from The Newsroom? But isn’t that supposed to be good?” And then, of course, she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, which I am pretty certain is supposed to be good. Guess it makes sense that the role they got her for, then, would be a role so small we didn’t bother including it in our original casting speculation/jokes.
Victor Rasuk as Jose
Ariel says: Yes…he is a person! I’m shocked they didn’t find a werewolf to play this role, but I guess they’re trying to move away from Twilight at this point.
Rasuk has been in stuff, but the only thing I might have had a chance of catching was one episode of Law and Order: SVU he was in.
At least he brings some diversity to the cast. Sadly, remember how this diversity plays out in the book? His lines pretty much are reduced to “Dios mio, Ana!” and his other claim to fame is that one rapey scene outside the bar with Ana, which means being on an episode of Law and Order: SVU should come in handy. In fact, that’s probably how he got the part.
Matthew says: Man, I don’t even remember hearing that Jose got cast. Seriously, nobody cares about Jose.
As for diversity, Ariel makes a good point. My initial reaction was going to be “well, they cast a Dominican actor, so at least they didn’t cast a really tan white guy”, but then I remembered what Jose’s role in the novel is. I’m pretty sure that Jose is the novel’s only not-white character (aside from a gay Italian hairdresser who shows up for a page and reads like E L James had just played Super Mario before writing it), and his only defining trait is his unrequited love for Ana and, worse, his only role in the narrative is that he sexually assaulted her one time so Christian Dreamboat Grey could show up and save her before he sort of disappears to show up briefly every hundred pages after that. I don’t even remember what happened in Jose’s last scene. Maybe he was sad. Hopefully Rasuk can somehow bring some much-needed not-rapeiness to the role, because that’s pretty much the only thing he can do with it.
Rita Ora as Christian’s Sister, Mia Grey
Ariel says: She’s a British pop star! Does this mean Mia is going to get a musical number? IS THIS GOING TO BECOME A DISNEY MOVIE!?!?!
Matthew says: This actually makes the most sense, as she’s the only one whose appearance conveys any sense of Fifty Shades.
Actually, though, remember when I joked about how Taylor Swift should star as the crack whore, because 1) they’d have a hard time getting actual actresses to be in this movie, so, 2) it might as well be a pop-star-turning-film-star vehicle. Well, I got the pop star wrong and I got the part wrong, but I got the general idea right! Now, granted, I have nothing against artists branching out into other fields (I like to pretend I’m a musician, but pffft), but a quick look at Ora’s film credits showcasing her range from “Racer” in Fast & Furious 6 to “Herself” in 90210 suggests that I’m probably pretty right about this one.
Luke Grimes as Christian’s Brother, Elliot Grey
Ariel says: He was on this year’s season of True Blood, which I didn’t watch. He was on that show Brothers and Sisters, which I also never watched, but I hear some people did.
Matthew says: Does Elliot even have lines in the first Fifty Shades?
Ariel says: Yes, Matthew. This is where “Laters, baby” is first introduced. This is basically the most important line IN THE WHOLE FIFTY SHADES VERSE. Some might say Luke Grimes is carrying the weight of this entire film on his shoulders.
Matthew says: I think we definitely might say so.
Jennifer Ehle as Ana’s Mother, Carla
Ariel says: Boy she went Zero (Dark Thirty) to Fifty in no time!
Matthew says: GOD FUCKING DAMMIT, I WANTED THE MOM FROM THE ROOM.
Now this movie’s gonna suck.
Crossfire: The TV Series
Matthew says: As some of our more masochistic readers have informed us, yes, Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series – the Bared To You one – has been optioned for a tv series. Now, to answer the most important question on your minds, NO, this does NOT mean it’s 100% a thing that’s going to happen. But it is a very real, very painful, possibility now.
Ariel says: I love how there is barely enough plot in this series to fill one book let alone an entire season (or multiple seasons). Even Gossip Girl had more going on.
Sylvia Day herself has apparently done some fantasy casting! She wants the girl from Spy Kids to play Eva. At first I was like, “WHAT!!” But she’s blonde now and an adult and actually does fit Eva’s characteristics, so well played, Day. Actually, all of her casting choices look pretty great (except maybe the guy she picked for Cary), and given she wrote the damn crappy thing, it does make sense.
The best is that she wants Miley Cyrus to play the skanky Tatiana (the female member of Cary’s ridiculous love triangle.) How hilarious is that? I actually think Day might be a pretty funny lady in some ways, but that’s not going to make me like any of her characters one iota more!
Matthew Says: Here’s the problem with doing Crossfire as a tv series: their only justification for it is “because sex”. As Sylvia Day was quoted in the previously linked USA Today article:
Usually, protagonists in erotic romance have difficult times communicating verbally, so the way that they get their feelings across–whether it’s anger, happiness, love, lust, all of it–is during the sex scenes. (There’s a lot I could say about this, like “you’re confusing ‘erotic’ with ‘abusive'”, but I want to focus on this next part.) You really couldn’t do a PG version of Crossfire! It just wouldn’t work. They have that in mind. We’re all on board with the fact that it would need to be premium cable, on which recently we’ve seen a lot of wonderful book-to-film adaptations: Game of Thrones, Dexter, True Blood.
This more or less says “Crossfire could work as a tv show because there are other shows with lots and lots of sex on tv right now”. This is an awful way to justify things. Taking the lowest common denominator (which just happens to be sex in this case, but could be any other not-particularly-essential element) to equate different stories – regardless of the varying quality between said stories – doesn’t really work. And so it’s time to play a new twist on an old favorite, BUT WHAT IF OTHER TV PROGRAMMING DECISIONS WERE MADE THIS WAY?
- “You really couldn’t do a female-main-character version of Girls! It just wouldn’t work. We’re all on board with the fact that it would need to have a male main character, which recently we’ve seen on Seinfeld, Sherlock, or Breaking Bad.“
- “You really couldn’t do an English language version of Eragon! It just wouldn’t work. We’re all on board with the fact that it would need to be in entirely made-up languages, which recently we’ve seen on Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal.” (So I thought The Dark Crystal was a tv show until I wrote that joke, but I think my point still stands)
- “You really couldn’t do a version of Modern Family that answers everyone’s questions by the end of the show. It just wouldn’t work. We’re all on board with the fact that the ending needs to leave a lot of unresolved plot points hanging or very vaguely and confusingly answered, which we’ve recently seen on LOST or the 2013 Christmas Special of Doctor Who.”