Dear Readers,

I now consider this blog to be my Juvenelia. Have fun perusing the archives, and find me at my new haunt, here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Top Ten Period Drama Actors #1-5

Who does the best job thoroughly embodying classic heroes of "romantic" period literature? The list, according to no one but me.

What are the categories? Well...
  1. Smouldering
  2. Sneering
  3. Dismissive chuckling
  4. Breech-wearing
  5. Steed-riding
  6. Manor-owning
  7. Witticism-uttering/bantering
  8. Maintaining an air of mystery
  9. British-accenting
  10. Oath-swearing
  11. You get the idea. Here they are.
#1 Colin Firth

"In vain have I struggled."

Colin wins, hands-down for the resurgence of Darcymania--his Darcy was more snide, haughty, and cold than any other in history, and his diving into the lake, fencing, and bathtub scenes famously reversed the male gaze and made him a sex object. His transformation to humility and stammering awkwardness after Jennifer Ehle's Lizzy rejects him puts H-h-hugh Grant to shame. Colin's also done a nice job glowering and panting after Scarlett Johansenn as the painter Vermeer in Girl With the Pearl Earring, seducing young Irish ladies as a caddish landowner in Circle of Friends, trading clever barbs with Rupert Everett in the Importance of Being Earnest, and parodying himself in the Bridget Jones movies.

#2 Greg Wise

Supplanting Kenneth Branagh as Emma Thompson's leading man in real life gets him points, but even though he's potentially less famous than some of the others on this list, he's this high because he owns the role of the cad so utterly and completely. From the ultimate betrayer, Willoughby, in Sense and Sensibility (leading Kate Winslet to alter a recital of a Shakespeare Sonnet thus: " Oh no! It is an ever fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken. Willoughby. Willoughby. Willoughby.") His finest work might be on Materpiece Theater: in Madame Bovary, he shows his bare ass off as Rodolphe, consummating his love with Emma Bovary in a forest (with horses nearby. They were out riding, you see.). And he also "takes" Nan St. George, corsets and all, in a cornfield in TV's turgid adaptation of Wharton's "The Buccaneers". No wonder Emma Thompson loves him so!

#3 Sir Laurence Olivier.

Because besides all that Shakespearean stuff, the Vivien Leigh business, and Lord Nelson, Sir L. got to play both romantic heroes Darcy and Heathcliff, (not to mention the uber-secretive Maxim de Winter) and he perfected the snarling glower, the pacing restlessness, and the lustful eyes long before the current hunks were even born. It's enough to get a girl singing Kate Bush at the top of her lungs.


#4 Ciaran Hinds

Alright, so the last movie I saw him in was the worst movie ever ever ever (Miami Vice). But his performance as Captain Wentworth in Persuasion was so so so finely wrought, un-Hollywood, and sexy in a subdued way that we finally root for him over the more traditionally dishy Mr. Eliot (more on that lothario tomorrow). Plus, I've heard he makes a damn good Edward Rochester in Jane Eyre, he's a kick-ass julius Caesar on "Rome", and he dared to play the Mayor of Casterbridge, one of Hardy's most depressing characters (other than obscure old Jude), which speaks to his integrity and craft and all that other important actor-y stuff.
"You pierce my soul."

#5-Jeremy Northam

Maybe it's because he redeemed Emma (Gwyneth, ugh) ...but more likely because of his spot-on turn in An Ideal Husband as a confident, noble politician with a shameful secret in his past (held by the delicious Julianne Moore)... and even more because of his ruthless, conniving and yes, very sexy (bearded!) role as Prince Amerigo in the Merchant-Ivory adaptation of James' The Golden Bowl. He's got Uma and Kate Beckinsale pining away.

What about the rest, you ask? Where are Hugh, and Rupert? Why are there so many Austen heroes and not enough Wharton brooders, James scoundrels, Forster Dilletantes and Dickens adventurers? (Because Austen is the best, like, duh.) And what about that dude who plays Will Ladislaw? Don't worry. I never would forget Will Ladislaw. Hunks #5-10 tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Hiii Sarah,

    It's Sarah (Milov). I found your blog by way of your other blog. Turns out that we not only have the same name, but also the same blogger template. My guess is that the similarities dont end there. At any rate, I'll keep readin'.