Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Ladies of Brokeback Mountain

The repressed beautiful wives of Brokeback Mountain. Take note, motherhood does an actress good.


With all the buzz about the men of the movie and there love for each other, the stellar supporting cast, all female for the most part, has been over looked. In fact, I think about the kind of audience the cast could draw in a wide release.
Take for instance, my fourteen year old sister who is in love with Heath Ledger and Orlando Bloom - we like Aussies. She's also a huge Dawson's Creek fan which she discovered courtesy of reruns. She was more concerned with cartoons and dolls during the original run dates when we had viewing parties for "The Creek" in my college dorm. She's also seen both Princess Diaries movies and probably would recognize Jake as "the hottie from the ice age movie [The Day After Tomorrow]" as opposed to The Good Girl or Donnie Darko which is when I fell for the boy. Given that, I think my Midwestern Christian conservative little sis (who was raised most of her life in the south) would get the shock of her life when Ennis first drops his jeans. This of course would not nearly be as shocking as my stepmother's reaction to her daughter being exposed to gay love. I remember taking her and our younger sister to see Return of the King during one of the final scenes she yelled out "Oh my Gosh, they're gay!" Clearly, she was confused by any kind of male on male affection. As a side note, this is the same sister than ran into Ang Lee during my college graduation, literally.

All that being said, I wanted share this reasoning on the casting, which, by the way, is absolutely perfect and pivotal to the film...

Heath likes it when I call him Daddy.

Since the story spans 20 years in the characters' lives, Lee wanted to cast young actors because it was easier to simulate age than to simulate youth. This meant that he often had to audition performers whose previous work appealed to a younger audience and therefore might not be the obvious choice for the heartbreaking epic with adult themes. The filmmaker finally settled on "Princess Diaries" star Anne Hathaway and former "Dawson's Creek" star Michelle Williams.

In "Brokeback Mountain," Hathaway portrays sassy rodeo queen Lureen Newsome, who marries bull rider Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal). Unbeknownst to her, Jack is in love with Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger), a man he met while working in Wyoming during the summer of 1963 and with whom he is carrying on a longtime affair. Although the Twists' marriage is successful in the technical sense -- they're financially prosperous and have a son together -- Lureen suspects Jack is keeping something important from her.

Lee charted Lureen's maturation through the years by changing her appearance, reflecting her increasing desperation to hang onto her happiness, which she associates with her youth, when she ruled the rodeo circuit and first met Jack.

"[For Lureen] everything's great when she's young, [but when] she turns bitter, her makeup starts to get thicker and her hair gets higher -- and lighter, too," says the director. "Each time she shows up, the hair is a different 'do and a different color."

In contrast, Lee cast Williams as the struggling, less glamorous Alma, Ennis' wife, whose change is more internal. Unlike Hathaway, Williams had already thrown off her teen queen status and has worked steadily in a number of more mature films, including "But I'm a Cheerleader," "Prozac Nation," "The Station Agent" and "Imaginary Heroes."

For the entire article, including how Lee and Williams constructed the stairwell scene, read here. Although if you haven't seen the movie, and I'm betting you haven't, you might not want to ruin the power of the scene which is one of films best.

As a final note, it seems that Gyllenhaal and Ledger can't keep far enough away from each other. One attended the LA premier while the other the New York premier. Gyllenhaal talks about how resentful he was about Ledger and Williams falling in love on set after Miss Dunst dumped him and how petrified and scared he was about making out with Ledger in Entertainment Weekly. I frankly find the article a bit disturbing on Gyllenhaal's part and surprising on Ledger's. Until Brokeback, I found Ledger untalented and overrated, and Gyllenhaal a day dream inspiration. If you want more Brokeback fun, visit The Red Room Movie Palace for any and all mountain related fun. That ol' Brokeback got Darren good.

1 Comments:

At 11:49 PM, Blogger Darren said...

Umm, EWW! I don't like Anne's dress at all. Her and Michelle must have been freezing. Joan Allen and Sigourney Weaver were also at the premiere. Allen looks amazing, though highly botoxed.

I can't wait to see my Brokeback kids at the awards show. Williams has been pretty great in the fashion arena so far. She needs to get Heath a little help though. He always looks so disheveled. Bleh.

I hope Naomi gets nom'd for Kong. I can't imagine how awkward the Academy Luncheon would be. Betty/Diane would start a food fight with Jen Lindley.

 

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