Dream Casting for the Tarot Movie

Okay, what would be the dream cast for Tarot: The Magician? Since this is totally fictional, I can pick whomever I want, right? No matter how high profile or farfetched. Okay then, lets get this thing rolling.

First off, I know I’d want a director who could handle the creepier aspects of the book and not be overwhelmed with the surreal landscape of the Tarot world. The short list was down to one director: Guillermo del Toro. I’ve always admired his work, all the way back to Cronos.

Guillermo del Toro and the faun from Pan's Labyrinth.

Guillermo del Toro and the faun from Pan’s Labyrinth.

Now the principal characters. The main character, Kassandra, was hard to cast. She had to be an actress who could be snarky, but at the same time hold onto a lot of pain and guilt. My final choice is Chloë Grace Moretz. You would know her as Hit Girl from KickAss or from the remake of Carrie.

Chloë Grace Moretz from Carrie. She certainly has the look for Kassandra.

Chloë Grace Moretz from Carrie. She certainly has the look for Kassandra and the chops to handle the role.

With her cast, I now needed her adversary: Luke Rykell. This was a hard part to assign. The character is 600 years old and charming as all get out. Robert Patterson came to mind, but he’s been overexposed in the role of Edward Cullen for too long. Plus, I wanted something of a smart ass for this role. A person you’d instantly trust, only to find later that your trust was mislaid. The answer: Andrew Garfield.

Andrew Garfield ready to charm you as Luke Rykell.

Andrew Garfield ready to charm you as Luke Rykell.

Luke’s brother, Gabriel, was even harder to cast. I needed someone who you could ultimately trust, but that had a deep well of guilt tearing at his inner being. Darn, that sounds way too poetic, although it perfectly sums up Gabriel. He is the ultimate Romantic (as in the poets). The answer was Kit Harrington from Game of Thrones.

Although he'd need to shave, Kit has all the qualities needed to play Gabriel Rykell.

Although he’d need to shave, Kit has all the qualities needed to play Gabriel Rykell.

Kassandra’s mom was the hardest to cast (why do they get harder as I move through the list?) Many actresses I envisioned as the mom were too old or just not right for the character. Then Kate Winslet cropped up, and I knew she was perfect.

Kate would perfectly deliver the role of the mom who just wasn't there for her daughter.

Kate would perfectly deliver the role of the mom who just wasn’t there for her daughter.

Auntie Jo was the easiest and the first character I was able to cast: Queen Latifah. Although she’s not a perfect match for the role physically (the characters is heavier and has an afro) her demeanor fits Auntie Jo to a T.

Queen Latifah would rock as the past-life obsessed Auntie Jo.

Queen Latifah would rock as the past-life obsessed Auntie Jo.

Kassandra’s Dad was an important character to cast. He’s the catalyst for the entire novel. Also, Kassandra meets him inside the Tarot deck to hash out her issues. It’s a small role, so I figured, why not give it to a big actor. They take cameo roles, right? Besides, this a dream cast. Then I thought of 12 Monkeys and how great Brad Pitt was in that wacky world.

Brad as the troubled father to Kassandra. Only after his death does he really learn to connect to her.

Brad as the troubled father to Kassandra. Only after his death does he really learn to connect to her.

That only left Lindsay, the bossy social queen bee of the high school. This is a girl who’s used to pushing people around. Yet she also had to be a red head, that was always in my mind throughout the story. The answer? Another actor from Spiderman: Emma Stone.

I always described Lindsay with a sweep of red hair grazing her face, and here's Emma with the same look. Perfect!

I always described Lindsay with a sweep of red hair grazing her face, and here’s Emma with the same look. Perfect!

Did I do all right? I hope so. This would be an awesome cast for any film. Imagine what these actors would do in the freaky world of the Tarot?

Tim Kane

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Nosferatu: The Film That Died (Part 1)

There is no doubt that Freidrich Willhelm Murnau’s Nosferatu, Eine Symphonie des Grauens (Symphony of Horror) is a piece of landmark cinema, both for its Expressionist filmmaking and its unique treatment of the vampire as plague. Yet few people saw this monumental film prior to 1960. Though slated for destruction by Bram Stoker’s widow, the film managed to survive, popping up in the most peculiar places.

NosferatuShadow

Here is a trailer for Nosferatu (colorized, but it’s the best of the batch) that shows just how ominous Max Schrek was in this part.

Nosferatu debuted at the Marble Hall of the Berlin Zoological Gardens in 1922. The movie was the first and last product of a small art collective called Prana Films — the brainchild of artist Albin Grau (later Nosferatu’s production designer). A month later, Florence Stoker caught wind, and she started the legal machines rolling. Her only income at this point was her deceased husband’s book Dracula, and she would not let some German production company steal her meal ticket. During the 1920s, intellectual rights were a bit dodgy, so Florence paid one British pound to join the British Incorporated Society of Authors to help defend her property. Never mind that the society would also pick up the tab for the potentially huge legal bills.

Florence_StokerFlorence seemed unaware that a second vampire film, this one called Drakula, was produced by a Hungarian company in 1921. Although the title harkens back to Bram Stoker’s novel, the resemblance ends there. This film, now lost save for some stills, was more concerned with eye gouging than straight out vampirism. Nosferatu on the other hand took much of its plot from Stoker’s Dracula, changing only the names.

The film continued to be exhibited in Germany and Budapest up through 1925, though Prana was beleaguered by creditors and harassed by Florence Stoker. They tried to settle with the society, offering a cut of the film’s take in order for them to use the Dracula title in England and America. Florence would not relent.

She not only wanted Prana to halt exhibition of the film, she wanted it torched — all prints and negatives of the film destroyed. And she got her way. In 1925 Florence won her case and the destruction order went through. Nosferatu, Eine Symphonie des Grauens vanished into thin air just as Count Orlock, the vampire in the film, did when exposed to the rays of the morning sun.

For more information on the making of the original Dracula, check out David Skal’s book Hollywood Gothic: The Tangled Web of Dracula from Novel to Stage to Screen.

Tim Kane