Thursday, 16 May 2013

Why I'd Like 'Oliver!' to Be Remade

About three or four months ago the Daily Mail announced that Cameron Mackintosh is planning on bringing Oliver! over to Broadway with Samantha Barks starring as Nancy. This was then reported elsewhere. The Mail also announced that Mackintosh then wants Barks to star in a movie adaptation of Oliver! to be released in 2016. If this story is true then it's great news! I saw Samantha Barks in Oliver! last year and she gave a brilliant performance. I'm sure her Nancy would be very well-received if she went over to New York. When I reviewed the show last year I couldn't find any audio clips with Barks singing but a YouTube user has now put some videos up if anyone wants to hear her sing : )

Oom Pah Pah

As Long As He Needs Me

I'd love a remake of the stage musical as well and normally I'm not in favour of remakes at all! I know I'm in the minority here but I've never been a huge fan of the 1968 film. What?! Are you crazy?! some might say, The film's a classic! It won six Oscars! Well, that might be the case and I do feel like I'm one of the few people in the world who doesn't like the film all that much. Nevertheless I still stand by my belief that the 1968 film is very overrated and that it's nowhere near approaching the quality of My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music. OK the music and the story is great but the film is still very flawed. The tone and look of the film is nowhere near as dark and gritty as it should be given the story's subject matter and the Victorian East-End setting. It's just too family-friendly. The direction is stagey. Great songs from the stage musical are left out: I Shall ScreamThat's Your Funeral, My Name and the reprise of A Fine Life. Shani Wallis gives a good performance as Nancy but she's too old for the role. The single most annoying thing about the film for me though is Oliver himself. Mark Lester is badly miscast in the role and is a really poor child actor. His acting is just so bland and wooden. Lester didn't even sing in the film either! Due to the fact that Lester was tone-deaf his voice was dubbed by a 20 year old woman! How stupid is that?! You're telling me that they couldn't have found a single Boy Soprano in the whole of Britain, let alone the world, who couldn't have sang the part better?! There were probably hundreds of boys out there who could have sang and acted the role justice! So basically, what I'm saying is that the stage version of Oliver! is better than the 1968 film in every way. And I think a new adaptation of the stage musical could be excellent if they made the film darker and if they got a great director and a great cast.

Since this film isn't scheduled to come out for at least three years, and might not even happen, it seems pointless to speculate on who might be cast - but I'll do that anyway! I can see them going for Sacha Baron Cohen for Fagin, and possibly Rowan Atkinson as well since he's played the role before. I don't think Samantha Barks is as likely to get the role of Nancy in a film despite what Mackintosh is supposed to be planning. After Anne Hathaway's Oscar win for Les Mis I'm sure they'd be loads of Hollywood actresses who'd want to play Nancy in the film and they might end up going for a bigger name. But you never know, several big-names auditioned to play Eponine in the Les Mis film (Taylor Swift, Lea Michele, Scarlett Johansson) and Barks still got that role. Finally, I think Richard Armitage could make a brilliant Bill Sykes. Armitage started his career off doing musicals and he's got a excellent classically-trained baritone voice. I'm sure he could act the role brilliantly too - although it would cause me some pain to see an actor I love playing such a horrible person!


Mizzie-Me said...

Hi there, I just found your blog, how nice to find a book/film/musical blog like this! I watched about halfway through this Oliver! movie musical and I agree with pretty much everything you've said here – it seems like a non-animated Disney film for kids in my opinion. However, I'll watch the rest of the movie when I'm finished with the Dickens book because I want to see how the two compare. It would be really great if you checked out my literature/music/theatre/movie musical blog, :)

Indigo Montoya said...

Aw, thanks so much! I'm so glad you like my blog and I'll definitely check yours out : )

Anonymous said...

I really think that Daniel Huttlestone would be a fantastic Dodger. Jack Wild will be always the best for me, but I think that Daniel would be interesting.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, i did forget. My name is Beatrice.

Hannah said...

Thanks for the comments Beatrice :) I completely agree. Jack Wild was one of the very best things about the 1968 movie but Daniel Huttlestone would be a fantastic Dodger as well. They really need to hurry up though otherwise he'll get too old!