The Moms Are All Right

coin-001-watermarked1Not too long ago, or maybe a long time ago if you’re a dog– in 2010 our beloved Josh Hutcherson was in an award winning film with a cast of actors who have with stood the test of time, aka the ’90s. The film was The Kids Are All Right, and it starred Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo, and Mia Waskikowska. Josh played the sensitive younger brother/ son character, Laser– and truth be told it was the first role I’d ever seen him in, because up until 2010 or so, Josh had primarily done films of shall we say, a family nature? The Kids Are All Right is a family drama though, and a very modern one at that, because the nuclear family that Josh is a member of has non-traditional leaders, i.e. he had two moms. The film was ground breaking probably for just this reason, and also because the depiction of this family was so seamless, so very normal, that I believe many people who previously believed that same-sex couples could not raise healthy, well-adjusted kids, were changed by this film… hopefully. The Kids Are All Right is to me at least, one of the best films Josh Hutcherson has ever been a part of, and that is a testament to the writing, the directing, and most definitely to the ensemble cast. Which brings me to this not so far-fetched idea, and or ideas. The two lady’s who lead this cast, Julianne Moore, and Annette Bening should be, and I hope will be, considered for the role of Alma Coin.

I’m really into reaching for the stars on this casting decision, guys– so you’re simply going to have to put up with me plucking up, and naming actresses who are working steadily today, and continue to be recently recognized for their work during the cyclical awards season. But there it is, I’ve said it! Two well-respected, highly awarded/nominated, and extremely talented actresses who are also the right age for the role at 52 (Moore), and 54 (Bening), and could easily fit the physical description with either a wig, or hair-dye– are two of my many, many hopeful picks for the cool, calculating leader of District 13.

I’m probably never going to pick someone out of thin air, who’s best known for something they did in the early ’90s, and hasn’t done anything of real note since then, so just– don’t push me, Coin isn’t a come-back role, she’s a role that deserves someone who’s recognizable for her talent now, not 20 years ago. Bening is probably best known for her role in 1999’s Academy Award winning film American Beauty. She’s been nominated four times by the Academy for her annette-bening_revisedindividual work as well, in fact she was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her work in The Kids Are All Right. Bening is one of my top picks for the role of Alama Coin not only because she’s highly respected, but because I’ve literally never seen her play a similar role twice. Bening is versatile, she can be vulnerable, forthright, bitchy, evil, sweet, hesitant, damaged, deranged, conniving, vicious, sensitive, smart, and powerful. She’s everything that I could hope for in Alma Coin in both her obvious talent, her reputation, her past experience, and yes– also her look. I personally think that Bening is a very attractive woman, and like with Tilda Swinton, I believe that having an attractive person playing the role of the deceptive Coin is the right way to go. I do not however believe that casting an older actress is a good idea, because of one reason only– District 13 does not have a high life expectancy rate. Coin is supposed to be in her early 50s, and it’s my belief that someone in their 50s in that world, is considered lucky to still be alive and healthy. Emphasis on healthy as well, I also think that Coin should be portrayed by an actress who is also known for having a healthy physique. So, if you’re envisioning a 50- 60 something year-old woman who has not taken care of them selves, we are not on the same page.

Julianne Moore isn’t a different story. True, she’s only been nominated at the Oscars three times, unlike her former co-star with four, but in this case I don’t think the numbers julianne-moore-robbedmatter all that much, especially considering if either she or Bening were cast, it would only tip the scales of the many Academy Award nominations the entire Mockingjay cast has received by a very small margin. And, don’t make me do the math, math makes me angry. Julianne Moore, the only difference between her and Bening besides the two years in age, and their over all looks and coloring, is that she’s worked with Danny Strong. i.e. she’s worked with, and mastered Danny Strong’s work, the writer of Mockingjay’s screenplay, and was awarded for it… twice. If you have a problem with Julianne though, take it up with Boogie Nights!

Peace out!

Them There Eyes

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11 comments

  1. Omg I would love Julie in the part. Believe or not, but her kids actually go to my sisters school, and I’ve met her before (she’s a friend of my moms and goes to birthday parties and stuff). Anyway ya that would be so cool, plus she’s a great actress. I think she would be great as coin. Now I really want to be able to suggest it to her but as I said, she goes to a lot events at my sisters school (I go to ad different school) and I think it would be sort of inappropriate anyway to suggest it ( I guess I don’t really know). But anyway ya I would love her as coin.

  2. I can really see Annette Benning as Coin. Julianne Moore, not so much. I know that she’s a great actress and she could pull out different roles, but she just doesn’t match the image of Coin.

    As an aside, I really disliked The Kids Are Allright and I think it’s incredibly overrated. I think it only got all those nominations and accolades because of the novelty of having a movie that portrays a family consisting of a lesbian couple and their children in the same way traditional families are portrayed. But once you get past that and actually look at the movie as a story about just another family, it becomes obvious what a weak story it is and that it has one of the most unsatisfactory endings to a family drama.

    SPOILERS

    The relationship between Benning’s and Moore’s characters is portrayed as having many problems: there is no passion between them anymore, Benning is a workaholic who neglects Moore (I’m just going to use the actress’ names since I don’t remember the characters’ names), Moore is insecure and unsatisfied with her life and goes to Ruffalo and has a passionate affair lots of hot, great sex… Then when Benning discovers it, Moore dumps Ruffalo, who’s fallen in love with her, telling him she’s gay of course and how could he think anything else, everyone hates Ruffalo as a homewrecker, and Moore and Benning make up after 5 minutes and largely off-screen, without having resolved any of their issues.

    You could imagine the exact same story playing out with a straight couple. Just imagine that Benning’s character is a man, and you’d get a very traditional narrative. So, we have a married couple with two children conceived via artificial insemenation due to the husband’s infertility. (The only difference would be that Benning’s character wouldn’t be the biological father of one of the kids, but that wouldn’t matter for his relationship with his wife.) The husband is the bread earner, control freak, workaholic and a bit of an alcoholic, and neglects his wife, who has been unable to build a career for herself and is emotionally and sexually unsatisfied in the marriage. Enter their sperm donor – an easy-going, laid back, charming, hippyesque kind of guy, who gets close to the children very quickly. He also gets close to the wife, who feels a connection to him because he’s the biological father of her children, and seeks fulfillment she can’t find in her marriage. They begin a passionate affair with a lot of hot sex that she’s clearly enjoying. The husband is jealous and feels that the guy is taking over his role in the family. He starts getting a little friendlier with the sperm donor, but then he discovers that he has been having an affair with his wife. All hell breaks loose; the sperm donor has genuinely fallen in love with the wife, but she breaks off with him, telling him she was never actually attracted to him. Everyone hates the sperm donor and blames him as a homewrecker and don’t want him in their lives, giving him a lecture that he can’t intrude on other people’s families and that the husband has spent years building that family. The wife and husband make up in 5 minutes of screentime, mostly off-screen, and their son tells them they should be together.

    Would that be a satisfactory ending? It sure wouldn’t to me, and it’s for exactly the same reasons that The Kids Are Allright doesn’t have a satisfactory ending. Furthermore, change the sex of Benning’ character, and it becomes obvious what a deeply conservative, old-fashioned and cliched message it sends.

    Maybe that’s why the movie was so successful with the Academy. It managed to appeal both to the liberals (They are lesbians! And yet they get the same family values message that straight couples could have and that conservatives would love if it was a straight couple! And of course we couldn’t have Moore leave Benning for Ruffalo, because that would look like ” a guy turning a lesbian straight”!) and the conservatives (It’s all about the family values, after all! Sure, it’s a weird kind of liberal version of it. But in the end, we can’t have Moore and Benning split since it’s all about the family and the children, and damn those homewreckers! And we can kind of imagine ourselves as Benning and our wives as Moore!).

  3. Annette Bening would be an AWESOME choice! I would approve of Julianne Moore too, seeing as she won’t be doing a Boston accent (She has one of the WORST Boston accents in all of Hollywood)!

  4. I can certainly see Annette Benning as Coin. I agree that she’s proven herself as a very versatile actress, and could provide us with a very deep, interesting take on her.

    I can’t quite see Julianna Moore in the role, though that might be because the Danny Strong movie I think of when I think of her, is “Game Change”, in which she played Sarah Palin. And while they are both middle-aged female politicians, my image of “Moore-as-Palin” is pretty much 180 degrees from my image of Coin. However, there’s a reason they call it acting, and certainly, I wouldn’t be opposed to her getting the role.

    All that being said: while I’m sure any big-name actress who’s considered for Coin will be reasonably attractive, just due to the nature of the industry, I do NOT want her to be portrayed as a woman who deceived others by using her charm or sexuality, which the “having an attractive person playing the role of the deceptive Coin is the right way to go” comment makes me think of. (If I misinterpreted that part, let me know)

    I can see a movie version of Coin having an “ice queen” type of regal beauty, but Coin is not portrayed as attractive at all in the books. It seemed that one reason Coin feared Katniss’s political influence, and tried to neutralize her, is because she realized that Katniss has a natural charm that she herself doesn’t have.

    While we pretty much get no backstory at all on Coin, I never got the sense that she was a Reagan or Obama type of politician who won people over with personal charisma. The people of D13 seem to respect her due to her rank and position as President, as I’d expect in such a quasi-militaristic regime, but they didn’t seem that attached to her personally.

    As I’ve stated before, I certainly do not want the movie to portray Coin as simply the villanous vixen, reminiscent of many an action movie that portrays women primarily as sex objects. Such a portrayal would also reinforce the idea that women can only become powerful in politics by sleeping their way to the top. Coin is no Eva Peron or Marquise de Merteuil (though Benning DID play Merteuil in “Valmont”!)

    1. An easy solution to this problem, if they do cast an attractive actress, would be to downplay her looks (Hollywood has proven that even the most beautiful actresses can be “uglified” for a role!). In addition to this, I imagine Coin as someone with no charm at all, and she should be dressed in a dowdy, stern way, which IIRC was how people were generally expected to dress in 13. Dull clothes in the same color, grey or black, like the outfits worn in Mao’s China, or in the Puritan England.

      1. TTB: I agree that they could cast an attractive actress and “uglify” her. Much as Game Change did with Moore, come to think of it. They used glasses, hairstyle, outfit, and other tricks, to cover up how attractive Moore was, and wound up with a Palin who certainly wasn’t ugly, but certainly not someone who was glamorous or gorgeous.

        Well, what I was taking issue with, is the idea that an attractive actress SHOULD be cast specifically because of her attractiveness, as if being attractive is an essential part of her character. But I never saw Coin’s M.O. as using either her physical attractiveness or her charming personality to fool people. Coin manages to fool people because she presents herself as a calm, authoritative, fair person, when she’s anything but.

        In fact, though I know this may fly over your head because it’s a HP reference, the fictional politician Coin reminds me of the most, is Dolores Umbridge. Who doesn’t manage to fool Harry and his friends, but does fool enough people some of the time (to paraphrase Lincoln), enough to retain her position through two regime changes and three Ministers of Magic: Fudge, Scrimgeour, and Thicknesse. Though granted, Fudge seems to be an idiot, and Thicknesse is magically mind-controlled.

  5. Either would be great in the role! I love both of them.

    It’s incredible how spoiled for choice we are with Coin. There’s so many great actresses around that age with the capacity to pull the character off. It would be awesome to have more awards-calibre performers in there, increasing the prestige of the series even further. I wonder if it will be considered a desirable that part a lot of actresses will compete for. I imagine it would; Coin is an interesting character – but then maybe the great actresses might not agree…

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