April 22, 2009

Forest of Hands and Teeth

In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?


Amanda Crew as Mary- Mary is the protagonist of the story. She is in her late teens and has long black hair. She shares the responsibility of looking after her mother, who hasn't been right since her father was found among the Unconsecrated. She is often confused about her feelings, in typical teenage fashion, and is thrust into a situation where her only options are death or the Sisterhood. She chooses life and begins to uncover secrets held by the Sisterhood. Mary also holds a fascination for anything about the world before the Unconsecrated, especially the ocean.

Kyle Gallner as Travis- Travis is one of the boys Mary grew up with in the village. She has been trying to attract his eye in hopes that he would ask her to an annual festival that almost always leads to marriage.

Hunter Parrish as Harry- Harry is Travis's brother and has been enamored with Mary since childhood. He is the son of the leader of the village guard and is in training to join their ranks.

Megan Park as Cass- Cass is Mary's best friend. Though she didn't have much interest herself, she has always listened to Mary's stories about things before the Unconsecrated came, such as buildings that scraped the sky and the ocean. Cass is in love with Harry, but doesn't blame Mary for his affections for her.

Ashley Leggat as Gabrielle- Gabrielle is a new girl that came from among beyond the fences. No one knows of her presence but Mary. Mary attempts to contact the girl, but she is being held by the Sisterhood. Mary ultimately fails to contact her and Gabrielle disappears from the village.

Trenton Rogers as Henry- Henry is a young boy who escapes with the other characters into the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Cass takes him under her wing and becomes a surrogate mother to him. This gives her a reason to keep going when faced with losing nearly everyone she has known and loved.

Ian Somerhalder as Jed- Jed is Mary's older brother and is rising fast within the ranks of the guard. He is married with a baby on the way. He shuns Mary and forces her to join the Sisterhood when Mary fails to keep an eye on their mother.

Cristine Rose as Sister Tabitha- Sister Tabitha is the Head Sister of the Sisterhood. She allows Mary to become an initiate of the Sisterhood when Mary has nowhere else to go. However, she knows that Mary's heart isn't truly with them and makes Mary's life difficult in an attempt to convert her.
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April 7, 2009

Wicked- The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious Witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked?

Gregory Maguire creates a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again. Wicked is about a land where animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability, and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to become the infamous Wicked Witch of the West—a smart, prickly, and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.


Lizzy Caplan as Elphaba Thropp- The misunderstood green-skinned girl who grows up to become the infamous Wicked Witch of the West. She's very smart, but she is self-conscious about her condition and is mostly unsocial. She isn't slow to speak her mind, especially when someone says or does something she doesn't agree with. She has a particular interest in Animal rights.

Kristen Storms as Galinda Arduennas - Galinda is destined to become Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. Though originally snobbish and superficial, she is also intelligent enough to be accepted to Shiz University's Crage Hall, where she is forced to share a room with Elphaba. After a long period of mutual loathing, the two girls become close friends.

Kieran Culkin as Boq- Boq is a Munchkin who attends Shiz University with Elphaba and Galinda. He is a childhood playmate of Elphaba's, though Elphaba doesn't really remember him. He is infatuated with Galinda and has the confidence to approach her and attempts to convince her to allow him to woo her. He is short, but not as short as Munchkins depicted in the Wizard of Oz movie. It is stated that only the farming Munchkinlanders are small like the characters in the film.

Kuno Becker as Fiyero Tiggular- He is a Vinkus prince who attends Shiz University. It is noted that he has dark skin and is covered in blue diamond-shaped tattoos. At first, he feels out of place with Elphaba's circle of friends, but he grows to enjoy their company. He has a castle that Elphaba visits in the second half of the book.

Jessica Szahr as Nessarose Thropp- "The Wicked Witch of the East" is Elphaba's younger sister. She has a normal skin-tone, but she was born without arms. Elphaba is very devoted to her and has been very instrumental in raising her. She has a very religious inclination and often pauses whatever she is doing to pray. Because of her lack of arms, she has a difficult time with her balance and must have help whenever she walks. She is described as being dainty and very beautiful, despite her condition.

Gary Oldman as The Wizard- a tyrannical ruler who uses deceit and trickery to hide his own shortcomings. He is a human who came to Oz via a hot air balloon. He is the villian of the story, overthrowing the previous rulers and establishing himself as Emperor. He has a personal army, called the Gale Force, that enforces his will on the citizen's of Oz. He also declares that all Animals (animals who can talk and think) are little better than normal animals and should be treated as such.

Miriam Margayles as Madame Morrible- The headmistress of Shiz University's Crage Hall, which Elphaba and Galinda attend. Elphaba and her friends suspect Morrible to be responsible for the murder of Dr. Dillamond. At one point, she proposes that Elphaba, Galinda, and Nessarose become future behind-the-scenes rulers in Oz, a proposal that they never willingly accept. Elphaba suspects that Madame Morrible has at least some magical powers, and may have indeed controlled thefates of the three women. NOTE: I did not know this when I cast her, but Miriam played MM in the musical! The picture is her in character for MM.

Giovanni Ribisi as Frexspar- Elphaba, Nessarose, and Shell's father. Frex is a devout Unionist priest. Nessarose was his favorite child, partly because of her devout inclinations and to her he gave the famous jeweled slippers. He believes that Elphaba's green-skin is his fault because he said "the devil is coming" on her birthday and this opened up a pathway for her to be possessed by demons.

Lynn Collins as Malena Thropp- Elphaba, Nessarose, and Shell's mother. Melena comes from a high-class family, and has mostly pagan traditions, which contradicts Frex's beliefs. She has very loose morals and dreams of her days as a pampered girl, despite her rebelling against it at the time. She indulges in drink and narcotics to escape the boring life she has found herself in.

Ellen Burstyn as Nanny- A member of the Thropp family, though whether by blood or employment is never explicitly revealed. By the conclusion of the book, she has raised three generations of the Thropps, most notably having acted as chaperone to Nessarose, Elphaba and Glinda during their years at Shiz. She is still vital well into her eighties. Her attitude reflects this, as she is stoic, speaks her mind, and holds to somewhat inflammatory 'Lurlinistic' pagan beliefs.

Gil Birmingham as Turtle Heart- A wandering glassblower from Quadling County. He comes upon Melena's home while Frex is out preaching. Melena and Turtle Heart have an extended affair. It is mentioned he was killed at Colwen Grounds, on the day of Nessarose's birth, as a human sacrifice to bring rain to Munchkinland. His death is what convinces Frex and Melena to travel to Quadling Country to convert people to Unionism.

Jake T. Austin as Liir- A boy who leaves the mauntery with Elphaba for the Vinkus. It is strongly implied that Liir is the son of Elphaba. She does indeed admit that there is a year of her life she does not remember, during which she could have given birth to Liir. At the end of Wicked it is stated that he intends to find a way of rescuing Nor , one of his playmates at Fiyero's castle, from her slavery imposed by the Wizard.

Ryan Newman as Dorothy Gale- A 12 year-old girl who lands in Oz in her tornado-propelled house, which crushes Nessarose. She takes Nessarose's shoes under the advice of Glinda. Many see these shoes as a symbol of power over Munchkinland. During her travels, many citizens of Oz are superstitious about her because of these shoes and her name: Her first name sounds like a reversal of the name of the "king" of her land (Theodore Roosevelt). Because her name means "Goddess of Gifts" (the opposite of Theodore , "Gift of God"), it is implied that Dorothy may be the second-coming of Lurline, the pagan Goddess of Oz. The Gale Force fear her for her last name. The Wizard sends Dorothy to kill Elphaba, but Dorothy's intention is to ask her for forgiveness for killing Nessarose.

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April 2, 2009

The Gunslinger

This book was OK. It didn't knock me over and certainly didn't meet the hype surrounding this series. The book reads almost as a prologue. There are alot of references to people and events that have not been introduced to the story. I'm sure they will be revealed as the series progresses. I don't believe this would make a very good movie; the dialogue was bland and the action sequences failed to get the heart racing. It might translate to Hollywood better if merged with the next book.

"In the first book of this brilliant series, Stephen King introduces readers to one of his most enigmatic heroes, Roland of Gilead, The Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil. In his desolate world, which frighteningly mirrors our own, Roland pursues The Man in Black, encounters an alluring woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the Kid from Earth called Jake. Both grippingly realistic and eerily dreamlike, The Gunslinger leaves readers eagerly awaiting the next chapter." ~ Book Jacket


Hugh Jackman as Roland Deschain- Roland is the hero of the Dark Tower series. He is his world's last-and perhaps greatest-gunslinger. His quest is to find the Dark Tower, the nexus of the time/space continuum. King stated that one of his inspirations for the series was the movie The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. I think it safe to say he pictured Roland as Blondie, the character played by Clint Eastwood, so we need an actor that looks somewhat like Eastwood and can play the quiet, tough guy. Jackman has the look and his protrayal of Wolverine was downright Eastwood-esque. I've not seen Austrailia yet, but I hear his character is very similar to Eastwood in it as well.

Jackson Bond as Jake Chambers- Jack is a blue-eyed, blond haired, eleven-year-old sixth grader. Jake died in New York, 1977, and was transported to Mid-World. Roland met him in the Way Station of the Mohaine Desert, where Jake was staying alone. A bond between the two develops and they become traveling companions. Jake is very perceptive for someone his age; this also makes him quite mature. However, the role wouldn't be very difficult to portray. I would lean towards an unknown actor here, but Jackson Bond would also do the job well.

Crispin Glover as the Man in Black- The man-in-black is the person whom Roland is chasing throughout the book. Not much is known about the character, except that he is evil. He is a sorceror and has the ability to bring people back from the dead. He is portrayed as someone insane. He is power-hungry and giggles in inappropriate places. Who better to play someone creepy and insane than Crispin Glover?

Marg Helgenberger as Alice- Alice owns Sheb's honky-tonk, located in the town of Tull. She has straw-colored hair and "may have been pretty once, perhaps beautiful, but that time has passed." She is lean, but with a lumpy face and has a scar that corkscrews around across her forehead, which she attempts to cover with makeup. This, however, only draws attention to what she hopes to hide. Because of her deep concern with her appearance and her ownership of a western saloon, I pictured her as a washed-up prostitute. Helgenberger could easily play a woman who is past her prime, but doing her best to fight the signs of age.

Micheal Rooker as Cort- Cort is Roland's teacher/drill sergeant. Like his father Fardo, Cort taught generations of boys to be gunslingers. He is described as a squat man with bowed legs, covered in scars. Despite his round, bulging belly, he is well-musled and hard. He is bald and has only one eye. Micheal Rooker has played his share of tough guys and he could easily pull off the griseled gunslinger instructor.

Kelly LeBrock as Sylvia Pittston- Sylvia is the preacher in the town of Tull. She's described as huge, possibly topping 300 lbs. She has messy brown hair held by a hairpin as big as a meat skewer, and has creamy, unmarked skin. Roland feels an unnatural lust for her. I would cast Kelly LeBrock in this role. While she has gained alot of weight since her Weird Science days, she still isn't as big as Sylvia. She would probably need a fat suit. However, if the makeup is done properly, she would be able to portray the 'sexiness' that hits Roland whenever he sees her.

Chris Rankin as Brown- Brown lives with a raven called Zoltan just beyond the town of Tull. He is a surprisingly young man, with strawberry hair down to his waist. He spends most of his time farming corn and anything else he can make grow so close to the desert. Chris Rankin has natural red hair and is of the right age. He's best known for his protrayal of Percy Weasley in the Harry Potter movies. ßPin It
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