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Would you like some wine with your cheesy? – A Recap of Glee’s Mid-Season Finale “A Very Glee Christmas”

“Is that an elf in your pants, Santa, or are you just happy to see me?”

Ahhhhh, Christmas.  It’s a holiday seeped in tradtion: the presents, the mistletoe, the egg nog, those ugly Christmas sweaters, the Yule Log, those ridiculous old made-for-tv movies on Lifetime and ABC Family . . .

It’s enough to nauseate warm even the coldest of hearts . . .

This week’s pre-hiatus Glee episode was all about the Holiday of Giving.  And it offered up enough Christmas Cheer and Yueltide Cheese to keep you in Sugar Shock, well past New Year’s (which I guess — considering that new episodes of Glee won’t air until February 2011 — is a good thing). 

Poor Will!  Based on the way things ended for him this episode, it doesn’t look like he’s going to be getting LAID, until after the Superbowl, either . . .

Let’s recap, shall we?

Secret Santas Got a Brand New Bag

When the episode opens, Emma — who has experienced some major coldness from the MAN WHO IS NOT-SO-SECRETLY IN LOVE WITH HER, ever since she announced to him that she ran off with Jesse from Full House Dr. Carl Howell for a Plot Device Vegas Wedding  — invites Will to a Christmas party at the Tanner Household La Casa de Carl.

“Have MERCY!”

Understandably, Will looks like he would rather stab an ice pick through his heart, than spend Christmas watching Emma and Carl PDA and “Santa Baby” on the “Most Wonderful Night of the Year.”  (Can you blame him?)

Fortunately, Will’s Sulkfest 2010 is interrupted by a Beiste Bearing Gifts . . . well actually . . . more like a Beiste bearing names, as the faculty at McKinley High plans to exchange Secret Santa gifts this year.  Will gets THIS NAME . . .

 . . . which makes him do this .  . . again.

We later learn that Sue Sylvester has actually rigged the Secret Santa so that EVERYONE pulls her name.  In the words of Stephanie Tanner from Full House,  HOW RUUUUUUUUDE!

Meanwhile .  . .

I Saw Someone Still Believing in Santa Claus . . .

When Artie learns that his “Very Special” girlfriend, Brittany, still believes in Santa Claus, he becomes determined to preserve the Magic of Christmas for her.  But he ultimately ends up shooting himself in the foot (wow that was inappropriate on SO many levels), when he takes Brittany to Santa Land at the mall.

While the rest of the Glee kids ask “Santa” for reasonable things like “bling” (Santana), “Puck’s Love” ( me Lauren Zizes), or for Channing Tatum to star in less stuff (Mike) . . .

(I think its an “abs” thing.  Some guys just don’t know how to handle a little competition . . .)

(Coincidentally, you can catch Channing Tatum in the upcoming film The Dilemma, starting January 14, 2011.)

 . . . Brittany asks for Artie to be able to walk, which reminded me of the time when he DANCED . . .

But, seeing how that was just a dream sequence . . . yeah . . . Artie is kind of screwed.

Would you rather be slusheed, or hit in the head with a designer shoe?

While Brittany has no trouble keeping herself in the Christmas spirit, the rest of the Glee kids are feeling a bit more Scroogey.  After all, they are STILL getting slusheed in the hallways (though now the slushees are in festive Christmas colors!).  And, when they try to sing “Need a Little Christmas” to classes around the school, in order to collect money for a charitable holiday class trip . . .

 . . . they get heckled and hit in the head with Christmas boots.  Bah Humbug!  Decorating the Glee choir room and singing “Welcome Christmas” does little to lift the kids spirits.  Although THIS helps some . . .

Speaking of sporting a little Christmas Wood . . .

Blaine and Kurt heat things up, while singing about the cold . . .

In my absolute favorite performance of the evening (even though plotwise, it didn’t really fit in with the rest of the episode, AT ALL), Blaine finds Kurt studying alone in the lounge at Dalton Academy, and asks him for a sexual favor.  You see, Blaine was selected to sing “Baby it’s Cold Outside” at some random Christmas pageant, and simply can’t play with himself practice alone. 

And so, the duo launch into a modern take on the classic song.  The result is fun and adorable enough to warm the cockles of even my cold, cold heart.   Those of you who haven’t seen it yet, can enjoy it here:

After the solo, Will randomly shows up at Dalton Academy — a school that not only has a “No Tolerance for Violence” policy, but, apparently, also has NO SECURITY WHATSOEVER.  You would think that the Spanish-teacher-who-hasn’t-spoken-a-lick-of-Espanol-since-the-pilot-episode was there to wish Kurt a Merry Christmas, or give him advice of some sort.  But NOOOOOOO . . . this visit was all about Will, and his problems!  (What else is new?)

You said it, Sista!

Here’s Kurt, suffering the slings and arrows of unrequited luuuuuuuuuve, and all Will wants to do is bitch about how can’t figure out what to get Sue for her Secret Santa gift.  Selfish much?

OOPS!

Will’s only gift ideas so far have been a Robot Dog and a Soul.  Now, I don’t know about that whole “Soul” thing, but a Robot Dog would be an AWESOME Christmas present . . . (hint, hint Mom .  . . if you are reading this)

(My cat would never be without a companion!)

Kurt suggests a fur-lined tracksuit, instead . . . and I, for one, am hoping he meant faux-fur . . .  At least, with the Robo Dog, you can be sure that no living creatures were harmed in its making . . .

Though some might beg to differ with that assessment . . .

You’re a Mean One, Sue the Grinch

Coincidentally, this is exactly what I look like, after eating bad cafeteria food . . .

On Secret Santa exchange day, Emma and the rest of the teachers quickly discover that Sue rigged the Name Pot (Name Jar?), in order to get all the presents for herself . . .

“You a regular Agatha Christie, except even more sexless,” Sue says of Emma, when the latter reveals Sue’s devious plan to the rest of the faculty.

The teachers stomp off in a collective huff, as Sue, along with her new minion, Becky, sort through all her new Christmas gifts with sadistic glee . . .

Not surprisingly, about six different people got her The Shake Weight . . .

Teachers and Late Night Infomercials — It’s a Match Made in Heaven (plus tax)

Eventually, Will returns to take all Sue’s gifts back.  He claims she has no legal right to them (which, I guess is true, but, then again, neither does he).  Will plans to take the undeserved gifts to the underprivileged children in a nearby district.  Though honestly, I’m not sure what a bunch of kids would do with an adult fur-lined track suit, a blender, and six shake weights . . .)

Sue, of course, is APPALLED . . .

“I’m appalled.”

And so, she decides to get revenge, by inexplicably painting her face Grinch Green (riiiiight, because no one will recognize her NOW!), and heading to the choir room — along with her trusty Reindog Becky — to steal back the gifts, and ruin Christmas for Will and the Glee kids . . .

While Sue and Becky snatched presents, smashed ornaments, tore tinsel, slashed mistle toe, and cut down the Glee tree, a voice in the background eerily broke into a rendition of Sue the Grinch.  I later learned that voice belonged — not to anyone in the Glee cast — but, instead, to K.D. Lang .  . .

Ummmm  . . . yeah . . . because that’s not random at all.

At the end of the song, Brittany arrives, decked out in her best Cindy Lou Who attire . . .

(By the way Gossip Girl fans, I bet you will never guess who played Cindy Lou Who in the movie version of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas . . .  I’ll give you a hint, her name starts with a Raccoon and ends with a Zombie.)

Meet Cindy Lou Who, also known as Little J / Taylor Momsen.  Poor Dr. Seuss must be rolling over in his grave right about now . . .

Anywho . . . Brittany mistakes Sue for Santa (Other things Brittany mistakes for Santa: tomatos, bananas, Stop Signs, Soap Scum on her shower.).  Not seeming the least concerned that Santa is “green” and “ruining Christmas,” Brittany joyfully admits to the Grinch herself, that the presents under the tree are for the homeless.  Brittany’s innocence and sheer honesty, in the face of such evil, makes Sue turn a little green . . .

. . . but it doesn’t make her feel bad enough to clean up her mess . . .

The next day, the Glee kids enter the choir room to find THIS . . .

Determined to save Christmas for his fellow Gleeks (it is his favorite holiday, after all), Finn offers to go pick out another tree for the choir room.  And Rachel (seeking entrance back into The Finn Hudson Pantalones) offers to come along for the ride.  After all, her first bid to win back Finn’s heart — which involved, you guessed it, her SINGING (lamest . . . Christmas gift . . . ever . . . Cheapskate) — failed miserably.  So, she really had nothing to lose!

“Merry Christmas, Darling.  Please enjoy the Gift of My Voice to make up for the fact that you are no longer entitled to the Gift of My Virginity . . .”

At the Christmas Tree Farm, Finn and Rachel sing a duet of the song Last Christmas . . .

When the song is over, Rachel, who has rubbed herself in car air freshener, for the occasion . . .

The best little roll-on perfume $2.50 can buy!

 . . . makes her second play of the hour for Finn’s fickle heart.  “Last year for Christmas, I asked Santa to give me you even though I am Jewish, and don’t celebrate Christmas and he did!  It’s time for you to forgive me,” she said matter-of-factly, offering him a big wet and slobbery tongue kiss, as proof of the veracity of her statement.

But Finn, who is a self-righteous asshat (WOW!  I can’t believe I am actually taking Rachel’s side on this one), runs away like the whiny b*tch he is.   In doing so, the bastard completely forgets about his lofty plans to “Save Christmas,” and leaves Rachel to smell like the inside of a car, all by her lonesome . . .  (Then again, maybe smelling Pine Fresh, will make it easier for Rachel to hitch a ride home with a Lonely Trucker or Hairy Mountain Man.)

“Last Christmas, I gave you my heart, and the very next day, you gave me a fart . . .”

Meanwhile, back in the Better Plotline . . .

Brittany, Meet Santa Claus . . .

The Glee kids beg the increasingly adorable Shannon Beiste to be “Santa” at Brittany’s house, because she “has the right body type.”  (Yeah . . . because THAT’S not insulting at all!)  Artie hopes that “Santa” can kindly break the news to Brittany that “he” will not be able to get Brittany her requested gift of A Walking Artie . . .

That night, Brittany is thrilled to see Santa Beiste doing a “Christmas Dry Run,” right in her own living room!

However, her face falls, when “Santa” explains to her that she must instead give Brittany the gift of patience, instead of what she asked for, as “fixing Artie’s legs” is not a present that can be delivered overnight.  To support her position, Beiste tells Brittany the story of a husky young girl who wished that Santa would make her look like all the other girls for Christmas.  But, instead, Santa gave her the gift of “patience,” allowing her the time to eventually realize that she didn’t really WANT to look like all the other girls after all!

Gee, I wonder who that “Little Girl” could be?

“Was it Ricki Lake?”  Brittany asks.

(You’ve gotta love when the writers of this show have the Glee kids making totally age inappropriate pop culture references.)

Though Brittany feigns a polite perkiness with Santa Beiste, the next day, Artie finds his girlfriend at her locker, looking completely crestfallen.  “I used to believe that Santa could do anything. If Santa isn’t magical, I don’t even know if I want to believe anymore,” she mutters.

In a move that makes me LOVE this couple even more than I did last week (Sorry Team Artina, I am 100% Team Bartie now!), Artie rushes Brittany home, to help her cope with her newfound crisis of faith.  Once there, however, Brittany finds a very special gift under her tree . . .

It’s called a Re-Walk, and its experimental technology allows people, heretofore bound to wheelchairs, temporary use of their limbs.  (Believe it or not, Re-Walk technology is very real.  You can read more about it here.)  Artie brought his Re-Walk back to school, to share it with the rest of the Gleeks.  Seeing her Christmas wish come true literally brought tears of joy to Brittany’s usually vacant eyes . . .

And, all cheese aside, if this Glee moment didn’t melt your heart, just the slightest bit, you are simply not human . . .

No offense!

Speaking of melted hearts . . .

How Sue Saved Christmas . . .

Desperate times call for Desperate Measures, and when Will finds the Glee kids, going all Gift of the Magi on themselves, to raise money for their trip to see the underprivileged kids, he is impressed and disturbed at the same time.  (The boys gave up their watches, while the girls were prepared to chop off their hair.  Umm . . .  does that sound like an unfair trade off to anyone else?) 

Fortunately, Will has a money-making idea that will allow the girls to keep their luscious locks, and the boys to still always know when its time for sex lunch.

In the next scene, the Glee kids sing in front of a group, for the second time this hour.  This time. however, the audience is made up of teachers.  So, the kids won’t have to worry about getting shoes thrown at them again . . .

Well . . . maybe they have to worry a little bit.

The song the kids sang, as their coffers filled with faculty donations, was “Welcome Christmas,” a song with which, I’ll admit, I was completely unfamiliar, before this episode.   And yet, one line of the song really stood out for me:  “Christmas time it will always be, just as long as we have Glee Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. on Fox”  Now how’s THAT for product placement?

Conveniently, at the last moment, Sue walks in on the “caroling,” and immediately vomits is touched with the Christmas spirit.   By the time the kids return to the choir room, all the Shake Weights are back under the tree, and everything is as it should be.

But wait!  There’s MORE!  Sue also convinces the Glee kids to go to WILL’S house, so that he doesn’t have to spend Christmas alone.  (What’s the matter Glee kids?  Do none of you have parents?)  Will is touched by the gesture, and shocked that it was Sue who orchestrated it.  “I thought you hated the holidays,” says Will incredulously.

“No, I just hate you,” Sue replies.

Did I mention that Sue bought Will a Christmas gift too?

It’s a razor!  So, Will can shave his HEAD!  Get it?  Well . . . I guess some things never change.  (And yet . . . now that Sue mentions it, Will would look kind of hot with a crew cut . . . kind of like Channing Tatum . . .)

Sorry Mike!

The last moments of this very Yuletidey mid-season finale feature the Glee kids celebrating Christmas together at Will’s house . . .

It’s a schmaltzy, but sweet, end, to a schmaltzy, but sweet, Glee episode.  Well, that’s all I’ve got, folks.  So, Merry Gleestmas to all, and to all a Good Night! 

(Oh, and see you next year, my fellow Gleekys!)

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Filed under Glee

True Blood Dream Casting – J.B. DuRone

One of the fun things, for me at least, about having read Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse Books . . .

. . . prior to watching the True Blood series on HBO  (which is more or less based on those books) . . .

  . . . is the added insight it gives me into these complex television characters, and the fictional lives they are destined to lead in the future.  Sometimes, it makes me feel downright telepathic . . .

Well . . . maybe not telepathic, but at least like someone who has the “inside scoop” on things.

And while Alan Ball has certainly exercised his right to CHANGE a few things from the books, in creating the show . . .

Not DEAD!

Not a mild-mannered, girly-girl clothing store owner.

Will not GO AWAY!

 . . . one thing he HAS adhered to pretty faithfully, is author Charlaine Harris’ colorful cast of characters, and the various ways in which they impact Sookie’s universe.

For this reason, I predict that it won’t be too long, before a certain hunky personal trainer, named J.B. DuRone, graces our television sets on Sunday nights.   (Because, lets face it, Alan Ball LOVES his sexy men!)

For the uninitiated, J.B. DuRone is Bon Temps townie, born and raised in Louisianna.  He was friends with Sookie and Tara back in high school, and even took Sookie to her senior prom.

“Like my pretty prom dress, y’all?  My Grams bought it for me!”

Now, J.B. works as a popular personal trainer at the local Bon Temps gym, and lives in one of those apartments behind Merlotte’s that Sam rents out.  J.B. has always been a loyal friend to Sookie, and even harbored a little crush on her for a short time.  (What guy didn’t in this series?)  Later in the books, he functioned as an unusually healthy and well-adjusted love interest for Perpetual Dater of Losers and Nutjobs, Tara . . .

“It’s about DAMN TIME!”

In terms of character traits, J.B. has a little bit of Jason . . .

 . . . a dash of Hoyt . . .

 . . . and a dollop of Sam . . .

 . . . all rolled into one glorious package.

Like Jason, J.B. has the looks of Hollywood Heartthrob, and the body of a male model.  He also shares Jason’s not-so-keen intellect.  J.B. isn’t exactly the sharpest crayon in the box . . .

And yet, like Hoyt, J.B. is charming, and sweet, and polite, almost to a fault.  He is the quintessential Southern Gentleman.

With Sam, J.B. shares a protective, almost paternalistic, relationship with Sookie (and later with Tara).  He is always ready to help her out of a jam, even if he doesn’t always no HOW to help, or what the heck is going on.

So, of course, all of this begs the question, who should Alan Ball CAST in the role of J.B. DuRone.  Well . . . I’ve got a few ideas . . .

Below you will find my Top Five casting picks (in no particular order) for Bon Temps’ Favorite Bodybuilder.

1) Channing Tatum

Age: 30

Where you’ve seen him before:  the romantic comedy She’s the Man (starring alongside Amanda Bynes), those Step Up dance movies, the action flick, GI Joe, the anti-war drama, Stop Loss, and that chick flick, Dear John.

Why he’d make a great J.B.:

Like J.B., Channing Tatum is a native Southern boy, having grown up in a small Alabama town.  So, not only will Channing be able to effortlessly pull off the Southern charm necessary for this role, he will also be able to provide fans with a remarkably authentic Southern accent, (something which, honestly, is hard to come by on this show).  In addition to all that “Southern stuff,” Channing clearly has the physique of a bodybuilder, and the chiseled looks to match.  A very young-looking 30-year old, Channing is also “age appropriate,” in that he is believable as someone who would have gone to high school with Sookie and Tara.

2) Nick Zano

Age: 32

What you’ve seen him in: the WB sitcom, What I Like About You (also starring Amanda Bynes) and the ABC show, Cougar Town

Why he’d make a great J.B. :

Not to typecast or anything, but the character of J.B. DuRone is remarkably similar to Vince, the character Zano played on What I Like About You.  Both are charming ladies men, who are capable of being disarmed and “tamed” by the right woman.  Both have startlingly beautiful bodies that are painstakingly well-cared for.  And both aren’t too bright, at least in the traditional sense of the word.  Then again, maybe I’m just shamelessly angling for a chance to see Nick on my TV screen again . . .

3) Cam Gigandet

Age: 28

Where you’ve seen him:  the teen drama The O.C., as Bad Ass Bully, Kevin Volchok,  the film Never Back Down, as Bad Ass Bully, Ryan McCarthy, and Twilight, as Bad Ass Vampire, James.  (Notice a pattern here?)  Cam will also be featured in the upcoming movie / musical, Burlesque  and the upcoming teen comedy Easy A.

Why he’d make a great J.B.:

Under that douchey exterior, and penchant for bad boy roles, there’s a heartthrob inside Cam Gigandet, just waiting to get out.  And this is the perfect role to bring it out of him.  True, Cam would probably make for an edgier J.B. DuRone than the one mentioned in Charlaine Harris’ books.  But, then again, to be a believable match for someone as edgy and abrasive as True Blood’s Tara, maybe he will have to be.  I can just imagine the chemistry between Rutina Wesley and Cam Gigandet, and it would SIZZLE!

In terms of physical appearance, Cam has the body of fighter —  someone who spends hours and hours at the gym, just like J.B. DuRone.  In fact, I’ve never seen a film with Cam Gigandet, where he WASN’T throwing a punch, or exposing those enviable abs in some way!  To top it off, Cam is EXACTLY the same age as Anna Paquin and Rutina Wesley, which would work out perfectly for the J.B. character.  Seriously, how often do actors actually get to PLAY characters their own age, anymore?

4) Tom Hardy

Age: 32

Where you’ve seen him: the Guy Ritchie-directed, trippy action-romp, RocknRolla and the recent box office blockbuster, Inception

Why he’d make a great J.B.:

No modern day male actor exudes more inherent masculinity than Tom Hardy.    Ever word out of his mouth, and every inch of his body just screams “MAN!”  This is exactly the type of guy Tara needs in her life.  He is strong, and a protector.  But he is also remarkably stable, and lighthearted.  This is a guy who can soften Tara’s rough edges, and make her laugh.  Yet, when it is necessary, he can also give a royal beatdown to any evil vampire or werewolf stupid enough to get in her way.

5) Joshua Jackson

Age: 32

What you’ve seen him in:   the long running teen drama, Dawson’s Creek, as the loveable hopelessly romantic, Pacey Witter, the sexy teen film, Cruel Intentions, the teen slasher pic, Urban Legends, and currently, the sci-fi mystery-of-the week show, Fringe

Why he’d make a great J.B.:

Joshua Jackson is the ideal TV Boyfriend.  End of story.  In his role as Pacey Witter, we saw Joshua’s ability to melt girls hearts with a single crinkle of the eyebrow, or a knowing smirk, or a gentle touch.  Pacey, though never particularly ambitious or “wise,” in the traditional sense of the word, was a true believer in true love.  And he would sacrifice anything to protect the object of his desire and make her happy.  These are innocent motives he shares with J.B. DuRone, who is also somewhat of a hopeless romantic, with an inherent need to “care” for the women he loves. 

In his more recent roles, Joshua Jackson has had the opportunity to exhibit a manly side.  Sure, he can be soft and cuddly, but he can also be tough.  This is a guy, who’s not afraid to throw a punch, if the recipient truly deserves it.  And I’m pretty sure, J.B. has thrown a few punches in his day too.

So, there you have it.   My casting choices for Charlaine Harris’ loveably lunkhead, J.B. DuRone.  Alan Ball, if you’re reading this . . . take note!

[www.juliekushner.com]

16 Comments

Filed under casting, Spoilers and Sneak Peaks, True Blood

Create Your Dream Cast – Vampire Academy Series

A few months back, I became absolutely obsessed with a little book called The Hunger Games by groundbreaking author, Suzanne Collins.  Upon hearing that Lionsgate had purchased the film rights to the book, I decided it might be fun to create a sort of “dream cast,” of actors I would “hire” if I had the opportunity to do casting for the film.

Writing the post was a ton of fun for me.  Plus, a lot of people really seemed to respond to it. 

So, now it’s a few months later, and I find myself obsessed with a brand new Young Adult book series.   In many ways, Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy is the anti-Twilight.  On the surface, yes, like that other series, Vampire Academy is about a girl in her late teens who is enmeshed in a world of supernatural creatures, most notably, vampires.  However, Rose Hathaway, the main protagonist who narrates the books, for lack of a better phrase, kicks ass!  She is a dhampir.  A half-human, half-vampire amalgamation, who is training to become a guardian of vampires.  That’s right, boys and girls, she protects vampires, as opposed to being protected by them! 

While these books definitely focus MORE on action and less on the romance, there are enough longing looks and steamy scenes in these novels to sate the desires of even the most sappy of romantics.  And don’t even get me started on these dhampir and vampire men . . .  (swoons and faints).

Even though there are currently no plans to convert the Vampire Academy books into a film or television series (SERIOUSLY?  What are you WAITING for, Hollywood?), I thought it might be fun to return to the casting couch, and select who I would cast in a hypothetical film or television show based on these books.  

I plan to try EXTREMELY hard not to inadvertently spoil any of the main plot points of these books, in the context of explaining my various “casting” decisions.  However, there ARE lots of jaw-dropping twists in this series, particularly in the first novel, that impacted my ultimate decisions as to which actors should play these characters.  So, if you are a MAJOR spoiler-phobe, please tread lightly.  And don’t say I didn’t warn you . . .

Rose Hathaway:

My pick: Nikki Reed

Why I think she’d make a great Rose:  In many ways, Rose is the toughest character to cast in this series.  After all, as the series’ protagonist and first-person narrator, her likeability and relatability will drive the entire story.  Rose is a fairly complex gal.   On one hand, she is tough-as-nails, extremely brave, and fiercely loyal.  However, she can also be prone to impulsive behavior, moodiness, icy sarcasm, and intense bouts of rage.  To top it off, at the start of the series, Rose is quite the popular party girl, one who has a reputation, whether deserved or not, for being “more than friendly” with many of the guys at her school.

In terms of Rose’s physical characteristics, Nikki Reed meets them to a tee!  In the novels, Rose is described as being of medium height, muscular, and slightly curvy (at least in the chest area).  She also has lightly tanned skin, dark eyes, and long dark brown hair.  Additionally, as an actress still in her very early 20’s, Nikki will have no trouble passing for a 17-18 year old girl, particularly one as mature beyond her years, as Rose.

Of course, ideal physical characteristics alone do not make a perfect casting choice.  Undoubtedly, many of you likely remember Nikki as the blond and beautiful, but slightly bitchy, Rosalie Hale in the Twilight series . . .

However, what you may not know is that Nikki Reed has been acting in films and writing screenplays LONG before Twilight was even written.  Nikki was not even 15-years old when she wrote, and starred, alongside Evan Rachel Wood, in the heartbreaking and highly disturbing film Thirteen, about two young teens who find themselves falling into an unforgiving world of drugs, crime and sex.  The film was critically acclaimed and even received an Oscar Nomination.

Aside from “looking” right for the part, I think Nikki Reed has the acting chops, intelligence, physicality, and natural sex appeal to pull off a role as multi-faceted as Rose Hathaway.

Lissa Dragomir

My pick: Julianne Hough

Why I think she’d make a great Lissa: In the novel, Rose’s best friend, the vampiric Lissa Dragomir, is described as being tall, thin, and pale-skinned, with blonde hair, and piercing green eyes.  In terms of personality, Lissa and Rose are almost polar opposites.  While Rose, is loud, and tough, and brash, Lissa, a descendant from a long line of royal vampires, is more reseved, a bit more fragile, and a lot more graceful and sophisticated.  She also excudes a certain innocence, and charisma (part natural, part magical) that draws others to her, making her extremely well liked at the Academy where she and Rose study.  On the other hand, whoever took on the role of Lissa, must be able to display intense emotionality, as certain things happen during the course of the series that cause Lissa to lose her characteristic cool.

Most people are familiar with Julianne from her role as a dancer on Dancing with the Stars

In that capacity, Julianne’s grace, innocence, likeability, and natural charisma practically leap of the screen.  The question is, “Can she act?” 

I would be inclined to say, “yes.”  Hough has already been slated to play the female lead, Ariel Moore, in the upcoming remake of the popular 80’s musical film, Footloose, which originally starred Kevin Bacon. 

 The role of Ariel in that film is a fairly meaty one, particularly for an actress making her big screen debut.  For the producers of the movie to cast Julianne in that role, she must have shown them something truly special at her audition.  If Julianne can pull off Ariel Moore, I have no doubt that she would also be able to pull off Lissa Dragomir.

Dimitri Belikov

My pick: Channing Tatum

Why I think he would make a great Dimitri: As Rose’s mentor, and main love interest throughout the series, 24-year old guardian, Dimitri Belikov is arguably the most important male role to cast in a film or television show based on this series.  In the books, he is described as being extremely tall, and impressively buff, with dark eyes and brown hair. 

Dimitri is basically every girl’s dream.  On one hand, he’s strong and amazingly tough.  He described as a “god” by many at the Academy.  And yet, he is also stern, secretive, and sensitive — a natural born-caretaker, one constantly torn between doing his job well and giving in to his desires.

Having starred in films like G.I. Joe and Step Up, we know that Channing Tatum has the physicality necessary for this role (And have you seen those abs?  WOW!).  Yet, Tatum has also had the opportunity to prove himself capable of taking on the role of romantic lead, as evidenced by his portrayal of John Tyree in the recently released chick flick, Dear John.  I’m just hoping he can fake a Russian accent . . .

Christian Ozera

My pick: Ed Westwick

Why I think he’d make a great Christian:  As Lissa’s main love interest throughout the series, Christian is probably the second most important male lead to cast.  The character is described as being tall and lean, with dark hair and pale skin.  Christian begins the series as a loner and an outsider, due to a questionable family history.  He has a dark sense of humor, a biting wit, and is not afraid to challenge authority.  Christian also can do very cool things with fire . . .

I chose Westwick, mainly because, aside from him being an amazing actor, I felt Christian’s relationship with Lissa, at least as it was portrayed in the first book in the series, dovetailed nicely with Westwick’s character Chuck’s relationship with Blair, during the early seasons of the CW series Gossip Girl.

In both relationships, the male lead is instantly sure of his feelings for the object of his desire, while the female will ultimately take a bit more convincing.   Like Chuck and Blair, Christian understands Lissa in a way that nobody else does, not even Rose.  To win her heart, he uses his intelligence and wit, as opposed to any sort of brute strength or macho bravado.  Christian’s and Lissa’s relationship has a fun, and undeniably sexy, push and pull, in its early stages, that I would love to see play out screen.  And who better to exemplify the “push and pull” of young love than Chuck Bass?

Mason Ashford

My pick: Douglas Smith

Why I think he’d make a great Mason:  As Rose’s best guy friend and fellow guardian, who just so happens to harbor a not-so-secret crush on Rose, Mason doesn’t play a particularly big part in the first book of the Vampire Academy series.  However, he DOES play a major role in Frostbite, its sequel.  In the books, Mason is described as being tall (Am I the only one noticing a pattern here?), and red-headed, with boyish good looks.  In casting Mason, it is important to find a guy who is likeable and fun enough, to function as a reasonable, if not exactly heart-stopping, alternative to Dimitri, to fulfill the role of Rose’s boyfriend.  Douglas Smith’s portrayal of Ben Henrickson in the HBO series Big Love is so genuine and inherently likeable, you almost want to reach through the screen and give him a hug.  Yeah, that’s our Mason!

Mia Rinaldi

My pick:  Ashley Benson

Why I think she’d make a great Mia: Every high school series needs a mean girl.  And, in the Vampire Academy series, those shoes are filled, at least initially, by Mia Rinaldi.  Rose’s and Lissa’s nemesis, Mia, is one year younger than they are.  She is described as being short (YAY!  FINALLY!  Short people represent . . . too bad it had to be the bitchy one . . .), with blonde hair, blue eyes, and a childlike cherubic face that belies her catty and manipulative nature.  And yet, there is also a vulnerability to Mia.  Behind that cold facade, Mia hides a few dark secrets, ones that make her actions, if not necessarily justifiable, at least understandable.

Best known for her role as Carson in the fourth installment of the Bring it On film series, and for her upcoming turn as Hanna in the new ABC Family teen drama, Pretty Little Liars, premiering this summer, Ashley has plenty of experience playing the girl you love to hate.  And yet, there is always a soft-side to her portrayals — one that allows the “love” part to dominate just a bit more than it would otherwise . . .

Natalie Dashkov

My pick: Tina Majorino

Why I think she would make a great Natalie: In Vampire Academy, Natalie is more or less described as a plain-jane.  Natalie is the quiet, sweet, and socially awkward friend of Rose’s and Lissa’s.  Unlike the others, she seems to care little about the politics of high school.  The actress who plays Natalie must be sweet and inherently likeable, but have sufficient acting chops to pull off a major dramatic turn toward the end of the first installment of the series.  Majorino’s recent portrayals of Heather in Big Love and Mack in Veronica Mars, have shown her to be precisely the right girl for the job.

Jesse Zeklos

My pick: Michael Trevino

Why I think he’d make a great Jesse:  In the novels, Jesse is described as being a tall, dark, and handsome, spoiled rich kid.  He is popular, D-baggy, manipulative, and rumored to have slept with multiple members of the cast.  Now if that doesn’t SCREAM Tyler Stratton from CW’s The Vampire Diaries, I don’t know WHAT does!

Eddie Castile

My pick: Chris Lowell

Why I think he’d make a great Eddie:  Admittedly, at the start of the series, Eddie is little more than Mason’s friend and sidekick, and, therefore, a sort-of adopted member of the novels’ “Scooby Gang.”  However, by the second and third installment of the series, Eddie comes into his own, as a loyal friend and strong protector of those around him.  In casting Eddie, the producers would need someone relatable, who has a sense of humor, and isn’t afraid of getting knocked around a bit (and bitten?).  Seeing as Chris Lowell’s character Dell on Private Practice recently died of a brain hemorrhage, I’m thinking the actor’s schedule is WIDE open . . .

Adrian Ivashkov

My pick: Jason Dohring

Why I think he’d make a great Adrian:  OK, this is sort of cheating, seeing as Adrian doesn’t appear AT ALL in the first book of the series.  However, the character plays such a major role in the subsequent books, I just couldn’t resist trying my hand at casting him.  The novel describes Adrian as tall and fair haired with penetrating eyes that see EVERYTHING.  He is more muscularly built than most vampires, but leaner than super-buff dhampirs, like Dimitri.  At first glance, 21-year old Adrian might appear to the casual reader as just another spoiled rich vampire — a hard drinking, heavy smoking, womanizing, cad, with too much money and time on his hands. 

However, as we get to know Adrian throughout the series, we see that he is much more than that.  He is smart and often scarily perceptive, instantly knowing things about Rose that she might not even understand about herself.  Adrian can also be surprisingly generous with his money, his time, and his soul.  He quickly develops a friendship with Lissa, and harbors an as-of-yet unrequited MAJOR soft-spot for Rose.  More so than Mason, Adrian could wind up being a major contender in the battle for our main protagonist’s heart.

So why Jason Dohring?   Basically, a few years back, I fell in LOVE with a character by the name of Logan Echolls!  On Veronica Mars, he too was a spoiled womanizing rich kid bad boy.  Or, at least, he started off that way.  That was before he fell in love with Veronica Mars, who like Rose, was a kickass, hardcore, take-no-prisoners, protagonist, who began the series, despising Logan. 

In my opinion, Veronica’s and Logan’s relationship remains one of the hottest and most compulsively watchable couplings in television.  Please forgive me for wanting to see my Logan again, even if it has to be with another leading lady . . .

So, there you have it, my Dream Cast for the Vampire Academy film and/or television series.  Now we just have to find someone willing to buy the media rights . . . Any takers?

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