Tag Archives: Tom Hardy

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]

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Filed under casting, Spoilers and Sneak Peaks, True Blood

The Mind is a terrible place to hide (but an awesome place to play): My review of the film “Inception” – [Contains some spoilers]

A few months back, I literally drooled over the awesomeness that was the then-new trailer for Christopher Nolan’s surefire blockbuster film, Inception.  Well, I’ve FINALLY seen the movie itself.  Here’s my review . . .

When it comes to dreams, nothing beats the lucid ones.  You know the dreams I’m talking about.  The ones where, at some point in the dream, you become certain, without a doubt, that you are, in fact, dreaming. 

It is at that moment, that you have all the power. 

You are the Master of the Universe.  You are a god.  There are no limits to what you can do.  Everything is yours for the taking . . . and the making.  You have become the big kid in the playground of your own mind . . .

Party Hard!

At least until you wake up, and have to face your boring, crappy, normal life again.

A lucid dream – that’s what seeing Inception felt like for me.  Because if I could create the ultimate movie in my mind (and was also significantly smarter, and more creative than I actually am), I imagine it would look a lot like this.  Seriously, what more could you possibly want in a movie?  Inception offers (among other things):  

*A brilliant writer/ director (Christopher Nolan). 

* THIS guy . . .

(It pains me to note that he kept his shirt for the ENTIRE film . . . CLEARLY an oversight on Chris Nolan’s part.)

* THAT GUY . . .

(Also stayed clothed.  SO NOT COOL, Mr. Nolan!)

*A major HEIST, the likes of which you have never seen.

No . . not even there.

*Hypnotic and mind-boggling special effects that will shock and awe even the most jaded of movie goers  (I know, because I am one of them.)

*Action sequences that will leave your heart racing, even if you generally have little patience for the “Golly gee, let’s blow stuff up for no reason,” nature of action flicks (Me again!)

*A tight, if slightly convoluted, plot that will hold your interest throughout the film’s entire 2 hours and 22 minutes run time, even if you don’t always understand what the f*ck is going on . . .

*Psychologically mind-bending concepts that will give your brain one big fat “O.” (Lord knows, our brains could all use a good roll in the hay these days.).  The movie will also undoubtedly keep you up all night contemplating the meaning of it all.

“Hmmm .  . . why DID they make Leo and Joseph keep their shirts on?

*A twist ending, whose biggest “twist” may very well be that it is not a twist at all

And romance?  Well, there’s a little of that too . . .

There are some who say that Inception is best experienced by people who know absolutely nothing about it’s plot.  Well, I don’t necessarily think that’s true.  Before I watched the film, I read a few non-spoilery reviews first, because I just couldn’t help myself.  Honestly, I felt that they helped me get a better handle on what I was seeing, while not spoiling any of the film’s big surprises.

What follows is the basic premise of Inception.  So if you are a spoiler phobe / movie purist, this is where I leave you . . .  I mean it, GO!  I don’t want to get yelled at later . . .

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb, an expert at navigating the mine field of the human mind through dreams.  He’s a white collar criminal of a very unique kind – one hired by the most dangerous and most powerful men and women in the world to perform a task called: Extraction.  Extraction involves entering into a person’s mind while he is sleeping, and “extracting” from it information that is guarded carefully by the dreamer, when he is awake.  The information in question is typically depicted as a locked safe, hidden in the deep recesses of the Dream World.

“No WAY you’re getting my secrets, Leo!  (Can I still dream about you though?)”

Following a deep personal tragedy in his life involving his wife Mal (played by Marion Cotillard), Cobb and his “partner-in-crime” Arthur (played by Joseph Gordon Levitt, who by the magic of good genes, just seems to keep getting hotter and hotter each year), spend most of their lives on the run.  Cobb and Arthur are constantly being hunted, both by enemies they have made in the field, and by Cobb’s own inner demons, the latter of which literally plague his unconscious as he “dreamwalks.”

 

But Cobb has two children he longs to see.  He desires consistency and the comforts of home.  A powerful business man named Saito (Ken Watanabe) . . .

 . . . knows this, and uses it to his advantage.  He makes Cobb the proverbial “offer he can’t refuse:”  One Last Job. (Where have we heard THAT one before?)

But this one’s a little different . . .

Saito isn’t interested in Extraction, what he desires is Inception.  Saito wants Cobb to put an idea in the mind of his business competitor, Fischer (Cillian Murphy – He of the beautifully chiseled porcelain face, and entrancing blue eyes, who, for whatever reason, always looks a bit evil .  . . but in a good way) . . .

This implanted idea will convince Fischer to break up his empire into little, less monopolistic, pieces.  To do this, Cobb needs a team:  his bromantic buddy Arthur is the hottest  most obvious choice.  But other key players are needed.

His father (played by Michael Caine), a professor of Dream Architecture, suggests that Cobb use his star student, Ariadne (How’s THAT for a name?  No offense to all you Ariadne’s out there, of course), played by Ellen Page.

Coolest.  Girl.  Ever.

Ariadne will build Fischer’s dream world. 

The next addition to the team is a chemist, Yusuf (Dileep Rao).  He will be responsible for crafting a sedative strong enough to put the “Dream Team” and Fischer in “Dreamland” long enough to complete the job.   You see, apparently, even though dreams only last a few minutes at most, our minds work faster when in REM sleep.  Therefore, time seems slower in dreams.  (Who said action flicks weren’t educational?)

“OMG, Leo is SO dreamy!”

And, finally, there’s Eames (Tom Hardy) . . .

 . . . a con artist and master at Deception.  His job is to make Fischer believe that the people and places in the dream are creations of his own mind, and not those of intruders, who are out to alter it.  This is an important job, because our minds have natural defenses to foreign ideas — and, in Fischer’s mind, these defenses are armed and dangerous. 

Get out, you evil Dream Crasher, you!

I had never actually seen Tom Hardy’s work before Inception.  But he stole my heart in this movie.  Aside from looking like THIS. . .

(He’s the one on the left, obviously, with the tatts . . .  and the abs . . . and the gorgeous . . .)

And THIS . . .

But not like THIS . . .

(That’s Thomas Hardy . . . as in, the dude who wrote those lame books you had to read in high school.  Nice try, Google Images, but you can’t fool a fangirl!)

Hardy’s Eames is just so friggin cool!  He exudes masculinity, confidence, and, most importantly, sex appeal.  He’s smart, without being pompous or geeky.  Plus, his subtle rivalry with Gordon Levitt’s straight-laced Arthur, is a joy to watch.  I never thought any male actor would have the ability to take my eyes off of Gordon Levitt or DiCaprio in this film, but Tom Hardy succeeded in doing it for me, BIG TIME!

What follows is a classic international crime caper with one major difference:  None of what is happening is technically REAL, at least not in the way you and I think of as real.  The film also poses some very interesting questions about the origins of our inspirations, and the ways in which our everyday lives are shaped by basic assumptions we hold about what is REALITY and what is FANTASY. 

What makes your waking life REAL, and your dream life FAKE?  And who says you aren’t dreaming right NOW?  (Admit it, I just creeped you out a bit, didn’t I?)

How does Inception end?  Well, let’s just say you’ll be thinking about it, and talking about it, for some time to come . . .

In case it isn’t COMPLETELY obvious by now, I ABSOLUTELY 100% recommend this film to . . . well . . . anybody with a pulse, actually.  (I also recommend TOM HARDY to any girl with a libido, and any producer who WANTS girls with libidos to attend their manly films . . . )

Just in case you forgot what he looks like . . .

Inception is in theaters now.  Have you seen it yet?  If so, what did you think?  I’ve been just dying to pick someone else’s brain about it, since I got out of the theater last night  . . . particularly about the film’s final scene.  Never has such a small and seemingly simplistic object seemed so intriguing . . .

 

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