I recently got my hands on Never Let Me Go by British author Kazuo Ishiguro. The 2005 acclaimed novel is written by the author of potentially my favorite book of all-time The Remains of the Day.
Never Let Me Go is such a unique book, as it tells the story of three people, Kathy, Ruth and Tommy through three phases of their life, as children, adolescents, and adults. The story begins with the feel that these three kids are at a very prestigious boarding school, but it doesn't take long to realize that something is different.(Minor spoiler alert) Early on you discover that these three kids, as well as there classmates are unique because they have been cloned for the purpose of organ donations. Thus creating a sci-fi element, within the context of a late twentieth century world.
The story is provocative, creative, extremely well written, and a recommended read.
As I read the book, I could easily picture a film adaptation, particularly a film adaptation directed by Joe Wright (Pride and Prejudice, Atonement, The Soloist). And in fact, I didn't even care if he cast Keira Knightley to play the part of the eldest Kathy H, the main character, because frankly, I think she could pull it off quite well.
So, as I thought about writing a list of a dream cast for this film I discovered that just last evening it was announced in Variety that a film adaptation picked up by Fox Searchlight was in the works, and surprise surprise it was to star Keira Knightley in the lead.
Unfortunately the director is not Joe Wright, but the music video director Mark Romanek, who's only film-credit to his name is the eerie Robin William's picture One Hour Photo.
Now Romanek has done some very unique and famous music videos including Fiona Apple's "Criminal," Nine Inch Nail's "Closer," Johnny Cash's "Hurt," and Coldplay's "Speed of Sound."
Yet when I picture the feel of this film, I want it to feel more like Atonement and less like 2001: A Space Odyssey. I want the focus to be on the people and their relationships, not on the sci-fi dynamics. I want subtly not loud artistry.
Yet, I have hope with the casting of Keira Knightley that he might be looking to Joe Wright for inspiration. In fact, the other two actors named that are attached with this project are Andrew Garfield (Lions for Lambs) and Carey Mulligan (who played Keira's younger sister Kitty in Pride & Prejudice).
I certainly don't doubt that Knightley, Garfield and Mulligan are up for the parts they've been cast (presumable the adult Ruth and the adult Tommy), but...
if I were casting these adult leads, I might consider Emily Blunt for the part of Kathy H,
There's these three really incredible parts of the role of Miss Emily and Miss Lucy, two teacher at the school, and Madame, this essential, and bizarre french women who collects the art work of the students.
These roles are nondescript enough that Miss Emily and Miss Lucy could go to someone like Maggie Smith or Kristin Scott Thomas or Julie Christie.
Some how I just cannot help but picture Judi Dench or Imelda Staunton playing the part of Madame, although neither are French, I feel like these actress could really succeed in this role.
As far as the younger kids, this could take some skills in casting, but depending on the leads, a consideration for Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, or Georgie Henley seem like dream considerations.
As for Tommy, perhaps Andrew Garfield is a good casting decision, but I'd love to have Cillian Murphy cast in the role.
And almost as important to the success of this film is the crew who will create the feel for this film that has such potential to capture some incredible cinematic scenes in bold ways, and a beautiful score by Dario Marianelli or Alexandre Desplat could certainly help as well.
Here's hoping to a great film, with well suited casting - even if the best cast is a cast of some what unknowns. This film has such great potential, and do hope it is a great success. Of course the support of Fox Searchlight can't hurt.