Thursday, August 23, 2007

Flashman: The Non Musical

One of my dream jobs is being the casting director Supreme. This morning's coffee discussion turned to Flashman, who was one of my favourite and slightly problematic anti-heroes when I was a teen. The books are great; well researched, lots of adventure, and, ummm, a fair bit of misogyny and racism, as is only appropriate for the tales of a Victorian bully-boy. Which is why they are tough books to translate to screen (one miserable attempt with a woefully miscast McDowell some years back).

Casting Flashman requires an actor who looks physically impressive, is a handsome brute, can toady with the best of them if he thinks it to his advantage, and who can display convincing cunning and deeply subverted cowardice. My top pick (though I haven't seen the last two characteristics on display yet) is Gerard Butler. Then Clive Owen. Then Adrian Paul. Maybe the Rock, if he could grow mutton chops and do a convincing upper-class Brit accent.

Thinking about Flashman made me think about Billy Bunter, one of my favourite reads as a kid (despite being a fat kid, myself). Again, rampant classicism, racism, and women don't even exist, except as Tuck Shop ladies dispensing jam tarts (hidden code?). But they made me laugh out loud. And want jam tarts, even though they've always been a disappointment when I actually had one in my mouth. In my local library, nary a Billy Bunter title to be found--censored, and maybe rightfully so...