' ' Cinema Romantico: Blast From The Past: Why Claire Forlani Should Be A Bond Girl

Monday, February 07, 2011

Blast From The Past: Why Claire Forlani Should Be A Bond Girl

(With rumors flying in regards to potential casting choices in Sam Mendes' upcoming installment of James Bond - Ralph Fiennes as 007???, Javier Bardem as the Bad Guy??? - Cinema Romantico thought it was high time to unearth one of its older posts and re-offer it since we so firmly stand behind this idea. Yo, Mendes! Pay attention!)

I'll never be placed in charge of the Bond Franchise, and, for the most part, that's probably a good idea. It's the same reason I should not be placed in charge of the Batman Franchise, which is to say I'd cast Billy Dee Williams as the Caped Crusader my first day on the job. Ninety six percent of the world would hate me, despise me, send me death threats. But there would be four percent - come on, you know it - who would embrace my "unique" vision and make it their own personal cult classic, especially after they learn I'd also cast Pam Grier as Catwoman. (Further Note: My "Batman" movie would offer no standard action sequences. Either the scene would start immediately after the action had finished or the instant before the action started we would do a wipe pan and cut directly to after the action had finished. I mean, what studio wouldn't want to back this?) But I'm digressing before I've even really started.

If I were given the keys to the car that is James Bond my top priority would be to cast Claire Forlani as the primary Bond Girl. No doubt this would raise a great deal of eyebrows considering that Ms. Forlani has never been noted that often (if at all) for her acting skills. She's a beautiful woman, of course, but many women in the biz are beautiful. Her roles, meanwhile, are not what one would term A-List. You might recall her from that movie she was in with Freddie Prinze Jr. or that computer movie she was in where Tim Robbins was a bad guy or "The Rock" in which she appeared briefly as Sean Connery's daughter, earning her the prize of delivering the immortal lines, "I don't think we should romanticize what happened between you and her. Meeting in a bar after a Led Zeppelin concert. And I was the result." Better yet, you probably don't recall her from any of those. And you shouldn't. (Of course, one could argue that maybe she was born to play a Bond Girl since she played Sean Connery's daughter but that sounds like a session in therapy so let's just stay away from it, shall we?)

So why am I saying a woman from a Freddie Prinze Jr. movie should be a Bond Girl? Well, I came to the realization when I first saw her co-starring role in that movie where Brad Pitt played Death-come-to-earth "Meet Joe Black". Awful movie. I worked at the movie theater then as a manger and one managerial duty was to screen new movies before they opened to make sure all the reels had been put together properly. It sounds like a good gig and sometimes it was since sometimes you had a full theater of people having a good time at a great movie. But sometimes it was just you and one other manager. And sometimes no one else wanted to watch it and so you found yourself staying up until nearly three in the morning all by yourself in an empty theater watching "Meet Joe Black" and wishing Death would hop off the screen and whisk you away. (Why was that movie so long? What studio exec let them get away with that running time?)

The one good thing about the film was very obvious and is essentially all that kept me from falling asleep or strangling myself with the film in the projection room and it was this: Claire Forlani's eyes. Her eyes ravished me. You know how Halle Berry's eyes in "X Men" glowed when she did whatever it was she did? Claire Forlani's eyes do that but without the aid of special effects. Her eyes can manage the same trick as Angelina Jolie's lips - stand out in a movie despite all the dreck surrounding them.

A Bond Girl isn't necessarily required to be a great actress. After all, you're not really acting. What you're doing is three-fold. 1.) Trading drolleries with the star, which can, and almost should, be spoken in precisely the same tone throughout the film's running time. 2.) Looking sultry. 3.) Matching up to Bond himself.

There's one thing you can say with certainty about 007 and I'm not talking about his affinity for martinis or his perilous feats. No, I'm talking about the look he gets (at least the look Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig get) when they meet the Bond Girl for the first time. They size her up in an instant. His eyes give away the fact that he's not in need a of a dossier on her whole life story since he already has her figured out. A Bond Girl has to be able to match this look. She has to size him up while he's simultaneously sizing her up and indicate she doesn't have to stand for his s--- even though she might very well choose to do so. (The first scene in "Casino Royale" between Craig and Bond Girl Eva Green explicity references all of this.) If it doesn't appear that she too can look at him once and glean his history in a blink of her eyes the whole enterprise is for naught. Forlani's eyes can sell that quality. If they put her in a room with a high ranking Al Queda official her eyes would allow us to gain knowledge of Bin Laden's exact whereabouts in seconds and if they put her opposite whoever 007 may happen to be she would be able to unearth his essence even quicker.

I'm not saying Claire Forlani was meant to play someone like, say, Lady Macbeth but I think if she was a Bond Girl she might make a few people think she was made to play someone like Lady Macbeth. On second thought, maybe she could play Lady Macbeth. You're telling me you wouldn't go around killing everybody in Scotland if she told you to and then looked at you with those eyes?


Wretched Genius said...

It's too late for her. By Hollywood standards even the lovely Ms.Forlani is too old to be cast as a Bond girl.

By there is still hope. She could easily be cast as Miss Moneypenny, which would allow her to flirt with Bond but be wise enough to never sleep with him. Plus it would let her be in more than one movie.

Nick Prigge said...

Hold your horses just a minute. Honor Blackman was 39 when she made "Goldfinger." Forlani is 38. So she's got a year. So step it up, Mendes. Okay? I SAID, STEP IT UP!

Wretched Genius said...

Live in the now. That was 1964. Times they have a-changed. By modern Hollywood standards a woman becomes a senior citizen when she turns 32.

The next Bond girl will be Willow Smith.

Castor said...

Ahah it's a good thing you reminded people of The Rock because that's how barely I even remember her decidedly unmemorable contribution to Cinema's history. Now, she does have the look of a Bond girl but like the Wretched Genius said, she is probably too old and let's face it, they will probably go with someone recognizable at the very least.

Nick Prigge said...

I know, I know, it'll never happen. But just let me have my little pipe dream. That's all I ask.