Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Against the Grain: Inspired Casting

When people describe Grace Kelly, words such as glamorous or elegant usually come to mind. And why shouldn’t they? After all, she was Hollywood royalty and later on a real-life princess. Her most iconic roles in films like Rear Window and To Catch A Thief showcase her beauty, charm, and refinement. But the role for which she earned her Academy Award lacks the qualities Kelly typically attributed to her work. Instead, her character could be described as a buttoned-down, hostile, decidedly unglamorous woman. The film is The Country Girl; the role is Georgie Elgin.

It’s a brave performance by Kelly, playing the wife of a struggling actor. I say brave because her character isn’t necessarily the most likable or appealing person when we first meet her. She comes off as harsh towards her husband, not to mention the director who tries to give him a break in a new play. As the film moves along, we begin to see the complexity between Georgie and her husband and come to understand her position. Kelly proves she can handle a character who doesn’t automatically exude charisma and instead dig deep into a role that may not appeal to everyone.

If you get the chance, give The Country Girl a watch. The film also stars William Holden and Bing Crosby, both of whom also deliver great performances.

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