donors

You already know that Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield are very talented and excited actors, but did you realize Keira Knightley was too?  Me either. According to the casting news in Variety this morning, Mark Romanek seems to have cottoned on to something in her woody ways, however, and he’s set the wisp-waif to star in his upcoming sci-fi thriller Never Let Me Go. I’m hoping she’s not the loaded gun in a budget hijack.

Never Let Me Go is adapted from a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro by Alex Garland, previously guilty of The Beach, Sunshine and 28 Days Later. Essentially, it tells the story of Kathy and her friends Ruth and Tommy at boarding school and then, later, a kind of mysterious R&R hang out known as The Cottages where they lead fairly relaxed and pleasant, if closely-watched lives. Where does the sci-fi come in? The main characters each have a very specific reason to exist – and you might consider this a spoiler, so skip ahead to the next paragraph if you’re feeling wussy. They’ve been bred to serve as organ donors. These “clones” (not really, I don’t think)  are used to provide bits of bodygubbins to others after they “complete” – which is the novel’s euphemism for dying – and unfortunately they are expected to “complete” at a young and healthy age. Another sci-fi component worth noting is that outside of the comfy harbouring locales, the world is apparently rather dystopic.

I’ll know more about this once I finish the book, which I picked up this very day in a remainders shop for less than 3 quid. 60 pages in and I’ve loved every one.

I’m assuming Knightley is Kathy, Mulligan is Ruth and Garfield is Tommy but am hoping I’ve got that wrong. Not because I want to see Garfield in drag, of course, but because I want Mulligan to take the lead role. I don’t really think actors are desperately important to the success or failure of a narrative movie, but all the same, I like Mulligan, enjoy her performances and want to see her get some juicy stuff to run with.

Romanek’s facility with images is way beyond the norm and compromised cast or not, lackluster screenplay or otherwise, this film is guaranteed to be powerful, enrapturing and possibly even hypnotic stuff. There’s nothing on the horizon I could be more excited about. Even the atrocious DVD of his first film Static, with the worst transfer in my entire collection, is a thing of odd beauty. The upcoming Wolfman was wounded, and perhaps mortally so, when the studio refused Romanek’s budget requests and he moved on.

This Thursday, Channel 4 in the UK screen the first of their Red Riding films. Possibly the most exciting moment in British cinema for all of 2009, and it premieres on TV? Nonetheless, the trilogy looks like truly essential viewing. Tony Grisoni has written the screenplay for each of the three films, and the first stars Andrew Garfield as an investigative journalist uncovering conspiracy, murder and corruption in the Northern England of 1970. Garfield is also one of the key cast in Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, likely headed to Cannes and then, finally, to cinemas worldwide. What a portfolio Garfield is building up. Smart cookie.

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