The holiday season is upon us. I, for one, start getting excited for Christmas every year around, like, October 15th. And, for about the past six months, I have had an idea rattling around in my head: there have been many adaptations of Charles Dickens' timeless Christmas classic, "A Christmas Carol." Some have been great, with headliners such as Alastair Sim and Kermit the Frog/Michael Caine, and then some have starred Tim Curry and made us want to forget. However, I think, now more than ever, we are in the perfect time in film to give Dickens' story a proper modern adaptation. So without further ado, I present the dream team that could perfectly portray this saga of love, reflection and redemption.
Director: Tom Hooper
Tom Hooper is the only living director I would trust with adapting A Christmas Carol. Why? Well let's look at the evidence. His adaptation of David McCullough's "John Adams" for HBO was nothing short of passionate. The King's Speech was a stellar period piece that explored the various ways in which the past haunts us. And Les Miserables was a big, epic story about redemption and learning to love. All of these things--passion, haunting, and love-- are essential in adapting "A Christmas Carol," and with his entire major filmography consisting of period pieces, Hooper would be ideal for directing this film.
Ebenezer Scrooge: Colin Firth
But wait, isn't Colin Firth a little young to play Scrooge? Actually, no. The average life expectancy in England, around the time the story takes place, was forty years old! Even at 54, Firth would be pretty old in an era where 70% of the population was under 30. So there.
Anyway, Colin Firth is a tremendous actor, and we have seen incredible range from him. He can play everything from tortured to joyous, commanding to loving. These are all qualities which are necessary for the character of Ebenezer Scrooge. We all know of his legendary turn in BBC's Pride & Prejudice, but with The King's Speech he proved his ability to play a tortured character, for which he won an Oscar (remember that scene where he's talking about his brother's death? Talk about haunting). Firth would be able to take bold command of the scenes where Scrooge is a miserly old fiend, as well as be believably transformed in the scenes that portray Scrooge's redemption. BONUS: He had a minor role in another adaptation of A Christmas Carol, one directed by Robert Zemeckis, starring Jim Carrey. But we don't have to talk about that.
Bob Cratchit: Martin Freeman
I don't even feel like this needs explanation. Between Sherlock and The Hobbit, Martin Freeman is a hot property right now, and he would be perfect for the role of bookkeeper Bob Cratchit. He's very sympathetic, and has a charisma that draws in audiences to whatever he does. Whether it be in BBC's Sherlock or The Office, or minor roles in Love, Actually, The World's End and as well as his leading roles in The Hobbit series and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (totally underrated movie, if you haven't seen it), Freeman has proven that he has acting chops, and also that he's incredibly likable. Tell me you can't picture him as the sad little man being accosted by his cranky old boss.
"Tiny" Tim Cratchit: Daniel Huttlestone
Daniel Huttlestone would be a perfect Tiny Tim. He's a cute little kid, and with a major movie under his belt, he's got experience in epic period pieces (He, like many hundreds of people, died in Les Miserables). He's youthful, light, funny and talented, and would be able to hold his own in a crowd of brilliant actors. Plus, his death would be just as gut-wrenching as it was in Les Mis.
The Ghost of Christmas Past: Elle Fanning
One of Hollywood's most promising rising stars, Elle Fanning has earned her stripes in hits such as Super 8 and We Bought A Zoo, and when I read "A Christmas Carol," the image in my mind of the Ghost of Christmas Past resembles her. She's an immensely talented performer, even more than her older sister in my opinion, and it would be cool to see her in a role like this, commanding both innocence and wisdom, with the appearance of a child, and the experience of someone who has seen thousands of years.
The Ghost of Christmas Present: Robbie Coltrane
We all know him as Hagrid from the Harry Potter series. He's dabbled in some other stuff as well, but his large stature as well as his kindly demeanor would make for an excellent Ghost of Christmas Present. You need someone who can be jolly and wise, as well as occasionally funny, but also able to handle the more somber side of things as the story deepens. With his work in the Harry Potter series, he has shown the range necessary to portray all of that. Just dye his beard red and we're good to go (yes, it does have to be red, it's not the same otherwise).
Jacob Marley: Geoffrey Rush
Okay, so there may be a bit of a Tom Hooper trend here, but Geoffrey Rush is awesome, and, as we saw in Intolerable Cruelty, he is really good at doing a lot with little time. As we saw in Pirates of the Caribbean, he's really good at being creepy. And, as we saw in Shine, Mystery Men, The King's Speech, Elizabeth, Shakespeare in Love, The Book Thief and an almost unfair amount of other movies, the man can act. He'd be an excellent Jacob Marley, and BONUS: If Colin Firth was Scrooge, we'd have a King's Speech reunion! How cool would that be?
Scrooge's Nephew, Fred: Eddie Redmayne
It's a small role, but a fairly important one, as the character of Scrooge's nephew Fred is one of the very early guiding influences in Scrooge's road to redemption, and when Scrooge sees Fred and his fiancee making fun of him, he's heartbroken and more driven to change. Eddie Redmayne is a good young actor, and even when I was watching Les Miserables in the theater, I couldn't help thinking that the guy who played Marius should totally play Scrooge's nephew. That thought has followed me for, literally, years. And I have now gotten the opportunity to vocalize it.
Belle: Amanda Seyfried
If you don't remember, Belle is the young woman who Scrooge falls in love with as a young man, and who breaks his heart when she leaves him for being too miserly. She's supposed to be young, beautiful and vibrant, and if you've seen Mean Girls, Les Miserables or anything Seyfried has been in, it's pretty clear that she fits the bill.
Young Scrooge: Aaron Tveit
The role of Young Scrooge is a tricky one. He doesn't have very much time in the story, but whoever plays him needs to help us understand why Belle chose to be with him in the first place, so he needs to have a certain likability to him. But he also needs to be foreshadowing of the man we know as Scrooge, the man who he would eventually become. Tveit is an intense actor, as evidenced by Les Miserables. He's got telling eyes, that can project emotions ranging from passionate anger to tortured heartbreak.
The Charity Collectors: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost
There are two characters who come by in the beginning of Dickens' fable, asking Ebenezer Scrooge to donate money to their charity. These two characters are small, not unlike Thomson and Thompson in The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, another pair played by longtime collaborators Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The two are brilliant, and have amazing chemistry. Giving them a part like this would give them an opportunity to add some levity to a fairly serious tale. Or, if they just wanted to work their acting muscles in a big project and work alongside some talented people, they could do that too. They're both fantastic performers, and always manage to stand out no matter how small the roles.
There are more adaptations of "A Christmas Carol" than there are hairs on my head. But the last really effective adaptation of this story starred The Muppets. I think it's time for another real go at the project, one that isn't animated, one that doesn't involve puppets, and one that treats this timeless tale of redemption with the grandeur and respect it deserves.
What about you? What are your thoughts?