Monday, January 23, 2017

Dreamcasting: Lolita

It's always been hard for me to pick just one "favorite" book, but Vladimir Nabakov's Lolita is always right up there. I first read it in high school and fell completely in love with his lush, rich writing. I've re-read it several times and it only gets better. Somehow, despite the fact that it's got a pretty twisted story, it's gotten made into a movie not just once, but twice. When I decided to do a dreamcasting series, I couldn't neglect it. So assuming there was a third version, who would I cast?

Delores Haze: I feel like you have to age up Lolita from the book a little to keep it from being too obscene, and even though Kiernan Shipka is 18, she could play younger. She was incredible as Sally Draper in Mad Men, and the way she handled that role makes me think she could really create a whole person out of Lolita, who we only see through Humbert's eyes in the novel but is obviously much more than the object of obsession he craves.

Humbert Humbert: He's supposed to be suave, European, and ultimately the kind of dude who could essentially kidnap an orphaned pre-teen to keep her as his plaything. I actually think Jeremy Irons was fantastic casting when he played Humbert, but for an update, I think Jude Law would be perfect. He's both charming and believably dissolute.

Charlotte Haze: Delores' mother, she meets Humbert when he begins to rent out her spare room, and as he's becoming more and more obsessed with her daughter, she's becoming more and more obsessed with him. I initially thought of reuniting the mother-daughter duo of Kiernan Shipka and January Jones, but January doesn't give off the kind of overblown vibe that I get from Charlotte in the novel. Elizabeth Banks, though, knows how to play over-the-top but vulnerable, so I'd love to see her take it on.

Clare Quilty: Quilty is Humbert's rival and even darker reflection. While Humbert believes himself to be in love with Lolita, Quilty's interest in her is much more openly sexual. That she escapes from Humbert to Quilty just goes to show how very smothered she felt by Humbert's obsession. He's not a particularly developed character, so how about reuniting Law with his romantic rival in Closer, Clive Owen?

So what do you think? Have you ever read Lolita? Would you pick different actors for these roles? Do you think there's a reason to make a third version of this book or is it just not really filmable?


  1. I haven't read Lolita, I really want to though! It sounds like a great read. I am familiar with the story though and I love your picks for the roles! Especially Kiernan and Jude! They would be amazing!

    1. It's the most incredible writing. The fact that Nabokov wrote it in his third language makes me despair for everything I've ever written in my first by comparison. It also holds up really well to re-reading...there's a lot there, so I feel like I get something more out of it every time I go back! I loved Kiernan so much in Mad Men, I'd love to see her be able to shine in a lead movie role (and I feel like she could do so much with this one!)