Monday, July 24, 2017

Dreamcasting: Catherine, Called Birdy

One of the books I look back on most fondly from my childhood is Catherine, Called Birdy. I was always a feisty child (surprise!), so this story about a high-spirited medieval teenager scheming to thwart her father's plans for marrying her off delighted me. Thinking back, it was fairly accurate about what life would have actually been like for a daughter of the minor gentry in that time: her parents plan on marrying her off despite her only being 13, she's expected to endlessly sew, and hygiene isn't really a thing. Assuming everyone would get aged up to about 16, here's who I would cast in the major roles:

Catherine: Rowan Blanchard

Catherine has been a great favorite of mine since I was a teenager myself, and I really think Blanchard could knock it out of the park. She's got the mischievous twinkle in her eye that seems perfect for the high-spirited Catherine, who amuses herself by repulsing her various suitors.

Aelis: Mackenzie Foy

Catherine's only real friend her own age, the Lady Aelis falls for Catherine's favorite uncle, George (see below), bringing out her green-eyed monster. When nothing becomes of this mutual attraction because of differences in social status, Aelis ends up married to a child duke and eventually, Catherine's own brother. The only other thing I've seen Foy in is the Twilight series and she's lovely and charismatic onscreen and seems like she might be able to capture Aelis's sparkle.

George: Josh Hutcherson

Although it wasn't uncommon to see massive age gaps between couples in the Middle Ages (see who I've cast as Catherine's own suitor below), George and Aelis are supposed to be a couple who might have married for love, so I wanted to keep the difference between them not tooooo bad. Josh Hutcherson looks young for his age and exudes kindness without the kind of scary manliness that would probably be off-putting to a teenager.

Ethelfritha: Amy Poehler

After his budding connection with Aelis is broken off, George marries Ethelfritha, a wealthy older widow who's been a bit scrambled ever since she was struck by lightening. She's comic relief, but she's also supposed to be good-hearted and someone that Catherine grows genuinely fond of. I feel like that sounds like a perfect fit for Amy Poehler's warmly offbeat comedy.

Shaggy Beard: Tom Hardy

Now, both you and I know that Tom Hardy is very good-looking indeed. But in full giant beard, to a teenage girl? He'd probably be horrifying. Shaggy Beard is Catherine's most persistent suitor, and I'd like to see Hardy stretch a bit into a comedic role.

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