Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Who should play Ray and Dave Davies in the Kinks movie?

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boys
20 March 2014 Update
In view of the latest developments on the Kinks film, i.e. none, I've revised this blog to make a few more suggestions. Feel free to comment.

Being driven to distraction by the people put forward on the Ray Davies Forum as possible candidates. I want to stick my oar in but have no idea how to upload pictures to a message so I have to do it via a quick blog.

No no no! Not Matt Smith. Have you all lost your minds? He can't be Ray. He’s not nearly attractive enough. Nor is Ben Whishaw. It’s not enough to bear a slight resemblance from a certain angle if you crop half his face off. He has to be beautiful.

It’s immediately apparent that we all see Ray and Dave differently. We can only be subjective. With that in mind, here I go.

Ben Barnes
Ben Barnes is a possibility and he looks great with long hair. He's played Prince Caspian and Dorian Gray. Swashbuckling or effete, he can do it.
Or how about Hans Matheson? Great actor, plays guitar and has already accomplished the pseudo-Cockney thing Ray has going many a time. His performance in Dr Zhivago should have propelled him to stardom instead of the wooden Keira Knightley. And he has Ray's generous mouth.

Cillian Murphy

Cillian Murphy has already sung ‘You Really Got Me’ in Disco Pigs. Also a musician and an actor. Perhaps he’s too extraordinary looking though, with those cheekbones and eyes. For Dave maybe? We’d have to tone him down and rough him up a bit (Cillian not Dave). But I think he could do that insouciant innocence Dave somehow retained while he was a rampant teenage sex god. And he could definitely achieve the femininity of the ‘Sitting in the Midday Sun’ Dave. See Breakfast in Pluto for proof.

Ray and Dave
Of course it’s going to be an impossible task to find anyone who could express their myriad qualities and different looks in a movie. You can't go with someone who, from a specific angle, bears a slight resemblance because they have to be as physically captivating as the brothers were. There has to be androgyny, ripeness (but not over-ripeness which would be the problem with Michael Pitt), a certain delicacy and amazing smiles, not forgetting the very uneven British teeth. The actors would need to have something comparable (rather than having any particular feature in common) that allowed the overall impression to be strikingly appealing in order to convey the indefinable, irresistibly attractive nature of Ray and Dave.

Sweet Ray
Perhaps the 70s hair can be achieved by a certain (un)styling – though I’ve never been able to get anywhere near it myself.

Not to mention that it might be useful if they could sing and play instruments …

But have any of you seen the aforementioned ‘Sitting in the Midday Sun’ video? Perhaps looking at actors is the wrong way to go. How about some girls?

Mind you, I’m a little worried that this creative team will produce something dated and irrelevant: unimpressed by the ancient sitcom writers, none of whose work has really entertained or amused me, and Julien Temple, who seems rather a one-trick pony (just my opinion) although I don’t mind the ‘Come Dancing’ video. I know the Davies have a track history with him and it might be ‘better the devil you know’ although I’m loath to quote Kylie at this point. Perhaps they’ll prove me wrong. I hope so. But I really don’t want the Kinks story to be reduced to a comedy of hackneyed one liners. It has to be so much more than that because it was.

Gratuitous pic of Dave and Ray, looking pretty
I’m not sure whether Ray’s judgement can be trusted on these matters, given the almost uniformly abysmal videos the Kinks turned out in the latter part of their career. You know the ones I mean, with the repetition of clichéd tropes (images within images, the person stepping into the movie frame, the photo coming to life, the band on the TV in the living room, the camera passing through the window of a house into another time, and so on) and the obligatory unattainable (or now lost) wispy, ethereal girl wafting in and out of time and shot, for example, 'Lost and Found', 'Down All the Days' and 'To the Bone'. The sweet 60s promos were far preferable, charming and straightforward – ‘I know! We’ll show them sitting on a bench. In the park!’ ('Starstruck', now no longer available on YouTube, such a shame) or ‘I know! We’ll show them walking. In the park! But it’s called ‘Apeman’ so one can be costumed as a gorilla!’ or ‘I know! We’ll have them playing their instruments. In the park!’ ('Sunny Afternoon') Brilliant.

Vincent Kartheiser
Some extra ideas. Let's not reject Vincent Kartheiser, here looking suitably androgynous (and rather elfin so maybe Dave?) as Connor in Angel and he can effortessly achieve sulky (surely much called for in the endless battle between the brothers?) or Jared Leto (always loved him in My So-called Life as the unattainable, cool-without-trying Jordan Catalano but should have got him before the Oscar but hey, it's a wishlist) who also sings/plays in a band (30 Seconds to Mars). Here's a link to their song, Hurricane.

Jared Leto as Jordan Catalano

And a couple of suggestions from leftfield or from out of the ballpark and down the street a way (I may be mixing American game metaphors here). How about Christian Kane? He sings, plays guitar, acts, has long hair and is cute. Here’s a clip of Sever from the Jazz Café last year. Of course he’s Texan and sings country but Muswell Hillbillies, anyone? The accent might be a problem. He loves to fight so could suit either of the Davies boys. Ok I admit it's just an excuse for me to put this picture of him in my blog.

Christian Kane - positively beatific
And, one from outer space (he does look a bit like an alien): Benedict Cumberbatch. Ok, he doesn’t bear any resemblance to the Davies brothers being pretty striking rather than strikingly pretty and he looks better if part of his face is covered up for some reason – it doesn’t matter which part. Check out Google Images and you’ll see I’m right. But if we knocked the hat about a bit, he could fit into the promo for Dead End Street.

Of the cast, Julien Temple says: ‘I think you would want to have the music played by the actors ... that is believable and real while miming is problematic’ so that leads us back to Hans, Cillian, maybe Jared or Christian.

Benedict Cumberbatch - Dead End Street?

Anyway I’ve stuck my oar in and now I’m going to paddle my boat hastily away before someone scuppers me.


  1. Oh Chantal, look before you leap.
    Julien Temple is worth more than that. Try and take a look at - unfortunately currently out of print - 'Pandaemonium', his brilliant film about Wordsworth and Coleridge, who aren't a million miles away from the Davies brothers in spirit. And Oil City Confidential, his Doctor Feelgood movie, set new standards for, um, rockumentaries, employing techniques he later used with the BBC pieces he did with Ray and Dave. And that's just for starters. True, he made a hash of Absolute Beginners but the Ray in-the-house sequence was generally reckoned to be the best bit. While Earth Girls Are Easy was a hoot.
    And as for your dismissal of Clement and Le Frenais as scriptwriters - they may be old to you but they hit the big time the same time as Ray and Dave. Never mind The Likely Lads, Porridge, and Auf wiedersehn Pet, they also had a hand in two - maybe three - of the great music films: The Commitments and Still Crazy (put that into Wikipedia); and Killing Bono - the film of Neil McCormick's book, he of the best Jackie Leven obit in the Telegraph - which I haven't seen.
    Oh ye of little faith!
    Nice piece though, even if I have never heard of any of the actors you mention.
    Dave Quayle

    1. Hi Dave,
      Thanks for commenting. I appreciate your thoughts and I hope you’re right.
      Perhaps I’ve just been unlucky with the Julien Temple I’ve seen. I have a feeling that I will have watched Pandaemonium but don’t remember it.
      As for C & LeF: My Dad liked Porridge but I never thought it particularly funny. Perhaps it appeals more to males. I prefer Dad’s Army. My worry is that they might feel the need to turn it into a comedy (and D & R might even want that) but they would be doing the story a disservice.
      Still, at least they’re going to do it and it’s about time.
      Happy Easter!

  2. In the beginning was the Werd and the Werd was wit Gawd...then the earth shook, the heavens parted, the sun shone, and Mavarla The Magnificent, doth had her august and aureate say:

    None of the Actors above nail it nor seem intelligent enough to wrap their heads and emotions 'round R.D. (D.D.? Sure...!); present-day Macauley Culkin for the young R.D. circa 1962-1971 ('cause he's [M.C.] got a similar schnozz, the deep eyelids, etc., but, far more importantly---the talent---to pull off being a brilliant, young genius who has a nervous breakdown; ref. NBC's, woefully, short-lived, dramatic series [starring Ian McShane] 2009 "Kings." Culkin appeared in the last few episodes as the troubled [but “crazy as a fox”] nephew of McShane's "King Benjamin" character).

    For the "Everybody's in Show-Biz" R.D., and succeeding, multi-incarnations of 1972-to-present, I'd cast (pun intended) the *SMART* one of the two, Welsh-British, identical twin, Aston brothers from the 1980-90s band (who now hate each other---lol), Gene Loves Jezebel ("Motion Of Love" "Jealous," etc.); they were *MAJOR* Kinks' fans in their youth and who better to capture the angst and subtleties of intense, sibling rivalry---and brotherly love...*played out upon the world stage*? Now that I ponder, this further, the bimbo Aston bro could play the bimbo Davies one.

    Ahhh---but, who to play D.D. from 1962-1971...? The mind is boggled---oh---!---why, *Rory Culkin*, of course!

    Dear Lady Sshh---I know you are “on the road,” and I do *not* expect a reply. As ever, I do look forward to whatever you may have to say, but please only write when inclination and the luxury of free time permits---Much Love from Yer Pal in Cal, Miss Mavy

    1. Hi Magnificent One, Back once more from the brink. I really feel like I’ve been on the edge of a precipice for one reason and another. Ok – looked at some images of the Aston bros and I think they possibly could capture R&D at a certain period in their careers although I don't know what they (the Astons) look like now. There is a resemblance. But the Culkins (especially the younger ones) somehow look a little underhand to me, a little devious and distrustful (maybe it’s the hooded eyelids?) …
      Will be in touch offline too. SShh x

  3. A...brink...? Weirdly enough, my friend, so have I (and EVERYBODY ELSE) in my circle of magical mystery writers; seems we're *all* "cleaning house," sorting and ordering; in the meantime, *barely escaping* a full tottering over from continually stepping over piles of things being re-arranged; rather like walking on a tightrope, no?

    We'll be fine---aren't we *always*?

    In re our "casting about" discourse: When you’ve time, copy these keywords; go to YouTube, and paste-in: Macaulay Culkin interview 2004 (part 1)

    The first “hit” should be 6 videos (approx. 5-9 mins. each); the uploader is named: buickcitycomplex and his uploads date from March 1-2 of 2010. It’s with Larry “The Lizzahd” King.

    Bear in mind that M.C. was 23 Y/O then, and, was a “seasoned-pro” insofar as publicity junkets go and giving the smoothest “performance” and---make no mistake---live interviews for actors ARE “just another performance” (as *themselves*---or, their "publicity pseudo-selves." Okay, whatever on earth am I talking about??? Well, suffice to say, professional actors *would totally understand* what I just wrote, moreover, they’d chuckle or laugh out loud). As he ebulliently extrapolates in his cheerful, American accent on his life and career as a child actor, to the unimaginative (prejudiced) and small mind (i.e., all of the weirdo women who THINK they know Ray Davies---my loverly, Miss Sshh, excluded, of course) such ding-bats might be inclined to think, “Well, Mavarla *MUST* be nuts! *No way* could “Kevin” even understand the GRAND complexities of *OUR* Raymond’s mind! Oh! Where are my smelling salts! I am ALL of a-flutter! Oh!” (mischievous fart slips out from hysterical, balloon bod bum)

    M. Culkin is *incredibly gifted*; brilliant (intellectually); an *Artist*. Since this interview aired, sadly, he has lost a sibling in an untimely and tragic way (sister, Dakota Culkin, aged 28; in 2008); and, also like R.D., Culkin comes from a *large family*, so he understands the different kinds of dynamics which go on within this particular, lifelong, intimate, social context.

  4. In terms of budget? I surmise, he would accept a modest fee in the way of remuneration---if---he felt *passionate* about the character and the project; if he were completely convinced that *no one else* could do the job *better*; if R.D. sent him every, last, bit of music he’d (R.D.) composed to-date along w/X-RAY, KINK, and VERITAS to read, and asked him: “Do you think you can understand me enough to play and 'be' me in a bio-film?” M.C. would surely *inhale* the data---and---seriously consider it, I think.

    From a marketing standpoint, well, he’d be a wonderful “name” to have attached to the project; many, other producers would come on board to contribute to the budget, but, that isn’t the point; I look around and I honestly don’t see anyone else in the acting arena who could pull off all the subtleties, nuances, 0-60 good/bad moods, hostilities, contradictions, and inner, driving *JOY* of a young Ray Davies crossing that definitive border from obscurity into the arms of “The Bitch Goddess, Fame,” (as Playwright, Tennessee Williams, referred to it) with all of its maddening tentacles and demands, at the age of 19, than *he* (M.C.) could.

    Make-up artists would have to tweak his nose a bit (round the nostrils, shape the bridge a tad; add a couple of sharp peaks atop his already “curly-mouth” upper lip, and darken his hair; at 5’8” he’d have to compensate a bit; he’d (M.C.) have to realize, physically, R.D.’s broken/stiffened back, how he walks/turns his torso/shoulders instead of his head, etc., but heck, he’s (M.C.) *a professional*; he’d notice these little things he’d have to encompass on a physical level.

    He would have to gain weight AND *lift weights*: Contrary to popular myth (wishful thinking?), R.D. is not some, “delicate,” or “fruity and fey” wimp; he’s a well-developed, PROUD mesomorph and one of the most masculine men striding about in the public eye. Or, as Chrissie Hynde so deftly put it in one of her 1980s song: “I remember the way he groaned---he moved with an animal skill….” Ooh! Yes, she is describing R.D.

    This all being said, I still think that Culkin could *easily* nail it.

    Weirdly enough, there is a picture of R.D., wearing a cap, sitting in front of an upright piano, head turned to his right, looking into the camera affecting pseudo-pomp, circa 1964-65 (blue jacket; off-white, rib-knit turtle neck sweater; brownish cap; and, he *LOOKS* like Macauley Culkin---no sheet, Sshh!!! It's a bit hilarious, I think.

    LOL---can you *imagine* a film cast as I had described, above...? The set would BUZZ with a freaky, dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream unreality with all of these male siblings about...and the brothers in question as “Technical Advisors.”

    To be sure: It would be *one* movie set with a full-on med. clinic to one side w/an adequate crew of medical professionals to patch up the damage from all the instances of fisticuffs going on....

    “Boys will beat boys!”

    Testosterone City.

    You know, that Cillian dreamboat is just too, danged, *PRETTY*. Like the actor, John Philip Law was in the 1960s.

    He could *easily* play The Deville in an original, musical adaptation of THE MASTER AND MARGARITA (Mikhail Afanasevich Bulgakov; ISBN:9789626349359).

    Oh, I just *remembered*: R.D.’s got *first dibs* on THAT role!

  5. Oh, in re how the Astons look *now*: These days, with CGI and so forth, Miss Sshh, they could be MADE to look 25 years younger.

    Golly, now that I think of it, Ray and Dave Davies could be digitally-morphed to be ANY age from then to now (although, the really, young years...hmmm...could risk looking like a Wayans Bros. "LiTTLEMAN" [2006] production).

    Seriously, though: CGI can do *ANYTHING* (e.g., Brad Pitt in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" [2008]):

    >>Principal photography was targeted to last a total of 150 days, excluding the time it would take to create the visual effects for the metamorphosis of Brad Pitt's character to the infant stage.<< (IMDB)

    Jeez---R.D. could just *forego* hiring (PAYING) others to "be" he and his brother; the Bros. Davies could just do the movie, *themselves*, up until the point where they shake hands and *AGREE* to play themselves, PLAYING themselves---circa April 2012---then embrace in a brotherly, bear hug as they toss their heads backwards and laugh (cue in instrumental version of a certain, Hollies song).

    Oh, the horror! The horror...!

    My mind has been thoroughly churned into an existential, Sartrean headache.

  6. >>Or how about Hans Matheson? ... But is his face a little too square?<<

    If I HAD to pick any of the handsome, young, stud muffins above to portray R.D., irrespective of talent or intelligence, and based *solely* on physical characteristics of face shape, alone---I WOULD pick the square-faced Hans M. *precisely* for this reason; R.D. has the squarest face in the Universe (he has cleverly hid this by posing so as not to show it in photos; he's had 50+ yrs. of practice; turning his head up or down, avoiding, straight, full-on facial shots; he also hid his face shape with poufy (no jokes, please) hair-dos but you CAN see several examples over the decades online).

    In complete profile, the distance between the very end of his nose to the very, widest part of the BACK of his skull is unusually expansive; his head is inordinately, extraordinarily LARGE (again, no jokes, now); when captured in 2-D (the camera lens flattens 3-D out into 2-D), in a full facial, straight-on shot, he looks, and I do mean this with all due respect (and love), like a total *BLOCKHEAD*.

    It is cute. One doesn't notice it, in-person, because he tends to be so animated (e.g., moves his head about, etc.)---or when serene, he is always looking down.

  7. Oh you know I think maybe you’re right. There are some images in which his chin looks very wide and occasionally (as in this ‘No More Looking Back’ footage), he reminds me of Tommy Haas who has a square-ish face. But, if you’d asked me what shape face Ray had, I would have definitely said it was a long face so he’s disguised it well.

    1. True---it is ALSO extraordinarily *long* (quintessential "English horse face," I think, is what they refer to it as, in Japan?): The distance from the top of his forehead to his eyebrows/bridge of nose is extra long; ditto, from bridge of nose to tip of nose; ditto, the philtrum, and, from bottom edge of bottom lip to the end of his chin is *also* unusually long; *extraordinary*. The dimensions of his head, in the round, are spectacular, and unlike ANY I have ever seen, before, and endlessly fascinating to study; he looks like a *COMPLETELY, different person* in every visual made of him. It's a beautiful thing.

    2. He is extremely photogenic. I, myself, do NOT photograph well (I look "better" in person, am told---like Sarah Ferguson, who is supposedly far more impressive in 3-D than 2-D); some people are just this way; the camera lens flattens my already, somewhat non-dramatic facial structure.

      My Sis had fantastic cheekbones and dramatic features: A rather, squarish face, like the late actress, Grace Kelly (who also posed to hide this fact---and Paris Hilton---also has. Speaking of which: Hilton makes it a POINT to try and disguise/obfuscate her fabulous, square face as MUCH as possible---why, I don't understand---but, I guess she is embarrassed by it; she also turns her head to the side and poses on the red carpet looking askance, down, or up, just like R.D. does; I have always admired Paris Hilton's beauty long before she became a "household name." I think she is, just *beautiful*).

      R.D. looks good in both dimensions (2-D/3-D; this is the definition of "genuinely PHOTOGENIC" in the classic sense). What I think is funny are his gap teeth---reminds me of that young boy in the film "The Go-Between" (Julie Christie and Alan Bates); I think the character's name was "Leo"? Anyway, he had a gap-toothed smile; watched this w/my Mom years ago and she said "That little boy is so funny---he looks COMPLETELY different when his mouth is shut."

      The less than perfect teeth make R.D. not so much of the good-looking movie star idol, he *could've* been, had he chosen that as a career, instead, and makes him "accessible" in the same way that Freddie Mercury's totally WEIRD, uh, ("overbite" = understatement) made him; I loved F.M. Miss him, his voice: He never talked to fans or gave interviews if he could help it because he wanted to keep his voice in *tip-top shape* for the FANS when he was onstage, not backstage or in a parking lot leaving the venue to yak away. His philosophy was that he owed it to the fans to put on a fab show, so he treated his voice like gold since *they* were all PAYING to hear it and delegated all interviews, etc., to the rest of the band = smart move for a Lead Vocalist.

      He seemed *a lovely soul*; never met him but wish I would've (I could've---but declined; declined many invitations to party after shows in the late '60s, '70s and early 1980s, at hotels and so forth; just *NOT* my scene, *at all*; I was a serious musician then---not a groupie or hanger-on, and I *never* was a "party girl" anyway).

      I'd rather go to bed early and have a cup of hot chocolate w/a GOOD book....

    3. I love the gap(s) in Ray’s teeth. His attractiveness is as idiosyncratic as his personality. Dave’s beauty is more obvious, more standard.
      I have a square to round face and don't think I photograph well but maybe that’s my own vanity telling me I can't look that bad. I imagine the way I look and can't face the reality.

      Never really adored Freddie M but was very upset when he died. So many great songs and the two Queen put out before and around his death can still make me cry. ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ though – fantastic.

  8. True---Dave D. is pretty but the artistic fascination (study) ends very quickly. R.D. has so many interesting ANGLES (and yes---the gap is endearing; mouth closed, he's handsome; mouth open, he reminds me of a clown/Joker. I like that old 1960s pix of him with the "King of Spades" [?] hangin' outta his mouth).

    Sweetheart, you've deleted some of your replies to me: Looks like I am talking to myself. (?) I don't think you said anything offensive or embarrassing.

    Been thinkin' about this Kinks' bio-pic that is currently in production. Instead of the Hollies' rendition of "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother," I think that a soulful, Neil Diamond cover would suit; there's a nice, little version on YT---not sure I can post vid links, here, but, if so, don't you think it has that---mmm---unmistakable, je ne sais quoi, required...?