Posted by: Gregg | January 24, 2007

At least it’s not someone like Justin Timberlake….

As mentioned earlier, I’m a huge fan of Raymond Chandler. My mom bought me five Chandler paperbacks for my birthday when I was twelve. They were some of the first mysteries I had ever read, and to this day, I consider them some of the best ever written.  Philip Marlowe is not only a character, not only an archetype, but the very definition of an entire literary genre. That, and he could totally kick Sam Spade’s ass in a fight.

So when I come across an article talking about a new movie adaptation, I sit up and take notice. Even though Hollywood has made millions of dollars aping the works of Chandler, it’s odd that they have not yet to get the character of Philip Marlowe right. Robert Montgomery, Dick Powell, James Garner, Robert Mitchum, even Humphrey freakin’ Bogart – none have been particularly memorable or even very good. Except for maybe Bogart, and his Marlowe was more Bogart than anything else. And the less said about Elliott Gould, the better.

Around the time my mom gave me those books, we watched a short-lived HBO series starring Powers Boothe as Philip Marlowe. Boothe got it all right: the toughness, the world-weariness, the intelligence, and the compassion. He was a bit broader in the chest than Bogart, who was always thin as a reed, completely unfit for mixing it up with the LA underworld. Nope. I absolutely dug Powers Boothe, and when I read and re-read those Chandler paperbacks, it was Boothe’s face that I pictured under the fedora.

But now I read that none other than Clive Owen will play Marlowe in an upcoming project that hasn’t been officially announced yet, so in all likelihood it’ll fall apart as soon as I post this. But I don’t know what to think – Owen’s certainly a good actor who deserves his shot at the role, I’m a bit uneasy. If his movies show nothing else, it’s that the man can’t hide his British accent for crap, and I can’t picture Marlowe with a Brit accent.

Am I wrong? Am I being nitpicky? Will someone reassure me that this will go fine?


  1. He looks too Tom Hanks for me to take seriously. Something about the nose… *shrug* Maybe that’s just me. He just doesn’t look tough. Now, I can’t say I’ve seen him in anything, so I can’t comment on his acting ability, but a British accent would be awful. Just awful. It wouldn’t do at all!

    This will not go fine. They will likely destroy a wonderful childhood memory. Hollywood is like that. :/ I wish I could be more chipper, but they’ve destroyed far, far, far too much goodness for me to have any faith (less said about ‘A Sound of Thunder’ the better… I’m still cranky about that one).

  2. I’ve long reconciled myself to the fact that Hollywood is all about making a buck, and if Art happens to be a part of the process, then, y’know, that’s great.

    I’m reminded of the uproar that Anne Rice went through when fans were in an uproar about the casting of Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise in “Interview With a Vampire” – she remarked that however the film turned out, Hollywood can do nothing to the book. It will always be on the shelf, exactly the way the fans found it. Same thing here – my well-worn Chandler paperbacks will still be there, even if Clive Owen lays a big fat egg on the screen.

    But I can still bitch about it.

  3. Oh, and “Sound of Thunder” was AWFUL. I’ve seen Sci-Fi originals that were done better. “Mansquito”, for example. Or “Frankenfish”.

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