Hypothetical Action Heroine Movie

Every now and again, the meme below shows up on Facebook.  (I think it’s originally from Tumblr.)

Jeremy Renner Bourne Ultimatum I reposted it on my FB page, and some friends and I got into a fantasy casting game.

Do action movies know they can have more than one female character?

Someone should make an action movie with all girls except for one guy and have no explanation or mention of it in the movie and then pay all of the actors to act surprised like they’d never noticed when they get the inevitable storm of questions.

This one male must have a shower scene, be saved by the protagonist at least once, and fall in love with a lead female.

Also these women all need to be capable of both kicking ass and killing people with guns as well as cleaning up nicely and doing recon at a charity event while the one male character seduces a rich person.

I petition this male character is played by Jeremy Renner.

AD:  I petition for the female lead to be played by Claudia Christian.

Claudia Christian
SM:  How about Gina Torres as her sidekick?
Gina Torres
LM:  And Michelle Forbes is the leader of whatever group these women belong to.
Michelle Forbes
SM: My son suggests Dame Maggie Smith, as a field agent, not as the agency’s director.
Maggie Smith
SM: My husband suggests Renée Felice Smith as one of the agents.

SM: I concur with his suggestion and would add Katharine McPhee (who must, at some point in the movie, sing as part of her cover).

 Katharine McPhee
SM: The bad guys should be a mother/daughter team: France Nuyen as the leader of KAOS or Smersh or Thrush or whatever;
France Nuyen St. Elsewhere
Jadyn Wong as her top field agent (who we don’t learn is her daughter until halfway through the film).
AD: And Grace Park, somehow. With a nice, meaty role, to show CBS what they let get away.

SM: She should be a good guy. It would look bad if all the villains were Asian or Eurasian.

 Grace-Park w rifle
 LM:  Michelle Gomez would make a great baddie too.
Michelle Gomez
 JL:  Angela Bassett and Nicole Beharie MUST be in this movie!
Angela Bassett
CK: Jeremy Renner? I can’t say “meh” hard enough.

Jeremy Renner Wind River

Also, where is Olivia Spencer in this cast?

SM:  You’re male. Renner is beefcake for the ladies, not for the menfolk.
Olivia (Potluck) Spencer or Olivia (Flushed) Spencer? There appear to be two.
Olivia Spencer (Flushed)
 (Although I could only find a picture of the one in Flushed).
CK: I meant Octavia Spencer, in fact. I would enjoy seeing her pistol-whipping bozos who tread on her very last nerve.
Octavia Spencer TBBT
 SM: After seeing Thor: Ragnarok, I want to add Tessa Thompson to the list of secret agents.Tessa Thompson Thor Ragnarok
JB:  Renner would totally do it.
Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye
SM: Okay, we have the casting. Now we need a plot.

JL suggested this was similar to the Ghostbusters reboot.  JB said it reminded him of the Charlie’s Angels movies (not the ’70s TV show).

So Michelle Forbes (Ensign Ro Laren from Star Trek: The Next Generation) is leader of an alphabet soup agency headquartered in Washington or New York City. or Los Angeles.  Her agency has several response teams, with male and female agents.  This particular team has more women than men; other teams are more equally divided.
Claudia Christian (Susan Ivanova from Babylon 5 is team leader, with Gina Torres (Zoe Washburn from Firefly) as her number two.  Other team members include Dame Maggie Smith (Minerva McGonagall from the Harry Potter movies) as an experienced agent who refuses to retire, Renée Felice Smith (Nell Jones from NCIS: LA), Katharine McPhee (Paige Dineen from Scorpion),  Octavia Spencer (Dorothy Vaughan from Hidden Figures) and Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton from The Avengers). A seven-person team fits into the basic storyteller six-pack with very little trouble.
Renner’s character needs vital information from a multi-millionaire industrialist, so he must seduce Angela Bassett (Queen Ramonda in Black Panther) and/or her daughter Nicole Beharie (Abbie Mills in Sleepy Hollow) to get it.  He is uncomfortable doing so, because of his crush on Claudia Christian’s character.
Michelle Gomez (Missy in Doctor Who) is the leader of another alphabet soup agency, more a rival than an antagonist.  Her top agents are Grace Park (Kono Kalakaua in Hawaii 5-0) and Tessa Thompson (Charlotte Hale in Westworld).  Perhaps her token male agent is Tom Hiddleston (Loki in The Avengers).  Perhaps she’s the head of a British or international organization and Forbes’ character is the head of an American agency.  But she and her people are after the same thing that Claudia Christian’s team  is after.
Loki in Thor Ragnarok
France Nuyen (Elaan of Troyius from Star Trek) is the leader of a mercenary operation,  She’s not out to rule the world (too much paperwork) or to put her nation at the top of the global food chain.  (She is completely devoid of patriotism.)  She just wants to make a profit and has very few scruples how she does so.  Her best field agent (and daughter) is Jadyn Wong (Happy Quinn from Scorpion).  They are no relation to Grace Park’s character.  There are millions of Asians in the world and not all  of them are related, or even from the same country.
I would love to use Ellie Botterill (Princess Theodora from A Crown for Christmas) in this hypothetical movie, either as a kidnapped child genius, or a runaway princess,  or Gomez’s daughter or Dame Maggie’s granddaughter.
ellie botterill
What is the MacGuffin?  What are all these spies and mercenaries trying to find?  Who are the characters?  Yes, fantasy casting gives you faces and voices, but what are their personalities and skill sets?  Just because Renée Felice Smith plays a computer expert on her current show doesn’t mean she might not be the linguist or the medic on this team.  Renner might be the hacker  instead of the marksman. Is Dame Maggie Smith’s character an Englishwoman on an American spy squad, or is she a Texan who fakes a really good British accent?  Was she, perhaps, an English spy who married an American spy, and was she once Gomez’ mentor before coming to the US with her husband?
This is a better outline than most of my writing projects have.  All we have to do is flesh out a few measly details, write a script, and find a generous patron willing to provide the money to produce.  Easy-peasy.
collage-2017-12-27 (1)
Disclaimer:  the photographic images were borrowed from or Google Images.  There is no intent to defraud the photographers.  This blog is an amateur writing exercise, and no profit has been made from it (nor is likely to be made from it.)  I made the collage above, using

I’m A Movie Star!

Last weekend my husband, daughter, and I were extras in a movie that was filming in our area.  It’s called Time Boys, and it should be released next summer.


Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing, tree, outdoor and nature

The movie is written and directed by Randall Terry.  He’s a documentary maker; this is his first narrative feature.  Mr. Terry also plays Josiah O’Neil, a widowed inventor.

We were extras in the county fair scene set in 1908.

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing, people sitting, beard, tree and outdoor

Here’s my husband with Johnny McPhail, who plays the richest man in town.  His real life wife, Susan McPhail, played Miss Violet, a friend of the O’Neil family.  The “time boys” of the title were played by Mr. Terry’s real life sons.

My husband was assigned to the Civil War memorabilia booth, and he showed off various artifacts from the War Between the States to other extras who were playing fairgoers.  I spent most of my time sitting on a hay bale, clapping along to the music as the Dickens Dancers danced the Virginia Reel.  My daughter wound up joining the dancers.  She’d learned the Virginia Reel from watching Felicity, and filled in when one of the dancers had to go home early.

Josiah (or was it Joshua?) O’Neil is a widowed inventor who is trying to make a time machine.  He wants to go back in time to save his wife.  Somehow, his sons go forward to 2016 and must figure out how to get back to 1908.  This will be a family-friendly film, G or PG, with no more violence than juvenile fisticuffs and no foul language.

There was a lot of hurry up and wait, and we got a little sunburned, but it was fun.  We were fed.  We met some nice people.  We learned a little bit about movie making.  (When they say “quiet on the set,” they aren’t kidding.)  It took a day and a half to film what will only be a few minutes of movie.  I’m looking forward to seeing the movie when it’s released next summer.

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, outdoor and text

Hidden Figures

Minor Spoilers: proceed at your own risk.

Hidden Figures is the best movie I’ve seen so far this year, and  it deserves to win a few Oscars.

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Hidden Figures tells the story of three African-American women who worked for NASA in the early days of the space program. Taraji P. Henson from Person of Interest and Empire plays Katherine Goble Johnson, a brilliant mathematician. The real Dr. Johnson celebrated her 98th birthday last summer and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.  Octavia Spencer plays Dorothy Vaughn, unofficial supervisor of the “Colored Computers” pool, who has the duties of a supervisor, but neither the pay nor the title.  Janelle Monáe plays Mary Jackson, a mathematician whose supervisor wants her to train to be an engineer … something impossible for a Negress in Virginia in the 1960s.

Hidden Figures is a movie about overcoming prejudice.  Hidden Figures is a love story between a handsome colonel and a beautiful mathematician.  Hidden Figures is a portrait of the problems of working mothers (both single mothers and women with husbands to help them). Hidden Figures is a window into the past, to a time not very long ago, but very different.

Image result for google images hidden figures  Related image

The Colored Computers meet John Glenn.    Dorothy, Katherine, and Mary at a chuch picnic

[Images via Fox 2000]

It’s important as a glimpse into the past:  Mrs. Vaughn being escorted from the public library when she goes into the white section instead of the colored section, white and colored water fountains, segregated busing, segregated bathrooms, dial telephones, a courting couple waiting until they’ve known each other for months before their first kiss, computers being a new, strange, and incredibly bulky thing.  For the modern generation, who’ve gotten working calculators as Happy Meal toys, the lack of electronic computers may be the hardest thing to comprehend.

Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves, The Untouchables) does a great job as Al Harrison, Katherine’s boss, who desegregates the bathrooms when he learns the reason Katherine takes such long breaks is because the nearest Colored Women’s bathroom is in another building, half a mile away.  Jim Parsons (Big Bang Theory) plays engineer Paul Stafford, who looks down on Katherine not only because she’s Colored, but because she’s only a computer. Astronaut John Glenn is portrayed by Glen Powell, who looks at Katherine as though he’s fallen in love when she solves a complicated equation in front of him, and when the new IBM computer has problems, he requests that she double-check its math. Mahershala Ali plays Colonel Jim Johnson, the man who falls in love with Katherine, and Aldis Hodge from Leverage plays Mary’s husband, Levi Jackson.

Katherine JohnsonKatherine G. Johnson [Image via NASA]

Hidden Figures is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen, and I cannot recommend it too highly. If you’re a parent, you may want to set the stage for your children by explaining some of the background first.  You’ll definitely want to discuss it with them afterwards.  I can’t wait until this comes out on DVD, because I want to own this one, and I’m definitely going to the library to see if they have the book it’s based on, Hidden Figures:  The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, by  Margot Lee Shetterly.




Tammy Grimes, Broadway’s Molly Brown and The Last Unicorn’s Molly Grue, Dead at 82

Actress-singer Tammy Grimes died Sunday, October 30, 2016, in Englewood, New Jersey. She was 82.  Her theatrical career spanned — and soared — over half a century.  Her two most celebrated roles were as the unsinkable Molly Brown on Broadway and as the voice of Molly Grue in the animated feature The Last Unicorn.

Tammy Grimes was a star of the legitimate theater, but far from unknown in movies, television, cabaret performances, and doing voice-overs.  She recorded several record albums.  She won two Tony Awards, one for originating the role of Molly Brown on Broadway, a part Debbie Reynolds played in the movie version, and one for starring in Noël Coward’s play Private Lives.  She also won an Obie Award for her performance in Clerambard and a Theatre World Award for her work in Look After Lulu!  She was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2003.

Tammy Grimes worked with a variety of co-stars and playwrights.  Noël Coward discovered her in a New York cabaret, and insisted she star in several of his plays.  She performed in plays by William Shakespeare and Neil Simon.  She guest-starred on TV shows as diverse as Love American Style, Route 66, The Danny Kaye Show, Tarzan, The Love Boat, and The Young Riders.  She turned down the chance to play Samantha Stevens on Bewitched (a role which went instead to Elizabeth Montgomery) to concentrate on her stage career.

Tammy Grimes acted in mystery, horror, and comedy movies, co-starring over the years with David McCallum, Eddie Albert, William Shatner, Steve Guttenberg, Bernadette Peters, Muppets, mice, and unicorns.

Her fantasy/science fiction roles include:

  • Mrs. Pinder in The Horror at 37,000 Feet (1973)
  • Homily Clock in The Borrowers (1973)
  • Albert in ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (1974)
  • Narrator in The Lord of the Rings (radio version, 1981)
  • Molly Grue in The Last Unicorn (1982)
  • Catrina in My Little Pony: Escape from Catrina (1985)

Because of her aristocratic accent, she was often cast to play royalty or nobility.  Like Katherine Hepburn, Tammy Grimes was taught to speak in the Mid-Atlantic Accent, the American version of British Received Pronunciation beloved by Hollywood, in a girls’ boarding school.

  • Lady Joan Mellon in Arthur? Arthur! (1969)
  • Princess in The Practical Princess (1980)
  • Princess in The Incredible Book Escape (1980)
  • Queen Mother Estelle in Royal Match (1985)

Although many fans assumed she was British because of her accent, Tammy Grimes was born in Lynn, Massachusetts on January 30, 1934. She attended Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, where she was taught to speak with a Mid-Atlantic Accent, the American version of the British Received Pronunciation that was so popular in Hollywood from the 1930s to the 1950s. She graduated from Stephens College, an all-female school in Columbia, Missouri, before going to New York City to pursue an acting career.

Tammy Grimes was thrice married, twice to actors and once to a composer.  Her marriages to actor Christopher Plummer, CC, and Jeremy Slate were brief, ending in divorce.  Her marriage to composer Richard Bell lasted from their wedding in 1971 to his death in 2005.  She had only one child, award-winning actress Amanda Plummer.  She is survived by her daughter, her brother Nick Grimes, and her nephew Duncan MacArthur.

Tammy Lee Grimes (January 30, 1934 – October 30, 2016)  RIP

Are You Looking Forward to MARY POPPINS RETURNS?

Hollywood these days seems far more interested in remakes and reboots than in original films and TV shows.  December 25, 2018, Disney will be releasing a sequel to its beloved classic Mary Poppins.  The new movie is called Mary Poppins Returns, and it’s due for a Christmas release in 2018.

As I reported in The Inquisitr this summer, the sequel will star British actress Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins and Tony-winner Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack.

[Image via Fuse TV, from a tweet May 31, 2016]

Neither Emily Blunt nor Lin-Manuel Miranda are strangers to Disney movies. Emily voiced Juliet, the heroine of Gnomeo and Juliet, played Miss Piggy’s receptionist in The Muppets, and starred as the Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods. Lin-Manuel wrote music for Disney’s upcoming 56th animated feature Moana and for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He also played Shag Kava in SW: The Force Awakens and Reggie in The Odd Life of Timothy Green.

Many people don’t realize that P. L. Travers wrote more than one Mary Poppins book, or that the literary version of Mary Poppins is very different from her film counterpart.  From 1934 to 1988 there were NINE Mary Poppins books, including one cookbook. As shown in the Disney movie Saving Mr. Banks,  P. L. Travers (played by Emma Thompson) was dismayed by the changes Walt Disney (played by Tom Hanks) made.

The new movie will be directed by Rob Marshall, who directed Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.  The songs will be written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, but it’s far from impossible that rapper/actor/singer/songwriter/scriptwriter Dr. Lin-Manuel Miranda might not collaborate with them to add some lyrics or even a new song. David Magee, the scriptwriter for Finding Neverland,  will be writing the script, using Travers’ other Mary Poppins books for material.

Mary Poppins Returns will be set during the Depression. Emily Blunt will recreate the role that won Dame Julie Andrews her Academy Award, the “practically perfect” nanny Mary Poppins, come to help a now grown-up Michael Banks with his children.  Broadway’s darling, Lin-Manuel Miranda, will be playing Jack, a lamplighter.

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[Meme via Google Images, original images via Disney]

Mary Poppins, being both magical and “practically perfect in every way,” will (of course) not age from the 1964 Academy Award-winning movie to the sequel in 2018.  Some fans think this is because Mary Poppins, like the Doctor, is actually a Time Lord.  There are several stories at exploring this possibility, including one where Mary Poppins is the Doctor’s older sister.  Do you think Mary Poppins is from Gallifrey, or do you think she’s a graduate of Hogwarts?

Are you looking forward to seeing Mary Poppins return to London?

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