Saturday, May 15, 2010

Update: Leonardo DiCaprio not Matt Damon

Six of one half dozen of the other...After I posted this I started thinking maybe I got confused...the people talking about making McGee are (are you ready?) Leonardo DiCaprio and Oliver Stone--worse than I thought.

(previously and incorrectly--not Damon, DiCaprio but same problem)

Matt Damon's a good actor and can be a funny guy in interviews. So nothing against him but I can't see him as Travis McGee, as the trades are saying he will be.

I'm probably speaking for those of us who started reading the John D. MacDonald McGees as they began appearing in the early Sixties. I can remember how the first three popped up without warning except in the Fawcett-owned Cavalier magazine (when it was a real magazine and not just another t & a outlet).

Now admittedly McGee wasn't my favorite JDM character by a long shot. Ole Trav, as I once said to the irritation of several readers, was a Rotarian's idea of a cool guy. The way he talked about himself could be irritating--always reminding us of how he was "gnarly" and a "knight errant" and so on--but when he wan't lost in his mirror or pontificating on the then-modern world or bedding women to "cure" them of their depression, the JDM craft came through and they were damned good adventure suspense novels. The novels are filled with melancholy for that time; McGee is pretty much disgusted about what he sees in the Sixties. That disgust is the basis for all his sermonizing.

People of younger generations won't have any trouble imagining Matt Damon as McGee. But for older people McGee was a man who had been shaped by the second world war, the bust and boom of the late forties and early fifties and the old fashioned code of macho--very different from the one today.

And what about Meyer? At least he'll still be relevant given his gloomy (and accurate) financial predictions.

I'm seeing car crashes and `splosions and fast-cutting and and sound tracks that threaten trolling o leave you deaf and the kind of heroics McGee never even attempted. In other words another Matt Damon adventure movie off the assembly line with no reverence for the old Gold Medals that spawned it.


Anonymous said...

DiCaprio works for me. In fact, he could be a first-rate McGee.

Steve Scott said...

You said it yourself: "People of younger generations won't have any trouble imagining Matt Damon [or Leonardo DeCaprio]as McGee." Hollywood doesn't make movies for us fossils.

If nothing else, I'm hoping the film will spark a JDM revival and get his non-McGee books back in print.

MP said...

I like Damon a bit more than DiCaprio, but see DiCaprio as a slightly better choice as McGee. If you were going to make the movie and could have any actor you wanted, who would you pick? Without being entirely satisfied with DiCaprio, I really can't come up with anyone substantially better.

Tom Piccirilli said...

They're both just too pretty for taking on the world-weary crustiness of McGee. The man's been battered around some, not just beat up, but living in the salty wind. To my mind, nobody will ever outMcGee Rod Taylor from the film version of Darker than Amber. That was perfect casting.

Ed Gorman said...

Right now my choice would be Josh Brolin. He could bulk up a little and pull it off I think. But I did like Rod Taylor. He came pretty damned close and with a really good script he would've been perfect.

Kenneth Mark Hoover said...

Just another example of Hollywood missing the boat, imo.

Judi Rohrig said...

On the other hand... After seeing the film HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, I headed to the library for Clancy's book. Stopped reading when some the incident for Clancy's PATRIOT GAMES was mentioned and read that book before continuing. Just this past year I dug THE LOVELY BONES out of my to-be-read stack when all the reviews for the film said the book was waaaay better. The reviews were very much correct. Bottom line is ANY film about Travis McGee might drive others (I never assume I'm alone in my habits) to their libraries or bookstores as they first get hooked on McGee's adventures and then the rest of JDM's fine works. Let the shooting begin! NO actor could ever fit in those McGee trunks for me.