Monday, June 3, 2013

Diane Radycki's "Paula Modersohn-Becker"

Diane Radycki is associate professor of art history at Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She served as editor and translator of The Letters and Journals of Paula Modersohn-Becker.

Here Radycki dreamcasts--with some help from her friends--an adaptation of her new book, Paula Modersohn-Becker: The First Modern Woman Artist:
Main characters:

1) the painter Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876-1907);

2) her best friend the sculptor Clara Westhoff (1878-1954);

3) Clara’s husband, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926); and

4) Paula’s husband, the landscape painter Otto Modersohn (1865-1943).

Setting: the turn of the century, an artist colony in the north German moors and the artist quarter of Montparnasse in Paris.

On Saturday May 18, 2013 at my book party I asked my guests to help cast the book as a film. Here are some of the suggestions:

BB writes, “Susan Sarandon for Clara! Christophe Waltz for Otto.”

Barbara K writes, “Cast doesn’t matter as long as the 3-D glasses work well.”

Beverly S writes, “Barbara Sukowa, from the movie about Hannah Arendt.”

Cleo K writes, “Vanessa Hudgens for Paula and Ellen Page for Clara. Justin Timberlake  for Rilke and Johnny Depp for Otto.”

Donna M writes, “Liv Tyler?” [John C writes, “OK, Donna came up with Angelina Jolie—but it was my idea to write it down!”]

Doug B says, “Lena Dunham for Paula!”

Grace G-P writes, “Keira Knightley as Clara and Jude Law for Otto [Kate C seconds Jude Law].”

Kate C writes, “I love Emma Watson, Emma Stone & Anna Kendrick [Claire P seconds Anna Kendrick], but they are super skinny. I do enjoy Jennifer Lawrence a lot. . . . Maybe Carey Mulligan can work on her American accent.”

Marc P writes, “Brad Pitt for Rilke.”

Phillip L says, “Margarethe von Trotta would be a good candidate to direct. She works with Barbara Sukowa a lot.”

Anonymous writes, “For Paula, I think Drew Barrymore. She is a bit old, but she could “become” older, she’s very poetic and has produced/directed. Otto should be a blond—actually Brad Pitt might be OK. For Rilke, I would say Justin Timberlake, who is a bit old for the part but can look younger and is himself a writer.”

Smiley Face scribbles, “I think Diane should play Paula because no one else could do her justice!”

To be true to the physical characteristics of the people portrayed, I personally think that Paula—who was not skinny—could be played by Anna Maxwell Martin (or Lena Dunham) and her austere older husband Otto by Jude Law; while tall and dark Clara could be played by Keira Knightley or Liv Tyler; while Rilke—who was shorter than his wife and delicate—by Elijah Wood.
Learn more about Paula Modersohn-Becker: The First Modern Woman Artist at the Yale University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue