The phone rings. It’s Hollywood calling. They want to bring an Emilie Loring novel to the silver screen for the first time, and as an Emilie Loring expert, you’re asked to weigh in on the cast. You can have any actors from any time periods. Who do you see in your movie?
Here are some of my picks.
Emilie Loring’s leading ladies are fresh, wholesome, and smart. Optimistic more than cynical, beautiful but not vain, neither pushovers nor clinging vines.
“You’re the kind that makes a man straighten his tie and a female slick her hair when you heave in sight.” Here Comes the Sun!
I love Katharine Hepburn and Claudette Colbert, Julia Roberts and Reneé Zellweger, but I couldn’t find roles that were right for them. But Irene Dunne? She could play most of Emilie Loring’s leading-lady roles. Lovely, vivacious, comedic, romantic, and with plenty of brains inside her pretty head. Watch “My Favorite Wife,” and you’ll see what I mean.
Starring in High of Heart, Give Me One Summer, Across the Years, Today Is Yours and Where Beauty Dwells:
Unselfconsciously handsome, purposeful and decisive, these men are controlled but capable of passion, honorable and steady, good sports with a sense of humor.
Cary Grant could play Mac Cameron in Where Beauty Dwells (“Lady, you are in a fix.”), but he is one of the few with the presence to portray stalwart Michael Farr in We Ride the Gale!
My all-purpose leading man for an Emilie Loring story, though, is Gregory Peck. (Think “Roman Holiday.”) His voice, carriage, and manner are perfect. His hair even has a “rebellious kink” above the ears.
No use deceiving herself. She had definitely decided on a spinster career when along came a man with tender eyes and a heart-warming laugh and she had fallen at his feet, figuratively speaking. Love Came Laughing By
The vixen–and her mother
Blonde, sultry and scheming are the requirements for Emilie Loring’s bad girls. I’m sure there are more candidates, but once I found Lana Turner–and Agnes Moorhead for her mother–I was satisfied.
The childhood buddy–her brother or the guy next door
How good looking he was! He radiated a sort of mischievous gusto, as if life were an amusing show in which he was cast for the part of comedian. Fair Tomorrow
“Keep on feeling secure with Billy and me. We’ll stand guard over the Sleeping Beauty till her Prince Charming arrives.” Here Comes the Sun!
The nice guy she turns down
These could have been the leading men–if they weren’t up against our heroes. Not a thing wrong with them (once Ned has his comeuppance), but they aren’t the one.
The bad-boy charmer
If only they had better characters. These men are handsome but vain, charming but manipulative, and ambitious for themselves alone. Without the smirk, they might have been leading-man material.
Her mom and dad
Her parents were charming, with an up to the minute knowledge of world happenings, politics, books, music, art and sports. They had hosts of friends. They were so good-looking that eyes turned to gaze at them as they passed… As Long As I Live
The wise, older woman
Mrs. Shaw was a woman who had known what she wanted and had gone after it through the years.
“Things will straighten out. Things have a marvelous, unbelievable way of straightening out.” As Long As I Live
And who plays Emilie Loring when her biography, Happy Landings, comes to the silver screen?
The answer to that is always Meryl Streep, right? She’s a good fit here–smart, confident, nuanced, doesn’t say all that she thinks. Julie Andrews brings endless optimism, effervescent humor, and unflappability. Roll them into one, add a theatrical background, approachability, and double-down on a youthful outlook, and you get Angela Lansbury, who also looks just a wee bit like our author.
I’d pay good money to see these movies!
But you got the phone call. Who would you cast? And which book would you choose?