The Piano (1993)
Cast suggestions: I have not yet seen The Piano but I did just order it from Netflix so I’m very excited to actually get to see what I read. That being said I didn’t get to see how Holly Hunter played Ada McGrath, but I do know her from other films. Her face is extremely expressive, which the character needs to be since she cannot speak.
I picture Cate Blanchett taking on the role of Ada. Her face is very stoic and she is able to play a variety of roles. Not to mention the fact that she was made for period pieces and The Piano is definitely one! As far as her acting abilities are concerned I think she would be perfect for the part… especially after seeing her in Elizabeth. The only problem as far as a physical standpoint would be that Blanchett is tall and Ada is described as being stunted… but I’m sure there would be ways to mask that through cinematography.
For Ada’s daughter, Flora I immediately saw a young Kirsten Dunst! Seeing her in Interview with the Vampire makes the choice a sound one. She can play very powerful roles and seems mature on film. Just like when she played Claudia I think she could make Flora very witty and almost manipulative.
As far as director notes, I think Jane Campion should have incorporated more information concerning the atmosphere to a shot/scene. When Stewart and Baines are walking up with the native people from New Zealand it seems very abrupt and choppy. Instead of showing the mother and daughter in their makeshift tent and then going to another shot of the men walking towards the beach I would maybe have a shot from inside the tent showing the silhouette of people’s legs and feet. I feel like the two worlds should definitely be integrated.
On occasion there was a note suggesting piano music to be playing in the background. I would keep this suggestion but have it be more involved in the story. Since Ada cannot speak music could be played over her signing to her daughter.
Themes: In the beginning of the screenplay I found out that Ada is having an arranged marriage. I would have loved to see more/read more about Ada and her daughter’s life back in their native country. I also have to admit that I thought it was very strange that her father was setting her up for marriage after she has already been married and had a daughter with her late husband. Since it doesn’t seem like a very realistic subject (especially during the Victorian times) it should have some supporting scenes.