Some of you will remember pieces of this post from last year. Bug played at Cannes in May '06, winning an international critics prize, and was scheduled to arrive stateside in December. Lions Gate mixed up a trailer and then *poof* it was gone from the schedule. But Bug still exists. It's now just marked as "coming soon."
The cropped Avedon photo to your left [NSFW version] ran in the New Yorker back when Bug was a word-of-mouth sensation Off Broadway. What I love about this photo is the way it catches so much of Bug the play; the exposed actors (not just physically, mind you) and the paranoid hostility projected from its insular love affair.
The story of Bug involves a down on her luck woman (Ashley Judd in de-glam mode --calling all AMPAS voters --taking on the role originated by Shannon Cochran, in the photo here) hiding out from her estranged ex-con husband (Harry Connick Jr) and falling in with a sweet stranger (Michael Shannon) who she hopes will protect her. The play starts off grounded and gritty but lifts off into the surreal in the second act. Bug's memorable narrative force might have indeed made for a corker of a film but the intense lunatic vibe of its second half was so rooted in theatricality (and close quarters with the audience) that I scratch my head wondering how William Friedkin transferred it to the screen. I hope he got his 70s Exorcist powers back. Certainly he'll have to go without the nudity the play used effectively. The central duo will have to give extremely naked performances to do full justice to the unraveling souls of Bug.
So what I wanted to ask my blogbuddies is this: If you've seen the play how do you imagine it faring without the nudity? Ashley Judd: true actor or washed up celebrity?
Gabriel: I can comment on the play, which was one of my top ten of the year in 2004. It'll be fine without the nudity...the play is a psychological torment, so what's most important is the sense of claustrophic fear. I love the play, and love that they kept Michael Shannon for the movie...he was amazing on stage. My biggest fear: that Ashley Judd screwed it all up.
Joe: I think Ashley Judd has shown us before that she’s a real actress capable of serious and impressive work. It’s just been a matter, lately, of her not seeking (actively avoiding) quality material. Well, okay, Ash. You’ve made your money. Now it’s back to making movies. I like that this looks like something she can dive right into, creatively.
Lulu: Oooh. Gosh. Golly. What's that scent? Eau de Trainwreque? But I will eat a bug if I turn out to be wrong. (Heard it here first)
Nathaniel: Bon appetit. I doubt we're talking trainwreque ;) the source material is very strong. I'm just worried they didn't do it full justice.
JA: All of my excitement about Bug comes from Nathaniel, and what he's said about the play, so Nat, this one lay totally on you! You better not let me down!
Nathaniel: the pressure. the pressure.
JA: Ashley Judd I have no opinions on, good or bad. The only film I've ever seen her in is Heat and she was in that for maybe 10 minutes of screentime. Then she went and made a 12-hour miniseries where she was a drunk cop tangled up with a murderer and Morgan Freeman, right?
Nathaniel: Something like that, yes. How about the readers: any interest in the psychological horrors of Bug? And your verdict on Ashley Judd as an actor?
previously on "we can't wait"
#13 Southland Tales
#15 Hot Fuzz
#17 The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
#18 Spider-Man 3
#20 The Bourne Ultimatum
Intro -films that didn't make the list
tags: Michael Shannon, Bug, Ashley Judd, theater, theatre, Harry Connick Jr