Wednesday, November 11, 2009

If you could...

...direct one actor/actress in a dramatic breakdown scene, who would it be? Set the scene for us in the comments.

30 comments:

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

Eeek. God Nathaniel…good question. So I’ll cheat.

Because [repressed] Brits need to break down more I’ll see

JUDE LAW: Philandering husband someone, though he’s not exactly unloving. Wife dies, imperceptibly or unconsciously he caused it. Say he was supposed to be home and robbers gunned her down. Something akin. He comes home to find the police etc and gets the news and he totally freaks out. That would be very sad. But nice to watch.

OR

HELENA BONHAM CARTER: Because she rarely [has she ever?] broken down on screen. She’s in a car crash with her son. She’s in a coma, her son dies and she wakes from the coma to find this out and she goes bonkers. Maybe she’ll attempt suicide too. Okay this is sounding weird. I’ll rethink HBC, but I’m sold on Jude at the moment.

Fernando Moss said...

Just one? Damn, that's hard... It will take me a while to make my choice...

Alex said...

If I had my way in the world, I would direct Allison Janney in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" That whole play is one single prolonged dramatic breakdown for Martha. Alec Baldwin would be her George.

Anonymous said...

Just one? Christ, u're making it hard for me...

I do love to see Nicole Kidman break down, in that subdued but ferocious way of hers. But I'd be interested in seeing someone who's usually well-behaved. I dream of witnessing Julia Roberts break down. I'm talking sobbing, nasal mucus, the works..

I still think Juliette Binoche is the queen of the quiet nervous breakdown. She just looks so beautiful when she cries.

Drew said...

Marcia Gay Harden or Michelle Forbes probably. They both often play very aggressive, outward parts and I'd love to see them start with fury and then absolutely lose it.

Although I must say Tilda Swinton is miraculous when she emotionally implodes on screen. I honestly cannot wait until Julia gets some sort of release in Aus.

Marsha Mason said...

Okay, I want to direct Meryl Streep as Glenn Beck, breaking down circa 2015 after realizing he sowed the seeds for the rabidly reactionary resentment-class groupthink which crescendoed into World War 3. I know post-apocalypse has been overdone, but the picture is incomplete w/o one that includes Glenn Beck.

And figuring out how to go the right amount over the top would be high-wire stuff for sure. Meryl needs a challenge.

Glenn said...

Nicole Kidman!

Glendon said...

I would love to direct Nicolas Cage in Durang's The Actor's Nightmare, especially the last scene. It's dark and surreal enough that he could excel in something like that.

Brook Brooks said...

Maggie Cheung. Because an actress as sphinxlike as her needs a good breakdown in her career.

julianstark said...

Robert Downey, Jr. - Favorite actor. Would love to see him in a breakdown scene...

Anonymous said...

Julianne Moore !
abusolutely her ~

Anonymous said...

Julianne Moore !
abusolutely her ~

The Know Nothing Know It All said...

Sarah Polley. No hesitations, no second guesses. I'd love to play her withdrawn and tacit for the bulk of the movie, then have her breakdown at the end. I wish she worked more often.

Cristhian said...

Nobody cries better than Juliette Binoche. Just imagine her being directed by Lars Von Trier. She'll play a capricious wife whose been struck by sudden poverty because of debt, kinda like an actualization of Madame Bovary but in the raw style of a Von Trier movie.

notanotherblog said...

Helen Mirren, breaking down a la Gosford Park.

Iggy said...

Movies talking movies theme.

Morgan Freeman is on his knees, sobbing and weeping uncontrollably while he's hugging her daughter's legs (Viola Davis)so tight she can't move. Her daughter stares at him coldly, subtly showing repugnance mixed with some mercy and holding a gun in her hand. This scene comes just after confessing he's killed his wife (casting is open for this part)after sharing a whole life marked by their stormy relationship. The triggerer for the murder came after the now deceased wife decided to hide the last Paul Hagis script to be directed by Clint Eastwood, from her husband.

The camera starts to get away from the actors while Freeman is still pathetically sobbing.

Fade to black. Audible gunshot. Credits start to roll.

Jim T said...

Laura Linney. Her husband informs her that John (a friend of the family who is 26 years old) just got engaged. But.. John was Laura's lover until one week ago. She is devastated but she is trying to hide it and act "so happy for him". A tear fell at the end of the scene.

Catherine said...

I'm fairly sure I'd be a horrible director, so I'm going for Julianne Moore. I'd just point the camera at her, say "Go" and leave her to her own devices.

NATHANIEL R said...

Catherine -- that'd work! she's had a lot of practice with the screen breakdowns.

Andrew -- Jude breaking down. But we shouldn't punish him for having sex onscreen. He should always be having sex scenes.

Brook -- EXCELLENT choice. masks cracking are beauteous things. Although in a way she's very quietly breaking down in In the Mood For Love in that breakup scene. gah. what a movie.

mrripley said...

Kate winslet playing lady diana in 2012.breaking down the day b4 she marries knowing Charles does not love her.

Alex said...

Favorite Julianne Moore breakdown: "Magnolia"

Miss Topanga said...

NOT Halle Berry, that's for sure.

Probably Nicole Kidman. She can get pretty intense.

Miss Topanga said...

Also: Maria Bello.

Morgan said...

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, for sure. Something really self-righteous, Don Draper style (Mad Men on the brain much?).

billybil said...

George Clooney - perfect man - married, successful, admired, rich in an extremely conservative arena - finds himself in love with another man. How did this happen?!?! There are feelings and thoughts and behaviors he's never imagined he could have tumbling all over each other when he's with this man. We see several scenes in which all the spectrums of Mr. Clooney's considerable charms are bestowed upon this man; in which the care and fun and adoration these two men feel for each other blossoms across the screen. And, yes, once, in a beautifully romantic scene, he is actually WITH this man - just the once.

BUT...of course, never again. It cannot be. His character has won too much, accomplished too much, invested too much to lose it all just to be with another man.

Close on Mr. Clooney's face. It starts quietly, a simple scene in which he says goodbye to this man he desires so much, he tells this man that they must never see each other again, that it just can't be, and, after one, last gentle kiss, the other man leaves with tears in his eyes.

Then, after a moment's pause, the meltdown begins. Slowly Mr. Clooney's eyes fill with tears, they begin to overflow down his face, then, sooner than we might expect, he begins to sob - huge, heart-wrenching sobs. He sobs for a while, exhausting himself with misery and regret.

Then, after we've all had our catharsis, George's character pulls himself together and gently leaves the room.

adri said...

Edward Norton. We'd have intense conversations about this breakdown was to be different from other breakdowns he's done in films. How the character would specifically react, how the scene needed to play in context with the film as a whole.

Then I'd sit back and let him direct himself in yet another great character delineation. Then everyone would say what a good director I was at getting good performances out of actors, and working with "difficult" actors. Win/win.

Ripley said...

Johnny Depp. No specific scene in mind, but he's usually so zen in movies, you have to wonder if all he needs is a good cry.

NATHANIEL R said...

@MISS TOPANGA... "make me feel gooooooood. make me feel goooooood"

@adri ... so you're basically after your own awards!

@billybil... would this have anything to with your own Clooney fantasies?

Luis said...

Wasn't that Clooney scenario played by Dennis Quaid in "Far from heaven"?

Zahir Blue said...

Hmmmm...

Rachel Hurd Wood. IMHO she is a young lady who has rarely gotten to really show her acting "chops" because she's so often cast as the nice ingenue/victim. I'd like to see her in a scene where she breaks down as someone realizes that the villain of the piece is in fact HER and she viciously kills the person who found out.