The New York Post's Page Six — and thus
every other Hollywood gossip blog, so you might have already seen this — is
reporting that Hilary Swank has accepted a role in an upcoming biopic of Amelia Earhart.
Apparently, Swank made the announcement at a party for her Guerlain
fragrance, My Insolence, when her people ducked out of the festivities
to take the call.
I'm excited about the prospect of an Earhart movie — a story can't get much more cinematic in scope — even if I'm a little ambivalent about the casting. Swank does look a little like Earhart:
And having Swank attached to the project is like announcing Oscar ambitions before the filming ever starts.
But I don't know; the movies she's in are good (except for that one) but I can't say I've loved
any of them. And I really want to love this one.
I've always felt a little sorry for Earhart, and not just because she most likely crashed her plane and died. Like Kennedy, or Elvis, or any other famous person whose life ended in what could arguably be
called questionable circumstances, she's now more famous for her death rather than all of her amazing feats. What most people remember her for is
the one thing she failed to do. That's just sad.
Almost every on-screen portrayal of her life is obsessed with her disappearance. Other than a 1976 made-for-TV movie starring Susan Clark, the films about her life include Amelia Earhart: The Final Flight (a 1994 Diane Keaton project of which I have absolutely no memory) and documentaries with an obvious theme:
Great Mysteries and Myths of the Twentieth Century, The Mysteries of Amelia Earhart and The Final Hours: Amelia Earhart's Last
So it's time Earhart's life story was told; I just hope they do it right. “They,” according to ComingSoon.net lists, will be independent filmmakers, so I am both
interested in what an indie approach might look like but also worried.
I agree with Cinematical.com that this project deserves big-budget Hollywood
treatment and promotion. Speaking of aviation movies, here's a
bit of lesbian related trivia. Jane Lynch played Earhart in
The Aviator, but all of her scenes were cut. What's up with
Certainly any Earhart film will have
to deal with her disappearance, but I'm really hoping to see her presented
as the unconventional hero
that she was. This
means showing the young Earhart who liked to “belly-slam” her snow
sled and hunted rats with a .22. And I want to see the out-spoken
adult Earhart, who accepted Congressional awards following her 1932
flight across the Atlantic, but felt the thing to be proud of was proving
women's equality with men in "jobs
requiring intelligence, coordination, speed, coolness and willpower."
If nothing else, I'm hoping that casting someone with Swank's resume
signals that the project is headed this direction.
Although I do admit to curiosity about
how they will end the thing. Will they simply leave her lost at
sea? Or will they hint at some of the more exciting but fairly
fringe theories about her death, like the one that she was a spy for
Roosevelt and ended up a POW of the Japanese? As long as they
pay attention to her life, I'll be happy.