Who is good enough for Nora Charles?
I am fond of old romantic movies, which may be surprising, since my heart is made of roofing tar and ashes. But I do love them, I really do. To Have and Have Not, Love in the Afternoon, Roman Holiday, To Catch a Thief, Bringing up Baby, His Girl Friday, and my all-time favorite, The Thin Man. When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be Nora Charles, the smart, sarcastic heroine played by Myrna Loy. She was so elegant and sophisticated and witty, and always kept her PI husband, Nick (William Powell, object of my twelve year old crush), on his toes. And surprisingly, being a huge fan of the 1934 movie, I’m not put off by the idea of a remake starring Johnny Depp as Nick Charles. Again, I get it if you’re over Depp, but he’s still a favorite of mine and besides, here at last is the long-awaited “normal” role you’ve all been wanting for him. Let’s just hope it turns out more Chocolat less The Tourist.
But now we have to cast a new Nora Charles. If I had absolutely any pick in the world, I’d say one of two ladies could play the socialite sleuth: Cate Blanchett or Aisha Tyler. I would love it so much if Tyler was cast as Nora. She’s sharp, smart and gorgeous—everything that Nora is. But we have the shortlist—which is rather long—of actresses up for the role of Nora and, well, Tyler doesn’t fit the standard, apparently (when are we going stop thinking everything has to look like it did eighty years ago?). The eight actresses being considered to star opposite Depp are Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Isla Fisher, Eva Green, Carey Mulligan, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz and Kristen Wiig.
So since this is the group we’re working with, let’s handicap their odds.
Emma Stone and Carey Mulligan are too young, at 20+ years younger than Depp. It would be creepy and weird regardless of how good they could potentially be, which in Stone’s case, is quite good, but Mulligan lacks hard edges, so I’m not convinced she’s a good choice in the first place. Nora is no will-o-the-wisp. So they’re the long shots at 30-1.
Kristen Wiig is an interesting choice, easily the most intriguing on this list, and she has more range than just “funny girl” (see also: All Good Things), so she could handle the more dramatic elements of the story. But she’s still got pretty long odds at, say, 25-1.
Eva Green benefits from just having worked with Depp, and maybe possibly getting along with him too well, but she doesn’t really have the name recognition such a high profile project would be looking for, and where Mulligan lacks edges, Green’s edges might be too hard. I’ll give her odds at 17-1.
Next up is Amla Fishdams, Amy Adams + Isla Fisher, because they are the same person, sassy redheads both. Definitely more reasonable options than the too-young Stone and Adams has Oscar prestige to match up with Depp’s, while Fisher is a genuinely gifted comedienne. Let’s put them at 12-1.
Which brings us to the two most likely choices: Rachel Weisz and Emily Blunt. Blunt is still a shade too young for Depp, but—and I am not saying she looks old—she can play older. Physically, I can see Blunt as Nora very easily. But she also suffers from the name recognition issue, and while she’s been poised to land one of these ripe roles for ages, the competition from Weisz is stiff. Weisz is the obvious choice, and the most likely favorite. Remember her in The Mummy? That’s not too terribly far off from Nora. She could definitely get the job done but…it just doesn’t feel like as fresh a choice as say, Kristen Wiig. I’ll handicap Blunt and Weisz at 7-1 and 3-1, respectively.
The Thin Man remake is happening, and it’s happening with The Depp. We don’t get a say in that. But we can fight over which of these ladies should be our new Nora Charles, and what some more creative casting options would be. So, who’s your Nora?