I begged, I pleaded, I threw myself on the mercy of the gods, imploring that no more musicals infest my life, but the gods merely laughed and said, “No,” as gods are wont to do. And so, I am besieged by musicals, plagued by them, haunted from every aspect by singing specters, tormented by the constant threat of chorus dancers running up the aisles to start the show. Am I to know no peace? Is every corner of my life to be pervaded by saps singing about their stupid crush? Yes, apparently. I am cursed. For behold, not one day after entreating with the universe for respite from this dancing madness, here comes the trailer for Cyrano, a goddamn musical version of Edmond Rostand’s perfectly fine, music-free play.
Directed by Joe Wright, Cyrano stars Hayley Bennett as Roxane, Kelvin Harrison, Jr. as Christian, and Peter Dinklage as Cyrano de Bergerac. As we have come to expect from Wright, Cyrano looks lavish and beautiful, bordering on dreamy. Even when he’s depicting nightmares on screen, as he did so much and in so many ways in Atonement, Wright’s films have a fantastical quality that carry you away within the story. It makes him particularly good at both literary adaptation, as that dreaminess stands in for the experience of active imagining that reading provokes, and well suited for romance, which is in itself a kind of transporting dream. Wright is exactly the guy to do a new adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac.
And let’s face it, Peter Dinklage is GREAT casting for the role of Cyrano. He’s dashing and charming, a bold performer, all things that suit well to the character of Cyrano. And swapping out Cyrano’s exaggerated schnozz for Dinklage’s height is an inspired idea, one that infuses authenticity into Wright’s cinematic dreamscape. Early reports from the film’s debut at Telluride note that his singing is merely adequate, but when has that ever stopped an actor from starring in a movie musical? No, there’s only one issue with Dinklage starring as Cyrano, and that’s when he says to Christian, “And you will make me handsome.” I understand this is the central issue for the character as Rostand wrote him, and I understand the idea of exchanging Cyrano’s famous nose for Dinklage’s real height, but come on. Peter Dinklage is the definition of “classically handsome”. Look at that square jaw, those dimpled cheeks, those windblown curls, that contemplative brow. He’s positively Byronic!
You gotta change that line. It’s LUDICROUS to imply Peter Dinklage is not handsome. He even says it at the beginning of the trailer, the roadblock to openly expressing his love for Roxane is his belief that the world won’t accept “someone like me and a TALL, beautiful woman” (emphasis mine). I just hope the film makes some sense of this. Please don’t expect me to suspend my belief that Peter Dinklage is handsome, because I can’t do it. I will already be taxed to the max going along with all the singing and dancing. Why, oh why, does this have to be a musical?