Friday, August 26, 2005

"Bee Season"

Did anyone read Myla Goldberg's wonderful novel, Bee Season?

I just googled it and found that they've made a movie of it. My stomach actually lurched when I realized that they changed the character of Chali, a gawky 20-something Hare Krishna guy, to a woman and cast KATE BOSWORTH in the role.
Which means, I'm guessing, that the subplot of teenaged Aaron's religious conversion was deemed too boring -- so they had to add a sexy sub-sub-plot, where Kate Bosworth could look really fetching in an orange robe and bald head and Aaron could become a Hare Krishna not because the religious practices and community truly fed his soul, but because, like, there's this hot chick at the temple. Gads, I hope not.

Also a shock to my system: French beauty JULIETTE BINOCHE as the kleptomaniacal, Brillo-haired, pear-shaped mother, Miriam. I like Juliette Binoche an awful lot, but you know when you have a mental image and the movie casting just shatters it? Like when Rosie O'Donnell was cast as Ole Golly in "Harriet The Spy?" And it so totally should have been Lily Tomlin, who was the only living actor who could do Ole Golly justice?

Like that.

There I was reading the novel and thinking wow, this is a really special story. This is deep stuff about Jewish mysticism and marriage and Krishna consciousness and the painful beauty of family life, but they could never translate it to film. But if they did... they would have to find such totally unknown, fragile, fascinating, unmistakably Jewish actors, and have the best director of all time, and it could be amazing and evocative and get people interested in mysticism.


Blogger rebecca said...

I wasn't sure anyone else had read that book! I enjoyed it. Especially Aaron's religious indecision. It was very honest and unique. (at least compared to other conversion stories I've read)

Blogger PeaceBang said...

I just finished it this afternoon! Very cool, and not what the reviews had been leading me to expect. I don't know what it's like to achieve mystical transcendence but I thought the author did a lovely job of describing it.

Blogger Denise said...

OK I am disgusted. I read this several years ago and cannot believe they changed Chali's gender. I know it's fluid and everything but this is just too much.

You are making this up just to stir things up, right?

Blogger PeaceBang said...

Denise my friend, this I would not make up. KATE BOSWORTH.

Blogger Laura said...

(formerly "martinet"--had to take a blogger name to post comments, and it was already taken)

Loved this book, and was similarly disturbed when I heard about the change in Chali's gender in the film. I think you may be right on about the sad attempt to sex up Aaron's conversion experience, but I also wondered if it was done to remove the potential perception of homosexual undertones? Of course, that was Aaron's immediate reaction to Chali's approach, and I suspect that much of America's filmgoing public (though probably NOT the portion that might go to this movie) would look upon a close friendship between young men, with religion as the primary connector, as somehow suspect.

I wasn't particularly upset about Juliette Binoche's casting, but I was less than thrilled about Richard Gere. I have never understood his appeal in the first place and I just don't see him as earnest enough for Saul.

I did look on the IMDb for the little girl who's playing Eliza (she'd have to be pretty special) and I was pleased with the way she looked, at least. We'll have to see if her acting skill measures up.


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