Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Other Tom Ford Girl

Remember when this March 2006 Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair made headlines for its racy cover? Since America has far more problems with sex than they do violence, it inevitably raised controversy for its depiction of Keira Knightley and Scarlett Johansson in the buff (even though the magazine opted for a fold out cover that strategically creased just before the big reveal of Scar Jo's bum and wrapped it in plastic so horny readers would have to purchase for gratification).

And then there's...Tom Ford. The renowned fashion designer literally stepped into the picture when planned third model Rachel McAdams stepped out. Reportedly struck with a sudden case of intense modesty, the actress that would have completed Vanity's proposed approach of presenting a trifecta of Hollywood's sexy new actress heavyweigts left the photoshoot with a vacant seat.

All this dirt about the shoot sparked far more controversy within me than a little skin; not only the curious case of McAdams' absence, but also why the magazine would want to invite the girl next door in the first place. While undoubtedly one of the better actresses of her generation, McAdams lacks the eroticism that Knightley and Johansson bring to the table, as she's more of the lovable Julia Roberts type. And not for anything, but if the magazine was interested in profiling to-be-reckoned-with Gen-Y leading ladies, then Natalie Portman should have certainly been the third body on their short list.

The problem is, Portman would have likely hung up the phone. Though loaded with range and unafraid of button-pushing roles (see Closer), the Harvard grad has been known to shun nudity, and in a recent interview, she claimed that her one regret of late was disrobing for Wes Anderson's Darjeeling Limited tie-in short Hotel Chavalier. But I can't help thinking - given the clout and mass appeal of the annual Vanity Hollywood issue - that Portman's inclusion would have been the perfect capper to the installment (rather than a spontaneous, last-minute, fashion-friendly take), as she, Knightley and Johansson are undoubtedly the three most promising female talents of their age bracket.

Now comes The Other Boleyn Girl, which is likely the closest my dream of joining these actresses together will come to being fulfilled unless someone decides to remake The Witches of Eastwick. The film, adapted from the novel by Philippa Gregory of the same name, casts Portman and Johansson as sisters Anne and Mary Boleyn, respectively, who compete for the love of of King Henry VIII (Eric Bana) in 16th century England. The poster, though not as direct in its sexuality as the Vanity mag but filled with perhaps even more innuendo, swaps Bana for Ford, Portman for Knightley, and, I suppose, green for Johansson's derrier:

The ironic thing is that Knightley would have been the best choice out of the three to take part in this period piece from across the pond, she being the only one with an authentic Brit accent. I suppose the semi-passable dialects of the other two (see Girl with a Pearl Earring and V for Vendetta) will keep her there in spirit; and while this trailer doesn't really bode well for the movie (making it appear more episodic than epic), I'll be seeing it just for who's involved. Perhaps Tom Ford will make a cameo appearance.

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