Don’t Do It, Kate: Winslet Signs on to Mildred Pierce

Anglophenia takes a much-needed staycation, and he comes back to George Michael in yet another car crash. The fact that this man still has a license speaks volumes about British law and order.

Oh, and then there’s this mess:

Kate Winslet is attached to Mildred Pierce, a miniseries adaptation based on the James M. Cain novel that Todd Haynes is writing and directing. Sources said HBO is the lead contender to get the series, but pay web sources said no deal has been struck.”

Oh dear. Where does one start? For those who don’t know – and shame on you! – Mildred Pierce is the 1945 film noir starring Joan Crawford as a divorcée desperately trying to provide for her vain, selfish daughter in any way she can. It was the pinnacle of Crawford’s career and won her the Academy Award for Best Actress. And you just know old Joan is in the pits of hell just seething that this upstart heifer Kate Winslet is trying to steal her thunder. I can smell the sulfur.

So why is this such a bad idea? Let me count the ways:

1. Mildred Pierce? Really? They’re really gonna go there? Didn’t Hollywood learn anything from the debacle that was The Women remake? Are we that lacking for good female roles that we’re ransacking the gems of classic film? What next – Rachel Weisz as Scarlett O’Hara?

2. Todd Haynes’ stiff, dreadful Julianne Moore movies Safe and Far From Heaven show he is not the right guy for a movie like this. He’ll leech all of the fun out of it.

3. If Haynes casts Patricia Clarkson in the Eve Arden role, I’m gonna be pissed.

4. And who could play Mildred’s spoiled daughter, Veda, one of the most deliciously bitchy roles in the history of cinema? Only the brilliant Ann Blyth could spin these lines with the correct amount of venom and disdain: “With this money I can get away from you. From you and your chickens and your pies and your kitchens and everything that smells of grease. I can get away from this shack with its cheap furniture. And this town and its dollar days, and its women that wear uniforms and its men that wear overalls.”

5. I’m sick to the point of vomiting of Kate Winslet as a suburban housewife. Talk about typecasting. Is Winslet following Julianne Moore’s career path? (Look how well it has worked out for Julianne Moore.) Where’s the vivid, spontaneous Winslet of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? I miss her.

6. Winslet is the best actress of her generation by far, but really, can she erase these indelible images from our memories?

In other news:

  • Arctic Monkeys fans who “liked stuff like ‘I Bet You Look Good On the Dancefloor’” will be “quite taken aback” by their new album, says the band.(BBC)
  • Get the girl some damn Doan’s, whydoncha: Lily Allen tearfully struggled through back pain while performing a concert in Finland.(Daily Mail)
  • Alfie Allen, Lily’s brother, has joined the cast of the film adaptation of Powder, a novel about the seedier side of rock ‘n’ roll. Johnny Marr will appear in the film, too.
  • Hugh Grant says he wants to quit acting, claiming he suffers from “stage fright” in front of the camera. Well, if he does quit acting, that means more roles for Rupert Everett, right?(Daily Mail)
  • No drug rehab for troubled Kerry Katona.(The Sun)
  • A certain Hollyoaks heroine could die in a parachute mishap.(The Sun)
  • Kelly Osbourne has been cast in the ninth season of Dancing with the Stars.(BBC)
  • Mel B., Spice Girl and Dancing with the Stars runner-up, has joined the UK version of The View, the ITV chat show Loose Women.(Mirror)

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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