Hollywood Muses

Movie directors and their muses.

As an occasional filmmaker and full-time film appreciator, I loved this infographic. As someone who constantly chews on the concepts of muses and their power and appeal, I was left wanting more.

First of all, the image made me realize that I wasn’t crazy and that a lot of the movies by these directors start to look the same after awhile–same faces, same style of cinematography, etc. Secondly, it made me realize that there’s something to this whole business of muses, especially in the film industry. There’s something about maintaining a relationship with an artist whose work you love who you can trust to deliver the performance you envision.

I’ve been just shy of outright admitting my muses in the past for fear of sounding obsessed. People sometimes let you get away with that sort of gushing when you’re talking about celebrities, but when you’re talking people you’ve actually met, it gets awkward fast and sometimes sounds borderline stalkery. Therefore, in this list compiling the muses I am willing to admit (some of whom may not be secrets to you), I have omitted the people I know personally. For one thing, that would be very uncomfortable for them. For another, they are not famous (yet), and you would have no idea who I was talking about.

Also, I just want to throw out there that I would probably steal Frances McDormand as a muse if I didn’t think the Cohens would take issue with that.

Evangeline Lilly

I could completely take or leave Lost, and don’t even get me started on her completely made up non-canon elf character in The Desolation of Smaug. All I know is that Evangeline intrigues the crap out of me. The girl is so freaking diverse! The Hurt Locker? Lord of the RingsEt Après? I kind of want her to be in, like, everything and see how she does . . .

Just for starters, I’d like to cast her as a witch, a professional athlete, a single mom, a writer with a club hand, a frigid wife of a Roman senator, a charming and multilingual spy with zero combat training, a tactless spy with the world’s best combat training, a socially awkward woman who helps the disadvantaged because she feels inferior in the “real world,” a stripper, a girl-next-door whose boyfirend is tragically murdered . . . I could go on.

She’s also freaking beautiful.

Troy Baker

I don’ know how long this director-actor relationship would last. I mean, Troy is technically a voice actor, heading up dozens of really solid anime and video game roles, The Last of Us most notably. He impresses me a lot because he’s a skinny blonde guy in his mid-thirties who makes the character of Joel sound (and look! He did the mo-cap for Joel, too) like a super-jaded guy in his fifties.

I can’t help wanting to get him in front of the camera and see him in some gritty roles–drug addiction, messy and/or violent divorce, employment of questionable legality. I guess I’m not thinking of anything too far in tone from what he did in The Last of Us–but more age-appropriate and, you know, with his own face visible instead of some grizzly middle-aged dude.

No offense, Joel. Please, don’t kill me with a baseball bat with scissors stuck in it.


Guillermo Navarro (cinematographer)

Even though I think he (along with one of my all-time favorite directors, Guillermo del Toro, who may fight with me for his muse status) has sold out a bit with movies like Pacific Rim, Hellboy, and (gack!) the Twilight movies, I adore this man’s visual style. Pan’s Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone are stunning–so eerily beautiful.

I will also admit that I absolutely love the feel of Night at the Museum. It just feels fun and carefree and mysterious and dangerous all at once–something which I attribute at least in part to his skills as director of photography.

Emma Thompson

Is there anything this woman doesn’t make beautiful? I haven’t been able to get over the tragically lovely complexity of her character in Saving Mr. Banks.

She is my favorite free spirit and my favorite tortured soul all at the same time. I could work with her for the rest of my life.

Kenneth Branagh

Yes, I know that Emma and Kenneth were married for a while. It’s a total coincidence. What can I say. They were perfect together.

I can’t quite explain why, but I am very eager to see Kenneth in the role of a mentally disturbed character–schizophrenia perhaps, or multiple personality disorder. Ooh oooh! I would cast him in Jekyll and Hyde! Why didn’t I think of this before?

Too bad I’m pretty sure he is already his own muse . . .

Tom Hiddleston

Oh, what fun I would have with Tom as a muse. I meant that way less sketchy than it sounded.

He would automatically land the role of every misunderstood antihero without auditioning. I mean, look at his track record–Thor, Deep Blue Sea, his current National Theatre smash Coriolanus–he is the master of brooding complexity. Of course, I would also have to experiment with throwing him into roles where he was completely good-natured, pure, innocent–naive, even (sort of a la War Horse). You know, just to  keep people in theaters on the edge of their seats, waiting for him to show his dark side but enjoying every beautiful minute that he didn’t.

Also, basically any adaptation of classic literature I ever did would star Tom and Kenneth. If the story requires a female lead, I’m screwed.

How about a Pickwick Papers movie? Or a Lord of the Rings prequel about neglected Tom Bombadil? I could totally make this work!

Are you into filmmaking? Do you ever fantasize about being a major Hollywood director? Who would some of your muses be?

Poem: The Art of Capture

This is a piece I wrote a while back inspired be the issues that I touch on in my last post.

The Art of Capture


Snap and trap it.
Once the shutter falls,
There’s no need to fear
That the shapes and colors of this flash in time–
This one-hundred-twenty-fifth of a second–
This hour–
This day–
Will ever fade
Or fall away.

Every sight and sound–
Even though you don’t have a pen
Or laptop or tablet on you just now–
Let the paragraphs form in your brain.
Never mind if the composition
Takes you far away.
At least you’ll know you caught

Wind tight the reel of celluloid
As the word rolls by in real life
Sadly not in slow motion,
So you might want to hurry up.

Hold the canvas still with one hand
As it teeters on the edge of time,
And dip a brush in the paint you’re bound to spill.

Now stand still.

Immortalizing vs. Inhabiting: 2014 Blog Re-Vamp


Hi all! Welcome back to my little web world.

So I’ve decided that I’m done apologizing for blogging absences. Nobody follows Nine to Phive closely enough that they are devastated or even put out when I go a little while without posting–okay, nobody except maybe my mom and second cousin. Anyway, I’m back! Rejoice with me!

I hinted awhile back that I was thinking of quitting blogging altogether, the reason being that I didn’t like what it had turned me into. I had slowly become more interested in “living life” in hopes of getting a good blog post out of it than just for the sake of living. Sounds scary, I know, but I think many media-makers, especially journalists and other social storytellers, struggle with this same feeling. There’s an ongoing tension between experiencing one’s life and “capturing” it. Weddings are a prime example. We’re all too busy immortalizing the moment via photos and videos to actually inhabit that moment with our minds, bodies, and emotions. I did not like these qualities in myself.

However, I’ve realized since taking a break from the blog that it turned me into something else as well–a writer.

Well, at least it was trying to. The creative discipline required to make constant contributions to a literary publication curated only by oneself is both invigorating and challenging. It is a very healthy way to get into the habit of simply putting aside time to write. Of course, I didn’t always put aside time to write. That’s why towards the start of my most recent hiatus I was posting a lot of photos, videos, podcasts, links to other sites, and Awkward & Awesome Thursdays. So many Awkward & Awesome Thursdays . . .

I want to tell you about two of my many resolutions in this 22nd year of my life (this last Wednesday was my birthday. I accept your congratulations gleefully!) The first is to be more present. I’ve been working on this since taking a break from blogging in the fall and getting a demanding full-time job around the same time. Both of these things have helped me realize how precious my time is and how I don’t want to miss out. The second is to write more quality content. I want to write well, and I want to write often. I no longer care about views, comments, followers and the other mires in which today’s social storytellers can get entrapped.

I care about making good art.

I’ve realized that I need to keep a blog for me. Not to delight the populace of the interwebs. Not even for my family and friends to keep tabs on my life. I need to do it because I am a writer, and doggoneit, writers write! (Shoutout to fellow storyteller Rachel Henderson for reminding me of this, even if you didn’t realize it.)

What This Means:

You can definitely expect some changes from the Nine to Phive norm.

  • Less posts about me and Josh (and our cats), but seriously, it’s hard to be a writer and completely ignore what’s going on in your own life. We’ll still be around.
  • Not quite so many photos. Josh and I still love photography, but I’m thinking that maybe Nine to Phive is no longer the place for that particular passion. Maybe I’ll start a Tumblr!
  • More words. Sorry in advance to your brain, it just has to be this way 😉
  • Diverse content. Some of the same old, but a whole lot of new. Film, gender identity, food, social justice, comics, travel, experimental performance art, folk culture, mental health, fashion, pop culture controversies, commentary on the works of other storytellers . . . heck, I might even take requests!

I’d like to end this post with a challenge to my fellow bloggers. I know many of you who read N2P regularly are already doing this, as you are among the people who have helped inspire me to make this change, but to the rest of you–

Ask yourself why you keep a blog. If the answer reveals something about you that you don’t like, change it. Commit to saying something that people need to hear.

God bless you, your new year, and all of your creative pursuits! Thanks for reading.