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?


One thought on “Hollywood Muses

  1. Pingback: Rochester: We Win Some & Lose Some | Nine to Phive

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