Monday, March 12, 2007

Kicked, Bitten And Scratched

Naomi Watts has signed to star in Kicked, Bitten and Scratched, a romantic comedy adaptation of Amy Sutherland's animal training memoir. Todd Louiso and Jacob Kosoff are writing the script. You'll probably recognise Louiso as an actor - making mixtapes in Jerry Maguire, being delicate in High Fidelity - but he also directed Love Liza and, again with Kosoff, wrote the upcoming Ben Stiller and Jason Schwartzman comedy, The Marc Pease Experience.

I'm looking back at Naomi Watts' CV here, and this one hardly stands out. A good part of the reason for this is, of course, how varied her CV is. I think I saw her first of all in Flirting - if I did see For Love Alone, the previous film she made, I certainly have no recollection of it. And I must have seen her in Home and Away, if only for a brief glimpse as I channel hopped, or while I was visiting soap-addicted family.

As for her brief appearance in Joe Dante's Matinee, I wish I could picture it now. I believe she was in a mock up of something like a Kurt Russell/Disney family film. I adore Matinee, but I never picked up the DVD (so far) - mainly as the R2 version is bare bones and pan-scanned to 4:3. Inexcusable.

...and the little pieces of Tank Girl that I really, honestly, deeply loved (cumulative running time: under four minutes) weren't any pieces with Watts in - through no fault of her own. They just weren't Jet Girl scenes. Thinking back on it now, though,

So, I guess, Mulholland Drive was, for me as much as the rest of the movie watching world, the moment Naomi Watts really started to matter a little bit more. After that film, she was a talking point, a star, one of the ingredients of a film that one would be likely to discuss rather than ignore.

And I guess that's when it started getting wobbly. The quality of the films that Watts has opted for since David Lynch foist her into the limelight has been genuinely unpredictable. King Kong and I Heart Huckabees were wonderful; 21 Grams, Stay and The Ring 2 were most definitely not; the first Ring and Le Divorce watchable but far from essential.

What's interesting, though, is that she's some kind of off-centre star. Somehow, Watts doesn't slot so readily into the big, generic movies like Julia Roberts or (Watts' best friend) Nicole Kidman. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it looks to me like there's something vague around the edges of Naomi Watts' public image, and I always find it impossible to predict the style, budget or genre of her next film.

Maybe it's just because she finds it hard too. A girl has to work, right?

1 comment:

lee said...

That section in Mullholland Drive when Naomi Watts (or more specifically Betty Elms - or was it Diane Selwyn?) is auditioning opposite that old dude (Chad Everett), has to rate as one of the best pieces of acting I've ever seen. Honestly. I really mean that. It was breathless, sensational, absolutely phenomenal - it had me spellbound. (Or do I just think that because an extremely good-looking woman was being sexually provocative... mmm... I guess that might have had something to do with it...) There's a fine line sometimes isn't there - between looking sensational and acting sensationally? Well, I certainly find it hard to tell the difference sometimes...