Contrary to the juvenile suggestiveness of the headline, there will be no incestuous ménage à trois in Jim Sheridan’s redo of Susanne Bier’s Brothers – which, given the impossible hotness of the three leads (Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal and the just announced Natalie Portman), will surely be a great source of sorrow for our many pansexual readers. And for this I apologize.
On a less puerile note, the casting of Portman in the role previously occupied by Connie Nielsen confirms what I’ve suspected all along: Sheridan and screenwriter David Benioff are going for a younger, sexier vibe with this tale of a soldier (Maguire) who, after being incorrectly presumed dead for a year or so, returns home to find his wife and kid (Portman and Robert Forster) being cared for by his no-account brother (Gyllenhaal).
As a fan of Bier’s original, I’m afraid that Sheridan might be sacrificing a bit of emotional resonance by skewing younger. But the real challenge will be finding one child actor as natural in front of the camera as the two cast by Bier; then again, Sheridan did alright on the kiddie performer front with In America, didn’t he? Sometimes, I just caveat to caveat.
Get Rich or Die Tryin’ aside (and we all have a Get Rich or Die Tryin’ coming to us), there’s no reason to doubt Sheridan; his weakest film prior to the 50 Cent debacle was either The Boxer or The Field, and those are both solid actor showcases (for Daniel Day-Lewis and Richard Harris respectively). I think he’s just the director to elicit career best performances out of Portman and Gyllenhaal – i.e. presuming that Benioff is dialed-in with the script. The big challenge will be to beat the Hollywood out of these kids; if Sheridan’s gunning for an approximation of Bier’s dogme-esque naturalism, he’s got a lot of dowdyin’ to do.