Hello readers! I seem to be making a habit of awfully long summer breaks in blogging, which I don't particularly like... But now I'm back with the second half of the Ask Me Anything event I hosted in April.
Before I get to that, let me remind you of another, rather more international-scale event that should be of interest to bookworms across the world: the Banned Books Week, 27.9-3.10. It's mostly an American event, initiated by libraries and booksellers, who are often pressured to remove "unsuitable" books from their selections. The Banned Books Week raises awareness of censorship and celebrates people's freedom to read and as these issues are relevant to readers everywhere in the world, I don't think we should let America celebrate all alone! Therefore, I'm inviting you all to pick a book that has been notoriously challenged or even banned and discuss it during the upcoming week in any medium available to you – blog, social media, circle of friends, anything that enables you to introduce this book and reflect on why you should have been prohibited from reading it. The American Library Association keeps lists of frequently challenged books from recent years, but there are plenty of notoriously challenged books all across the history of literature. I'm going to review Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner (2003), it would be great to see all of you fellow book bloggers participate with whatever you choose. Please throw me a link to your posts if you do! Let's really discuss censorship and read whatever the heck we want!
Now, moving on to the actual topic of the day. I'll be answering Hamlette's and Olivia's questions that they asked many... many months ago, and this little celebration for the second anniversary of Music & My Mind comes to an end. Thank you all for participating, I have had tremendous fun thinking up answers to all of these questions!
What animated movie do you wish they would make a live-action version of next? Who would you cast?
As I'm supposed to be honest here, I'll have to tell you all that I'm completely bored and frustrated with this persisting Disney trend of live-action remakes. Not that I resist remakes on the whole or think that all of these Disney films are of bad quality – I'm absolutely open to the suggestion that some of them might be good films in their own right, even if I haven't bothered to see most of them myself.
The real reason why I don't applaud live-action remakes is that for me, the magic and the intrigue of the original Disney films is largely to do with the beautiful work they did with the animation. The older I got, the more awed I was by the fact that people could actually draw things like sunlight, thunderstorms and water – if you really stop to think about it, isn't it quite an achievement to animate even such an ordinary thing as a moving person? So I don't really see what the artistic gain is in telling essentially the same story as a live-action version. I hate to be cynical, but I get the feeling that Disney is after some easy profit in continuing with this trend.
What musical NEEDS a movie version but doesn't have one yet? Again, who would you cast?
I think some stage musicals are better off left on the stage in their awesomeness, but to be honest, I would be quite happy to see a film version of Jekyll & Hyde. The score is wonderful, the themes of addiction and ethics will never get old, and the Victorian setting would look gorgeous on screen – there would be so many things in this film's favour! As for casting, all I would ask for is actors with a strong musical background and at most a minimal amount of stunt casting. I would much prefer an unknown, interesting new talent with a gorgeous singing voice to a big-name Hollywood star who took a singing crash-course just before shooting.
What is your opinion on the subject of Ramin Karimloo?
I can tell you that if you were to watch me listening to Ramin Karimloo, you might witness something rather peculiar. There's this half-dreamy, half-zombie look in my eyes, I tend to clasp my hands really tight and perch on the very edge of whatever I'm sitting on. My goodness, what a voice. What a stage presence. Have you seen that look on his face when he plays Enjolras in the Les Misérables 25th anniversary concert and sings "The ABC Café Song"? And how, as the Phantom, he has incredibly expressive hands that more than make up for the fact that the mask hides half of his face? Just... wow.
Have you seen the new Cinderella movie? If so, what did you think?
I haven't, and as you can probably judge by my response to the question about Disney re-makes, I wasn't in a hurry to see it. However, a friend of mine saw it and told me that Cate Blanchett was magnificent, which I can easily believe!
Do you plan to pursue a career in theatre/musical theatre? Are you a soprano or an alto?
I would love to write plays and writing a musical is a crazy, ambitious dream that may or may not come true. I do like to sing though, and I'm definitely more of a soprano than an alto because my lower range is very limited and my belt voice is, quite frankly, pathetic.
What is your favourite version of The Phantom of the Opera? (Meaning any book, movie, or stage adaptation.)
That would be the stage musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber. I was lucky enough to see it at Her Majesty's Theatre in London, and it was one of the most impressive experiences of my life. Not only hearing but feeling the power of the music reminded me why I love musicals so much. I have also read the original novel by Gaston Leroux, which was quite a disappointment, unfortunately.