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Can Taylor Swift do Joni Mitchell role justice?   Print

by Liz Braun
Toronto Sun
September 25, 2012

Don't you want to know more about a movie that has Taylor Swift playing Joni Mitchell?

The fans have been bleating like sheep since last spring, when it was announced that Swift was in talks to play Mitchell; since it was confirmed a few days ago that Swift had won the role, one assumes people are jumping off the Laurel Canyon Blvd. overpass like lemmings, clutching copies of COURT AND SPARK (vinyl, natch) to their loyal breasts.

The movie in question is a film version of Sheila Weller's book, Girls Like Us, which concerns Mitchell, Carole King and Carly Simon. (It also has a lot of material on James Taylor, who was involved in the lives of all three women.)

The book is a great, gossipy look at the lives and careers of each of these artists and how all three singers came of age at a time when women were still supposed to be barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen. The book, billed as the 'journey of a generation', attempts to connect the dots between their careers, the battles they fought professionally and the changing social times; on the other hand, there's enough dish about boys, men, indiscriminate shagging, bad marriages and lousy relationships to make this generation's journey sound a lot like any other, only with better birth control.

But we digress. As usual.

The rest of the casting news about Girls Like Us is that various actresses are candidates to play Carly Simon and Carole King: Alison Pill, Olivia Thirlby, Ari Graynor and Zoe Kazan are all said to be in the running to play Carole King. Allison Williams, Analeigh Tipton and Jessica Pare are some of the names being tossed around for the role of Carly Simon.

In an interview she did last year, the author of Girls Like Us said she would cast Michelle Williams as Carole King because of Williams' dignity and gravitas; amen to that, Ms. Weller. She also suggested Evan Rachel Wood to play Carly Simon, as that role requires someone who can master the "certain wacky, highly privileged, genially neurotic, predatory mischievousness," of the singer, which suggests Wellers has no illusions about her subjects.

And she thinks Taylor Swift would be good as Joni Mitchell. (Weller is also of the opinion that Amanda Seyfried, Mia Wiakowska or Jennifer Lawrence could also handle the role.)

We happen to think Joni Mitchell is likely tickled pink to know Taylor Swift will portray her. Regardless of any perceived musical differences, Swift is tall and pretty and slim and has that whole precious, long-blond-hair thing going on that will remind people of Mitchell. There will be plenty of harping about the women's differing musical approaches, but both sing mystery revenge songs about boys; we'd say they both seem to dwell in the great mirrored palace of Narcissism, too, but the staff lawyer may suggest we say otherwise.

Think this is heresy? Best get yourself a copy of Girls Like Us and read all about it.

 

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