This is not exactly what I had in mind, being a fellow ballet person and very much in favor of that art form gaining positive exposure by the success of dancers who cross over into other fields, especially someone as tasteful as Summer Glau has proven to be. And Joss Whedon can make an awesome big screen production out of almost anything, much less something that can be as pure visual marvelousness like a well-made ballet. But, Summer Glau being in Star Wars Episode VII could also be just all kinds of awesome. And if anyone could help alleviate the general baloney factor of Episodes I through III (as noted here over a year ago) it would be Cameron/River/Skylar:
August 9, 2011
There is a very good reason why Summer Glau and Joss Whedon need to make the ballet movie 'Servant Girl', and that reason is: The Wizard of Oz.
Joss Whedon has proven himself over and over again as being capable of creating very enthralling science fiction and pushing the barriers of his audience with the super surreal like Dollhouse, Serenity, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Summer Glau is obviously one dedicated artist and possessed of the steel to see projects through. Her work as River Tam in Serenity/Firefly, Cameron on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and her roles on Dollhouse and The Cape show that she has the "magic", quite possibly equal to Judy Garland - regardless of executives canceling shows which, obviously, no actor can have any control over. Many great artists are like hard-to-set jewels that look amazing once set properly, the jewel cannot set itself, that is the job of the jewel smith. Actors portray characters, it is up to directors and executives to write the parts and make the production viable.
I am a total fan of live Ballet and I think it is one of the most powerful modes of expression on earth but let's face it, ballet movies have been, well, not so good. Baryshnikov's glory days on The Turning Point have inspired hoards of young dancers to take up the craft for decades but that movie is well into the thirty-somethings of age; ballet movies since then have been extremely good examples of forgettable movies. If ever a movie angle was ripe for a huge come-back and stood a chance of making a profound impact, the ballet movie is it. The recent affront to ballet - Black Swan - has very nearly killed off the viability of ever taking another dance movie seriously. Eight months of swimming to become a prima ballerina? Sure.
If any team could couple the 500 year depth, possibility and imagination-matrix of Ballet into a story line that could stand on it's own with production that leaves everyone staring at the screen wondering what's coming next, all with a surreality fit for the 21st century, it would be Joss Whedon and Summer Glau.
Here's hoping this project gets the go-ahead. History is also full of examples of movies where without mega budgets, huge enduring success was achieved. Jaws in 1975 and Star Wars in 1977 come to mind and the first in the Twilight series of movies are good examples where a distinct idea, brought through to the silver screen faithfully did make for highly worthwhile - historic, in fact - movies. The Wizard of Oz was a huge production to be sure, but mostly it had a vivid conceptualization that worked on screen - budget size does not guarantee this at all, just look at Indiana Jones IV or any of the recent Star Wars movies (Episodes I through III) but the direction does all but guarantee it, and in that regard Joss Whedon could knock this one clean out of the park. Summer Glau would be unstoppable acting/dancing in such a concept, free and clear to integrate her impressive inflection and years of Ballet and martial arts and overall physical skill into the work of Joss Whedon. This project could just be exquisite and to be sure, far better than any other Ballet movie since The Turning Point and with modern F/X, something as memorable as the Wizard of Oz.