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Of hedgehogs, Dads and I, Clavdivs

I believe I may have mentioned as much on this LJ before, but just to reiterate - my Dad is teh aces! When he arrived at 9pm last night, I only had one working telephone socket in my house - a bit inconvenient, since it was in my study, and I couldn't guarantee to hear it if I was downstairs and the study door was closed. Now, I have no less than four working telephone sockets - a little excessive for my needs, perhaps, but they were all part of an old system which was just there anyway, so he figured he might as well reactivate them all while he was at it. I am incredibly impressed at his cleverness.

He also brought a plastic outdoor table and chairs, which will be nice as hollyione is coming to visit me tomorrow, so we can enjoy sitting out in the garden with drinks while her daughter plays around us. We decided to take them straight through to the garden from the car when he arrived, and of course being 9pm it was dark, and the automatic light I have above the patio doors switched itself on as I opened them. And what should I see in its beam, sitting in the middle of the lawn? A hedgehog! I wasn't terribly surprised, as I see foxes and squirrels all the time, but hedgehogs are a bit more secretive, and I obviously haven't been out at the right time to encounter one yet. He didn't even seem very scared or anything - he didn't roll up in a ball, but just sat there, and after a while decided that maybe he would shuffle off somewhere a bit quieter. It was very exciting, and I hope I shall see more of him.

Anyway, now Dad has headed off towards Dundee, where he will be picking my Mum up from a Medical History conference and then going to the Moray Firth area for a holiday. Apparently the main attraction is dolphins, which can be seen by the dozen in the bay.

Meanwhile, in completely unrelated news, a film of I, Claudius is apparently on the cards. Could be very exciting if it happens, although I may be forced to kill myself if Leonardo DiCaprio is cast as Claudius. As Caligula, though... I could go with that.


( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 7th, 2007 11:59 am (UTC)
Interesting the way Reuters talk about the 1937 film as if it was actually finished ...

Most books that have the film rights picked up never actually get to the screen, as several authors I know could tell you, so I shan't hold my breath. A lot will no doubt depend on how Polanski's Pompeii performs.
Sep. 7th, 2007 12:24 pm (UTC)
A lot will no doubt depend on how Polanski's Pompeii performs.

Yes, indeed. I am reading the book at the moment in preparation. It's OK, but a bit pedestrian, and predictably enough I am annoyed on almost every page either by something which is historically implausible or (more often) by something which is carefully and unadventurously correct.
Sep. 7th, 2007 12:32 pm (UTC)
I actually didn't find Harris' novel that annoying, though it does have the standard problem with many historical novels, that pre-industrial people are thinking in a post-industrial manner. But it wasn't hideously inaccurate, and I've read novels that are far worse.

The fictional bits of the Butterworth/Laurence book are better, though.
Sep. 7th, 2007 01:09 pm (UTC)
The thing that's jarred most so far is several references to Attilius' religious cynicism. This seems like unnecessary modernising to me - wouldn't it be more exciting to explore the mind-set of someone for whom the gods were real and active? I'll forgive him if it turns out to be the basis for character development later on - but I am not hopeful.

But as I hint above, it is the accuracies that are somehow annoying me more. I keep wanting to shout, "Yes, you've read Pliny, and Frontinus, some stuff about volcanoes and probably Hodge's book on aqueducts too. Now get over it!"

What an author of historical fiction could actually do to please me, I'm not sure...
Sep. 7th, 2007 01:39 pm (UTC)
Believe me, there are far worse authors for "Look at me! I've done research! See my research!"
Sep. 7th, 2007 02:00 pm (UTC)
Go on - name and shame! ;-)
Sep. 7th, 2007 01:04 pm (UTC)
Hmmm... that film looks like it could be interesting if it ever comes to anything...

And yay for hedgehogs!
Sep. 7th, 2007 01:17 pm (UTC)
I'd certainly be thrilled to see the book being filmed at last. Although I wonder if a film is the right format for it, given that the television episodes were an hour long, and there were thirteen of them in all (admittedly including four based on Claudius The God). Even a three-hour film might feel a bit rushed.

And yes, I am so happy about the hedgehog! I'm not sure I've even seen one in real life in the wild before, so it was very exciting to have one sitting there in my garden, just a few feet away.
Sep. 7th, 2007 01:48 pm (UTC)
I wonder how much of the length of the television version arises from Jack Pulman's approach of working as much from Tacitus and Suetonius as from Graves. It is possible to cut the text - Radio Two's recent reading of it did the first novel in eight fifteen minute episodes. Alternatively, there's the von Sternberg/Korda approach, which seems to have been just to film the rise and fall of Caligula.
Sep. 7th, 2007 01:59 pm (UTC)
Yes, I suppose so. I have a tape version of it read by Derek Jacobi, and I've just checked the running time of that - also two hours, and it doesn't feel over-edited. So maybe a film will work after all.
Sep. 7th, 2007 02:12 pm (UTC)
Yay for hedgepigs! In my experience they don't usually seem very scared and so long as you don't do anything too sudden they're quite happy to potter around while being watched. They never seem to be bothered about being quiet either- in the autumn I used to regularly hear them crashing through leaf litter without a care in the world.
I guess they're not too fussed about being heard by predators as AFAIK there aren't many things that'll attack them for food on account of it not being worth getting though the spikes for (apparently foxes, badgers, owls and other big hunters will go for them sometimes but usually only if they're desperate).
Sep. 7th, 2007 03:04 pm (UTC)
not being worth getting though the spikes for

Good old evolution, eh? ;-)

Yeah, I think mine just got a bit fed up of having a big glarey light shining on him, rather than actually being scared as such. He certainly knew we were there, and there was a cat prancing around the place too which didn't seem to bother him. I would have sat quietly watching him if I'd been on my own, but I had to help my Dad get that table through, really.
Sep. 7th, 2007 03:10 pm (UTC)
Aww...yay for hedgehogs :) I've never seen one in real life, although my dad informs me that he was locking up one night, and a hedgehog just shuffled up towards our door, into our backyard, and hung around until he gave it some cat food and water, before it disappeared again. I do worry, though, that one of the brats/spides/chavs in our area might have killed it :/

The film sounds very interesting...who would you really like to see starring in it, if you could choose instead of the casting directors?

Sep. 7th, 2007 03:28 pm (UTC)
The icon is Teh Cute :)
Sep. 7th, 2007 07:11 pm (UTC)
I think it was the first time I've seen a real hedgehog in the wild, too, although I'm not sure - I may have seen one before and forgotten about it.

I've been trying to think up my ideal cast for I, Clavdivs, but it's really difficult - I don't have a very wide knowledge of British actors (and I would want them all to be British), and I'm just crap at this sort of thing anyway. But you'll find some of my suggestions in a reply to the same question asked by megamole, below.
Sep. 7th, 2007 03:28 pm (UTC)
OK, this begs the question: how would Penny cast I, Clavdivs?
Sep. 7th, 2007 07:09 pm (UTC)
Hmm.... It's a difficult one, because you either have to choose people who can be appropriately aged over the course of the film, or cast more than one actor of different ages in the same role, and hope it won't be too confusing for the audience. I think in a film in particular, having only one actor is preferable, so I'm working on the principle of choosing youngish people who could be aged into their roles.

Of course, there may be fantastic 'unknown' people out there who'd be way better than my choices, and anyway I'm crap at this sort of thing and can never think of appropriate people when asked. But these are some thoughts:

Augustus - Ralph Fiennes
Livia - Cate Blanchett
Tiberius - Kevin McKidd (Vorenus from Rome)
Drusus - James Purefoy (Mark Antony from Rome)
Agrippa - Clive Owen
Antonia - Helena Bonham Carter
Julia the Elder - Kate Winslet
Claudius - Ewan McGregor
Postumus - Jude Law
Herod Agrippa - Sacha Baron Cohen
Sejanus - Christopher Ecclestone
Caligula - Cillian Murphy
Nero - Harry Melling (Dudley Dursley from the HP films)
Sep. 7th, 2007 04:10 pm (UTC)
Yay! Not the only person who calls it I Clavdivs! XD
Sep. 7th, 2007 07:12 pm (UTC)
That's its official title, as far as I'm concerned!
Sep. 7th, 2007 04:24 pm (UTC)
Leonardo DiCaprio has got a very bad rap ever since Titanic. I hope he does get cast as Claudius because he's an excellent actor--did you ever see What's Eating Gilbert Grape? Pity he became a heart-throb and lost all his credibility.... But I'd definitely like to see him in a non-angry role again. Although, like you, I'm not quite sure how they'll manage to condense the book. They'll have to drop a lot of events which will be a great pity.

Yay for hedgehogs! I haven't actually seen one for years.
Sep. 7th, 2007 07:16 pm (UTC)
I guess it's the heart-throb hype that mainly puts me off. And the main reason I don't want him in a film of I, Clavdivs is really because that means it would be produced as a Hollywood blockbuster, and I suspect that many more horrible things would happen to it in the process.
Sep. 8th, 2007 04:57 pm (UTC)
I saw a hedgehog in my garden a month or two ago and was very excited, since it's not a very big garden at all.
Sep. 8th, 2007 06:24 pm (UTC)
Was it blue, though? ;-)
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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