Monday, March 22, 2010

First Edith, now Teddy

As the multitudinous followers of The Mount's Blog already know, this year The Mount is presenting a new exhibit all about film adaptations of works by Edith Wharton. There already have been a few biopics about Wharton, and in one of those, Looking Back, produced for PBS in 1981, Wharton, played by Kathleen Widdoes, makes an imaginary return to The Mount. The Mount does not play itself, it is played by The Elms in Newport!! A later biopic, Songs from the Heart, at least has The Mount in its rightful place playing Wharton's home, but the time is ripe for The Mount to claim center stage at the heart of our own, as yet unwritten, unsold, and probably, alas, never to be produced, Edith Wharton biopic!

We have sent out a casting call for Edith Wharton, and today it is the turn of her husband. Edward Robbins Wharton, known as Teddy, will be a difficult role to fill. He was by all accounts a charming, friendly, playful, and kind man, certainly in the early years of his relationship with Edith Jones. Thirteen years older than Edith, he went to Harvard with one of her older brothers. They had little in common except for a love of animals. In fact, we are told that one of the reasons that The Mount was a failure as a working farm is that Teddy grew so fond of each of the pigs that he would never send them away for slaughter!

Teddy was of average height, had dark hair and a dark moustache, and hazel eyes. A number of candidates have been put forward, Tom Selleck and Tom Cruise being two, but we at The Mount feel that both of the Toms would be more suited to the cad of the piece, Morton Fullerton.

The first real contender in your blogger's opinion is the ever charming Burt Reynolds. We know that Teddy Wharton was a keen motorist, and anyone who has seen Mr. Reynolds's work in The Cannonball Run or Smokey and the Bandit can see that he would do justice to many aspects of Mr. Wharton's personality.

Meaning in no way to disparage Mr. Reynolds's abilities, the difficulty for an actor in playing Teddy arises from his mental state, which worsened greatly after he and his wife moved into The Mount. It is generally assumed nowadays that he suffered from bipolar disorder, or manic depression. We feel that our next contender, Robert Downey, Jr. has proven his versatility time and again, and he looks good with a moustache as well (see above).

Our last contender has done stalwart work in every genre of the cinema. Teddy Wharton's extreme mood swings lead to great difficulty in their marriage, and though his wife tried to find the best possible care for him, both he and other members of his family resisted. Although it was never reported that there was any physical violence, there were a number of very unfortunate scenes here at The Mount. Many of these took place near the doorway to the Whartons's adjoining bedrooms, and visitors like Henry James wrote of these terrible encounters in letters. We therefore put forth Jack Nicholson as our own favorite to play Teddy Wharton. After all, he has done something very similar before!

Please continue to help us by suggesting your own favorites in the comments section of the blog!

1 comment:

  1. Well, Teddy could also be played by our good friend Daniel Day-Lewis, who played crazy ever so well in Gangs of New York. Or maybe Ed Harris (think Pollock).