Friday, 13 December 2013

Tale of Two Jacks

I'm a bit of a film buff, and I've come to the conclusion we could have seen the quiet sinister Robert DeNiro from Meet the parents in 2000 around 15 years previously if the casting for Brazil had gone differently...

De Niro plays the part of "Tuttle" in Brazil, but he originally wanted to be the far more nuanced "Jack Lint", played by Michael Palin.

Palin as a national treasure in the UK is surprising and perfect in the role of Lint, he brings the stable family man side of thing to fruition and adds a professional air, and you so easily just go along and assume that the chap is just a normal office worker, that is until you see blood on his apron, he's a professional, ruthless and utterly unscrupulous torturer for the government.  And that makes Palin's portrayal of Lint all the more gruesome.

However in 2000 De Niro gave us the comedic, but brooding, slightly worrying portrayal of another "Jack", this time Jack Byrnes... The quiet study constructed below the house, the lie detector, they have that echo of Jack Lint in them, and I wonder how would Brazil have been different with DeNiro away from the swashbuckler role of Tuttle and into the more evil role of Lint.

I'm not so sure at the time (1985) DeNiro would have been as openly accepted as the friendly family guy, but his reputation would have been easily accepted in the torturing role.

Could the two swap places in time?  Perhaps not, through Palin's repute as the "Nicest man on the BBC", bring thoroughly milked by the role.  But perhaps if DeNiro had the Lint role, the quiet guy a murderer at heart the "Meet the Parents" collaboration would have been very different.

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