Paul Rudd vs. Jon Hamm: For the Love of Bella Swan’s Mom

More on lost love between famous people.

Despite my efforts on the Armitage beat, my highest hit posts are the ones about Winona Ryder and Gwyneth Paltrow, Stephan Jenkins and Charlize Theron, and Kenneth Branagh/Emma Thompson/Helena Bonham-Carter. Apparently, there are other nostalgic people out there curious about the demise of these relationships.

Here is one love triangle that ended happily for all parties involved.

From an interview with Paul Rudd in September 2011 NYLON Guys written by Luke Crisell:

Only a very few times in his almost two-decade-long career has Paul Rudd doubted his decision to pursue acting. The first was when he was 18, and Jon Hamm schooled him in a game of Trivial Pursuit. Rudd was a freshman at the University of Kansas with a major crush on his roommate’s sister, who was still in high school in St. Louis. During a visit to the family’s home, Rudd found himself on a Trivial Pursuit team with the girl of his dreams. It was his chance to impress. But playing against them across the table was Hamm, a high school senior and friend of the family who was “super handsome, really smart, and very good at sports—all of these things that I most certainly was not,” says Rudd. Nevermind though, Rudd would seal the deal with his superior worldly knowledge. He was, after all, in college. Who did this upstart think he was? “But every question that came up, I had no idea what the f***ing answer was,” he recalls. “Jon, my arch nemesis, rolled the dice, and the question was, ‘What’s the biggest lake in Africa?’ and he just goes ‘Victoria.’ And I remember feeling so totally emasculated that the next year when I went away to acting school I thought back to that Trivial Pursuit moment and I just felt, Holy shit, now that I’m in acting school I’m never going to learn what the biggest lake in Africa is.”

According to internet sources, Hamm ended up dating that girl, Sarah Clarke, who would go on to become an actress and play Bella Swan’s mom Renée Dwyer in the Twilight franchise. Hamm and Rudd also developed a friendship that endures to this day. When Rudd hit it big with Clueless in 1995, Hamm decided to pursue his acting dreams and moved to Los Angeles. Despite his good looks, smarts, and jock appeal, success came late for Hamm; he acted in minor roles for over a decade before being cast as Don Draper in Mad Men, beating out over 80 candidates. Both men continue to attract fans for their onscreen performances and offscreen humility. You think Hollywood could change these guys? As if.

So in the end, all three actors found tremendous acting success and romantic partners. Rudd and Clarke are both married (to other people) and Hamm has a long-time girlfriend.

Fast-Acting Armitage Effect and Two Upcoming BBC “Great Expectations” Projects

My favorite episode of Robin Hood Season 3 is “A Dangerous Deal” (YT link) where Guy encounters a young woman named Meg in the dungeon.

Once her disdain gives way to sympathy due to some fast-acting Armitage effect, Meg falls in love with Guy and rescues him from imprisonment and death. In turn, she reminds him of what he thought Marian once was: the one person who cared whether he lived or died.

Mortally wounded in the chaos of their escape, Meg dies in Guy’s arms on a misty riverside bank. Before she dies, he acquiesces to her last request and gives her a chaste kiss. What a way to go.

The actress who plays Meg, Holliday Grainger, had played Armitage’s stepdaughter in Sparkhouse.

Grainger has recently been cast as Estella in the upcoming BBC Films adaptation of Great Expectations, which Mike Newell will direct. Relatively unknown actor Jeremy Irvine will be PipRalph Fiennes will be Magwitch, and Helena Bonham-Carter will continue her witchy ways as Miss Havisham.

Today, Variety announced that, oddly enough, there will also be a BBC television production of Great Expectations with Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham. PBS has scheduled this Masterpiece release for April 2012 for U.S. audiences. No word yet on Estella or Pip casting.

I am fond of the gorgeously green Alfonso Cuaron adaptation from the ’90s, despite the unconvincingly contemporization of the story and overwrought acting. I love the look of the film. Cuaron attired the actors in various shades of green and used the lush environment of Florida to create an otherworldly setting for the story. It’s no wonder that Cuaron directed the most “magical” Harry Potter film in the series—Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. (Coincidentally, Newell directed the next Harry Potter film in the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.)

In Cuaron’s version of Great Expectations, Finn (aka Pip) is a blue-collar fisherman and amateur artist who comes to New York due to the patronage of a mysterious benefactor. For Finn’s work, Italian painter Francesco Clemente created original art for the film. His striking portraits of the characters are the centerpiece of Finn’s art show.

The film soundtrack features the enchanting song “Life in Mono” by Mono, “Siren,” an original track by Tori Amos, and a beautiful score by Patrick Doyle.

The “Kissing in the Rain” scene is the highlight of the film, particularly because of Doyle’s music (the track shows up in many YT kissing fanvideos). I can’t find it on YT in English, but all you need to know is that Estella leaves a black-tie gala event and Finn chases after her and interrupts her dinner date by asking her to dance.

Note the green elements: the carpet at the gala venue, the columns, the tea lights in the restaurant, the attire of the other customers.

Catch Me If You Can: Fainting in Period Drama

In an earlier post, I mentioned the missed opportunity in North and South to show Mr. Thornton carrying the unconscious Miss Hale into his house.

The 1986 film A Room With A View has the best faint ever.

Like Margaret Hale, Lucy Honeychurch is determined to leave quickly after her fainting-fit.

Harry Potter and the Ken-Emma-Helena Triangle

Forget the Harry-Hermione-Ron love triangle.

Throughout its ten years and eight films, many high-caliber British actors joined the Harry Potter franchise, including these three actors:

Kenneth Branagh – Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Emma Thompson – Sybill Trelawney in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Helena Bonham-Carter – Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixHarry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and 2

Emma and Helena portrayed sisters in the devastating Howard’s End.

Ken and Emma were married from 1989 to 1995. They appeared in many films together, several of which Ken directed.

Emma is so cutting in Much Ado About Nothing (see clips here) and so adorable as the French princess in Henry V.

Then Ken and Helena starred in Frankenstein (Ken directed) in 1994 and Ken divorced Emma.

Frankenstein - caught in a bad romance

Ken and Helena were in a relationship for several years and starred in The Theory of Flight together. But Ken ended up marrying Lindsay Brunnock, whom he met through Helena.

Emma married her Sense and Sensibility co-star Greg Wise (Mr. Willoughby! well done Emma!). That’s right—this guy:

(there are tons of pictures where Greg is hugging Emma and making sure she is the star of the photo—what a gentleman!)

S&S also featured Alan Rickman, who portrays the fascinating Severus Snape in Harry Potter.

Meanwhile Helena found an excellent match with Planet of the Apes director Tim Burton.

Helena and Tim (photographed by Vivienne Westwood)

She has had the most interesting film career: one of my favorite films ever is the Venice-tastic The Wings of the Dove, for which she deserved the Oscar (Helen Hunt? REALLY?). In that film, Michael Gambon (who portrays Albus Dumbledore post-Richard Harris in Harry Potter) plays her father.

And the closing theme in the trailer? From Henry V.

Maggie Smith, who portrays Minerva McGonagall in Harry Potter, was Helena’s disapproving cousin in the Florence-tastic A Room With A View, a film I consider to be Merchant-Ivory’s best.

So far Emma and Helena have avoided being in the same scenes in Harry Potter. Will Trelawney and Bellatrix show up in the same frame at the climactic battle of Hogwarts? Hm.