Lapsus Linguae, Science Fiction
Cruise sells movie tickets, so his casting is easy to understand. I don’t know if the flick gets made if the lead is Paul Giamatti or Gene Hackman. Maybe.
I find your reference to Gone with the Wind a bit misleading. Certainly Vivien Leigh could not have been cast with box office draw in mind, since she was, at that time, an unknown. Mitchell’s description of Scarlett is more nuanced than you are revealing here. The full sentence and subsequent descriptions of Scarlett, IIRC, describe her as not beautiful by the standards of the girls in her social circle, but nevertheless the most attractive girl in the county, or words to that effect. Scarlett’s attractiveness, despite her average looks, was attributed to her enormous personal charisma and magnetism. It would no doubt be difficult to convincingly portray such intangibles in so visual a medium as film with a plain-looking girl playing the part. I can imagine the producers’ terror at the thought of the audience thinking “why is Clark Gable so interested in her when all of these other megababes are around?” instead of watching the story.
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