By Ben Fogler I love The Crucible. Granted, at the time of writing this I’m only 75% of the way through it, but it is already in my top 3 books I have ever had to read for school. For those who haven’t had the pleasure, The Crucible by Arthur Miller is a fictionalized story of the Salem Witch Trials, which occurred in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the early 1690s. It’s also a very thinly veiled allegory for McCarthyism, and when I say thinly veiled I mean Arthur Miller actually compares the events of the Salem Witch Trials to the Red Scare during anecdotal interjections into the script. Pretty blunt, no?
On the last day before break, my AP Lang class watched the movie adaptation of The Crucible. Released in 1996, the film stars Daniel Day Lewis as John Proctor alongside Winona Ryder as Abigail Williams. It’s a banger of a movie, but I definitely think it could use a glow-up. And what with this trend in Hollywood of simply remaking animated classics into live-action cinematic experiences that are usually not as good, why not reverse it, and turn the live-action rendition of The Crucible into an animated film, complete with an all-new cast of famous animated characters?
So the big question: who plays who? Well, I’m no expert, but I have a few ideas for some of the more significant roles.
Reverend Parris, portrayed by Marlin from Finding Nemo.
Marlin is without a doubt a top contender for Reverend Parris. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d tried out for it before, if not in the film version then perhaps in a regional production. Except he’s a fish, so it would have to be underwater. Maybe they’d call it The Cruise-ible. I know, I’m hilarious. Anyways, in previous roles such as “Overprotective widowed parent to rebellious and easily influenced child” Marlin demonstrated all the qualities I’d look for in a Reverend Parris. The part he played in Finding Nemo actually wasn’t even all that different from Parris to begin with. Additionally, his existence as a clownfish could help accentuate an often overlooked aspect of Parris’ character, which is that he wasn’t native to Salem and was therefore a…well, you might call him a fish out of water. BOOM. I might as well accept the Oscar right now.
John Proctor, portrayed by Mr. Incredible from The Incredibles
I see a lot of John Proctor in Mr. Incredible. Both are men who care deeply about their families and are good people at heart, but also have major flaws in their character. Also, both had amorous relationships outside of their marriage -- Proctor with Abigail Williams, and Mr. Incredible with the skinniest Pixar character ever created, Mirage. If you don’t remember Mirage, imagine a tall, seductive floor lamp given human form. Okay, to be fair, Mr. Incredible’s love affair with Mirage is never explicitly stated, but like...we knew there was something up. Mr. Incredible definitely has the chops to pull off a convincing and moving portrayal of John Proctor, and unlike Daniel Day Lewis, he wouldn’t have to method act to give us a good performance. No shade to Mr. Lewis, but somebody needs to tell him, Jared Leto, and all the other method actors out there that it ain’t never been that serious. Some actors can just…pretend to be somebody else. It’s really not that difficult.
Abigail Williams, portrayed by Dawn Bellwether from Zootopia
When I think of the woman-scorned turned vengeful accuser that is Abigail Williams, I think manipulative, two-faced master of puppets, and girlboss. All of these traits are apparent in the antagonist of Zootopia, Dawn Bellwether, who turned out to be the root of the predator vs. prey controversy in the film. In inciting such violence, Bellwether has already proven that she could bring “a pointy reckoning that will shudder you!” which is the main prerequisite for portraying Abigail, as well as the greatest line written in a play, possibly ever. Though her character wasn’t nearly as fleshed out as other costars in Zootopia such as Officer Judy Hopps or middle-aged heartthrob Nick Wilde (that fox is the Pedro Pascal of the animal kingdom), she displayed remarkable range and a sociopathic cunning that would perfectly suit her for the role.
Goody Putnam, portrayed by Candace Flynn from Phineas & Ferb
Goody Putnam just loves to point fingers, and she’s determined to prove several women in Salem witches, for she believes they are the murderers of her many dead babies. Candace Flynn is also quite determined to prove the wrongdoings of people in her life, and so I think she’d without a doubt be able to grasp the complexities of Goody Putnam’s character. If you gave her Uta Hagen’s 9 Questions for Goody Putnam, she’d probably be able to answer them in under a minute. There is the slight issue that Goody Putnam is considerably older than Candace, and also, unlike Candace, exists in the third dimension, but that’s nothing that a few prosthetics couldn’t fix. Candace Flynn’s head is shaped like the letter P, and that’s because she’s what? Perfect for this role!
Goody Proctor, portrayed by Scrat the Squirrel from Ice Age
Thus far I’ve stuck to typecasting, but an important part of acting is to expand one’s range. We have to have a few wildcards here and there. The important thing--the thing that makes a really great casting director (like myself)--is the ability to discern if an actor is capable of extending beyond their comfort zone. I truly believe that Scrat the Squirrel can pull off the role of John Proctor’s wife, one of the most sympathetic characters in this production. I would love to see how he interprets Goody Proctor’s narrative -- a woman who has been cheated on, but comes to forgiveness even as she and her husband are accused of witchcraft by the very harlot that her husband engaged with in the first place. Though all of Scrat’s previous work in the industry has been nonverbal, I think all he needs is for someone to give him a shot. I’m gonna resuscitate this kid’s career, and when he gets up on stage to receive his Golden Globe, I’ll be the first person he thanks.
Mary Warren, portrayed by Chihiro from Spirited Away
If my memory serves (and I hope it does, because I only watched this film a week ago. Gosh, I’m getting old), Mary Warren does quite a bit of gasping, shuddering, and the like in The Crucible. That’s great, because so does Chihiro in Spirited Away. I rewatched that movie last year for a school project, and one thing I hadn’t realized upon my first viewing was how few words Chihiro actually uses. Spirited Away is about two hours long, and Chihiro is the protagonist, so I would say she spent maybe…an hour thirty of the film just moaning? Don’t get me wrong, I love Spirited Away, but like girl. She did not need to “ungh aghh oogh” every time she stood up, for goodness sake. It may have been a little distracting in Spirited Away, but I think that trait will really help her in taking on the role of Mary Warren.
Reverend Hale, portrayed by Marcel the Shell from Marcel the Shell With Shoes On
Okay, I’m stretching the definition of animated here, but I have been a huge fan of Marcel the Shell for a long, long time, wayyyyy before the movie. Not to be that guy, but I was a Marcel fan, nay, stan, back before it was cool, when he was just a YouTube series. I love him so much, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work with him on this project, so I’m planning on casting him as Reverend Hale, the exorcist who becomes another dwindling voice of reason as the mad accusations in Salem progress. I think Marcel’s inquisitive, detail-oriented disposition and well-developed critical thinking skills are perfectly suited for Hale. I know it would be a step down for him, going from the titular character of his own film to a mere supporting cast member, but I think I can convince him to take on this exciting adventure. I hope so at least, because quite frankly, if I can’t get Marcel on board, I might as well just call the whole project off.