Casting Call: Flowers for Algernon

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Published August 5, 2011

In which we suggest who should star in the next big adaptation, remake, or historical film.

If you want to make a person cry, here’s one foolproof method: Have him or her read Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes’s meditation on the incompatibility of happiness and intelligence. The novel follows Charlie Gordon, a guileless 32-year-old man with an IQ of 68 who becomes a guinea pig for a radical, intelligence-increasing surgery. As Charlie’s mental accumen grows, he gradually becomes alienated from everyone around him: His old friends resent his increased intellect, while the scientists who performed the surgery view him only as a curiosity. And then, to make matters even worse, Charlie discovers that his newfound brainpower may be temporary.

Flowers for Algernon has been adapted frequently since it was published in 1966; there have been several staged versions of the story, as well as three films based on it. One of those, 1968’s Charly, even took home an Oscar for its leading man. But in 2013, Keyes’s tale will come to the big screen once again. Who should bring Charlie and his cohorts to life this time? We have a few actors in mind.