We tossed around the usual twenty-somethings when trying to cast Eugenides' pretty protagonist, Madeleine Hanna—the Carey Mulligans, Elizabeth Olsens and Emma Stones—until we realized that we were being utterly dense. Who could we possibly suggest to play a 22-year-old Brown student with "Katharine Hepburn-ish cheekbones and jawline" other than current (albeit sporadic) Brownie Emma Watson? Okay, so her American accent was a little shaky in that student production of Chekhov, but presumably My Week with Marilyn and The Perks of Being a Wallflower have remedied that. There's no way it can be worse than Anne Hathaway's Yorkshire accent.
For Madeleine's love interest (the book is called The Marriage Plot, after all), the tobacco-chewing, tormented, David Foster Wallace-resembling Leonard Bankhead, we nominate another Brit, Aaron Johnson. A scraggly, long-haired, bearded Mr. Johnson, please! None of this clean-shaven nonsense.
Mitchell Grammaticus is in love with Madeleine. True Portrait of a Lady Ralph and Isabelle-style unrequited and enduring love. Unfortunately for Mitchell, his "smart, sane, parent-pleasing" ways are eclipsed in the eyes of Madeleine by the unpredictable (and thus far more exciting) Leonard. We think Anton Yelchin has the right balance of awkward sincerity, charm, and Hellenic bone structure to tackle the role of Mitchell.
For Madeleine's 14th birthday, her older sister Alwyn "Allie" Hanna sends a scandalized Maddie her own "Bachelorette's Survival Kit." Eight years later, Allie may be a married mother, but her attitude is much the same. We think Eva Amurri would work well as this rebellious '70s teenager masquerading as a yuppie '80s wife.
Put William Naughton in a seersucker suit and we have our Mr. Alton Hanna, the president of fictional New Jersey college and Madeline's father.
We know that we recently put forward Laura Linney as Mrs. Jobs, we promise we aren't creepily obsessed. We just couldn't pass up casting another Brown grad(!) as Madeline's mother, Phyllida Hanna.