1 of 16
Casting Call: 1984

Julia may or may not be Winston's love interest (wouldn't want to spoil the plot for those Animal Farm readers). Described as "a bold-looking girl... with thick dark hair, a freckled face and swift, athletic movements," we suggest Elizabeth Olsen for the part. We try to veer away from overexposed it-actresses, as after a certain point in time they begin to annoy us, but we are bending our rule for Olsen because 1) we know she can play a girl in a bad situation 2) we think she could qualify for Hollywood-athletic because we do not get the simultaneous urges to feed her a Snickers (dipped in lard) and never eat again when we look at her.

Photo by Glen Luchford. Interview, January 2012.

Mr Charrington is another tricky character. An old man who seems to want to help Winston in his illicit endeavours, but as you can imagine, things are rarely what they seem in 1984. We would like recent Oscar winner Christopher Plummer to play Charrington.

O'Brien, a friend or foe? O'Brien is a member of the Inner Party (i.e. has quite a bit of political clout in the Big Brother regime); however, Winston suspects that he may also be a clandestine rebel, a member of the anti-Party group, the Brotherhood. Described as a "large, burly man with a thick neck and a coarse, humorous, brutal face," with a "certain charm of manner," we think Denzel Washington could be a good choice for this role. Denzel's face isn't really coarse and his neck isn't that thick, but he's pretty buff and certainly has a charm of manner. We could imagine him high up in the political echelon of a totalitarian regime.

Photo by Herb Ritts. Interview, July 1990.

Big Brother never physically appears in 1984, but he is everywhere—omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent. When contemplating whose face we'd least-like to having watching us at all times, our first thought was of Cillian Murphy. Man has crazy eyes.

We acknowlege that it's a little weird that Big Brother should appear so much younger than Emmanuel Goldstein, his nemesis and the elusive leader of the rebel party, the Brotherhood. That being said, perhaps we don't think aging is something that omnipotent dictators like to incoporate in their cult of personality. Sort of undermines their authority. That is how we justify picking Malcolm McDowell, who once played Alex in Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, as our Goldstein. Like Big Brother, Goldstein never appears in the book, but his presence is everywhere.

Winston Smith is Orwell's protagonist, a member of the "outer party" and a (intially) cautious dissenter against the Big Brother regime. According to Orwell's description "[Winston's] hair was very fair, his face naturally sanguine, his skin roughened by coarse soap and blunt razor blades and the cold of winter that had just ended." We'd like to see Clive Owen dye his hair blonde for the part of Winston.

Photo by Phil Knott. Interview, December 2000.