Born For a Role:  Aubrey Plaza as Pip Tyler

Scarcely a dozen pages in to Jonathan Franzen’s terrific new novel, “Purity” (I’m now halfway through), it’s obvious that it’s only a matter of time before the book is turned into a movie.

aubreyWho’ll be cast as the book’s main characters?

My candidate to play the lead, Pip Tyler, is Aubrey Plaza, heretofore best known for her character April Ludgate on sitcom Parks and Recreation.

Quintessential Millennial

Not only is Plaza a dead ringer for Purity Pip, she gives off the perfect vibe of counter-cultural cool/disaffection, intelligence, (mild) dysfunction, and grungy sex appeal that’s perfect for the role.

In other words, the ideal standard-bearer for Millennials (or at least, Baby Boomers’ conception of them).

Almost as good a fit for secondary lead Leila Helou:  Frances McDormand.

Male Leads

Best ideas so far to play Andreas Wolf, the book’s answer to Julian Assange of Wikileaks notoriety:  either Michael Fassbender or Ewan McGregor (Fassbender wouldn’t even have to fake the German accent required for the role).

Veteran character actor Chris Cooper would do wonders with the role of Tom Aberant, Leila’s editor and lover (or should that be Aberrant?).

Bryan Cranston would be an interesting alternative.

Meanwhile, it’s easy to imagine J.K. Simmons, John C. Reilly, and Philip Seymour Hoffman (sadly gone) each playing multiple characters.

P.S.: When I think of Katya, Andreas’ mother, I can’t get Christine Baranski out of my head.

Ten years ago, Brian Cox would have made a great Charles.  Now, I think of Cieran Hinds.

A 50 year-old Oliver Reed would have been amazing.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.
4 Responses
  1. JF

    I picture Anna Kendrick as Pip, Alex Skarsgard as Andreas, a young Angelina Jolie as Annagret, Paul Giamatti as Tom, Meryl Streep as Katya, Toni Collette or Edie Falco as Leila. Frances Mc Dormand would be excellent as Clelia.

  2. Same! Aubrey Plaza jumped into my head from the very start. She’s perfect. I think I was swayed quite a lot by the cover.

    Not too surprising – but I also had Fassbender for Andreas! At least that’s who I was trying to picture. Oddly my brain kept casting the main guy from American Movie, who I had also cast in Strong Motion.

    There’s an old american actor I cast for Charles but I can’t find his name, or remember a single thing he’s in.

  3. Lazlo Kovacs

    My God, how could you look at that cover art and NOT think Aubrey Plaza? That is exactly who jumped to my mind when I saw the book for the first time at B & N! The cover had a creepy and mysterious hold on me for that reason (also looks like a roommate of mine from a couple years back and it’s almost a tad creepy tbh.)
    I’m sure when it comes to making a Purity movie it will be a when-not-if type question. Give it a couple years and a movie version will be inevitable. Every book’s being turned into a movie.
    Plaza is perfect because she looks like the girl on the cover and is young enough and, as you said, grungy sex appeal-y millenially enough to fit the role.

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