Matt – Gregor Samsa (The Metamorphosis)
I’ll admit, typically I’m the jokester amongst this group who likes bending the topic in an attempt to deliver the most unique pick possible, like digging up an old comic and attempting to make an argument as to why Leo should be playing Silver Surfer or something along those lines, but I’m going back to my high school roots here. Sure, I was your stereotypical SparkNotes reading slacker who even resorted to paying classmates in the form of Italian Ice as a means of barter for weekly book notes for open-note quizes, but a few stories actually have stuck with me over time – most prominently Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis.
Telling the story of a salesman named Gregor Samsa, our protagonist wakes up one day to find he’s transformed into a “monstrous vermin” which is usually described as some hideous insect. In his new form, he’s shunned by all except his loving sister Grete, who accepts the duties of taking care of Gregor. As time goes on though, it becomes obvious that having a gigantic bug roaming around the apartment doesn’t have very many upsides, and even Grete admits Gregor has to go. Retreating to his room surrounded by a cloud of sadness, Gregor dies as to rid his family of such an abominable presence – ending with Gregor’s family finding peace.
I think it’s pretty obvious as to why I’d love for Leonardo DiCaprio to play the part of Gregor Samsa, because the man is just a flat-out phenomenal actor, but recently some very unique parts have showed a tremendous range that only proves DiCaprio has loads more talent people still don’t know about. Take the recent role of Calvin Candie in Django Unchained, which saw DiCaprio turn violently evil and tyrannically maniacal, unlocking a darkness in DiCaprio we hadn’t really seen in his work to that point. But did DiCaprio deliver? We’ve all seen Django Unchained by now, so that question answers itself.
With that said, the character work that is possible with an adaptation of The Metamorphosis would truly give an actor proper means to deliver a knock-out performance, and who better to deliver quality acting than Leonardo DiCaprio? That darkness Quentin Tarantino was able to grab surely would play a part in Gregor’s personality, as he mentally has to deal with the notion of being a nuisance to his very own family, but he’d also need to be an emotionally tough character who tries to survive best he can. We know DiCaprio can hold the screen all on his own, we’ve seen him turn out brilliant performances time and time again, but Gregor poses such a unique and difficult acting challenge, a performer like DiCaprio would do nothing but lose himself in the role completely.
Being one of the only stories I truly enjoyed in high school (then again, the only reason I didn’t enjoy reading was because it was forced upon me), watching Leonardo DiCaprio struggle with the bevy of emotions Gregor deals with throughout The Metamorphosis would be nothing but a cinematic treat.