Writer/director Todd Solondz made quite an impact with his dark comedy Welcome To The Dollhouse in 1996. Critics were impressed with how the newcomer mined the dark emotional journey of pre-teen girl Dawn Weiner, played by Heather Matarazzo, for grim laughs. As his career has continued, Solondz’s films have become increasingly darker, which may have cost him some audience and critics alike. His upcoming film Weiner Dog sees him bringing back the character of Dawn and possibly the comparatively lighter tone of Dollhouse, though he’ll be doing it without the participation of Matarazzo.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, indie actress Greta Gerwig will be playing the role of Dawn in the film. No reason is given as to why the substitution. Gerwig is starting to earn a name for herself, so she does add marquee value. Also, Matarazzo has not been acting much lately and she may have decided that she did not want to be involved.
While Gerwig is a fine actress whose work I enjoy, I am not sure that she is right for the part of Dawn. A vital portion of Dawn’s character stemmed from her rather plain looks and how that impacted her and Gerwig is just, if I may say, too pretty for the part. After all, in Dollhouse, her nickname from her cruel schoolmates was “Weiner Dog.” Ultimately, though, it may not much matter. As the Hollywood Reporter describes the film –
The script tells several stories featuring people who find their life inspired or changed by one particular dachshund, who seems to be spreading comfort and joy.
It is possible that Dawn’s appearance in the film will only be for a few minutes and Gerwig’s looks might not be that impactful, but then again maybe not. I do trust Solondz to treat one of his earliest creations right, so I am going to reserve judgment until the film hits theaters, presumably sometime next year.