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Is changing an iconic character's race or gender a good or bad thing?

 
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Jul, 2015 12:55 pm
@chai2,
I forgot about Cleopatra. Than again, I never bothered to watch it before. The king in The King and I was based on a real historically based figure?
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Fri 17 Jul, 2015 01:05 pm
@tsarstepan,
Whoops, sorry about that, I guess the King and I is fiction.

Then again, so is Jesus.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Fri 17 Jul, 2015 01:38 pm
@tsarstepan,
The King and I is based on a biography - real people. Not sure which casting is weirder, Rex Harrison or Yul Brynner. or maybe Rita Moreno as Tuptim. Weirdness all round.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_and_the_King_of_Siam_(novel)
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Fri 17 Jul, 2015 01:45 pm
@chai2,
chai2 wrote:
Liz Taylor as Cleopatra


pretty much all of the casting in that film was off. they should have been African, Greek, Arab and Macedonian. Elizabeth Taylor? Richard Burton? Roddy McDowell?

hahaha too funny Rex Harrison is in there as Julius Caesar. yeah right

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056937/fullcredits/
0 Replies
 
snood
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Jul, 2015 03:12 pm
@tsarstepan,
Here are a few I'm aware of - I'm sure there are others. But, you're not protesting the thesis that Hollyweird has been whitewashed, are you?


Alicia Nash (wife of John Nash in A Beautiful mind) is Honduran. She's played by Jennifer Connolly
Massai, an Apache warrior at the time of Geronimo - played by Burt Lancaster in the movie
Tony Mendez (Argo main character) - Ben Affleck
Jeffrey Ma - Asian (real life blackjack cheater in movie 21) played by Jim Sturgess
We've mentioned Liz Taylor as Cleopatra. Angelina Jolie was in talks to play her in another remake.
Jolie plays late journalist Daniel Pearl's mixed-race wife Marrianne in A Mighty Heart
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Jul, 2015 04:24 pm
@snood,
Good ones. So much ridiculous (er, to me, a child of Hollywood) casting over many decades, including now.

I often have felt, at a2k and other places, like I'm the only one ever interested in "foreign" films. That's not true of course, but it seems a lot of americans aren't interested in "the other" unless he or she is a cartoon character. I was introduced to foreign films on a blind date (my mother didn't like him, he smelled of smoke), a fellow who took me out to see a Jules Dassin's He Who Must Die, and then for coffee. I was probably twenty. Let's say it wasn't love at first sight (he was somebody at work's brother, not that long before from Hungary. He was probably bemused by me.)
Topping it off, Jules Dassin was, according to wiki, born in Connecticut, but it was a French production and set in Greece.

I've spent a lot of time and almost-love for foreign films, while liking some american ones of course. The thing is, I tend to like personal stories well told, and I got more of those at the Fox Venice Theater (art film/whatever is available in film files) than I did in theaters on LA's main boulevards. Doing all that, I was introduced to other folks in the world, of whatever shade or nationality or circumstance.

Beginning film makers sometimes start small with low money and equipment and involve friends at hand. But Hollywood (and similar) don't usually reach for actors who fit the roles that are at hand, they reach for names who will pull in crowds early who might work out in the role with some tweaking.

It always has revolved around money, me thinks.
snood
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Jul, 2015 05:00 pm
@ossobuco,
Yeah, it's about money, but it's a bit more complicated. The reason hollyweird bigwigs give for not financing movies about (and by) minorities is always that they wouldn't be financially viable. The problem with that reasoning is that it isn't an idea that's been really tested. They ASSUME no one wants to see movies by, about, and /or acted in by minorities. I don't know that's true, and I certainly don't think it has to stay that way.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Jul, 2015 05:18 pm
@snood,
I agree it's an assumption, will say it is a long long time one, still is, and say it's ridiculous. Certainly at least re what I'll call small/real type story movies. But blockbuster wannabees will often need name appeal. Changing who gets name appeal is the trick. Some of this comes down to the buyers, the subscribers to netflix, and yadda yadda. Hard to support people who aren't there, though.

I think blockbuster type movie production has already passed into it's own zone with grown ups having less and less interest. Other forms will develop, are developing, I hope.
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Fri 17 Jul, 2015 06:29 pm
@ossobuco,
One more thing -
the Los Angeles metropolitan area is one of, if not the most, diverse places on the globe re ethnicities/race. In the seventies and some eighties, because of my husband's interest in theater, mfa in playwriting, we went to a million small plays, or it seemed so, kidding. Anyway, asian theater, black theater, latino theater among them.
No shortage of people in LA of varied backgrounds who know how to act, how to engage an audience.
The studios just need to look.
0 Replies
 
HesDeltanCaptain
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 05:16 am
@tsarstepan,
Irking at the least. If you're gonna revive an old series, or do a comicbook movie, and you change gender or ethnicty of famous characters, make something new. Be like taking "Superman" and making him Latino. No problem with Latino superheros, but make a new one. Don't take other people's creations and characters and switch things around to be all PC and crap. For one thing, it's so obviously that, for another it's altering a character. How would people feel if they made a new Shakespeare's "Hamlet" and Hamlet was a lesbian? Or more to the point, a Bible movie where Jesus was a woman? People'd burn down the theatres. Smile
izzythepush
 
  3  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 05:36 am
@HesDeltanCaptain,
HesDeltanCaptain wrote:
How would people feel if they made a new Shakespeare's "Hamlet" and Hamlet was a lesbian?


Depends on how good a production it is. Maxine Peake seemed to pull it off quite well.

Quote:
Her face gleams keenly under an immaculate, straw-coloured David Bowie barnet. She wears a dark blue trouser suit that might have been imagined by a fashion-conscious Chairman Mao. She is a stripling prince, almost pre-sexual, who glides, without swagger and without girlishness. Straightaway, Maxine Peake knocks on the head one of the paradoxes of Hamlet. The speeches that come out of the prince’s mouth are about dissolving, yet the person who delivers them has to be the most distinct, intense character on stage.

Peake’s delicate ferocity, her particular mixture of concentration and lightness, ensure that you want to follow her whenever she appears. Anger is her keynote. Her voice is reedy with indignation. The speeches tumble out at high speed, as if she is surprised by her own fervour. Some dark and disturbing notes she does not hit. She is precise rather than cloudy, cutting rather than meditative. She is a damn good fencer.


http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2014/sep/21/hamlet-maxine-peake-royal-exchange-review-delicate-ferocity

This is a really stupid analogy, people reinterpret Shakespeare all the time. Helen Mirren played Prospero to great acclaim. I recently saw the RSC's Merchant of Venice where Antonio and Bassanio were having a gay relationship, (which actually made a lot more sense,) and the RSC's next production of Othello stars a black Othello and a black Iago.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 05:57 am
@izzythepush,
Thanks Izzy. Excellent post. Surprised Very Happy
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 06:33 am
@tsarstepan,
Thanks, although I must admit being a bit cheesed off about the Fantastic Four. Johnny Storm is now black, but his sister is still white. They should have changed both or neither.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 07:29 am
@izzythepush,
The number of people who are completely bent by that is astounding. I was talking summer reviews with a number of people at different times and each time the topic of F4 poor reviews came up the first thing out of their mouths was the race of the characters. I never really even saw any brother/sister interactions in the other F4 movies so I don't know why it is a big deal. I doubt any of the people I talked to were F4 fan boys upset that the movies weren't true to the comics.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 07:41 am
@engineer,
I read the FF when I was a kid, from what I remember the brother/sister relationship was quite a big deal.

I would have made Reed Richards black, he's the leader and an intellectual. Johnny is the most immature member of the quartet, making him black means blacks are still subservient to and less mature than whites.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 08:03 am
http://ia.media-imdb.com/images/M/MV5BMTQyNTQ4MTAzNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjk2Njk3OA@@._V1_SX214_AL_.jpg

Ben Kingsley as Ghandi
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 08:07 am
@maxdancona,
And I would add,

Dwayne Johnson as Hercules.
HesDeltanCaptain
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 08:42 am
@maxdancona,
Portraying Hercules as exclusively heterosexual. In actual Greek lore Hercules was profoundly bisexual. Using modern terms anyway. Same with the Spartans though not mentioned in "300." And Achilles' "cousin" in "Troy" was not historically his cousin so much as his gay lover.
HesDeltanCaptain
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 08:46 am
Making "The Equalizer" black was ok but I grew up with the tv series, and really loved the movie but for the racist subtext. Because the character kills lots of people, all of whom are white, and he's black, I owrried it was sending a stereotypical 'fear the violent black man' message however inadvertantly. And the scene where he goes to his old CIA friends "seeking their permission" only fed into the whole thing. The black man has to go to his rich white friends to get their permisison.

These problems aside, awesome movie. Awesome score too. That emo-gothy sorta "you're gonna die alone" piece was great.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 12:31 pm
@HesDeltanCaptain,
HesDeltanCaptain wrote:

Portraying Hercules as exclusively heterosexual. In actual Greek lore Hercules was profoundly bisexual.


In actual Greek lore he was called Heracles.
 

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