Thursday, May 27, 2010

If The Shoe Fits...

The question of casting is always a huge debate among movie enthusiasts. But that is rightfully so since lead roles have the responsibility of taking the audience for a ride with them, and most of the time they can either make or break a movie. Yes, it is indeed true that talent alone goes a long way, still one cannot dismiss the different kinds of air each actor brings to the set.

Actors like Edward Norton and Cillian Murphy, their reluctance to embrace their celebrity status allows them to be believable in many different types of role. However, very few are built that way. Not that there's anything wrong with that, all that is being said here that if you linger in front of the camera lenses on and off set, prepare yourselves to become victims of typecasting.

Inside the Casting Office...

Ever saw an actor play a role and went, "Wow, it's like he/she's made for that character!"...? That is the result of perfect casting. For instance, Bruce Willis as an all-time best action hero John McClane, Hugh Jackman who is now immortalised as Wolverine, Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates in Psycho [1960], Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix in Gladiator [2000], Will Smith in plenty of his movies and others too numerous to mention.

But not every decision made in casting are well-received. The oldest example on top my head right now was the first Tim Burton-directed Batman movie back in 1989. The studio was initially against Burton's decision to cast Michael Keaton; regarded by many at the time to be too unimposing and too comical to play such an intimidating character. Yet now they laud him as the best actor ever to play the Caped Crusader.

It's nothing new and history keeps repeating itself. One example, everybody was against Daniel Craig when he signed on to play James Bond - calling him too short, too ugly and too blond. But he ended being the best Bond ever since Timothy Dalton (Some might say Sean Connery, but let's save that debate for another time). Another example, many were skeptical of the decision to cast the late Heath Ledger to play The Joker. Well, we all know how the public ended up embracing him. Kudos to the people in the casting office, for plenty had to eat boiled crow in the end.

Now, as of this moment, this is still a rumour. But there has been talks about Robert Pattinson to portray the Grunge royalty, Kurt Cobain in an upcoming biopic movie. Something about that reeks. This has little to do with Pattinson's acting capabilities, but more about his reputation for playing the love-drunk vampire that caught the imagination of hopeless romantics all over the world. FPBM! had always been open to new ideas and calculated risks, but this is a bad idea entirely.

When Green Speaks Louder Than Black, White, Yellow or Brown...

It's funny. Prior to the release of the highly anticipated Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time [2010], there has never been any sort of argument regarding the studio's choice to cast Jake Gyllenhaal as the Persian prince. Not even when photos of him on the set was leaked to the internet a while back. Frankly FPBM! never thought of this as some sort of a risk for he looks great for the role. The characterisation of the Prince in the video games can be summarised as witty, easy-going but also deadly - something that Gyllenhaal could no doubt pull off, and pulled it off he did. All this talk about skin colour is simply pointless debate.

Now for the future prospects. The game that is arguably one of the best video games ever made, a movie version of it has entered talks. That game is God of War.

At this stage, people are not yet concerned about the script or how the source material can be best utilised. No, the primary concern right now is who is going to play the fallen Spartan general, Kratos. Not even FPBM! has any idea at the moment, but it goes without saying that they should go for a relatively-unknown but talented actor.

Interestingly, series creator David Jaffe expressed interest in seeing Djimon Hounsou (Gladiator [2000], The Island [2005], Blood Diamond [2006]) filling in the sandals of Kratos. It doesn't sound like a bad idea at all since Hounsou could no doubt, do the character justice and provide depth to the hack-and-slash maverick. Sure, he's does not look anything remotely like a Greek. But this is probably one of those rare instances that talent alone should suffice, and technology could do the rest.

If it's not him, another actor comes to mind and that is former WWE wrestler Nathan Jones, best known for his role in Troy [2005] as Boagrius. But here's the thing, Kratos is many things but a one-dimensional character he is not. So while Jones may have the right look, he might end up bringing God of War into the list of horrible video game adaptations; just like countless of others.

Remember Max Payne [2008]? I know, I didn't want to either. The approach taken to that movie was all wrong. Max Payne is not an action hero entirely. But people allowed the action and flashy special effects in the game into thinking that the movie version should be all about gunfights. With that being said, Mark Wahlberg was all wrong for the role. The fault is not his, no doubt. But for someone as deep as Max Payne, it calls for a more dramatic actor to fill in his shoes. Someone with the talent of Bruce Willis, who has the ability to make action heroes seem more believable.

I could go on all day with this, but I think the point is made. Talent can indeed take you far, but most of the time it won't take you all the way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree on the Max Payne. I played the game so I can see that the movie didn't turn out the way it was supposed to.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Share This!