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Actors cast contrary to their ethnic or national identity identity

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  • Actors cast contrary to their ethnic or national identity identity

    The abuses of the past are preserved on celluloid for all to see. Back in the day when the studios needed an ‘inscrutable oriental’ they would lash some tape around Peter Ustinov’s eyes and hey presto. Those days are mostly gone, (thank Christ). But it’s too easy to look back with the benefit of decades worth of hindsight to criticise decisions made in a very different cultural climate.
    I generally react to such castings with a mixture of hilarity and horror and sometimes even with admiration. Some actors made decent careers out of playing the exotic ‘other’ because they did it well.
    Any examples, good or bad, or comments in general are welcomed.

    I’ve chosen two from Alec Guinness/David Lean collaborations which I think chart the changing of audience expectations.

    Guinness as Prince Faisal works well in my opinion. Lawrence of Arabia is one of my fav flicks which I never get tired of watching. At this distance in time it is a period piece and as such I can accept Guinness in the role – it doesn’t jar with me as I don’t expect anything different from a film made in 1962 and the portrayal, (imho), is sympathetic and nuanced.



    However I can't say the same for Guiness as Godbole in A Passage to India (1984). Guiness and Lean probably aren't doing anything differently from what they did two decades earlier and that's the problem. They haven't changed but we have. I like the film but can't watch Guinness's performance without cringing. Seeing a brown-faced - wobbly headed peformance from a white actor in a 1980s film just feels wrong.




    I am less interested in the political rights and wrongs (which is a topic all on its own) than I am about which castings succeed or fail.

    Sorry if this topic has been covered before. I have searched and found nothing.

  • #2
    Hollywood has cast numerous Jewish actors as Native Americans. So it happens over here as well.

    Pruitt
    Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

    Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

    by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
      Hollywood has cast numerous Jewish actors as Native Americans. So it happens over here as well.

      Pruitt
      Yeah I wasn't making a distinction bretween British and American movies in this regard. I wasn't aware of the Jewish actors being passed off as Native Americans.

      This Mexican/American actor started his career playing 'Injuns' in westerns. When he became a star he was also cast as an Arab in Lawrece of Arabia, and as a Greek he was one of the best things about The Guns of Navarone.
      f50353847545a8b12cb91446be7fc2ff.jpg
      Attached Files

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      • #4
        The ultimate in bad casting: John Wayne as Genghis Khan...

        Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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        • #5
          It's called acting. Actors pretend to be something they are not all the time. It is their job. No problem with it.
          "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

          Comment


          • #6
            That's a great call Mountain Man. My guess is that Mickey Rooney appreciated The Dukes performance.

            mr-yunioshi.jpg
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
              The ultimate in bad casting: John Wayne as Genghis Khan...

              Wow amazing. I did not know Wayne once played Genghis Khan.
              Long live the Lionheart! Please watch this video
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=jRDwlR4zbEM
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3DBaY0RsxU
              Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.

              George S Patton

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Tommy Atkins View Post
                The abuses of the past are preserved on celluloid for all to see. Back in the day when the studios needed an ‘inscrutable oriental’ they would lash some tape around Peter Ustinov’s eyes and hey presto. Those days are mostly gone, (thank Christ). But it’s too easy to look back with the benefit of decades worth of hindsight to criticise decisions made in a very different cultural climate.
                I generally react to such castings with a mixture of hilarity and horror and sometimes even with admiration. Some actors made decent careers out of playing the exotic ‘other’ because they did it well.
                Any examples, good or bad, or comments in general are welcomed.

                I’ve chosen two from Alec Guinness/David Lean collaborations which I think chart the changing of audience expectations.

                Guinness as Prince Faisal works well in my opinion. Lawrence of Arabia is one of my fav flicks which I never get tired of watching. At this distance in time it is a period piece and as such I can accept Guinness in the role – it doesn’t jar with me as I don’t expect anything different from a film made in 1962 and the portrayal, (imho), is sympathetic and nuanced.



                However I can't say the same for Guiness as Godbole in A Passage to India (1984). Guiness and Lean probably aren't doing anything differently from what they did two decades earlier and that's the problem. They haven't changed but we have. I like the film but can't watch Guinness's performance without cringing. Seeing a brown-faced - wobbly headed peformance from a white actor in a 1980s film just feels wrong.




                I am less interested in the political rights and wrongs (which is a topic all on its own) than I am about which castings succeed or fail.

                Sorry if this topic has been covered before. I have searched and found nothing.
                Jake Gyllenhaal and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is an example.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince...of_Time_(film)

                And IMO I dont mind this sort of casting. We can imagine somewhere in Afghanistan there are Afghans putting on a musical performance of Oliver and I think thats beautiful. There was a recent Saudi made film that included Saudi Actors depicting Hamlet.
                Long live the Lionheart! Please watch this video
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=jRDwlR4zbEM
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3DBaY0RsxU
                Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.

                George S Patton

                Comment


                • #9
                  At least there are Blue Eyed Blonds in Persia and Afghanistan. The recent casting of a Black actor in Troy makes me cringe. I bet the Producer and director did not know one of the kingdoms that sent troops was Ethiopia!

                  Pruitt
                  Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                  Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                  by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Stonewall_Jack View Post

                    Wow amazing. I did not know Wayne once played Genghis Khan.
                    He topped even that when he drawled...

                    "He truly was... The Son of God."


                    9f9b47ca64ad584ccb25dfdb25793259.jpg



                    The long toll of the brave
                    Is not lost in darkness
                    Over the fruitful earth
                    And athwart the seas
                    Hath passed the light of noble deeds
                    Unquenchable forever.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Von Richter View Post


                      He topped even that when he drawled...

                      "He truly was... The Son of God."


                      ]



                      The story goes that there were a number of retakes. After the first take the director said " say it with awe John"

                      "Aww He truely was ....¬
                      Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                      Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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                      • #12
                        Three were Jeff Chandler (Cochise), Henry Brandon (The Searchers), Mel Brooks (Blazing Saddles).

                        Pruitt
                        Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                        Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                        by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Stonewall_Jack View Post

                          Wow amazing. I did not know Wayne once played Genghis Khan.
                          In the days of the studio system when all actors were on contract to specific film studios, actors had no choice about what films they were cast in.
                          Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                            At least there are Blue Eyed Blonds in Persia and Afghanistan. The recent casting of a Black actor in Troy makes me cringe. I bet the Producer and director did not know one of the kingdoms that sent troops was Ethiopia!

                            Pruitt
                            How about Charlton Heston as a Roman and as El Cid with an American accent? Sean Connery playing a Soviet submarine captain with a Scottish accent? Tom Cruise playing von Stauffenberg with an American accent? Ahhhnold playing a cyborg with an Austrian accent? Hollywoody goes where the money is. Accuracy is not a factor.
                            Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Surrey View Post
                              It's called acting. Actors pretend to be something they are not all the time. It is their job. No problem with it.
                              Acting is only part of it. Looking and speaking the part are the other major factors.
                              Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

                              Comment

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