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A very thoughtful article about the casting choices in Star Trek Into Darkness

chator56

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Report this May. 26 2013, 7:05 pm

I would add that Brits have appeared as classic villians in many Hollywood movies because historically they were the original enemies of the first American colonists. Even though this changed slightly during the Cold War, and with the war on Terror, the number of British villians in Hollywood movies still outnumbers other nationalities.

WkdYngMan

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Report this May. 26 2013, 9:40 pm

Quote: Somniac @ May. 26 2013, 9:42 am

>So you're saying no one of the right ethnicity fitted the bill?

>They couldn't have looked all that far then.


Benecio Del Toro was going to play the villain.  However talks broke down over money.  They had other hispanic actors in line but Cumberbatch submitted an audition video and impressed everyone a lot more.


The whitewashing thing is pretty stupid now.  They went with the actor who wasn't an ass and obviously could act his way out of a fox hole.

Somniac

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Report this May. 27 2013, 2:49 am

So you're saying they didn't consider the continuity of ethnic origin then?


 


I'm convinced it's because it panders to the idea of Brits as villains. Goes back to 1776. 


What other people think of you is none of your business.

Somniac

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Report this May. 27 2013, 2:57 am

[quote]


[quote]


Aussies are not habitually cast as villains. Brits are and have been for decades.


I won't stir it by getting into why.


[/quote]


I will.


Aussies tend to be supporting actors a lot. Much of this I'm doing from memory so I may get a few minor details out of place.


When I was growing up, there were actually very few Australian actors succeeding in Hollywood (and most of those -- Mel Gibson, Olivia Newton John, Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman) were not in fact born in Australia. (Crowe is kiwi but moved to Aussie later, while the others were born overseas but raised Aussie.) Then of course The Matrix happened, and also Dark City. Fox had set up a special FX studio in Sydney, which gave more Australian actors like Hugo Weaving who I think had already starred in Priscilla a chance to appear in big budget Hollywood flicks, without actually having to "start over" in Hollywood.


Before then, Anthony LaPaglia (Aussie) was already mildly successful in America, but had to pretend at auditions that he came from New York. Also there were some directors like Peter Weir who were making it in America. LaPaglia "came out" as Aussie for the movie Looking for Alibrandi. At about the same time or shortly after, films like the aforementioned Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Shine, Muriel's Wedding, Chopper, &c. were popular overseas and served as a platform for Australian actors to become celebs. I still remember what a big deal it was when Geoffrey Rush won an Oscar because it was almost unheard of for an Australian actor in an Australian film to be that successful.


There are a few instances of Australians playing villains, but they are more likely these days to end up in supporting roles, or with fake accents. British actors on the other hand were, historically speaking, more likely to have classical training than Hollywood actors in decades past, which allows them to develop the nuanced performance necessary for a memorable villain. Also, the British "stage accent", if you like, involves very precise diction and careful delivery, which works well if you want to represent some of the more calculating villains. These do often tend to be more demanding roles than "the hero", who can generally get away with blustering around and looking heroic.


Ok -- not really that easy to be a hero, but nine times out of ten the more demanding and complex role ends up being that of the villain. And of course, over the years, audiences came to associate villainy in movies with a certain level of intellect, calculation, complexity, and arrogance -- which they came to associate with (generally middle/upper class) British. Cockneys &c. tend to be associated more with lackeys and minions in film, which could itself be fodder for an entirely new debate.


Off topic, I know. But most Australians playing villains tend to be faking a different accent.


[/quote]


 


Very interesting post and informative. Thanks.


I still think casting Brits is about more than skill. It may have been about that in the olden days (Basil Rathbone being the best example). But American acting has come a long way since then. Plenty of great American actors have played memorable villains.


Die Hard is a great take on the whole thing. Alan Rickman's arrogance sums up how many Americans feel about Brits (not only Americans) Cumberbatch has great arrogance. That's why he was so good as Holmes.


 


Remember Speilbergs dissing of Montgomery in Saving Private Ryan?


Chris Lee in SW.


Claude Rains in Notorious (playing a German!)


George Sanders in loads of stuff.


James mason in North by Northwest.


Terence Stamp in Superman 2


Tom Hiddleston in The Avengers.


Ian McKellen in Xmen.


And the most obvious example: Jason Isaacs in The Patriot.


(An American born Australian dissing the Brits...jeez, I'm really confused)


Lot of American audiences love seeing Brit arrogance taken down by downhome American guts.


I remember when Fish called Wanda was up for many Oscars and Kevin Kline said in his speech


"Lot of Brits here tonight...kind of unnerving"  


What other people think of you is none of your business.

bunkey

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Report this May. 27 2013, 7:25 am

I found this article interesting: 


 


http://movies.yahoo.com/blogs/the-reel-breakdown/check-star-trek-writers-planting-easter-eggs-tribbles-215642312.html


Some of the quotes that stood out are:


 


"We agreed he can be Khan as long as the audience doesn't have to know that backstory. Our challenge was to define a story that doesn't rely on previous knowledge, or love of Khan or "Star Trek 2." We thought if we can do that, then we can think of using that great character Khan."


 


I read that as "We can make him white as long as no one knows he was Indian." but that's my own personal opinion.


I also find it ironic that the writers with so called "Trek Cred" can’t even remember that they frakking blew up Vulcan in the last movie and the crew is going to Qo’nos.


They contradict themselves through the article about Khan.  The more I read interviews with these two the more I want tto break into their houses and pour pancake syrup all over their kitchen floors.  And maybe smear peanut butter on their doorknobs for good measure.

bunkey

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Report this May. 27 2013, 11:45 am

OtakuJo

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Report this May. 27 2013, 2:04 pm

Quote: bunkey @ May. 27 2013, 7:25 am

>

>We agreed he can be Khan as long as the audience doesn't have to know that backstory.

>


ok That is kind of weird. How many fans of Star Trek aren't going to know Khan's story?


Have you ever danced with a Tribble in the pale moonlight?

bunkey

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Report this May. 27 2013, 2:20 pm

Quote: OtakuJo @ May. 27 2013, 2:04 pm

>ok That is kind of weird. How many fans of Star Trek aren't going to know Khan's story?


Exactly.  I don't know, the more interviews I read now that the movie has opened and they can speak freely of Khan, the more confused and aggravated I get.


Sarcasm is my native language.
JJ Abrams is not of the body.

ShirtlessKirk

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Report this May. 27 2013, 2:43 pm

Quote: bunkey @ May. 11 2013, 4:59 am

>

> A previous article I posted stated that the producers were making Trek less Trek-like to bring in global dollars. You know whay country has one of the largest movie industries in the world? India. Bollywood is a billion dollar industry.  If the almighty dollar and having a British guy take a role that should be an Indian guy (whomp whomp) was the only strategy they could come up with, then they all need to go back to school.

>Imagine, just imagine how popular the new Star Trek movie may have been overseas in Asia if they had cast a well known Bollywood actor as one of the most legendary villain in cinema history

>Really, I don't think that anyone thought outside the box with this.  They just saw money.

>


 


Could you imagine if they cast Shah Rukh Khan in the role?  Or Amitabh or Abhishek Bachchan?  HOLY CATS!  That would have been so awesome! Now those are men who know how to dominate the screen.  And I loved Benedict Cumberbatch's performance, I just wish he had been an original Trek villain OR, one of Khan's henchmen and then, at the final scene had the camera pan over to the cryotube next to "John Harrison's" and have it read "Khan Noonian Singh".


"Brain and Brain! What is Brain?"

wissa

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Report this May. 27 2013, 3:11 pm

Quote:

ok That is kind of weird. How many fans of Star Trek aren't going to know Khan's story?


lots and lots and lots of casual fans who have watched a single series or a few movies.  We are surrounded by such fan boys/girls all the time that we forget about the legions of people who have seen some star trek or been to a few movies but can't quote chapter and verse about canon or dialogue or anything else.  Sure they can pick out Picard, and Kirk and Spock, and the borg and klingon, but they will not necessarily know the complete back story of every villain that has ever appeared.  They pay just as much money to see a movie as we do, they deserve to enjoy it just as much.



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bunkey

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Report this May. 27 2013, 3:21 pm

That doesn't excuse whitewashing.

wissa

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Report this May. 27 2013, 3:24 pm

you have no information that says that quote was about the race of khan.



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bunkey

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Report this May. 27 2013, 3:33 pm

It's retrocative ass covering.  

bunkey

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Report this May. 27 2013, 3:34 pm

Here's a well thought out blog on the subject.  Food for thought.


 


http://yollotheimp.tumblr.com/post/51480363374/on-the-khan-whitewashing-discourse-khans-whitewashing

fireproof78

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Report this May. 27 2013, 7:58 pm

Quote: Somniac @ May. 26 2013, 2:42 am

Quote: fireproof78 @ May. 24 2013, 10:54 pm

>

>

>

>Bunkey, what I can do help with the real world issue here? Canocity aside and with all seriousness to the situation you present, since it matters very much and bothers you so greatly.

>

Sorry to butt in here, but it seems to me that owning up to it as a problem in the media generally and in Nutrek in particular would be a start.

i don't think either than we can agree to disagree.

This issue is vital in the debate about the perversion (or not) of GR's concept.


I took some time to think on it a bit and step away from the negativity of these threads.


Whitewashing, as it as been called, is bad when it happens and I will agree with that. I am disappointed that Abrams and Co felt the need to disregard Khan's apparent ethnic origin (though nothing solid exists in canon) for casting purposes. I think it is pretty obvious that a new villian would have been the better choice.


Do I believe that it pervert's GR's vision? No, because worse forms of racism have happened in Trek.


Poor choice? Yes. Whitewashing and disappointing? Yes. Pervision? I'd argue no.

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