Tag Archive: Casting


I’ve been waiting for some True Blood news to post, and I finally have some, though I wish I was more excited about it.

The role of Claude Crane has been recast!

In the season 4 premier, the role had gone to Neil Hopkins, perhaps best know for his stint on Lost playing Liam Pace. His appearance as Claudine’s triplet Claude was a blink and you’ll miss it sort of affair, but people had been hoping he would make a return appearance.

Well, the good news is that Claude will be returning, just not as played by Neil. No, the role has gone to newcomer Giles Mattey.

The New ClaudeI have to ask: WHY?!?

Generally speaking, I’ve been pretty happy about the casting of characters established in the Charlaine Harris novels, but this one leaves me cold. Claude is described in the books as ‘hunky’, the kind of guy women and men would do a double take for. Hot and flauntingly sexual, Claude is a stripper who passes his daytime hours posing for the covers of romance novels – think Fabio only 1,000 times better looking.

I’m not getting that vibe from Giles. I haven’t seen many pictures, but he does not seem to have the physique that one would describe as ‘hunky’ and he certainly doesn’t look like he spends his time stripping. Neil’s looks fit into what I think of as fae, his physique is nothing to sneeze at, plus I think he’s fairly believable as Claudine’s sibling. Neil Hopkins and Lara Pulver look to be the same age, where as I would place Giles as being about 5 years younger – maybe more.

No mention as to whether Claude will be gay, as per the books, but reports are saying that Jessica will be taking an interest – which may work out well for fans if we don’t particularly like the character.

I am going to hold onto my outright condemnation of Alan Ball’s choice until I see what Giles does with the role. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt this one time.

But I can’t say as I’m feeling all that optimistic about it.

Jeremy Renner as HawkeyeLooks like Jeremy Renner will be taking on the role of Hawkeye in The Avengers, directed by Joss Whedon.

Renner was rumored to be up for the role during the fall, but his attachment at the time Universal’s Battleship and to a as yet unnamed Paul Thomas Anderson project was thought to prevent him from joining the film. Since then, Renner has not been cast in Battleship and Anderson’s project has been pushed back repeatedly as it’s tried to cobble together financing.

I like Renner for this role, and he’s a former Whedonite, (He played Penn on Angel) so I’m hoping this means Joss will be able to draft more of his favorite actors for the film. *cough* Nathan Fillion *cough* Gina Torres *cough*

This is good news. I’m really excited. Renner is a tremendously talented actor, it’s nice to see him continuing to get some recognition post The Hurt Locker.

I can’t wait to see what they come up with for the costume.

Via: Heat Vision – The Hollywood Reporter

Could Josh Holloway play either Hank Pym or Dum Dum Dugan?Hmmmm….. Avengers News is reporting that Josh Holloway is in talks to play a “lead” role in The Avengers movie: either Hank Pym (Ant Man), Clint Barton (Hawkeye) or Timothy “Dum Dum” Duggan. All these movies would potentially  have their own franchises spun off of them.

Of all those choices, I’m liking Holloway for Hank Pym. I’d honestly like to see Hawkeye go to Nathan Filion, who deserves a movie franchise after all this time. And Dum Dum’s character just screams Sam Elliot to me.

According to Avengers News, the word “lead” is important when it comes to negotiations:

We mention a “lead” role because these bigger actors often won’t sign “retainers”, meaning everything should be 100% locked (character, film, etc) for Josh once he’s signed the dotted line.

Interesting. No word yet as to what Joss Whedon has to say about casting, if anything. It would be nice to see The Avengers cast and director choices firmed up over the summer.

What do you think?

Via: Avengers News

James Marsters, Grace Park and Daniel Dae Kim all in the same show. My little geeky heart is quivering!

Something else I’m going to have to watch this fall.

Wow! There’s been a lot of talk in the media this week about which actors can, or some would say should, be allowed to play certain characters on-screen.

Sean Hayes as Chuck Baxter from Promises PromisesThe big blow-up came back at the end of April, when Newsweek posted the now infamous article by Ramin Setoodeh, essentially insisting that gay actors can’t play straight characters. Sean Hayes (Jack from Will and Grace) was the initial target of his ire:

Hayes is among Hollywood’s best verbal slapstickers, but his sexual orientation is part of who he is, and also part of his charm. (The fact that he only came out of the closet just before Promises was another one of those Ricky Martin-duh moments.) But frankly, it’s weird seeing Hayes play straight. He comes off as wooden and insincere, like he’s trying to hide something, which of course he is.

The question of appearances in casting, whether it be their personal reality (someone’s sexuality for example) or their ethnicity has been a hot topic for a while. Just this week Darren Franich of  Entertainment Weekly suggested that Beyonce Knowles should play Wonder Woman. As you can guess, the boards lit up with mostly negative reactions. Earlier this year M. Knight Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender generated a load of controversy surrounding it’s casting when the call for auditions was published, calling for Caucasian actors (or any other ethnicity) to play mainly Inuit and Asian roles:

Last Airbender Casting Call - Via io9.comNo ethnic actors were originally cast in the movie, although Dev Patel stepped in as Zuko, replacing Jesse McCartney who pulled out due to scheduling conflicts. The outcry prompted the film’s producer, Frank Marshal to insist that the original casting call did not specify race, but that the ‘poorly worded’ request for auditions came from a third-party talent agency employed by the production firm:

“Ultimately, we all take responsibility for not doing a more thorough job monitoring these frequently used third-party agents and Paramount has since been in regular dialogue with Asian American advocacy groups including the Japanese American Citizens League and the Media Action Network for Asian Americans to ensure that such a mistake does not happen in the future.”

Noah Ringer as Aang - The Last AirbenderThis has not stopped fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender from accusing the movie producers and Shyamalan of “racebending”, the casting of an actor in an ethnic role who is not of that race. Recently, SciFi Wire has posted two articles on either side of the casting divide. (The Yea article is written by Marissa Lee of Racebending.com. The Nay article doesn’t claim an author.) As a matter of fact, Racebending.com is even calling for a boycott of the movie in protest the casting selections and to promote greater use of ethnic actors in major Hollywood productions.

A greater representation of ethnicities in major motion pictures is definitely a laudable and obtainable goal, but is truly color-blind casting even possible? My father likes to say that people these days are so open-minded that their brains have fallen out. I don’t believe that he’s correct, but I do wonder if being politically correct in terms of story telling does a disservice to the character.

Keanu Reeves was *NOT* John ConstantineCasting a character for a movie, especially one that has already been visually defined in either comics, anime or animated features, must be incredibly difficult because fans already have an idea in their heads about what the characters look like. Characters like Superman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman have been around for years, and are considered icons of the genre. To mess with their appearance is tantamount to sacrilege in certain circles. I remember when Keanu Reeves was cast as John Constantine back in 2003; the hue and the cry because he wasn’t English, he didn’t have an accent and he wasn’t blond was close to deafening. (Reboot with Paul Bettany, please? Pretty please?) And producers weren’t doing any racebending in that case. Can you imagine what would happen if Beyonce was cast as Wonder Woman? Or if Jet Li played Blade? Or if Freida Pinto played Hatsumomo from Memoirs of a Geisha?  It wouldn’t work. Why?

People wouldn’t believe them in those roles. Not because people are racist, but because it would prevent them from suspending their disbelief that would be required for them to enjoy the movie. Would anyone accept a movie where the entire Zulu nation was played by Apache Indians? No, we’d sit back and wonder what the heck the production crew was smoking when they cast the movie.

Does this mean colour blind casting is impossible? Certainly not. If you look at EW message boards following Darrin Frannich’s article, people who were completely against the Beyonce casting, stopped and paused when Gina Torres’ name is mentioned

“Although, if we’re talking strong, African-American female actresses, can I offer you a Gina Torres? I want to see her more…”
“Gina Torres – good call!”
“If you’re going to forgo the “Wonder Woman is white” rule, please relax it for Gina Torres.”

Gina Torres as Wonder Woman? I'm there!Another example would be Idris Elba who’s been cast as Heimdall in Kenneth Branagh’s Thor, a film where you expect as Aryan a cast as any ever assembled. Elba’s casting has been embraced by fans (it has met with derision as well, don’t get me wrong) as brilliant. The irony of ‘The White God’ played by a black man is too wonderfully ironic to ignore. Plus, Elba is an incredibly talented actor (we’ll pretend Obsessed never happened, ‘kay?). It was a bold move on the part of the producers.

And that, I think, is key when it comes to colour blind casting. The choices have to be bold. Beyonce is well-known as an actress, she’s very popular, and therefore bankable. As a result, casting her smacks of nothing more than a money grab. She’s also a mediocre talent onscreen and those two factors combine for a lot of backlash (cast her as Dazzler in an ensemble film instead). But cast Gina Torres, a proven talent, unconventionally beautiful, who is not generally well know and *BANG*, you have a choice most people can get on board with. She’s already played the most beautiful woman in the world (Jasmine on Angel), so people would be willing to buy her as an Amazon. The same can be said of Elba, he’s not that well-known, but he’s incredibly talented with a proven track record (The Wire, The Office, Luther)  and he plays with people’s expectations of the role of Heimdall. Again, with this characterization that works.

You can’t have it all one way or the other. Casting directors need to look at the story, the characters, their history, audience expectations, and the actors who are up for the role and try to find a balance between all these expectations and the best actor to play that character. Sometimes you are going to be able pull the unexpected out of the hat, other times you are going to have to stick with the traditional depictions from the source material. If that is the case, then every effort should be made to find an actor of the proper ethnicity. I don’t think that was the case with The Last Airbender. I don’t know if it was laziness on the part of Paramount, or lack of money, but if Kevin Costner could find enough Native Americans to cast Dances with Wolves, including the lead roles, there’s no reason that Shyamalan couldn’t do the same for the Inuit and Asian races for his movie.

Billy D. Williams played Harvey Dent in Batman (1989)Some characters can benefit from colour blind casting. Neo for example could have been from any race. Personally, I would have preferred Will Smith in the role, but that wasn’t because of his ethnicity, it’s because he’s a better actor. Other roles, like Captain America or Wonder Woman are iconic in that they have a definitive physical appearance. The same could be said for Blade or The Silver Samurai. In those cases, producers could play with the supporting cast. Would Superman have suffered if  Elijah Kelley played Jimmy Olson, or if Jesse L. Martin played Captain George Stacy? No, they wouldn’t have, any more than Tim Burton’s original Batman movie suffered for having Billy D. Williams play Harvey Dent, a casting decision I wish they would have carried over into The Dark Knight, at least in spirit.

As for actors sexuality, if the actor is the best person for the role, who they sleep with should have no bearing on whether they be cast or not. Was Russell Crowe less believable as John Nash in A Beautiful Mind because he never suffered from a  mental illness? Was Sandra Bullock less believable as Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side because she never saved a young black boy from poverty (well, not at that point in her life anyway)? The answer to those two questions is “NO!” The same can be said for a gay actor playing a straight character. If he or she does his or her job properly, fill’s the shoes of the character, one’s sexuality should never enter into the equation.

Aaron SorkinSo when it comes to that issue, the problem lies solely in the laps of the audience. Because if we aren’t buying a portrayal of a straight character by a gay actor (or vice versa) and there is nothing wrong with the performance, the problem lies with us. We aren’t allowing ourselves to suspend our disbelief because of our own prejudices. Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) recently posted a rebuttal to the harsh criticism of Ramin Setoodeh in The Huffington Post where I think he nails the issue square on the head:

An actor, no matter which sex they’re attracted to, can’t “play” gay or “play” straight. Gay and straight aren’t actable things. You can act effeminate and you can act macho (though macho usually ends up reading as gay), but an actor can’t play gay or straight anymore than they can play Catholic. The most disturbing thing to me about this episode is that the theater critic for Newsweek didn’t know that. Of COURSE gay actors can play straight characters — it’s impossible to believe that Mr. Setoodeh would prefer if Ian McKellen would stop doing King Lear.

[snip]

The problem doesn’t have anything to do with sexual preference. The problem has everything to do with the fact that we know too much about each other and we care too much about what we know. In one short decade we have been reconditioned to be entertained by the most private areas of other people’s lives.

[snip]

if it were me, I’d re-direct my anger to the real problem. The honest-to-God, no kidding around, small-minded, mean-spirited, hysterically frightened, pig-ignorant bigots who don’t think homosexuals are fit to get married, adopt children or fight and die for their country. The ones who hold signs saying “God Hates Fags.” Those people aren’t in the backwoods of Idaho, they’re in Congress. Fight THEM. I’ll help.

Amen.

Via: Entertainment Weekly, i09.com, Newsweek, Sci Fi Wire, The Huffington Post

Lara Pulver joins True BloodSookie has found her fairy godmother!

Lara Pulver, who most recently starred in the BBC’s Robin Hood, has joined the cast of True Blood as Sookie’s fairy godmother, Claudine.

I’m surprised they’re bringing in Claudine in so soon. I didn’t think she turned up until at least the fourth book, but maybe Alan Ball is moving the time lines up a bit.

I really enjoyed Claudine in the books, the woman can wield a mean knitting needle, but I’m not sure Pulver is right for the part. I’ve always picture Claudine as being well over six feet tall, but according to Lara’s IMDB profile, she’s only 5’4″.

Hardly a formidable physical presence, but hopefully they’ll work some digital magic and have her towering over all and sundry.

So, if they’ve cast Claudine, the question becomes, are they looking at for her twin brother Claude, the model/stripper/fairy? If so, who should they cast?

Via: Entertainment Weekly

Iron Man 2 - Tony Stark

Iron Man 2 - Chick Flick?

Lisa Schwartzbaum of Entertainment Weekly wrote an excellent article about the studio’s surprise that Iron Man 2 is playing so well to female audiences. According to Indie Wire, the report upon which Schwartzbaum’s article is based:

“What you’ll see on Sunday is people taking their moms to see Iron Man,” says Paramount distribution executive vp Don Harris. “You can’t make a statistic like that up.” In tracking, the female figures for Iron Man 2 were so high, adds Harris, “you would expect such numbers from a film like Sex and the City 2.”

Why? Why is it, that in this day and age that it’s surprising for women to enjoy science fiction/comic books/action movies?

There has always been a strong fan base among women for the nerdy and the geeky. How many little girls grew up playing Princess Leia or Wonder Woman or Jamie Summers? Take a look at Science Fiction literature; some of the greatest authors of the genre are women. Mary Shelley, Andre Norton, Ursula K. LeGuin, Sheri Tepper have all created iconic tales of speculative fiction. As a mater of fact, the concept of the secret identity was originated by a woman, Baroness Emma Orczy, author of the Scarlet Pimpernel published in 1903.

Ursula K. LeGuin - Left Hand of DarknessIf women write the stuff, it would follow that women would read it, right?

The simple fact of the matter is that comic books and Spec-Fic is rife with themes that interest women and draw them in. It may not be the same things that interest men, but they are there just the same. For example, the Xmen comic deals with lots of masculine themes, but there are also the relationships that interest  women readers – Kitty Pryde and Wolverine, Jean and Scott, Storm and T’Challa all have a strong appeal to female readers. We may not care so much about the bang bang shoot’em ups, but the outcomes and the consequences are far more rewarding for a woman reader than for a man.

This obviously translates to the big screen and television. Buffy, Ripley, Trinity and most recently Avatar’s Neytiri have all drawn in female audiences. These are our role models. We don’t see many iconic female characters outside of Science Fiction/Fantasy movies that as girls we look up to. So of course we’re going to go see films in these genres to find more of the same. And we’re going to bring our daughters with us, growing the audience.

It just makes sense.

A few years ago, Hollywood was hot for female action movies. They were going to revolutionize the genre. What did we get? Catwoman and Elektra, two of the worst superhero movies ever made. The suits didn’t understand it at the time. There was a huge demand for women in more heroic roles, why did these films fail? Why didn’t they get the audience that they expected?

Buffy the Vampire SlayerProbably because the writing was crap. All there was to these movies were women in skimpy clothes prancing around. There was no human interactions, no relationships that women could be invest in. The stories were practically non-existent, the acting was wooden and the premise was ridiculous. As a result Hollywood has pretty much turned it’s back on the prospect. The Wonder Woman movie has been sitting in pre-production hell for 3 years because the studios can’t wrap their head around the fact that what women want are great characters, strong stories and compelling relationships. Having a female centric film is icing on the cake.

It was my mother who sat down and watched Wonder Woman and Doctor Who with me. She’s the one who introduced Sprout to Star Trek – another show with some amazingly strong women characters. Women have always been interested in Science Fiction and related works. The reason why Iron Man 2 works with women is because the main character is charming, his struggles are compelling and relationships are believable. Yes, we do enjoy the special effects and the explosions just as much as the guys, being a FX-geek I can say that. But they aren’t what brings us in. If the studios can keep making movies of Iron Man’s caliber, women audiences are going to keep coming and the numbers are going to grow.

Maybe this is the start of Hollywood actually getting it and start handing off these fantastic properties with strong women characters to great writers and directors. It’s in their best interest, but we fangirls have to demand it.

Via: Entertainment Weekly, Indie Wire.

Colin Farrell and Toni Collette have joined the cast of Fright Night

The new Fright Night remake has added two names to the cast and they’re great choices. Joining Anton Yelchin is Toni Collette playing his struggling mother and Colin Farrell as the vampire, a role originated by Chris Sarandon. Toni excels at playing maternal characters – she’s a delight on The United States of Tara and it’s always fun watching Colin being cool and suave, but please, producers, make him bathe! A greasy Jerry Dandridge wouldn’t go over well.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the role of  Charlie’s mom has been somewhat beefed up:

Collette is Yelchin’s mom, who at first disapproves of the new arrival but changes her attitude when she meets the magnetic man and — surprise — doesn’t believe her son when he tries to tell her Jerry is a vampire.

As for Jerry, it sounds like he’s going to be interacting more within the neighbourhood instead of chomping on convenient ladies of the night:

Farrell has the plum role of the vampire, named Jerry, who on the surface appears to be a cool guy but is really preying on the neighborhood.

Christopher Lee as Peter Vincent

Christopher Lee as Peter Vincent?

Now the big questions, who will be playing the role of Evil Ed, Amy Peterson and most importantly Peter Vincent. I personally think that they should ask Christopher Lee to play Vincent. It would be a lot of fun bringing the iconic, old school Dracula from the Hammer Films Charlie loves to watch to play the Van Helsing role in this movie. Who’s with me?

Fright Night is being written by Marti Noxon (BtVS, Angel, Mad Men), and will be directed by Craig Gillespie (United States of Tara, Lars and the Real Girl) for Dreamworks.

Via: The Hollywood Reporter – Heat Vision

Katee Sackoff needs to join True BloodAusiello over at EW is reporting that Katee Sackoff, better known as Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace from Battlestar Galactica, was offered the role of Debbie Pelt, which eventually went to Brit Morgan. She turned it down to star in the new ABC series, ‘Boston’s Finest’ opposite Goran Visnjic (YAY!) and Nia Long

I’m so disappointed. I would have loved to have seen Sackoff bring her special kind of crazy to the character of Debbie Pelt, but can understand why she did it:

“I am a huge fan of True Blood. It’s a phenomenal show and [exec producer] Alan Ball is a f—ing genius. But I wanted more security than one season of something, so I rolled the dice with [Boston’s Finest]. This entire business is about rolling the dice and hoping you made the right decision. I almost didn’t take 24 to do my own series on USA Network, and that worked out. I’m sure [Brit] is going to be fantastic [as Debbie].”

I hope this works out for her, but on the other hand,  if ABC doesn’t pick up Boston’s Finest, or if it gets canceled after a couple of seasons, I think Sackoff would make a great Amelia Broadway.

CONFIRMED!!!

Hugo Weaving as Red SkullHugo Weaving has been confirmed as Captain America’s arch nemesis, The Red Skull!

YES! The cool quotient on this film just went up significantly.

Hopefully that Tommy Lee Jones rumor will also turn out to be true.

Production begins this summer in London. Captain America: The First Avenger is slated to open July 22, 2011.

Via: Entertainment Weekly