Black Jesus approves
December 21, 2010 7:27 AM   Subscribe

Idris Elba was cast to portray Heimdall in the upcoming Thor movie. This has got the Council of Conservative Citizens (an American white nationalist group) all in a tizzy, since traditionally the Norse gods were all white, since Norsemen were, well... just about all white. Gabe raises the point - can a racist clock be right twice a day? via
posted by FatherDagon (307 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Where's Loki, Heim? Where's Loki, Heim????
posted by neustile at 7:31 AM on December 21, 2010 [27 favorites]


No link to the CCC, since they are racist douchebags and do not need the traffic. The real question is - while Idris Elba is awesome, Heimdall is described in the Edda as, literally, the 'Whitest of the Aesir'. Is this an evolving cultural understanding of the place of mythology in the modern world, or really ham-handed forced multiculturalism?
posted by FatherDagon at 7:31 AM on December 21, 2010


I would caution Idris Elba, who fucking rocks the house, to avoid being in this movie. Not because of backlash from racists, but because the movie is going to be absolute crap.
posted by mcstayinskool at 7:33 AM on December 21, 2010 [24 favorites]



ZOMG!!!! Laurence Fishburne as Othello!! Morgan Freeman as God!!!
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:34 AM on December 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


See also: Right wing bloggers freak out because Batman is freinds with a Muslim.
posted by Artw at 7:34 AM on December 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


The Council of Conservative Citizens is the successor of the Citizens' Council movement, recently praised by Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS). Here's an example of their newsletter.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:34 AM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Is this an evolving cultural understanding of the place of mythology in the modern world, or really ham-handed forced multiculturalism?

Look, Heimdall was the guardian of Bifrost, the rainbow bridge. 'Nuff said.
posted by cobra libre at 7:35 AM on December 21, 2010 [22 favorites]


speaking of Thor, why hasn't anyone made a movie of 'Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency'?
posted by ennui.bz at 7:36 AM on December 21, 2010 [19 favorites]


It seems unlikely that Jesus had blue eyes and pearly white skin but that's never stopped him being portrayed in that way.
posted by unSane at 7:37 AM on December 21, 2010 [54 favorites]


Wait, did that third link say "director Kenneth Branagh" ? Really?
posted by .kobayashi. at 7:37 AM on December 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


FatherDagon alludes to it in his post, but most Christians have been happy to portray Jesus as a Euro white guy for the past however many years. Double standard? I think that I would be more likely to see any movie with (sigh) Idris Elba in it than one without, but his dreaminess notwithstanding, I really like the idea of multiculti gods.
posted by arcticwoman at 7:37 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


The real issue at stake here is: can they make American actors stop affecting fake British accents when playing any and all mythological or historical characters?

Idris Elba can keep his, of course, not being American.
posted by oinopaponton at 7:38 AM on December 21, 2010 [11 favorites]


There's also the Penny Arcade TV "fourth panel" episode that details the creation of the comic, which includes a deeper discussion of the topic.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 7:38 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I expect scrupulous historical accuracy in this depiction of old Norse myth.

The whole thing should be in ?Old Norse? or whatever they spoke, with subtitles.

And they should all have bad teeth. If that's what they had back then.
posted by etherist at 7:39 AM on December 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


why hasn't anyone made a movie of 'Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency'?

Here you go!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:39 AM on December 21, 2010 [8 favorites]


ZOMG!!!! Laurence Fishburne as Othello!!
Um...Othello is black.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:39 AM on December 21, 2010 [45 favorites]


speaking of Thor, why hasn't anyone made a movie of 'Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency'?


I dunno. But it recently premiered on BBC Four as a TV series.
posted by inturnaround at 7:40 AM on December 21, 2010


I like Norse mythology and all that but this is fucking ridiculous. It's not as if Hollywood never cast white actors playing Genghis Khan (John Wayne!!!!!), Timur, Cleopatra, Gandhi, Sitting Bull, the King of Siam, and pretty much other non-white protagonist or action figure from time immemorial. Tables are turned, once. BFD.
posted by blucevalo at 7:40 AM on December 21, 2010 [15 favorites]


Ehh, Mr Elba has already got his fair share of turkeys (Rocknrolla? TheUnborn? Ugh.), but he's still cool and I suppose he might be trying to pull off his own version of the old Michael Caine terrific house buying trick. And good for him if it is so.
posted by Iosephus at 7:40 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


They seem to have no troubles with Zeus being portrayed by a tall, blue-eyed Celt in the Clash of the Titans movie, despite the Greeks and Romans of the time being short and dark-skinned, dark-eyed and dark haired.

Dude's a god. If a god wants to incarnate as a brother, the dude is gonna incarnate as a brother. Hell, Thor himself once spent four issues as a frog.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:41 AM on December 21, 2010 [46 favorites]


I'm not mad about it, and Elba is tremendous (he looks like an absolute bad-ass in his helmet), but it does smack of tokenism. It is Norse Mythology after all.
posted by Scoo at 7:41 AM on December 21, 2010


Um...Othello is black.

I'm gonna go ahead and say you need to get your humor checked. Might be a quart low.
posted by inturnaround at 7:41 AM on December 21, 2010


Laurence Fishburne as Othello!!

More like "Patrick Stewart as Othello!!"
posted by katillathehun at 7:41 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


speaking of Thor, why hasn't anyone made a movie of 'Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency'?

I don't know but the BBC have just made it into a TV series.
posted by ninebelow at 7:41 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I expect scrupulous historical accuracy in this depiction of old Norse myth.

Someone should slip these white power dudes the tip that it's actually based on a comic, and that COMICS ARE A JEWISH CONSPIRACY.
posted by Artw at 7:41 AM on December 21, 2010 [14 favorites]


You know, film makers, animators and artists interpret mythological figures in different ways all the time. I think the skin color of Heimdall is a non-issue. Now, if the Æsir are depicted as a fun-loving gang of brodude fratboys who get too drunk on a road trip and have lots of whacky misadventures, then I'd see reason to be outraged.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:42 AM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well speaking from Sweden - where certain prejudices still exist - it is far preferable to see a black man cast as Thor than a Norwegian.
posted by three blind mice at 7:42 AM on December 21, 2010 [66 favorites]


why hasn't anyone made a movie of 'Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency'?

Here you go!


What what WHAT? ::JOY::

"Overall, your reaction to Dirk Gently will largely depend on if you’ve read the source material. If you have, you’ll perhaps be disappointed Overman’s adaptation has gutted Adams’s surrealism and rampant oddness."

NOOOOOOOOOOOO
posted by FatherDagon at 7:42 AM on December 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


This is the _movie_ of the _comic book_ right?

Liberties may be taken...

(waiting for outrage on Hogun being played by a Japanese and Volstagg being played by a non-obese person)
posted by djrock3k at 7:42 AM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Now the SciFi Earthsea adaptation, that annoys the hell out of me.
posted by Scoo at 7:43 AM on December 21, 2010 [8 favorites]


ZOMG!!!! Laurence Fishburne as Othello!! Morgan Freeman as God!!!

ZOMG!!!! white people in the crappy Airbender movie!!!!
posted by MikeMc at 7:43 AM on December 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


speaking of Thor, why hasn't anyone made a movie of 'Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency'?

A TV adaptation just aired about a week ago, though apparently it doesn't follow the same plot as the novel.
posted by asperity at 7:43 AM on December 21, 2010


Um, yeah, and the movie also has Odin talking about all he has sacrificed for 'peace'

Really?

How many peace-lovers get to Valhalla? Odin was a sneaky knowledge-obsessed asshole who happily slew giants along with the rest of Aasgaard, and didn't give two shits for peace.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:44 AM on December 21, 2010 [13 favorites]


they should maintain the same racial accuracy as they did in Avatar: The Last Airbender
posted by Redhush at 7:44 AM on December 21, 2010


I SCOOPED YOU ALL SCOOP SCOOP SCOOP
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:44 AM on December 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


crap! too slow
posted by Redhush at 7:44 AM on December 21, 2010


Dagnabbit. Forgot to preview.
posted by asperity at 7:45 AM on December 21, 2010


Heimdall is described in the Edda as, literally, the 'Whitest of the Aesir'.

Replace "White" with "Light" and have him glow. Problem solved.
posted by empath at 7:45 AM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Um, yeah, and the movie also has Odin talking about all he has sacrificed for 'peace'

Odin: By which I mean, of course, the many, many baby frost giants I have slaughtered upon my altar of ambition.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:45 AM on December 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


Is this an evolving cultural understanding of the place of mythology in the modern world, or really ham-handed forced multiculturalism?

It's a movie about a comic book about mythology. It's not forced multiculturalism; it's casting a black dude as a character who has no race because he's not real.

Heimdall has been depicted for a long time as a dude who speaks a weird archaic English. He's also fought Egyptian gods, and the Incredible Hulk. None of that was in the Edda. Why is none of that worth noting, and if it's not -- and it's not -- then why would his race be?
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:46 AM on December 21, 2010 [22 favorites]


To be fair, it's nice to see the Right acknowledging that Thor, Batman and Jesus all belong on equal ontological footing.
posted by The Bellman at 7:47 AM on December 21, 2010 [75 favorites]


Someone should slip these white power dudes the tip that it's actually based on a comic, and that COMICS ARE A JEWISH CONSPIRACY

True! A beautifully illustrated Jewish conspiracy. Superman? THe X-Men? Spider-man? The Fantastic Four? Captain America? EC comics and Mad Magazine? The artifact we call a modern comic book?ALL INVENTED BY JEWS!

Keep on being awesome, my Hebrews!
posted by Scoo at 7:47 AM on December 21, 2010 [8 favorites]


The PA discussion is really worth watching because it goes into detail the really difficult "God I hate 'agreeing' with bad people" concept. The number of times Mike Krahulik has to say "look, I'm NOT RACIST" is funny and tragic at the same time but it's the same was I and a lot of others feel.

I don't sympathize with racists who think that they're "losing" something but Mike's point was right: they're making a valid point that they don't actually believe in. They don't care about canon or continuity; they care about being racists. It's just annoying that technically they'd have a point, if they were actually trying to make one.

Now, to get incredibly pedantic: I'm a little rusty on my Thor comics canon here but on a pedantic level, wouldn't the excuse be that technically Thor's world isn't actually gods? I seem to recall that the whole concept in recent comics and the movie is that they're highly advanced aliens/other-worldy beings who were seen as gods because of their powers.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:48 AM on December 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


Also, I don't think Zeus was Irish, but that didn't stop Liam Neeson in Clash of the Titans.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:49 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jesus Christ what a non-issue (not the post, the "controversy"). This is the kind of thing best dealt with in a footnote to a Slavoj Zizek article.
posted by facetious at 7:49 AM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Lemme 'splain something to you, Father Dagon:

THE COMIC-BOOK THOR IS NOT THE THOR OF LEGEND.

Once more, with feeling:

THE COMIC-BOOK THOR IS NOT THE THOR OF LEGEND, AND NEITHER IS HIS SUPPORTING CAST.

Sorry, I hate to yell, but FFS, he's only been around for, what, forty-odd years, and every now and then some mythology nerd stumbles upon him and wanders the land thereafter, waving their mead-stained copy of the Edda or whatever and screeching, "The real Thor has red hair and a beard! The real Thor has a belt and gloves of power as well as his hammer! Lee and Kirby got it wrong!!!!!"

Well, no, they didn't. The Norse gods are part of a larger and much more elaborate mythology of the Marvel Universe which includes beings that are to the "gods" as the gods are to mortals. There is a tree called Yggdrasil, for example, but it is not the literal axis of creation the way it is in the myths. They share cosmic space with the pantheons of all other religions, sometimes warring against each other but mostly just hanging out as you would with peers. (Thor and Hercules are particularly good friends--well, Hercules is dead right now, but that probably won't last. It's complicated.) And so on.

Occasionally writers of the comic have tried to reconcile the myths with past storylines, but for the most part they just sort of wing it. To paraphrase Spock in one of the Star Trek movies, mythology is the beginning of the story, not the end. People complaining that they're not hewing to some fundamentalist Odinist creed are missing the point. (The comic book Heimdall has also been white, but we all know (or should know, and have accepted, by this point) that there's usually a big difference between the movies and the comic book canon.) If that still bothers you, then by all means avoid the comics, because for a while Loki was a woman (and damned Sexy Evil, in this fanboy's opinion)!
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:49 AM on December 21, 2010 [21 favorites]


Thor, Batman and Jesus all belong on equal ontological footing.

Dude, there's a movie in this. "After being betrayed by those closest to him, one skygod comes back from the dead to avenge his own death as a driven dark knight of justice!"
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:49 AM on December 21, 2010 [11 favorites]


Is this an evolving cultural understanding of the place of mythology in the modern world, or really ham-handed forced multiculturalism?

Or! Is it a shit comic book movie.

That's what seems to be getting lost in this whole discussion. This isn't a movie based on Norse mythology, or a retelling of Norse tales. This isn't a movie of the Prose Edda, or even a version of Beowulf. It's a movie based on a comic book. Thor fought over-gods from space, giant bipedal alliteratively-named dragons, the Beyonder, and sentient dirt. We are so far outside of the realm of what the present-day guardians of Norse culture (to the extent that there even are such people) have any claim to as to make this whole story even more ridiculous than it would otherwise be.

You know how every once in a while somebody will get the bright idea to make the joke that
"hey, if Spiderman was bitten by a radioactive spider and got spider-powers, how come he doesn't have 8 eyes and shoot webs out of his butt?" And the answer is "because this is a comic book and that sounds stupid." This is that, except also racist.
posted by penduluum at 7:50 AM on December 21, 2010 [17 favorites]


On preview: what Halloween Jack said, except not as well.
posted by penduluum at 7:50 AM on December 21, 2010


> This has got the Council of Conservative Citizens (an American white nationalist group) all in a tizzy

To the extent that I care about the opinions of racists, I believe this is an excellent reason for casting Idris Elba as a Norse god.
posted by ardgedee at 7:50 AM on December 21, 2010 [14 favorites]


Damn. I just cheer every time any actor from The Wire finds work.
posted by 2bucksplus at 7:51 AM on December 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


Filmmakers have no responsibility to appease ancient gods.
That Penny Arcade you linked is pretty offensive. Only white guys could be so glib and 'whatever' about some actual racism being directed at a real person.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 7:52 AM on December 21, 2010


The Norse gods are part of a larger and much more elaborate mythology of the Marvel Universe which includes beings that are to the "gods" as the gods are to mortals.

Thor also exists in the DC universe.
posted by empath at 7:52 AM on December 21, 2010


I like Norse mythology and all that but this is fucking ridiculous. It's not as if Hollywood never cast white actors playing Genghis Khan (John Wayne!!!!!), Timur, Cleopatra, Gandhi, Sitting Bull, the King of Siam, and pretty much other non-white protagonist or action figure from time immemorial. Tables are turned, once. BFD.

1. Ben Kingsley (aka Krishna Pandit Bhanji) is of Indian descent.

2. Other than that, are you saying that in retrospect these were all good casting decisions? Because if not I think you've proved the opposite of your point.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:52 AM on December 21, 2010


Um...Othello is black.

Depends on your definition of "black." Most people mean "sub-Saharan African ancestry" when they say "black."

The character of Othello was a Moor, which usually means Arab/Berber, perhaps with mixed Spanish ancestry. I don't think that's what most people today think of as "black."
posted by aught at 7:52 AM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


why hasn't anyone made a movie of 'Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency'?

Thor et al. were in 'Long Dark Teatime of the Soul.'
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:52 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Remember when the CCC was all upset over the racism in Avatar?

Me either.
posted by DU at 7:53 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


"It's not forced multiculturalism; it's casting a black dude as a character who has no race because he's not real."

We could have used you in the Airbender thread.
posted by MikeMc at 7:54 AM on December 21, 2010


Halle Berry was terribly miscast as Storm in the X-Men movies. They should have cast Charleze Theron. She's actually African, for crying out loud.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:54 AM on December 21, 2010 [12 favorites]


Only white guys could be so glib and 'whatever' about some actual racism being directed at a real person.

Multicultural FAIL.
posted by Scoo at 7:54 AM on December 21, 2010


Look, I'm as racist as the next guy, but shouldn't we be focusing instead on the fact that they cast anyone besides Brian Blessed to play Volstagg?
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 7:54 AM on December 21, 2010 [22 favorites]


Idris Elba is pretty much the only thing that could make me see this movie, mostly because the power of Idris Elba could make me see just about any movie.

That is all.

Well speaking from Sweden - where certain prejudices still exist - it is far preferable to see a black man cast as Thor than a Norwegian.

Also, word to this. My family is of Swedish descent and still tell Norwegian jokes, despite having left the motherland two generations ago.
posted by sonika at 7:57 AM on December 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


ZOMG!!!! white people in the crappy Airbender movie!!!!

We could have used you in the Airbender thread.

Poor oppressed white people. They have so few role models in fiction to look up to.
posted by kmz at 7:58 AM on December 21, 2010 [9 favorites]


I think there was some talk of the new Conan being black. I saw a an alleged movie still of a Conan with dreadlocks but I think they went with a different actor who isn't "black" but isn't as Anglo as Arnold.
posted by Liquidwolf at 7:59 AM on December 21, 2010


If Marvel were smart they would just say that Heimdall was always supposed to be black but Vince Colletta fucked him up in the inking.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:59 AM on December 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


Heimdall is described in the Edda as, literally, the 'Whitest of the Aesir'.

Elba is a fantastic actor. And just to piss off the CCC, I'd love to see him do the role as the worst stereotypical example of a black guy acting like a white guy; Urkel taken to an exponential extreme.

In an ideal world, the rest of the cast would just go along with it and play it completely straight.

Hell, it might actually make the movie more interesting.
posted by quin at 8:00 AM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Boy, are they going to flip out when they discover that Thor was once replaced by an orange-skinned, buck-toothed alien.
posted by moonbiter at 8:00 AM on December 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


And now Mickey Rourke for Genghis Khan. To be fair though, Yul Brynner could claim Romani, Jewish, Swiss, and Mongolian ancestry, according to one biography although he claimed to be a Tartar for publicity.

pendulum: That's what seems to be getting lost in this whole discussion. This isn't a movie based on Norse mythology, or a retelling of Norse tales. This isn't a movie of the Prose Edda, or even a version of Beowulf. It's a movie based on a comic book.

And even so, why not? Historical realism isn't always appropriate for dramatic works and if we can gave black people playing Hamlet and Henry V we can have them in an adaptation Beowulf or the Eddas.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:01 AM on December 21, 2010


Heimdall is described in the Edda as, literally, the 'Whitest of the Aesir'.

It's a buffer overflow error, is all.
posted by cortex at 8:01 AM on December 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


Man, imagine how pissed they're going to be when they find out we have a black president.
posted by ghharr at 8:01 AM on December 21, 2010 [11 favorites]


I think there was some talk of the new Conan being black. I saw a an alleged movie still of a Conan with dreadlocks but I think they went with a different actor who isn't "black" but isn't as Anglo as Arnold.

Yeah, they went with Jason Momoa, who is part native Hawaiian. Unfortunately his physique just doesn't have the Conan look to me.
posted by 2bucksplus at 8:02 AM on December 21, 2010


That Penny Arcade you linked is pretty offensive.

I think you may be reading it wrong - the main thrust is that the racist contingent are a bunch of whining twats.

As far as I'm concerned, there is definitely nothing wrong with re-envisioning traditionally 'white' characters in a broader racial context. Altho few films could do it as hilariously as Vonnegut's 'Mother Night'.
posted by FatherDagon at 8:03 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Hey, if Spiderman was bitten by a radioactive spider and got spider-powers, how come he doesn't have 8 eyes and shoot webs out of his butt?" And the answer is "because this is a comic book and that sounds stupid."

I think you mean it sounds AWESOME and not only would I read every issue of that comic book I would go see the new musical "Spider Man: Wipe Out".
posted by The Bellman at 8:04 AM on December 21, 2010


1. Ben Kingsley (aka Krishna Pandit Bhanji) is of Indian descent.

2. Other than that, are you saying that in retrospect these were all good casting decisions? Because if not I think you've proved the opposite of your point.


1. I admit I didn't know that about Ben Kingsley, but there have been other (albeit lesser-known) Gandhi films made with non-Indian actors.

2. My point wasn't that this was a good or a bad casting decision, just that Hollywood has done it before in the opposite way on a massive scale.
posted by blucevalo at 8:05 AM on December 21, 2010


They're also frustrated that Thor's companion is being played by Natalie Portman, a Jewish actress!!
posted by ChuraChura at 8:05 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


And even so, why not?

Oh, I absolutely agree. I just was reacting to the fact that this discussion throughout the internet seems to be being framed as "Heimdall isn't black in Norse Mythology" and ignoring the fact that the work we're dealing with isn't actually based in Norse mythology. It would be just as fucking ludicrous an argument if we were actually talking about Snorri Sturlson: The Movie, but it would be a different fucking ludicrous argument.
posted by penduluum at 8:05 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


If the notable thing we're hearing these days from racists is their condemnation of the casting in a movie adaptation of a comic book......... I see that as a good thing.

"Well, we lost on interracial marriage and voters rights and integration and even the PotUS. But at least we can take a stand on this comic book movie."
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:06 AM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Dear bigots: I'm pretty sure Moses wasn't a gun nut from Illinois either.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:07 AM on December 21, 2010 [8 favorites]


Personally, I wish we could have seen Brian Blessed as Odin.

"THIS IS THE ALL-FATHER'S INSIDE VOICE!"
posted by Tknophobia at 8:07 AM on December 21, 2010 [17 favorites]


Someone should point the CCC to the Stargate universe where all of the Norse gods were actually little grey aliens.
posted by ryoshu at 8:08 AM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


"And now Mickey Rourke for Genghis Khan."

At this point Mickey Rourke's face is so mangled he vaguely resembles just about every ethnicity.
posted by MikeMc at 8:09 AM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have a feeling Freyja wouldn't give a shit about this. And, really, it is her feelings on the matter (and the feelings of her peers) that actually count in this discussion.

The gods were extra-human, and therefore could take any form they wanted. It was only humans and their need to portray the gods in a human form that chose details like skin colour, and only based on their understanding of their own narrow world (never mind their poor understanding of the world of the gods.) The gods are just man writ large, but they don't live by our rules.

Telling the stories of the gods in words and pictures is always a translation, and telling the gods what colour of skin they should have misses this point by a Norse rôst.

Philosophically, the racist are wrong, again. Theirs is a clock that can never be right, as it runs backwards and never modulo actual human time periods.
posted by clvrmnky at 8:09 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


My favorite part of Norse mythology is when Thor joins the Avengers and Captain America beats up Loki.
posted by mkultra at 8:10 AM on December 21, 2010 [18 favorites]


that they cast anyone besides Brian Blessed to play Volstagg?
Personally, I wish we could have seen Brian Blessed as Odin.


That Brian Blessed, he's so hot right now. Actually he would be perfect in this movie.
posted by MikeMc at 8:12 AM on December 21, 2010


I don't care so much about Thor (though, like many of you, I'd pay to watch Idris Elba read actuary tables for two hours), but I still think Donald Glover should have been cast as Spider-Man.
posted by Zozo at 8:13 AM on December 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


I think casting Idris Elba as a Norse God is sort of a dumb move, and I wouldn't have done so if I'd been the casting director.

...unless I knew that it was going to piss off a lot of white supremacists. In which case, I would have cast several gods of different ethnicities, secretly cackled to myself, then publicly feigned wide-eyed innocence about how "Well gosh, it never even occurred to me that their races would even be an issue."

Thor for the record would be a vietnamese dude named Thanh
posted by Greg Nog at 8:13 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


the Stargate universe where all of the Norse gods were actually little grey aliens.

The Greys are gods in every universe. The More You Know...
posted by MikeMc at 8:14 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Poor oppressed white people. They have so few role models in fiction to look up to.

Hey! Gummy Sue, Tiffany, Andie, Gordon, Lizzie, Jackson, Heather, Cody, Dylan, Dermot, Kevin, Jacob, Jordan, Taylor, Brittany, Wesley, Rumor, Scout, Cassidy, Zoe, Chloe, Max, Hunter, Rubella Scabies, Kendall, Caitlin, Noah, Sasha, Morgan, Kyra, Ian, Lauren, Q*bert, Condoleezza Marie, Phil, Birthday, Crystal Meth, Dubya, Incest, International Harvester, Jitney, Witney, Mary, and Stabbed in Jail Spuckler all need heroes to look up to too!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:14 AM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'd seen Idris in The Wire and The Office, but until I watched The Big C I don't think I'd seem him act with his real accent. It was quite illuminating. I almost didn't recognize him at first.

(Also, I'd just like to share my shame at thinking that Heimdall a kerberos implementation and that Yggdrasil was a linux distro. I mean, they are those things too, but I guess I'm not very familiar with Norse mythology. Also, I thought Ragnarok was just the name of a GWAR album for a while, but I figured that one out on my own.)
posted by Rhomboid at 8:15 AM on December 21, 2010


I am currently in the throes of watching The Wire for the first time. My Heimdal is that man delicious.
posted by frecklefaerie at 8:15 AM on December 21, 2010


Jason Momoa doesn't look a thing like Conan. Not nearly muscular enough. Thumbs down on that casting.

But let me just say that if a Red Sonja movie ever goes into production, Amazon Eve is the only possible choice.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:16 AM on December 21, 2010


I still think Donald Glover should have been cast as Spider-Man.

No way. That's Brian Blessed's role as well!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:17 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I dunno, it would seem a little off to me if they decided to cast a white dude to portray Papa Legba or Baron Samedi in a movie about Haitian mythology, or to have an Asian woman portray Ériu or Étaín from Irish mythology. So I think it's ok to be critical of the choice to cast a black man as a Norse god, and one can do so without being a racist.
posted by MrBobaFett at 8:17 AM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Laurence Fishburne as Othello!!

I think you must have meant that other Laurence, who also played Othello.

"Olivier played Othello in blackface. He also adopted an exotic accent of his own invention, developed a special walk, and learned how to speak in a voice considerably deeper than his normal one. Columnist Inez Robb disparagingly compared Olivier's performance to the blacked up Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer. She described Olivier's performance as "high camp", and said "I was certainly in tune with the gentleman sitting next to me who kept asking 'When does he sing Mammy?"[2] Noted film critic Pauline Kael gave the production and Olivier's portrayal one of her most glowing reviews, shaming the major movie studios for giving Olivier so little money to make the film that he and the public had to be content with what was almost literally a filmed stage production.[3] John Simon, while disagreeing with the approach the production's interpretation took, declared that "Olivier plays this misconceived Othello spectacularly, in a manner that is always a perverse joy to behold.""
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:18 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


We could have used you in the Airbender thread.

I think there's a key difference between:
1: Casting a black actor in a supporting role for a genre (comic books) where ethnic minorities are still fairly underrepresented.

2: Casting white actors in multiple leading roles for a work that deliberately focuses on Asian culture and has ethnic prejudice as a central theme.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:18 AM on December 21, 2010 [13 favorites]


Relevant comment.
posted by Eideteker at 8:19 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


(Also, I'd just like to share my shame at thinking that Heimdall a kerberos implementation and that Yggdrasil was a linux distro. I mean, they are those things too, but I guess I'm not very familiar with Norse mythology. Also, I thought Ragnarok was just the name of a GWAR album for a while, but I figured that one out on my own.)

Every quiz bowl player can also tell you that Ratatosk is the squirrel that runs along Yggdrasil. I sometimes think he was made just to be a fun answer in quiz bowl canon.
posted by kmz at 8:20 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Someone should slip these white power dudes the tip that it's actually based on a comic, and that COMICS ARE A JEWISH CONSPIRACY.

Oh, they know that. From the "Boycott Thor" website:

"Marvel front man Stan "Lee" Lieber personally funds left-wing political candidates."
posted by steambadger at 8:20 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


most Christians have been happy to portray Jesus as a Euro white guy for the past however many years.

True. But a weird thing about that: the portrayal of Jesus in Christian art seems largely unchanged over the past two thousand years. Really. We've got fourth century, Mediterranean depictions of Jesus where he looks almost exactly like he does in Christian bookstores today.

Most Christians, particularly the ones who aren't all that intellectual about their faith, don't think much about this and don't particularly care, as his physical appearance really isn't that big of a deal, theologically. Some Christians, the racist sort, think it proves something.

But a lot of Christians have simply concluded that this is really weird. There have been attempts, starting in the late nineteenth century, to present Jesus as a first-century Middle-Eastern man might have looked, but aside from being of academic interest, they've never caught on, probably at least in part because they aren't the images that people are used to seeing. No one's really sure what the deal is, but unless you've got a particular axe to grind one way or the other, this isn't something most Christians spend a lot of time thinking about.
posted by valkyryn at 8:22 AM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's not as if Hollywood never cast white actors playing ... Gandhi ...

Nit: If you mean Ben Kingsley here, he was born Krishna Bhanji and is the son of Rahimtulla Harji Bhanji (and Englishwoman Anna Mary).
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:24 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I dunno, it would seem a little off to me if they decided to cast a white dude to portray Papa Legba or Baron Samedi in a movie about Haitian mythology, or to have an Asian woman portray Ériu or Étaín from Irish mythology. So I think it's ok to be critical of the choice to cast a black man as a Norse god, and one can do so without being a racist.

It's more than a little different. The issue isn't just mythology but a consistent Hollywood tradition of whitewashing, and of favoring white actors for no particular reason. The examples you gave would represent a counter to that disturbing trend. Insisting on an all-white cast for the Norse gods - which, again, are not the actual Norse gods but comic characters - does nothing but further it.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:24 AM on December 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


So I think it's ok to be critical of the choice to cast a black man as a Norse god, and one can do so without being a racist.

Except, as others have pointed out above, the movie's not really about the Norse god, but even if it were, who cares? Also, what FAMOUS MONSTER said.
posted by blucevalo at 8:25 AM on December 21, 2010


To be absolutely honest I mainly moan about the casting in Airbender because I don't like M. Night Shyamalan.
posted by Artw at 8:25 AM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


The character of Othello was a Moor, which usually means Arab/Berber, perhaps with mixed Spanish ancestry.

That's what it means today but the question is what it would have meant to Shakespeare - the thing is that the character is literally, repeatedly referred to as "black" and as "thick-lips" and says things like Desdemona's name has become "black as mine own face."
posted by XMLicious at 8:25 AM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Lee Majors did it first in The Norseman.

When we were filming The Norseman, sometimes on my way home to see my wife Farrah Fawcett Majors, I'd stop at a bar...Anyway, I'd ask the bartender if he could make me a Black Viking. He'd ask, well what's in that. I'd say, well ya take two parts vermouth, one part soda and mix it all up in a unicorn horn. He'd say, Lee, there's no such thing as a unicorn. I'd tell him, well that's okay cause there ain't no such damn thing as a black viking.
posted by straight at 8:26 AM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm more pissed off that they made Asgard look like some kind of crazy shiny Kryptonian art deco-y fantasy land. Everybody knows that Asgard really looks sort of like Malmö.

It's political correctness gone mad!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:27 AM on December 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


Nit: If you mean Ben Kingsley here, he was born Krishna Bhanji and is the son of Rahimtulla Harji Bhanji (and Englishwoman Anna Mary).

I have already expressed my admission above that I was unaware of this fact.
posted by blucevalo at 8:27 AM on December 21, 2010


I demand absolute historical accuracy and realism in the portrayal of entirely mythical characters!
posted by Decani at 8:27 AM on December 21, 2010


I think you mean [Spider-Man with eight eyes who shoots webs out of his butt] sounds AWESOME and not only would I read every issue of that comic book I would go see the new musical "Spider Man: Wipe Out".

Go and watch the most recent season of the Venture Bros. GO. WATCH IT.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:28 AM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Replace "White" with "Light" and have him glow. Problem solved.

now, replace "Light" with "Sparkly" and I'm sold.
posted by ennui.bz at 8:28 AM on December 21, 2010


I still haven't gotten over the fact that the original cinematic Frankenstein's monster was simply an actor in costume, rather than a resurrected assemblage of severed corpse parts.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:29 AM on December 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


Yeah, they went with Jason Momoa, who is part native Hawaiian. Unfortunately his physique just doesn't have the Conan look to me.


Yeah, I don't get that. Why him?
posted by Liquidwolf at 8:30 AM on December 21, 2010


I still haven't gotten over the fact that the original cinematic Frankenstein's monster was simply an actor in costume, rather than a resurrected assemblage of severed corpse parts.

Please read the above thread, we've already mentioned Mickey Rourke.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:30 AM on December 21, 2010 [35 favorites]


God damn you, Greg Nog. That was supposed to be a joke, not a setup to a joke.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:32 AM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


YOU HAVE ALREADY GOTTEN MORE FAVORITES THAN ME.

[Drops mic; storms out]
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:32 AM on December 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


I actually liked the Dirk Gently tv show. It wasn't a literal adaptation, but I think it captured the spirit pretty well.
posted by graventy at 8:34 AM on December 21, 2010


I'd pay to watch Idris Elba sleep.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:34 AM on December 21, 2010


I still haven't gotten over the fact that the original cinematic Frankenstein's monster was simply an actor in costume, rather than a resurrected assemblage of severed corpse parts.

Totally. And don't get me started on Lou Ferrigno.
posted by The Bellman at 8:35 AM on December 21, 2010


"We could have used you in the Airbender thread.

I think there's a key difference between:"


I was looking at it from the "it's a comic book/cartoon, they're not real" angle. Everybody wants to inject racial politics into the casting of comic book and cartoon characters. For the love of tall, blond haired, blue-eyed English speaking Jesus they're just fictional characters.
posted by MikeMc at 8:36 AM on December 21, 2010


"You know what the difference is between you and me? I make Asgard look good."
posted by 2bucksplus at 8:38 AM on December 21, 2010


I still haven't gotten over the fact that the original cinematic Frankenstein's monster was simply an actor in costume, rather than a resurrected assemblage of severed corpse parts.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:29 AM on December 21 [+] [!]

Necro-supremicist!

actually the Necro Supremicist sounds like an awesome supervillian
posted by FatherDagon at 8:38 AM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yeah, they went with Jason Momoa, who is part native Hawaiian. Unfortunately his physique just doesn't have the Conan look to me.


Yeah, I don't get that. Why him?



Yeah, he doesn't look Cimmerian at all.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:38 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


[Drops mic; storms out]

*Picks up mic, begins crooning Rat-Pack-esque song about Idris Elba's beautiful physique*

Really, though, the whole Elba-as-Heimdall thing bothers me because it means that they'd now be unlikely to cast him as Black Panther, should they decide to make that installment in the current super-Marvel-crossover-movie-extravaganza.

(Or as Quantum in Quantum and Woody, but even I am willing to admit that holding out for that movie to be made is only the dream of a fool, a foolish fool)
posted by Greg Nog at 8:39 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Go and watch the most recent season of the Venture Bros. GO. WATCH IT.

This is true in any context.

My god, the prom!
posted by Artw at 8:40 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, Heimdall was the son of nine ocean waves. I'm pretty sure that whatever his race was, it wasn't white. Also, The Wire is pretty much the modern day Edda, the Televisual Edda. It all ends up in a Ragnarök with most everyone either dead or ruined, but things still continuing in pretty much the same fashion. I'm pretty sure that I could make a pretty convincing case for The Wire being a retelling of Norse mythology. Omar is clearly Loki, a trickster who's caught between the forces of law and order and chaos. Surtur, the firegiant who wields the ultimate weapon, is clearly Brother Mouzone. McNulty, the drunken half-fuck-up half-hero, is Thor. Lester is Odin, the too-perfect know-it-all who still can't keep things from getting fucked up. I could go on for a while (because I really should finish the Solstice cleaning, but procrastination is oh so tempting). Oh, and finally, as an Icelander let me put my Ethnic Stamp of Approval on Heimdall being played by Idris Elba.
┌────────┐
│APPROVED│
└────────┘

posted by Kattullus at 8:42 AM on December 21, 2010 [33 favorites]


Nobody yet? Really? Okay...

Now that's a Norse of a different color!

OH GOD STOP WITH THE HITTING
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:45 AM on December 21, 2010 [64 favorites]


That's what it means today but the question is what it would have meant to Shakespeare - the thing is that the character is literally, repeatedly referred to as "black" and as "thick-lips" and says things like Desdemona's name has become "black as mine own face."

I was sure the Othello "thick-lips" insult was just added for the Orson Welles portrayal. (Cough, cough.)
posted by aught at 8:47 AM on December 21, 2010


I don't see what their problem is. This isn't the real Heimdall that Mr Elba is playing, it's a fictional Heimdall.

Able was I ere I saw Elba :p
posted by jtron at 8:48 AM on December 21, 2010


I'm not mad about it, and Elba is tremendous (he looks like an absolute bad-ass in his helmet), but it does smack of tokenism. It is Norse Mythology after all.

Is it so hard to believe that Elba was the right guy for the job? Even you yourself say he's a badass.

I hope, most sincerely, that they picked him because he was the best actor who wanted the part, and that his skin color was irrelevant.

And, to the conservatives: screw you guys. It's the story that matters, not what skin the gods chose to wear. Being white, the Norse probably imagined their gods as also being white, but they are imaginary beings. It's not like this is about historical accuracy, fer chrissake.

It's a myth. Myths are about retelling and interpretation, imagining new frameworks for some of humanity's oldest stories. Each new retelling imagines the story a little differently, and getting mad about an actor's skin color being "wrong", in a wholly fictitious tale, is about as goddamn racist as it gets. Blacks get to play too, assholes, it's not an exclusive club.

Grrrrr.
posted by Malor at 8:48 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


The real issue at stake here is: can they make American actors stop affecting fake British accents when playing any and all mythological or historical characters?

They no doubt use what works best for them: the accent that is least likely to kick the struts out from under the disbelief we are trying to suspend. I bet they have found that an RP accent, or some approximation of it, works better (is less jarring) than having their gods sound like Tony Danza. As for kings: you want Henry VIII to sound like he grew up in California?
posted by pracowity at 8:50 AM on December 21, 2010


Who are these white people? I thought they saw The Wire?!
posted by electricsandwich138 at 8:51 AM on December 21, 2010


#FFFFFF that n#000000ise
posted by Eideteker at 8:52 AM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Can't we just spin a big "Wheel O'Ethnicities" every time we cast a movie? If the character is written well enough, and the actor skilled enough, then the color of their skin shouldn't make any diff-- oh, I think I just found a problem with this plan.
posted by Panjandrum at 8:53 AM on December 21, 2010


Wait, did that third link say "director Kenneth Branagh" ? Really?

That explains everything. Branagh must've got the idea for Heimdall when he was in Wild, Wild West, in which America had black army officers and giant mechanical spiders in 1869. See also Denzel Washington as Don Pedro in Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing and the black Danish courtiers in Branagh's Hamlet and just see the rest of that damn TV tropes article.
posted by straight at 8:54 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I took one look at this photo of a delighted Idris Elba wearing a Viking helmet and decided that Elba can do any damn thing that pleases him. I won't even get cross about the inaccurate but iconic horned helmet. Okay, I'm a little bit cross about the inaccurate but iconic horned helmet, but not at Elba.
posted by Elsa at 8:54 AM on December 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


I bet they have found that an RP accent, or some approximation of it, works better (is less jarring) than having their gods sound like Tony Danza.

Now that would be a movie!

As for kings: you want Henry VIII to sound like he grew up in California?

How is someone who grew up in California supposed to sound?
posted by blucevalo at 8:55 AM on December 21, 2010


Really, though, the whole Elba-as-Heimdall thing bothers me because it means that they'd now be unlikely to cast him as Black Panther, should they decide to make that installment in the current super-Marvel-crossover-movie-extravaganza.

Not true. They cast whats-his-name as Human Torch in the Fantastic Four movies then turned around as cast him as Captain America. There's no reason to think they couldnt consider him for Black Panther, especially since there's very little chance of Heimdall and BP appearing int he same scene, or movie, or whatever.
posted by Billiken at 8:57 AM on December 21, 2010


I think the fact that this is a Kenneth Branagh film is also relevant. He seems to cast his films in the spirit of live theatre, where he only goes for some core essence rather than looks, for example Denzel Washington plays Don Pedro in Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing.
posted by aldurtregi at 8:58 AM on December 21, 2010


Can't we just spin a big "Wheel O'Ethnicities" every time we cast a movie?

The Human Colour Wheel. It goes from "Seal" to "Seal's teeth."
posted by Zozo at 8:59 AM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


There's no reason to think they couldnt consider him for Black Panther, especially since there's very little chance of Heimdall and BP appearing int he same scene, or movie

*scowls, crumples up script for Heimdall/T'Challa buddy road-trip movie*
posted by Greg Nog at 9:00 AM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Everybody wants to inject racial politics into the casting of comic book and cartoon characters.

It's not happening in a vacuum. Casting a white actor as a nonwhite character is furthering a problem; doing the reverse is addressing it. That might seem like a double standard to some people, and those people are cordially invited to go suck a dick on the moon.

The long and the short of it is that somewhere out there, there'll be some black kid who goes to the movies and sees Heimdall and is pleased that there's a badass, respectable guy who has some superficial traits in common with him, which is a rarity whether we want to admit that or not. Maybe he'll leave the theater, and he'll think that Thor is pretty cool and all, but Heimdall's who he's talking about. And maybe he'll buy the Heimdall action figure, and it'll be his favorite, and Heimdall will beat the everloving shit out of his bad-guy action figures. That buzz-cut guy from Avatar? Owned. His older brother's hand-me-down Lord Zedd? Pasted. Cobra Commander? Fuck you, Cobra Commander, you're getting the beatdown. He'll probably get the Thor, too, and they'll have adventures together, but Heimdall will be the main man and Thor's the sidekick and that is an okay thing. And Heimdall will be the one to drive the Batmobile, because he's friends with Batman and he drives it better.

And to be clear, if the day should ever come when the tables are turned, and maybe only one out of ten of the interesting, respectable, admirable and cool characters in a movie theater are white, then I'll care a little more about the white kid sitting in the theater. Because it's not about race for me, and I don't think it's necessarily about race for a lot of people who feel the same way. It's about folks being marginalized by a media machine which could do something to address the issue, but won't.

That's why Avatar was a problem but this isn't. In a market saturated with depictions of white folks, it's depressing that Hollywood didn't think an all-Asian cast would work out. You're right that these characters don't actually exist, but they're not what matters - what matters is the kid in the theater who could stand to have a cool, strong character who looks like he or she does.

You know?
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:00 AM on December 21, 2010 [89 favorites]


I'd pay to watch Idris Elba sleep.

Edward Cullen? Is that you?
posted by kmz at 9:02 AM on December 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


As for kings: you want Henry VIII to sound like he grew up in California?

Of course it's okay to affect a British accent if you're playing a British character who actually spoke in a British accent reasonably similar to the modern one. But if you're playing Xerxes or Alexander the Great or Cleopatra or someone else who never spoke English at all because the language didn't exist then, using the Queen's English is just as ridiculous as using a Southern drawl. There's no need to affect one modern accent if your natural one is no more historically inaccurate.
posted by oinopaponton at 9:05 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


In a magical alternate reality - white supremacists boycott the movie and it flops and Hollywood decides that "I guess no one wants to watch movies about white people anyway" and then white people movies are relegated to a few specific genres, say, comedies, dance movies and sensationalized crime porn. White actors are stuck doing token parts (but only if they're not "too white") and Hollywood explains that it's simply not profitable and they're only trying to meet their market.

"Man, white supremacists, when will you get over it? If you stop talking about racism it'll go away!" etc.
posted by yeloson at 9:07 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


They cast whats-his-name as Human Torch in the Fantastic Four movies then turned around as cast him as Captain America

WAIT WHAT

Come on Google, please show me th-

FUCK
posted by penduluum at 9:08 AM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


But if you're playing Xerxes or Alexander the Great or Cleopatra or someone else who never spoke English at all because the language didn't exist then, using the Queen's English is just as ridiculous as using a Southern drawl.

Unless you're trying to imply a class distinction, or formal education or whatever. There's plenty of reason to play around with accents in ahistorical contexts.
posted by empath at 9:10 AM on December 21, 2010


Yeah I've never really understood the tendency for all the characters to have a sort of generic RP accent in any movie with swords. Like, seriously, the test is: IF THE PEOPLE IN YOUR MOVIE WERE TO FIGHT, WOULD THEY DO IT WITH SWORDS? If YES, then everyone's speaking the Queen's. For some reason.

Your shit takes place in ancient Rome? Sorry dude, that ain't a sword, it's a sohd.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:11 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


using the Queen's English is just as ridiculous as using a Southern drawl. There's no need to affect one modern accent if your natural one is no more historically inaccurate.

It's what's known as a convention. It's just part of the movie idiom like the way a movie set lit with a dim blue light is supposed to stand in the audience's mind for "pitch black" or the way Papyrus subtitles means "alien language with an indigenous peoples vibe."
posted by straight at 9:13 AM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's what's known as a convention.

Yeah, it's just a stupid and annoying convention, is all I'm saying.
posted by oinopaponton at 9:16 AM on December 21, 2010


Famous Monster had me at the lunar invitation, but I was glad I stayed for the whole comment. Awesome.
posted by Verdant at 9:18 AM on December 21, 2010


Yeah, it's just a stupid and annoying convention, is all I'm saying.

You wouldn't be annoyed by a mixture of say, Australian, American and English accents in a film where everyone is supposed to be from the same cultural background? I bet you would.
posted by empath at 9:19 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Relax, penduluum; he's beefed up considerably for the role.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:20 AM on December 21, 2010


... wait, Kenneth Branagh? Seriously? The man did the best Othello and the best Hamlet put to film, and now he's doing ... Thor?

Well I have to see this, now.
posted by kafziel at 9:23 AM on December 21, 2010


"Because it's not about race for me"

Wasn't that entire screed about race? I get your point and it really doesn't matter to me who gets cast in these roles but I do find the idea that movie casts should be "racially and/or ethnically correct", except when they shouldn't be kind of amusing.
posted by MikeMc at 9:23 AM on December 21, 2010


using the Queen's English is just as ridiculous as using a Southern drawl.

Man, I'm thinking that it would be fucking awesome to see some period piece, maybe something set in the Asian steppes focusing on the Huns, with everyone speaking with a Southern drawl or a Louisiana Creole accent, depending on their affiliation.

Attila the Hun: "Hey y'all I thought that the War God had refused me a sign, you know? But I was wrong, I mean, what better sign than an enemy prepared to fight?"
posted by quin at 9:25 AM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


In the future, all movies set in the fantastic will be performed with the SCREAMISH accent. For those of you unfamiliar with this accent, it consists of the speaker simply screaming at the top of their lungs for the duration of their dialogue.

It will be hours and hours of dudes in chainmail armor just going AAARRRRRRRIIIEEEEE and OOOOOUUURRRRGGGHHH at each other. Occasionally, a regal queen will enter the frame and say EEEEEEEEEEEEEE, but Hollywood knows people go to the movies for action, not plot, so those scenes will be brief and far between.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:25 AM on December 21, 2010 [13 favorites]


Isn't one of the whole points of cinematic Conan to have beefcake in improbable leather harnesses inexplicably flexing for the camera?

But really, I'd love to see a final Conan movie with Arnold to provide a Beowulf-like cap to the trilogy where Conan dies at the end. The last shot would be the lamentation of the women as they realize that the death of their leader means their utter ruin.

MikeMc: I was looking at it from the "it's a comic book/cartoon, they're not real" angle. Everybody wants to inject racial politics into the casting of comic book and cartoon characters. For the love of tall, blond haired, blue-eyed English speaking Jesus they're just fictional characters.

Well yeah, they're all fictional characters. But to the extent that a fictional work explicitly addresses race and culture, it's generally a stupid idea these days to just cast white people in blackface. There's probably a fair bit to critique about the way that the animated series handles those topics, but ignoring that it's explicitly non-European and the major conflict centers on ethnic prejudice is missing the point.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:28 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wasn't that entire screed about race?

Nope! What I said is: It's about folks being marginalized by a media machine which could do something to address the issue, but won't.

When I say it's not about race, I'm saying that the specific races involved in the lopsided equation don't matter. Hence why I said that in some hypothetical future, if it were white people being marginalized by mass media and being ridden roughshod by the privileged, my concern would be for the little white kid in the theater. But right now, white folks are not underrepresented, so it's not really a thing.

I get your point and it really doesn't matter to me who gets cast in these roles but I do find the idea that movie casts should be "racially and/or ethnically correct", except when they shouldn't be kind of amusing.

Okay!
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:28 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I don't get that. Why him?

Yeah, he doesn't look Cimmerian at all.


You can tell a Cimmerian by his mighty thews, and brother, those thews ain't nearly mighty enough.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:29 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


It will be hours and hours of dudes in chainmail armor just going AAARRRRRRRIIIEEEEE and OOOOOUUURRRRGGGHHH at each other. Occasionally, a regal queen will enter the frame and say EEEEEEEEEEEEEE, but Hollywood knows people go to the movies for action, not plot, so those scenes will be brief and far between.

1. don't give zack snyder ideas
2. if there were some way for me to legally marry this comment, i would do so
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:30 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Relax, penduluum; he's beefed up considerably for the role.

Chris Evans's physique is absolutely the last reason to object to him as Captain America.

Chris Evans does snarky dude really well. Captain America is the polar opposite of snarky dude. If Chris Evans can pull off grandpa-in-a-twenty-year-old's-body-who-is-so-utterly-earnest-it's-actually-inspiring-instead-of-annoying, he'll deserve an Oscar.

I don't think he's going to win an Oscar.
posted by straight at 9:30 AM on December 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


FAMOUS MONSTER: "Heimdall has been depicted for a long time as a dude who speaks a weird archaic English. He's also fought Egyptian gods, and the Incredible Hulk. None of that was in the Edda."

To be fair, Snorri isn't a primary source (I think of him as primary and a half). He says the Aesir are Trojans, who would have been dark, so maybe Marvel Comics (who, like Snorri, get Loki completely wrong) are basing the casting on Snorri?
posted by QIbHom at 9:33 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hope, most sincerely, that they picked him because he was the best actor who wanted the part, and that his skin color was irrelevant.

Me too. Really, I'm not bothered by it, especially if it ticks off the slack-jawed yokels of the CCC. If I bail on seeing this it'll be because of

NOT ENOUGH KIRBY
posted by Scoo at 9:35 AM on December 21, 2010


MikeMc: Wasn't that entire screed about race? I get your point and it really doesn't matter to me who gets cast in these roles but I do find the idea that movie casts should be "racially and/or ethnically correct", except when they shouldn't be kind of amusing.

Well yes, different source materials and different screenplays demand different casting decisions. In other news, the sky is blue and water is wet.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:35 AM on December 21, 2010


Billiken: "Not true. They cast whats-his-name as Human Torch in the Fantastic Four movies then turned around as cast him as Captain America."

I think the Fantastic Four movies predate and are outside of the current Iron Man/Captain America/Avengers movie continuity that Marvel Studios is working on. Although who knows if any Black Panther movie would take place in the same universe?
posted by brundlefly at 9:36 AM on December 21, 2010


It will be hours and hours of dudes in chainmail armor just going AAARRRRRRRIIIEEEEE and OOOOOUUURRRRGGGHHH at each other

Actor: "I just don't really feel like I get what my motivation is supposed to be."
Acting coach: *silently pulls Bucket Of Truth out of a velvet sack, holds it up for actor to peer inside*
Actor: "AUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRRRHHHHH"
posted by Greg Nog at 9:38 AM on December 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


"Well yes, different source materials and different screenplays demand different casting decisions. In other news, the sky is blue and water is wet."

Exactly. Still no Brian Blessed though. He could even wear his costume from Flash Gordon.
posted by MikeMc at 9:42 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actually, I just remembered that the movie rights for Fantastic 4 belong to Fox, not Marvel Studios. Definitely a different timeline. Also, they're working on a reboot.
posted by brundlefly at 9:43 AM on December 21, 2010


They no doubt use what works best for them: the accent that is least likely to kick the struts out from under the disbelief we are trying to suspend.

I dunno, a whole melange of accents worked spectacularly well in The Scarlet Empress. Although the movie as a whole isn't about scrupulous historical accuracy to begin with.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:45 AM on December 21, 2010


Also fucking terrible.
posted by Artw at 9:45 AM on December 21, 2010


"Although who knows if any Black Panther movie would take place in the same universe?"

What with all of the movies that have been released are pending release and the constant franchise reboots I'm not sure that anyone has a grip on continuity in the Marvel movie universe.
posted by MikeMc at 9:45 AM on December 21, 2010


What a lot of words and attention being paid to a small group of racist fucks, about a movie that's almost certain to be crap.

Would it not be better to ignore them?
posted by five fresh fish at 9:46 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, word to this. My family is of Swedish descent and still tell Norwegian jokes, despite having left the motherland two generations ago.

Which is funny, since, depending how far you can trace back, you were probably technically Norwegian at several points like my family, as the power balance shifted and things flipflopped and kingdom this and kingdom that.

That said, no one can out-Norse me for MOST AWESOME ANCESTOR NAME: Ivar Vikingsson. Oh yes. I could not even make that up if I tried.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:47 AM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


And now I've gone and remembered John Byrne's comments Re: Jessica Alba.
posted by Artw at 9:53 AM on December 21, 2010


I'm all for putting Idris Elba in anything. Maybe they can really piss us whiteys off and cast him in the title role of the new Strom Thurmond bio-pic.
posted by hwestiii at 9:53 AM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


MikeMc: "What with all of the movies that have been released are pending release and the constant franchise reboots I'm not sure that anyone has a grip on continuity in the Marvel movie universe."

I think -- and maybe this has changed -- that Marvel Studios is aiming for a one continuity for everything they own the movie rights to.* So the upcoming Spider-Man and Fantastic 4 reboots would be outside of that.

* Although Jon Favreau doesn't seem to think they know what they're doing.
posted by brundlefly at 9:53 AM on December 21, 2010


"My family is of Swedish descent and still tell Norwegian jokes"

Does anyone have any Danish jokes? It's for a friend. Seriously. She opened up a can of whoop-ass on a drunken Danish guy that was reaching up her friend's dirndl and taking pictures with his cell at Oktoberfest last year. Fucking Danes. ☺
posted by MikeMc at 9:55 AM on December 21, 2010


Based on the Black Panther comics I collected as a kid, I couldn't see a Black Panther movie being made unless it was as an exploitation film like Black Dynamite. Creating villains called "The Supremacists" seems a little ham-fisted.
posted by Hoopo at 9:55 AM on December 21, 2010


t will be hours and hours of dudes in chainmail armor just going AAARRRRRRRIIIEEEEE and OOOOOUUURRRRGGGHHH at each other.

Did you just miss the whole 300 thing or what?
posted by shakespeherian at 10:03 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like Norse mythology and all that but this is fucking ridiculous. It's not as if Hollywood never cast white actors playing Genghis Khan (John Wayne!!!!!), Timur, Cleopatra, Gandhi, Sitting Bull, the King of Siam, and pretty much other non-white protagonist or action figure from time immemorial. Tables are turned, once. BFD.

Ben Kingsley's real name is Krishna Pandit Bhanj.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:06 AM on December 21, 2010


MikeMc: Does anyone have any Danish jokes? It's for a friend. Seriously. She opened up a can of whoop-ass on a drunken Danish guy that was reaching up her friend's dirndl and taking pictures with his cell at Oktoberfest last year. Fucking Danes. ☺

Well, there's this classic sketch about the Danish language (follow-up sketch).

Here's the only Dane joke I can remember off the top off my head. Why don't Danes ever want to play hide and go seek? Because no one wants to go seek them.
posted by Kattullus at 10:07 AM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ben Kingsley's real name is Krishna Pandit Bhanj.

And John Wayne's real name is Marion Robert Morrison, so... uh... something.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:09 AM on December 21, 2010


I'd pay to watch Idris Elba sleep.
posted by cjorgensen


It's actually free (if you're quiet enough).
posted by haveanicesummer at 10:16 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I actually liked the Dirk Gently tv show. It wasn't a literal adaptation, but I think it captured the spirit pretty well.

Dirk wasn't played by a fat actor, though. It's a disgrace.
posted by dng at 10:20 AM on December 21, 2010


I think the fact that this is a Kenneth Branagh film is also relevant. He seems to cast his films in the spirit of live theatre, where he only goes for some core essence rather than looks, for example Denzel Washington plays Don Pedro in Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing.
posted by aldurtregi


This, I think, proves the racists are correct. It's so obviously clear to everyone that Washington was completely out-acted by Keanu Reeves in that film that it should be... ... ...

Ahh excuse me... I seem to have passed out for a second there. Too deadpan for my own good.
posted by haveanicesummer at 10:24 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


It would be just as fucking ludicrous an argument if we were actually talking about Snorri Sturlson: The Movie, but it would be a different fucking ludicrous argument.

In the Prose Edda, Snorri Sturluson claims that the Aesir are in fact from Asia. (By which he means modern-day Turkey, roughly.) This is part of the Prose Edda's general program of reconciling Norse mythology with Christianity -- he figured that Christianity precluded the possibility of a pantheon of divine beings, so he hypothesized that they were actually ordinary men and women who traveled from a far-away place and about whom marvelous folktales arose.

He even hypothesizes that the word Aesir is derived from the word Asia. (In fact, it comes from Proto-Germanic *ansuz, meaning "god," but there's no way Snorri could have known that.)
posted by magnificent frigatebird at 10:27 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm all for putting Idris Elba in anything. Maybe they can really piss us whiteys off and cast him in the title role of the new Strom Thurmond bio-pic.

If they strive for historical accuracy at all, Strom Thurmond Jr. will have to be be black.
posted by jamjam at 10:29 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well they were from Asia, no? Since they're Indo-European Gods.
posted by empath at 10:29 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ben Kingsley's real name is Krishna Pandit Bhanj.

For the third time -- yes, I know, now. Indeed, I'll never forget.
posted by blucevalo at 10:30 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


shouldn't we be focusing instead on the fact that they cast anyone besides Brian Blessed to play Volstagg?

SHOUTING
posted by Artw at 10:33 AM on December 21, 2010


But let me just say that if a Red Sonja movie ever goes into production, Amazon Eve is the only possible choice.

There is one, coming out in fall '11, IIRC. Bane of my existence, that.

See profile if you don't catch what I'm sayin'.
posted by sonika at 10:35 AM on December 21, 2010


Ben Kingsley's real name is Krishna Pandit Bhanj.

This has now been said so many times in this thread that it has lost all meaning. HIS NAME IS ROBERT PAULSON.
posted by sonika at 10:36 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dirk wasn't played by a fat actor, though. It's a disgrace.

I was hoping for Nick Frost
posted by fullerine at 10:36 AM on December 21, 2010


Gandhi, Gandhi, if it wasn't me old mate Gandhi...
posted by Artw at 10:39 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Judging from the looks of the CCC members, their ranks would stand to benefit from a little genetic diversity, if you know what I mean.
posted by Hydrophage at 10:39 AM on December 21, 2010


I don't know. Isn't it pretty much the director's decision?
posted by rush at 10:41 AM on December 21, 2010


Thats Sir Krishna Pandit Bhanj to you.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:42 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Creating villains called "The Supremacists" seems a little ham-fisted.

I dunno, Marvel's pretty well known for this. I mean the X-men vs. Genosha, the country where mutants can live in slavery or be slaughtered in genocide?

On the other hand, I'm also willing to accept superhero comics are aimed at 12 year olds and expect that level of stories.
posted by yeloson at 10:43 AM on December 21, 2010


And John Wayne's real name is Marion Robert Morrison, so... uh... something.

Where "something" = "liked to watch his buddies fuck."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:46 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


The CCC better not be working corners in Asgard.

That there's a Barksdale realm.
posted by steambadger at 10:46 AM on December 21, 2010


It's more than a little different. The issue isn't just mythology but a consistent Hollywood tradition of whitewashing, and of favoring white actors for no particular reason. The examples you gave would represent a counter to that disturbing trend. Insisting on an all-white cast for the Norse gods - which, again, are not the actual Norse gods but comic characters - does nothing but further it.

Casting a white dude to play Haitian Loa isn't white-washing? And yes it's not "the actual Norse gods". It's a comic book based on the Norse gods, and in the comic Heimdal is portrayed as pale skinned with red hair.

Look the guy is supposed to be Norse, his culture is an inherent part of his character. Make Nick Fury black? Sure, his race is not pertinent to his character. An Indian Spider-Man? That's cool of course when they did that they added a cultural twist that made it really interesting. Red Skull as a Jew? No that doesn't work, since him being a Nazi is an important part of his character.

It seems just as odd to me to have a black guy play a Norseman, as it would be to have a white guy play a Tutsi.
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:46 AM on December 21, 2010


There is also the Hatemonger, who wears a KKK hood and IS ACTUALLY HITLER.
posted by Artw at 10:47 AM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Where "something" = "liked to watch his buddies fuck."

Curiously, this is pretty much always what I mean when I say the word 'something.'
posted by shakespeherian at 10:50 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ben Kingsley's real name is Krishna Pandit Bhanj.

Ben Kingsley's real name is Sir Ben Kinglsey. His birth name is Krishna Pandit Bhanj.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:00 AM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'd love to see a final Conan movie with Arnold to provide a Beowulf-like cap to the trilogy where Conan dies at the end.

They were going to make King Conan: Crown of Iron with Vin Diesel as Conan's son Conn. Maybe that would have included his death. But then Arnold had to go get elected Governor.
posted by adamdschneider at 11:05 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Creating villains called "The Supremacists" seems a little ham-fisted.

Well, the Supremacists were appropriate for the time--the late 1980s--and the setting, a nation in southern Africa called "Azania". The writer of that miniseries, Peter B. Gillis, told an interviewer that he wanted to imagine a superhero team that fought for Truth (as they understood it), Justice (ditto) and the South African Way, and South Africa was bitterly holding onto apartheid in the face of growing international opposition and disinvestment in the country. Thus, White Avenger, Voortrekker, etc.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:11 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wish Swedes would just stop hammering their well-to-do neighbour in the West.

You know, the one with all the fjords, beautiful women, oil, a $500bn pension fund for 5 million people and the most popular of the Nobel prizes (HAH!).

We can't all be winners guys, just deal.

Also: y'all talk funny.

<3
posted by flippant at 11:17 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


The answer is simple. People who are confused about the colour of the actor playing Heimdall should watch the negatives of the film, thus inverting the colour scheme and leaving the character white.

Of course, it would mean that everyone else would be black.

And Norwegian.

#wanders off wondering if the world has gone mad or if this is some kind of weird promotional scheme
posted by fallingbadgers at 11:17 AM on December 21, 2010


Lots of guys like to watch their buddies fuck! I know I do!
posted by Scoo at 11:23 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


On changing a characters race:

I would kill puppies to see this movie. Can you imagine all of the fanboy wank if Captain America was re-imagined like this. It would be epic.
posted by nooneyouknow at 11:24 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Other notable Marvel Nazis include The Swarm, who is a radioactive Nazi made of bees. Which makes a kind of sense i guess, bees being the little fascist fucks they are.
posted by Artw at 11:24 AM on December 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


I hope that this was the idea of some marketing guys. Get a black guy to play one of the norse gods--it'll piss off the KKK, we'll get a whole butload of free publicity, and we'll make racists look dumb.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:25 AM on December 21, 2010


I still really want to see a Donald Glover Spider-Man.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:26 AM on December 21, 2010


we'll get a whole butload of free publicity

butload (as opposed to buttload), as in the response of said racists being comprised totally of "butbutbut he's NORSE"
posted by Hoopo at 11:33 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh boy. Posting after reading the links and going back to read the comments later. Apologies in advance for most likely rehashing things already talked to death.

I'm not generally in favour of movies that make big changes from the source material, but in this particular case it doesn't seem like a big deal, because this isn't a straight adaptation of Norse legend. It's the Marvel comics version of Norse legend as reinterpreted (awesomely) by Jack Kirby, and then re-reinterpreted by several generations of comic book creators. It's not like the Wrecking Crew or the Destroyer are in the eddas either, so what's a little more reinterpretation on top of all that. If it gets a talented actor like Elba into the movie and maybe helps to broaden its appeal, then it's all to the good.

And those screencaps in the fourth link look really cool. I've been avoiding the trailers and stuff because I don't want to have high expectations, but if the whole movie is like that then I'm totally going to see it.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:37 AM on December 21, 2010


After listening to Donald Glover on The Nerdist, I've decided he's too good for whatever big budget Spider-Man reboot is coming out.

I think he'd work great in Edgar Wright's Ant-Man.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:43 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ben Kingsley's real name is Sir Ben Kinglsey.

*golf clap*
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:45 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I still really want to see a Donald Glover Spider-Man.

Fine.

I think he'd work great in Edgar Wright's Ant-Man.

Ooh, Glover and Wright working together? I'm liking that idea.
posted by quin at 11:46 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think they should keep the "Whitest of the Aesir" description and then every time somebody meets Heimdall for the first time it can be like when Walter Matthau met the Chief in Taking of Pelham 123.

"Oh...I thought you were a, uh, shorter guy...I don't know what I thought."
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 11:47 AM on December 21, 2010


Other notable Marvel Nazis include The Swarm, who is a radioactive Nazi made of bees

Now there's a role Idris Elba might have some trouble pulling off
posted by Hoopo at 11:50 AM on December 21, 2010


Not the bees! Ahhhhh!
posted by Kevin Street at 11:51 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


The norse gods as done by the guy who gave us grumpy muppet helmet man.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:52 AM on December 21, 2010


And who needs a Thor movie when we have this?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:58 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Oh...I thought you were a, uh, shorter guy...I don't know what I thought."

"Why do they call you Red?"

"Maybe it's because I'm Irish."

(If you don't know what movie this is from, you are a poor deprived soul, and should drop whatever you're doing and immediately watch The Shawshank Redemption.)
posted by kmz at 12:03 PM on December 21, 2010


And who needs a Thor movie when we have this?
Thor's a homo! Thor's a complete homo.
posted by Dreamcast at 12:13 PM on December 21, 2010


This Sweden/Norway derail is dildos.
posted by Eideteker at 12:14 PM on December 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


Well, it seems to be the case nowadays that if someone makes a Robin Hood story, or a King Arthur / Merlin story, they feel the need to include some non-white characters, however incongruous it might seem.

I've always assumed that it's because they want to appeal to a broader audience and imagine that some people will be put off by an all-white story, in the same way that some people seem to get turned off by an all-black story. (And talking of Idris Elba, the majority black cast of The Wire was probably a speed bump for some people getting into the series.)

Still if Peter Brooke can make a multi-racial Mahabharata, in the interests of universalizing the story, I guess there's nothing wrong in principle with doing that with Norse myths.

Whether this movie's going to be any good is another thing entirely.

But Stringer... oops... Idris Elba... can do no wrong as far am I'm concerned.

I just hope he doesn't run the meetings in Valhalla in the same way he did in Baltimore.
posted by philipy at 12:15 PM on December 21, 2010


I don't care how awful everyone says this movie's going to be, the trailer for Thor is badass and I'll watch that fine Idris Elba read from the phone book for 90 minutes. The fact that he's a good actor is a bonus.

I'm all for putting Idris Elba in anything. Maybe they can really piss us whiteys off and cast him in the title role of the new Strom Thurmond bio-pic.

If they strive for historical accuracy at all, Strom Thurmond Jr. will have to be be black.

Oh, now, we're not supposed to talk about all that unpleasantness...

In a magical alternate reality - white supremacists boycott the movie and it flops and Hollywood decides that "I guess no one wants to watch movies about white people anyway" and then white people movies are relegated to a few specific genres, say, comedies, dance movies and sensationalized crime porn. White actors are stuck doing token parts (but only if they're not "too white") and Hollywood explains that it's simply not profitable and they're only trying to meet their market.

And then there'll be "new" category of film called "whitexploitation"? We've got some of that already.

Not true. They cast whats-his-name as Human Torch in the Fantastic Four movies then turned around as cast him as Captain America. There's no reason to think they couldnt consider him for Black Panther, especially since there's very little chance of Heimdall and BP appearing int he same scene, or movie, or whatever.

And even if both characters did appear in the same scene, what's the problem? Plenty of actors have played double (or more) roles in the same film. However, Elba might not want to take that on and risk becoming typecast.

And who needs a Thor movie when we have this?

Wow, I didn't recall him being so hot back then. That blond mullet is a riot.
posted by fuse theorem at 12:32 PM on December 21, 2010


"Lots of guys like to watch their buddies fuck! I know I do!"

So, is this a legit Thor flick or an all-male porn parody? There seems to be a lot of reference to guys watching their buddies fuck in this thread. I just want to clarify so I know what to bring to the theater with me.
posted by MikeMc at 12:55 PM on December 21, 2010


Thor is the most inexplicable of Marvel's stable of popular superheroes. Captain America fights Nazis, encourages jingoism: got it. Spider-Man has cool powers, is troubled teen: got it. Iron Man is like who Batman would be if Bruce Wayne would just lighten the fuck up and enjoy his big pile of money for a change: got it. But Thor? Thor's more powerful than all of them put together but one tenth as interesting.

Someone alluding to him jokingly upthread, but I'm serious when I say: I'd go see a Beta Ray Bill movie in a heartbeat. I probably won't go see Thor.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:00 PM on December 21, 2010


I just want to clarify so I know what to bring to the theater with me.

Just bring some friends.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:01 PM on December 21, 2010


I'm surprised no one has mentioned Luther yet. If I were you, and you haven't seen it yet, I'd set aside a Saturday afternoon and rip through them all like one big long glorious movie. Watch for the L&O:SVU reference.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:02 PM on December 21, 2010


Look the guy is supposed to be Norse, his culture is an inherent part of his character.
The guy is supposed to be a god, who the Norse happened to discover.

Is Vishnu Indian? Is Zeus Greek? Is Yahweh Semitic?
posted by Flunkie at 1:13 PM on December 21, 2010


So, is this a legit Thor flick or an all-male porn parody? There seems to be a lot of reference to guys watching their buddies fuck in this thread. I just want to clarify so I know what to bring to the theater with me.
posted by Scoo at 1:18 PM on December 21, 2010


I don't know if it's inexplicable. Outside of the Fantastic Four and Alpha Flight, Thor is the only Marvel hero I got into that much. It's the mythology that makes the book. When Lee and Kirby (and Simonson) really got going, with cosmic fireballs and hammers flying about and mountains exploding into wreckage, New York destroyed and recreated in every issue, mortals kidnapped to Hades and gods with M16s going on suicide missions to break them out, it just transcended the usual Marvel melodrama and became something much crazier and cooler. Modern myth.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:20 PM on December 21, 2010


Look the guy is supposed to be Norse...

No, he's not. He's supposed to be Asgardian, or Aesir. He's not even from our world. Why should he be required to look like a Norseman?
posted by steambadger at 1:21 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Deacon Jones co-starred in the Fawcett-Majors production of The Norseman in 1978. Yawn.
posted by geekyguy at 1:47 PM on December 21, 2010


Didn't we all have this discussion about Tuvok?
posted by Prince_of_Cups at 2:00 PM on December 21, 2010


Y'know, thinking of Wire actors in superhero movies, I think Bodie and Bunk would be a good Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm, respectively. As to this Thor movie, I'm sure it'll be fine as long as they keep the dogs away.
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 2:58 PM on December 21, 2010


But Thor? Thor's more powerful than all of them put together but one tenth as interesting.

It's that the other Marvel heroes typically have figured out their "personal drama axis" - that is, Captain America tends to swing between "America Fuck Yeah!" and "WTF, this isn't the America I fought for!", Spiderman "Ok, I got it, I'm going to do the right thing" and "Man, this shit sucks I wanna curl up and emo for awhile", Iron Man's "Party all the time!" and "Dude, I'm a fucked up alcoholic who burns all his friendships..." (Most of this depends on which writers are in charge at the time)

Thor keeps jumping between Jerry Springer family drama with the Aesir, beating the shit out of continent sized aliens, and people losing their memories. I mean, there's interesting stuff there, it's just not thematically focused. (as much as that can happen in superhero comics...)
posted by yeloson at 3:06 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cool, but can we have some white Orishas when they make a movie about Yoruba?
posted by falameufilho at 3:29 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's what seems to be getting lost in this whole discussion. This isn't a movie based on Norse mythology, or a retelling of Norse tales. This isn't a movie of the Prose Edda, or even a version of Beowulf.

Reminds me of an IMDb.com board thread for 'Constantine' (2004), where some user begged that the filmmakers get their *facts* straight.

The movie stars Keanu Reeves, you know, Ted Logan? That's all the fact-checking that guy needed, before he started making ludicrous requests.
posted by vhsiv at 3:30 PM on December 21, 2010


Hell, Thor himself once spent four issues as a frog.

Yeah, and Loki spent one season as a mare, and then foaled the eight-legged horse Sleipnir. That was in a previous edition.
posted by ovvl at 3:37 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Vikings is an adventure film directed by Richard Fleischer in 1958 Technicolor. Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis and Ernest Borgnine weren't all exactly blond Nordic, but when I was 9 years old, I thought it was like Totally Awesome!
posted by ovvl at 3:46 PM on December 21, 2010


My cousin Ole would like to know if there will be lutefisk in this movie or possibly a Garrison Keillor cameo. He is prepared to boycott if he does not like the answer.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:48 PM on December 21, 2010


I want to see a Hellblazer movie with Eddie Izzard as John and someone like Robbie Coltrane as Chas. They'd be sitting in a bar and a commercial for Constantine comes on, and John tells the story about how he got himself bumped to first class, got drunk, and gave his life story to a movie producer.

Who of course, had to add a big fucking gun to it.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:51 PM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


using the Queen's English is just as ridiculous as using a Southern drawl.

Luc Besson (French accent): I would like you to play an evil inter-galactic super-villain in my next epic sci-fi movie.
Gary Oldman (English accent): They only way I could sign this contract is if you let me recite my lines in pure corn-pone Appalachian.
posted by ovvl at 3:55 PM on December 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


Is Vishnu Indian? Is Zeus Greek? Is Yahweh Semitic?

Debateable but doubtful, hell yes and most likely.
posted by MrBobaFett at 3:56 PM on December 21, 2010


If you have a passing interest in Norse Mythology, I could recommend D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths.
posted by ovvl at 4:07 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


All I know about Norse mythology (and Egyptian, and Greek, and so on) I learned from the 1st edition of Deities and Demigods. Who says D&D rots the brain?
posted by Ghidorah at 4:48 PM on December 21, 2010


Luther, people, Luther.
posted by docpops at 5:03 PM on December 21, 2010



I'm on the side where Thor, the movie, has already nothing at all to do about Norse Mythology. So this seems to be more of a battle between Comic book fans and its canon, and the new movie.

Humon on Thor
posted by lundman at 6:03 PM on December 21, 2010


Ah, come on, you know Constantine has to be Sting.
posted by Artw at 6:06 PM on December 21, 2010


I wonder if they're also going to protest the Stargate TV series, where all of the Aesir were grey aliens. (No, really. Not making this up.)
posted by Karmakaze at 6:09 PM on December 21, 2010


If it'll piss of racists, then I'm all for it. If it was up to me...

Denzel Washington stars in The Barry Goldwater Story! Jackie Chan lights up the screen as Joe DiMaggio! The Marilyn Monroe story starring Martin Lawrence in his Big Momma's House fat suit. Donald Glover would not just be Spider-Man in the movies, but also in comic books, and on children's birthday balloons. I would digitally insert him into every piece of Spider-Man media ever produced.

Why? Because racists wouldn't like it. Also as payback for making Matthew Broderick the lead in the movie Glory.
posted by billyfleetwood at 6:34 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


It seems just as odd to me to have a black guy play a Norseman, as it would be to have a white guy play a Tutsi.

Dustin Hoffman is white.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 6:34 PM on December 21, 2010 [8 favorites]


This whole thing has me conflicted.
Portray Norse gods however you want when you make a movie about the mythological Norse gods, that's totally cool.
But when you make a movie about established comic book characters whose appearance is already set in canon, you really need to stick to the canon.
Which is awkward for me as well because Michael Clarke Duncan was the only part of Daredevil which did not suck horribly, despite the fact that Kingpin is a fat white dude.
posted by nightchrome at 6:39 PM on December 21, 2010


But when you make a movie about established comic book characters whose appearance is already set in canon, you really need to stick to the canon.

Speaking as someone who just adapted a DC comic book series for Warner Brothers, I have to tell you that you are speaking out of your arse.

The 'canon' matters to the fanbois. When you are talking about a $100m+ tentpole movie, the fanbois are a tiny, tiny, TINY part of your prospective audience. What matters is, what the hell can we do to have this movie make money? Because if it doesn't make money, there won't be any more comic book movies.

Obviously, you don't want to cause such a shitstorm that the fanboi reaction becomes the story, as is the case here, but that doesn't necessarily mean they made a mistake.

I mean, you've heard of the THOR movie now, right?

I don't want to give the wrong impression here. Everyone in the process, especially folk like DC comics and their counterparts, is respectful of the material. The material is what got everyone excited. Without the underlying material there is nothing. But the movie is not the comic book. The key thing is to separate out what is the key, intrinsic, quality of the underlying property and then figure out how that can be turned into a movie which is going to gross what it needs to at the box office.

Sorry if that offends you but welcome to Hollywood.

So some things are indeed set by canon. Spiderman shoots webs and is a bit of an angsty nerd. Batman is a millionaire with pointy ears and a butler. But things like the color of the character's skin, although they may be 'canonical' in the comic book, are not something that anyone in the studios is going to lose sleep about.

Would a studio make a movie about a black Batman, a black Superman, a black Spiderman? You bet your fucking life they would, if they thought it would make money.

Imagine yourself as a money guy. Will Smith as Batman? Keep talking...

The movies are not about art. The movies are about money. Sometimes, in order to make money, it is necessary to make art. But don't count on it, and don't confuse the two.
posted by unSane at 7:28 PM on December 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


/disclaimer: I have zero inside information about the thought processes on the movie in question and don't know, except glancingly, anyone involved.
posted by unSane at 7:33 PM on December 21, 2010


unSane: I completely understand that, and agree that the only people who care are the minority of fanboi types (sadly like myself). What I stated above is what I feel should be done, not what I know gets done anyway. What I want and what happens in reality are almost never anywhere in the same vicinity. I should be used to it by now, but I still bitch and moan about it.
posted by nightchrome at 7:33 PM on December 21, 2010


Sleep -- that's where I'm a black viking!
posted by bardic at 7:35 PM on December 21, 2010


I guess what this is about is that I don't view comic book characters as roles in a story, but as people I know personally. Which is a really stupid and slightly mentally-insane way to think about them, but there you have it. Oddly enough I only have this unhealthy attachment to comic book characters. I'll do my best to get over it.
posted by nightchrome at 7:38 PM on December 21, 2010


nightchrome -- okay, didn't mean to come on quite so strong.

But the thing is, most comic books (including the one I just worked on) would make fucking terrible movies if they were just filmed as written. You would leave the movie theater weeping with one of boredom/laughter/incomprehension. This is the problem with the fanboi position: it assumes that what works in a comic book works in a movie, which it doesn't. I really loved loved loved the comic I adapted, as a comic, but as a movie it would have been one of the all-time dick-suckers. The really hard thing is how do you capture the essence of the comic in the form of a movie: that is an inscrutably hard problem.

What I'm saying is that, even without the necessity to rake it in at the box office to make back the $100m or so you spent to make the movie and the additional $100m you spent to print and market it -- even without that -- just turning the comic book into a script would almost never produce a remotely satisfying movie.

In most cases, it would just have you leaving the theater scratching your head and going 'huh'?

And vowing not to see any more comic book adaptations.
posted by unSane at 7:44 PM on December 21, 2010


Yeah, I can see that being the case.
Logically, I can understand and enjoy when this is done to other properties/media, I just have a weird thing about comics.
I'll work on it.
posted by nightchrome at 7:50 PM on December 21, 2010


But the thing is, most comic books (including the one I just worked on)

Which is? It's OK, we won't tell.
posted by MikeMc at 8:10 PM on December 21, 2010


You're Thor! I can barely thtand!
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:27 PM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Er, yeah, sorry. Can't tell. It is in with the head of the studio right now and can't afford to jinx it. I just googled myself and the title and there is nothing so don't want to be the guy who.

FWIW the DC guys are really cool. Incredibly protective of the material. But there is a bit of an issue developing because so many comic book properties are basically intended as pitches for movies. As a result, comic book fans get a bunch of stuff they wouldn't otherwise, but the truth is they are not the intended audience. The intended audience is the movie studio, and the comic book is a piece of kabuki that the writer is going through to try to get it in front of them.
posted by unSane at 8:28 PM on December 21, 2010


"The 'canon' matters to the fanbois."

Please don't do that. The point you're making in the post is a good one, but it isn't helped by referring to the rest of us with such derision.
posted by Kevin Street at 8:40 PM on December 21, 2010


Which is? It's OK, we won't tell.

It's Section 8, starring Christopher Walken as Dogwelder, and this guy as Bueno Excellente.
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:46 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm a fanboi, dude.
posted by unSane at 9:06 PM on December 21, 2010


Which is? It's OK, we won't tell.

There are a few answers to that which won't get you hunted down and beaten by your fellow MeFites, but only a very few.
posted by Artw at 9:17 PM on December 21, 2010


I feel a little lonely being excited for Thor.
posted by stoneweaver at 9:19 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, a new thing eh? Who knows which list it will end up on...

You know what counts for a lot? Respecting the spirit of the source material. And that's a tricky thing to judge - it's not the same as slavishly copying everything - but get it right and you'll have something beloved by old fans and new, regardless of, to pick an example organic web slingers or, to pick another example Donald Glover as Spiderman. Respect the spirit and it can be made to work.

But what do I know - the comicbook movies I've actually liked this year bombed horribly. They'll probably be regarded as cult classics and have incredibly long shelf lives, but that doesn't really count for much, does it?

But there is a bit of an issue developing because so many comic book properties are basically intended as pitches for movies. As a result, comic book fans get a bunch of stuff they wouldn't otherwise, but the truth is they are not the intended audience. The intended audience is the movie studio, and the comic book is a piece of kabuki that the writer is going through to try to get it in front of them.

This is a thing I despise.
posted by Artw at 9:26 PM on December 21, 2010


That's what it means today but the question is what it would have meant to Shakespeare - the thing is that the character is literally, repeatedly referred to as "black" and as "thick-lips" and says things like Desdemona's name has become "black as mine own face."

Moor in Shakespeare's time could mean both North African/Arabic peoples and "blackamoors" -- sub-Saharan peoples (modern day "black" people). Both would have been called "black" in Shakespeare's time -- it was a term that was notoriously slippery. Ex: the Sonnets where the "dark lady" is referred to as "black" repeatedly, although it is unlikely she (if she were real) was what we in modern society would call black -- more likely, the "real" dark lady would have been dark haired w/ olive complexion. And it is Iago who refers to Othello as "thick-lips", so whether that is an accurate description or the misattribution of a racist stereotype to degrade Othello is up for grabs. In short: yes, there is scholarly debate as to what Shakespeare and his audience would have understood Othello's background to be. In contradistinction, there's little or no debate about Aaron the Moor in Titus Andronicus -- he was most likely a "blackamoor."

kafziel: Branagh didn't direct Othello w/ Fishbourne. It was directed by Oliver Parker. Personally, I think it is a meh version. For an amazing Othello, see the 1990 film of Trevor Nunn's stage production w/ Ian McKellan as Iago and opera singer Willard White in the title role. It is great.

And as much as I like Branagh and Thor and am psyched to see this movie, the man definitely can do wrong. See his As You Like It for a prime example. It sucked. I've heard his Love's Labours Lost was no peach either.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:36 PM on December 21, 2010


Artw: I agree w/ you about spirit vs. letter w/r/t adapting comic book properties. That's why I really didn't like Snyder's Watchmen. I didn't care about the (few) changes to the plot (like the ending), but that 1) it seemed to miss the entire fucking point of the books and 2) the acting was almost universally terrible. Rorshach and the Comedian were good, but Nite Owl and Silk Spectres 1 & 2 were AWFUL. And what was up with Ozymandias -- was that actor 12 years old?
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:39 PM on December 21, 2010


I'd say the earlier Spiderman and X-Men films were the big wins in that regard. And maybe Iron Man, though really that's more down to a great lead given room to do his stuff.
posted by Artw at 10:03 PM on December 21, 2010


Heimdall is black in Thor: The Mighty Avenger (He also bursts into flames and turns into Fin Fang Foom). It's great.

If the Thor movie is as good as The Mighty Avenger I will be extremely happy.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 11:04 PM on December 21, 2010


HURF DURF EPONYSTERICAL COMMENT
posted by tehloki at 11:39 PM on December 21, 2010


^The Vikings is an adventure film directed by Richard Fleischer in 1958 Technicolor. Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis and Ernest Borgnine weren't all exactly blond Nordic, but when I was 9 years old, I thought it was like Totally Awesome!
posted by ovvl


*Their* real names are (respectively) Issur Danielovitch, Bernard Schwartz, and Ermes Effron Bornigno. (Well, notwithstanding Astro Zombie's point about real versus birth names. And overlooking the fact that two of three were Spartacus.)
posted by gingerest at 11:41 PM on December 21, 2010


Damn it. "Bornigno" should read "Borgnino". Obviously.
posted by gingerest at 11:46 PM on December 21, 2010


But if you're playing Xerxes or Alexander the Great or Cleopatra or someone else who never spoke English at all because the language didn't exist then, using the Queen's English is just as ridiculous as using a Southern drawl.

No, ridiculous would be having people fail to believe in your characters because you mistakenly thought all accents are equal in our minds.

Cleopatra with a Brooklyn or Charleston accent would have people (especially if they were from Brooklyn or Charleston) laughing aloud. We would immediately wonder how the fuck Cleopatra had picked up the accent our baker uses.

You need to select a more transparent variety of English that will slip past the logicians standing guard at the gates of the imagination. RP is perceived as correct, standard English by much of the world and will be transparent to most of us if it is coming out of a reasonably educated character's mouth. For a great king or queen, if would be the best choice.

Now, you might want to argue that they shouldn't be speaking English at all in movies about ancient Egypt, and that we should have to read subtitles or just figure things out from the context, but that would be a different ridiculous argument.
posted by pracowity at 12:03 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Look the guy is supposed to be Norse, his culture is an inherent part of his character.


Man, you were the other guy? The other guy picketing Prince of Persia: Sands of Time because there wasn't a Persian actor playing the Prince of Persia? And they weren't speaking in Persian with subtitles? I am so happy to meet you!
posted by DNye at 2:38 AM on December 22, 2010


Artw: You know what counts for a lot? Respecting the spirit of the source material. And that's a tricky thing to judge - it's not the same as slavishly copying everything - but get it right and you'll have something beloved by old fans and new, regardless of, to pick an example organic web slingers or, to pick another example Donald Glover as Spiderman. Respect the spirit and it can be made to work.

We're talking about a medium where, as far as I can tell, just about every "hot" artist starts off with "everything that came before me was shit! I'm going to give you the new, super-awesome and creative Wonder Waldo. He'll make you laugh, he'll make you cry, he'll make you think."

Then, when hot artist moves on, the whole thing gets reconned away. It's a key problem with the perennial debate between fans of gritty and goofy Batman. They're both completely right about the spirit of the character in the canon. (Although Batman with nipples was beyond the pale.)
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:06 AM on December 22, 2010


am amazed at how people are missing one big point : THIS IS A KENNETH BRANAGH MOVIE! the same Kenneth Branagh who miscasted Keanu Reeves and Denzel Washington in Much Ado About Nothing. Idris at least will do a better job than Denzel (and let's not even get into discussing Keanu doing Shakespeare several times in his career).

this is Kenneth's way of having the last laugh. he's always had a "fuck you" attitude with his casting and he's sure picked a winner with the casting of Elba.
posted by liza at 7:47 AM on December 22, 2010


Who's who in Asgard: a scene-by-scene breakdown of the new Thor trailer
posted by homunculus at 8:44 AM on December 22, 2010


Looking at the images, the complaints about casting don't make a lick of sense to me because the production design isn't even making a pretense of historical realism. Vikings didn't have horns on their helmets, much less the full three-feet-tall gold-plated Jack Kirby treatment. Golden gates of organ pipes! Odin with a chrome eye-patch! A throne room that looks like it was retooled from Flash Gordon! A 15-foot steel-plated shiny construct with laser-beam eyes!

I don't care about Elba (or Tadanobu Asano for that matter.) Just give me Loki with those fucking awesome and utterly ridiculous looping golden horns.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:26 AM on December 22, 2010


Which is awkward for me as well because Michael Clarke Duncan was the only part of Daredevil which did not suck horribly, despite the fact that Kingpin is a fat white dude.
posted by nightchrome


WRONGGGGGG. The only person in that film who really understood the glory of what it was supposed to be was Colin Farrell. Colin understood that the title should have been "Bullseye" and it should have followed his character around while he angrily, baldheadedly glared at people, grinned while murdering them for virtually no provocation, and pointed at his forehead insistantly. His Bullseye is easily one of the best performances in one of the worst superhero movies, and almost completely unheralded for its greatness.
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:50 AM on December 22, 2010


The Marilyn Monroe story starring Martin Lawrence in his Big Momma's House fat suit.

Oh hell yeah.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:52 AM on December 22, 2010


sebastienbailard: Ron Jeremy has to do Bueno Excellente. None other will do.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:53 AM on December 22, 2010


The only person in that film who really understood the glory of what it was supposed to be was Colin Farrell.

To the strains of House of Pain, no less.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:47 AM on December 22, 2010


That wasn't actually part of the movie's soundtrack. My understanding is that Colin Farrell just so awesome that House of Pain spontaneously comes on whenever he is doing anything cool.

I have a similar condition, except for me it's the Chicken Dance.

I'm a very popular guest at weddings, though not much anywhere else.
posted by quin at 11:59 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


He NEVER misses.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:45 PM on December 22, 2010


And as much as I like Branagh and Thor and am psyched to see this movie, the man definitely can do wrong. See his As You Like It for a prime example. It sucked.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:36 PM


It did however star Brian Blessed...

Really though, I just think As You Like It just doesn't work when it stars a woman. I actually think Bryce Dallas Howard is quite excellent in general (I've never seen Lady in the Water so I'm able to maintain that opinion) but she couldn't pull off that role. As far as I can tell, a great amount of the comedy of that play comes from it being (in Shakespeare's day) a man playing a woman pretending to be a man. Howard can't really be blamed for not being able to pull off that level of nuance while actually being a woman, I don't think. The whole thing just didn't work, and I do think Branagh was to blame.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:52 PM on December 22, 2010


haveanicesummer: Bryce Dallas Howard is quite excellent in general

Bryce Dallas Howard has neither range, nor charisma, nor any interesting mannerisms, which add up to performances so boring to watch I tend to forget she's been in a movie I've just seen. The nicest thing I can say about her presence in movies is that she's not distracting and tends to blend in nicely with the scenery.
posted by mkultra at 2:29 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cool, but can we have some white Orishas when they make a movie about Yoruba?

Given that Egyptian gods are typically portrayed as white, and many diaspora ATRs have Oshun/Erzuli as mixed race, and the few mainstream portrayals of orisha are so off base ("Obatala as king of vampires!"), it's really only a matter of time.

I mean, that and I expect Marky Mark starring as Malcolm X in the next 15 years.
posted by yeloson at 3:12 PM on December 22, 2010


WRONGGGGGG. The only person in that film who really understood the glory of what it was supposed to be was Colin Farrell.

I haven't seen a film adaptation of a comic book in a theater since Daredevil. That movie was that f'n bad. I hear DD is getting the old franchise reboot though, maybe Michael Clarke Duncan can be Daredevil this time, he certainly couldn't be worse than Affleck.
posted by MikeMc at 8:19 PM on December 22, 2010


Or, just see Chocolate which does a much better job of the whole disabled person becomes kung-fu superhero storyline (including loving homages to Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee in the process).

But then again, I appreciated The Warrior's Way because it delivered exactly what it claimed on the tin: cowboys vs. kung-fu.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:27 PM on December 22, 2010


Or, just see Chocolate which does a much better job of the whole disabled person becomes kung-fu superhero

That looks interesting, I'm going have to check it out.
posted by MikeMc at 8:36 PM on December 22, 2010


Noah Antwiler's review was not very positive. Though the idea of the Yakuza hiring an epileptic ringer because their neurotypical soldiers can't match Zen's Autism-Fu is pretty hilarious.
posted by kafziel at 8:49 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fuck that shit. I don't care if the book describes a character as the whitest person in white land. I don't care if the film is an adaptation of a fancy-pants Jane Austin novel. I don't care if you're casting for Jane Eyre or John Lennon or Abraham Lincoln or Claudius.

People need to start looking past colour when they give roles to actors. I don't give a shit about historical accuracy. As far as I can tell, not casting some P.O.C. because "it's Noel Coward, Darling" is racism.

This is something close to my heart. I've seen two young girls constantly turned down from major roles in School Plays because they aren't the right colour. They don't get to be Snow White or Mary because they're black. They don't even get to be considered. Even to the point where they've been told that they aren't the right *look* for the role. That's utter, utter, utter corrosive, wrong sided, bullshit.

You want a fun evening? You try sitting down with an eight year old who's come back from school crying because she's been told (in so many words) she's the wrong colour to get the good part.

The BBC is making small steps with colour blind casting, but Hollywood and other screen agencies need to step up to the mark. People need to be shown that a person of any colour can play any role in any film. Until that happens, then every anti-racist message spewed out of Hollywood is a hollow appeasement.

/rant ends.
posted by seanyboy at 2:19 AM on December 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


It seems like telling Ben Kingsley that he's not Indian enough to play Gandhi.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 3:04 AM on December 23, 2010


Hey, did you know Ben Kingsley isn't Ben Kingsley's birth name?
posted by five fresh fish at 9:31 AM on December 23, 2010


Here's a clip from Chocolate: Muay Thai VS Capoeira
posted by homunculus at 11:39 AM on December 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I kinda enjoyed Daredevil :(
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:52 AM on December 24, 2010


More Islamic Batman fun
posted by Artw at 5:43 AM on December 30, 2010


It took me about ten minutes from first seeing that Bosch Fawnstin comic before I realized that it wasn't over-the-top satire of right-wing lunacy.
posted by Kattullus at 5:59 AM on December 30, 2010


ovvl: "Loki spent one season as a mare, and then foaled the eight-legged horse Sleipnir."

In a controversial casting decision, Sleipnir is played by a mule.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:42 PM on January 13, 2011


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