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Author Topic: Ender's Game Movie
Stone_Wolf_
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Well, if everyone is brown, how the heck else are we Americans to know who to hate?

But seriously...

I don't mind having a discussion of race in culture or media, that's fine. Where I boggle is the outrage, when there are so many actually outrageous topics out there which just seem to slip by the way side...like children starving to death.

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stilesbn
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I vote Jemaine Clement!
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rollainm
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quote:
Originally posted by stilesbn:
I vote Jemaine Clement!

[Smile]
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stilesbn
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quote:
when there are so many actually outrageous topics out there which just seem to slip by the way side...like children starving to death.
There's a name for that kind of fallacious argument, but I can't remember what it is...
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Aros
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quote:
Originally posted by stilesbn:
quote:
when there are so many actually outrageous topics out there which just seem to slip by the way side...like children starving to death.
There's a name for that kind of fallacious argument, but I can't remember what it is...
And your criticism is even better, I just don't know why. . . .
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stilesbn
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Why are you even on this message board arguing this point when there are kids dying?
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Aros
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Meh. It's just death and racism. It's not like one person can make a difference.

There's Maori actors crying somewhere because Sir Ben Kingsley got their part in the Ender's Game movie. I heard that Mana the Polynesian Warrior can't eat or sleep. Too bad Sam isn't the casting director -- he'd have had it in the bag!!!!

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Aros
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Funny point from the Wikipedia on Maori people:
quote:
Originally posted on Wikipedia:
Māori actors and actresses are present in many of Hollywood's productions for being able to portray Asians, Latin Americans and Arabs because of their resemblance. They are in films like Whale Rider, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, The Matrix, King Kong, The River Queen, The Lord of The Rings, Rapa Nui, and others, and famous television series like Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, The Lost World[disambiguation needed] and Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Famous Māori actors and actresses include Temuera Morrison, Cliff Curtis, Lawrence Makoare, Manu Benet and Keisha Castle-Hughes.

These Maori come in here, playing all manner of folk. I say we get Sir Ben Kingsley to play EVERY Maori part, in every tv show and movie. That'll teach 'em a lesson about racism.
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AchillesHeel
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
Does the book say that Rakham has tā moko on his face? I can't remember. If it does, then it wouldn't be offensive in the book, so why would it be in the film.

If it's not in the book, it seems perfectly reasonable for Rakham, a warrior, to have them. In fact, it helps establish the characters ethnicity as Kingsley is decidedly not Maori, but needs to play one in the movie.

But I'm willing to listen as to why this is offensive.

Rackham never had it in the books. In fact, in the Shadow series he is represented as running around in open society freely with no one recognizing the face the THE Mazur Rackham.
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AchillesHeel
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
Funny point from the Wikipedia on Maori people:
quote:
Originally posted on Wikipedia:
Māori actors and actresses are present in many of Hollywood's productions for being able to portray Asians, Latin Americans and Arabs because of their resemblance. They are in films like Whale Rider, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, The Matrix, King Kong, The River Queen, The Lord of The Rings, Rapa Nui, and others, and famous television series like Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, The Lost World[disambiguation needed] and Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Famous Māori actors and actresses include Temuera Morrison, Cliff Curtis, Lawrence Makoare, Manu Benet and Keisha Castle-Hughes.

These Maori come in here, playing all manner of folk. I say we get Sir Ben Kingsley to play EVERY Maori part, in every tv show and movie. That'll teach 'em a lesson about racism.
I would love to know what other ethnicity the Maori performers were impersonating in the emboldened titles.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by stilesbn:
Why are you even on this message board arguing this point when there are kids dying?

literal laugh out loud
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
Meh. It's just death and racism. It's not like one person can make a difference.

There's Maori actors crying somewhere because Sir Ben Kingsley got their part in the Ender's Game movie. I heard that Mana the Polynesian Warrior can't eat or sleep. Too bad Sam isn't the casting director -- he'd have had it in the bag!!!!

you are actually kind of being terrible. I'd appreciate it if you give up on Troll Aros, or leave the thread in the capable hands of people who aren't going to concertedly try to drag the discussion down.
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The Black Pearl
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
Funny point from the Wikipedia on Maori people:
quote:
Originally posted on Wikipedia:
Māori actors and actresses are present in many of Hollywood's productions for being able to portray Asians, Latin Americans and Arabs because of their resemblance. They are in films like Whale Rider, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, The Matrix, King Kong, The River Queen, The Lord of The Rings, Rapa Nui, and others, and famous television series like Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, The Lost World[disambiguation needed] and Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Famous Māori actors and actresses include Temuera Morrison, Cliff Curtis, Lawrence Makoare, Manu Benet and Keisha Castle-Hughes.

These Maori come in here, playing all manner of folk. I say we get Sir Ben Kingsley to play EVERY Maori part, in every tv show and movie. That'll teach 'em a lesson about racism.
There are hundreds of instances where those ethnicities are played by authentic members of that ethnicity. When an casting a character with an ethnicity that is rarely characterized in hollywood characters, and in a situation where much of the population of the audience are ignorant to their culture and economic disadvantages (or really, that they even exist), I think you have a little more responsibility than normal. And I can understand if someone of that ethnicity is disappointed at what is a big missed opportunity. It could have been awesome.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
Aros, I like the point about straight actors portraying gays. There are also a million little distinctions we can draw in the "race" category:

Is it bad for a Native American actor to portray a Native American character from a different tribe?

Is it bad for an Indian actor to portray an Indian character of a different caste?

Is it bad for a mixed-race actor who can "pass" for white to portray a character of their non-white ancestry? (Think of Keanu Reeves playing a Chinese character. Or for a less ridiculous example, Keisha Castle-Hughes in Whale Rider.)

Is it bad for an African American actor to portray a Jamaican character?

The fact that Kingsley is himself a minority actor also complicates the issue in the present case.

I think these are interesting questions.

quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:

quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Sam: if they'd cast Kingsley and changed the story so that Rackham is an Indian, what would you think? Good? Bad?

Also bad. At least now the maori don't have people playing dress-up maori warrior for cultural tokenism, so you can cynically say it's marginally better.
So once OSC wrote that Rackham was half Maori it was a foregone conclusion. There is literally no scenario in which they can do anything but hire a half Maori actor if they want to avoid allegations of racism (from you). Doesn't matter who answers the casting calls, or how well they do. Every other race need not apply.

That's pretty racist, it seems to me.

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steven
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
[QUOTE]So once OSC wrote that Rackham was half Maori it was a foregone conclusion. There is literally no scenario in which they can do anything but hire a half Maori actor if they want to avoid allegations of racism (from you). Doesn't matter who answers the casting calls, or how well they do. Every other race need not apply.

That's pretty racist, it seems to me.

It seems to me that, once you start talking/thinking in moral absolutes about issues as complex as race and class, you might be missing the forest for the trees.

And I'm not accusing you of this specifically, Dan. Other posters more so, if anything.

Ultimately, though, it's art. If you don't like the casting, cast your own damn movie. I mean, it's not like this is Porgy and Bess, for Pete's sake. Rackham's ancestry is clearly an afterthought, more to give an impression of the thoroughly global and mixed nature of humanity and human society during the events of the book. OSC figured he had already included all the major ethnicities and cultures, and was obviously casting about for an obscure one. Bam! Maori it is, and half-Maori to emphasize that there's lots of racial mixing! ROFL

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millernumber1
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So, anyone see the 10 seconds from the film yet?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0OHtH_RWnZE

Also, OSC apparently was more than a bit frustrated with the choice of a non-Maori actor for Mazer back when Kingsley was first announced - but it seems like the marketers have decided to hang quite a bit on Kingsley and Ford as their bankable stars. I can see their point (and hope it does draw a lot of people to the film), but I personally would have loved to see a Maori actor as Mazer - even though I am a fan of Kingsley.

I would argue that perhaps Mazer's race was originally just texture or diversity tokenism, but both Card and Aaron Johnston have done quite a bit to flesh out the Maori side of Mazer in "Mazer in Prison" and the Formic Wars materials.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by steven:
[QB] OSC figured he had already included all the major ethnicities and cultures, and was obviously casting about for an obscure one. Bam! Maori it is, and half-Maori to emphasize that there's lots of racial mixing! ROFL

Maori was specifically chosen as an answer to a supposed superstition in the IF that Jews don't lose space battles. Reflected upon by Ender as being a bit off, considering a half-Maori Kiwi commanded the auxiliary fleet that actually defeated the bugger invasion.

In that sense, at least by my recollection, it didn't feel to me like any kind of literary affirmative action.

That being said, token casting is something which I actually often associate with OSC- his characters, especially in later years, pretty much *have* to be racially distinctive in some way: black Brazilians, Serbian, Maori, Samoan, Japanese, Qechua, Greek/African, etc. Even such that he retconned (or side-conned) some of his characters like Bean into races that had not been specified earlier.

And I call it token casting because the way OSC tends to do it, the characters that he makes racially distinctive usually benefit from some ennobling feature of their race which subtly makes them better than others. Most subscribe fully to the magical racial concepts inherent in token casting: race = spiritualism, and all that.

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Tuukka
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quote:
Originally posted by Teshi:
I understand the offense. I think if he was a Native American character, people would probably quickly understand why such a thing is unfortunate.

Johnny Depp is playing a native American in this summer's Lone Ranger. So far there has been no uproar.

This entire discussion is silly.

*Actors play roles*. The whole point is that they aren't really the characters they are portraying.

If we refuse to allow a half-Eglish, half-Indian actor to portray a Maori, it leads to an endless game of rules, of what actors are allowed to portray. Others already provided long lists of examples of this.

For example, we should have not allowed Kingsley to play Gandhi. It would be easy to argue in historical context, that it's in fact very offending that a half-English actor was allowed to play arguably the most famous Indian of all time, *who became famous by fighting against English colonialist rule*. In fact, back in the day there was an uproar among Indian ultra-nationalists, who hated this idea.

Also it could be argued that Kingsley should have never been allowed to play the countless of pure-breed British roles he has played. I'm sure you can find many British anti-immigrant thinkers and white supremacists, who agree with this idea.

These kind of limitations sound pretty prejudiced me. You are judging actors and their ability to play a role based on their ethnicity. If anything, this kind of thinking will increase racism.

Maybe we should just let a proven *great* actor do his performance, and then judge him, eh? Before we put him in a ghetto where he is only allowed to play half-English, half-Indian roles.

The 15 seconds of teaser look pretty neat. The kid looks like a good Ender.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by millernumber1:
So, anyone see the 10 seconds from the film yet?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0OHtH_RWnZE


Oh man, my body is ready.
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The White Whale
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
Oh man, my body is ready.

[ROFL]
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Geraine
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Major Anderson was (from what I gathered from the book) a white male.

They cast Viola Davis in the role, and I've no problems with that.

I would have REALLY liked to see Manu Bennett as Mazer, however I understand why Sir Ben Kingsley was cast in the role.

Placing big name actors like Ford, Davis, and Kingsley provide a sort of "free" type of marketing simply because their names are recognizable.

They will also have a very easy time making it onto late night shows as guests to talk about the film as well.

From a marketing perspective, the casting is brilliant. They got some of the biggest adult actors and arguably the biggest names out there for child actors to be in the film. Based on name recognition alone, the movie will probably make a ton of money.

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Elison R. Salazar
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quote:

They cast Viola Davis in the role, and I've no problems with that.

Well duh. One is a necessary double standard to alleviate institutional racism and the other is institutional racism.
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Geraine
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There was never anything in the book (From what I can remember) that said all of the major characters were white males.

In my opinion Changing Anderson from a white male (now that I think about it, his race is never mentioned in the book) to a black female shouldn't be taken as alleviating any kind of institutional racism. There are numerous examples of people from different races present in the books! The children are form a variety of countries, there is no reason the adults couldn't be as well.

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AchillesHeel
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A particularly poignant feature of reading EG over and over as I've grown up is the blindly and silent inclusiveness. On my third reading I figured out that the other boy who Bernard was mocking (for the life of me I can't remember his name) was black. I had to become aware of Islam and the Middle East to understand how OSC intended me to visualize Alai.

When Battle School becomes a white majority, or an American majority for that matter, institution it loses some its powerful premise. An idea that I learned from as I became cognizant of the world and people far away. For it to be trivialized and made into a caricature would be unfortunate in my opinion.

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Tuukka
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The cast for the film is very multi-national and multi-ethnical.

I don't think casting a half-Indian man and a black woman is making it more homogenous.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Elison R. Salazar:
quote:

They cast Viola Davis in the role, and I've no problems with that.

Well duh. One is a necessary double standard to alleviate institutional racism and the other is institutional racism.
Wow.
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Elison R. Salazar
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MovieBob says it how it is
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Destineer
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I agree that double standards can be justified in this sort of thing. But I think the important thing is that more minority actors get cast in more good parts, not that every part in an adaptation must go to an actor of the specific race that part was written for. I have a problem with Depp being cast as Tanto and Rooney cast as old mister whatever, but I have zero problem with Kingsley being cast as Rackham.
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Belle
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On a lighter note, I have recently become in possession of a class set of hardbound copies of Ender's Game and will be teaching the novel next year to my eighth graders, leading up to the movie premiere!
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millernumber1
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That's awesome, Belle! I have Ender's Game on my list of books my students can read for their final paper, and hopefully several of my students next semester will do it!
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C3PO the Dragon Slayer
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quote:
Originally posted by Belle:
On a lighter note, I have recently become in possession of a class set of hardbound copies of Ender's Game and will be teaching the novel next year to my eighth graders, leading up to the movie premiere!

Reminds me of how we studied The Great Gatsby this semester in my American Literature class.

Though I am convinced the Gatsby movie will be terrible.

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AchillesHeel
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What lucky kids! I wish I had teachers with such good taste instead of reading The Hobbit four times.
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Tuukka
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quote:
Originally posted by Elison R. Salazar:
MovieBob says it how it is

MovieBob most likely doesn't have a problem with a half-Indian minority actor being chosen instead of a Maori minority actor. If you think so, you pretty much missed his point.
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steven
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quote:
Originally posted by AchillesHeel:
What lucky kids! I wish I had teachers with such good taste instead of reading The Hobbit four times.

What was the point of reading The Hobbit? It breaks good writing practice on purpose by making the opening very boring, in imitation of Norse epics.

I had to read Madame Bovary. Dude, it was lame and pretentious. Also, kind of woman-hating.

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AchillesHeel
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It was the era of Peter Jackson's movies, and instead of having a banned book list my school district had an approved book list. And they say there isn't enough conservatism in public schools.
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steven
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quote:
Originally posted by AchillesHeel:
It was the era of Peter Jackson's movies, and instead of having a banned book list my school district had an approved book list. And they say there isn't enough conservatism in public schools.

Arizona, right? Yeah, I hear they suck.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Geraine:
There was never anything in the book (From what I can remember) that said all of the major characters were white males.

In my opinion Changing Anderson from a white male (now that I think about it, his race is never mentioned in the book) to a black female shouldn't be taken as alleviating any kind of institutional racism. There are numerous examples of people from different races present in the books! The children are form a variety of countries, there is no reason the adults couldn't be as well.

In part your recollection is incomplete. In Ender's Game, it's stated at several points that the leaders of Battle School are Americans, as Ender is. Crazy Tom, from The Netherlands, points out that the system of the school is based on American values, and therefore favors American thinking, despite the fact that many of the students are not Americans.

So while we can't precisely say what racial backgrounds are represented by America, surely the cultural values were mostly those associated with America (or whatever those might be in two centuries, etc).

In later books this is also retconned (kind of) to include Chinese, Indian and other staff members in the Battle School, and it is subtly implied in Ender's Exile that Graff may actually be Irish, insofar as he has any national identity.

It is also stated in the short story (or at least strongly implied), that Bean was a ward of the state, but that this was the rule rather than the exception- later OSC seized upon this detail to develop Beans backstory, when he decided that the background of Battle School children wasn't "Soldier" style child farms. The implication that presence at Battle School is planned from much earlier on is erased by the idea that it is merely coerced. Then in later books, OSC softens that also to make it seem like it's a matter of prestige, whereas he had played upon the tension some of the students there felt at having been coerced to be there in the earlier books (particularly in Ender's Game).

So as much as OSC worked to soften the image of battle school over subsequent books, it was originally presented as being much more brutal and violent than later. It was also originally presented as being culturally dominated by Americans and American values- something that was probably more relevant to readers 30 years ago than today, given that one of the background elements of the first book was about American and Russian conflict over Earthwide hegemony. In the Shadow books we see that shift to a kind of free-for-all board game style Earth, freely referred to by OSC as based on the concepts of Risk (something that critics of his political sci-fi world building have referred to as naive).

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AchillesHeel
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quote:
Originally posted by steven:
quote:
Originally posted by AchillesHeel:
It was the era of Peter Jackson's movies, and instead of having a banned book list my school district had an approved book list. And they say there isn't enough conservatism in public schools.

Arizona, right? Yeah, I hear they suck.
Indeed. On occasion there were even christian rock bands playing in the middle of the school as students waited for the bus. The principle didn't have much appreciation for freedom of speech or the display of cultural inheritance. Only two of the teachers I knew and respected are still teaching, everyone else was either fired or bullied out.
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steven
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Your principal sounds like a great guy, in a great state, doing a great job. ROFL
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sarcasticmuppet
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quote:
Originally posted by El JT de Spang:
People who get their panties twisted over name actors being cast in major Hollywood movies over nobodies who would satisfy fanboys (by being the EXACT right race that the author made up for the character) have zero understanding of how movies get made and financed.

The problem with that way of thinking is, when are you ever going to *find* a bankable Maori actor in Hollywood, if you never give him roles in films for him to build his resume, even for the tiny fraction of roles that he/she would be physically *perfect* for?

It's a self-perpetuating problem. No one will hire the actors because they're not famous, and none of the actors will be famous because they're not being hired.

We're looking at a big-budget adaptation of a popular young adult novel with an already huge name attached (Harrison Ford). They didn't need to add another big name in Ben Kingsley, who might not even resonate with the target audience of teenagers and young adults as much.

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steven
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quote:
Originally posted by sarcasticmuppet:
quote:
Originally posted by El JT de Spang:
People who get their panties twisted over name actors being cast in major Hollywood movies over nobodies who would satisfy fanboys (by being the EXACT right race that the author made up for the character) have zero understanding of how movies get made and financed.

The problem with that way of thinking is, when are you ever going to *find* a bankable Maori actor in Hollywood, if you never give him roles in films for him to build his resume, even for the tiny fraction of roles that he/she would be physically *perfect* for?

It's a self-perpetuating problem. No one will hire the actors because they're not famous, and none of the actors will be famous because they're not being hired.

We're looking at a big-budget adaptation of a popular young adult novel with an already huge name attached (Harrison Ford). They didn't need to add another big name in Ben Kingsley, who might not even resonate with the target audience of teenagers and young adults as much.

To your first point--most big-budget blockbuster movies are written, made, and financed in the US, by Americans. There's not exactly a large Maori population here. The black community has broken into movie-making here and there (Will Smith, Denzel, etc.) by simply being here and also by being a large enough population (with enough regular movie-goers) to have some influence. Maoris are not in the US (largely), and also don't have a large-enough population here or worldwide to have much effect box office numbers, or on DVD sales, etc..

To your second point--kids, especially boys, were already going to show up to a sci-fi blockbuster with a young boy as the star. Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley help ensure that older folks will also give it a try.

And finally, let's be real about Maori culture--they were brutal cannibals. They killed and ate several of Captain Cooks' crew, and then taunted him when he did nothing about it. This isn't a warm-and-fuzzy culture. Breaking the cannibalism taboo is a tough PR problem to overcome.

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steven
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Also, this is the very first movie of any of OSC's writing. I think it makes sense to establish him as a bankable writer in the eyes of Hollywood executives before trying to get all high and mighty with obscure PC issues regarding casting, maybe.
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Tuukka
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quote:
Originally posted by sarcasticmuppet:
quote:
Originally posted by El JT de Spang:
People who get their panties twisted over name actors being cast in major Hollywood movies over nobodies who would satisfy fanboys (by being the EXACT right race that the author made up for the character) have zero understanding of how movies get made and financed.

The problem with that way of thinking is, when are you ever going to *find* a bankable Maori actor in Hollywood, if you never give him roles in films for him to build his resume, even for the tiny fraction of roles that he/she would be physically *perfect* for?

It's a self-perpetuating problem. No one will hire the actors because they're not famous, and none of the actors will be famous because they're not being hired.

We're looking at a big-budget adaptation of a popular young adult novel with an already huge name attached (Harrison Ford). They didn't need to add another big name in Ben Kingsley, who might not even resonate with the target audience of teenagers and young adults as much.

Maori actors mostly act in NZ movies. Probably not an coincidence.

However, how many older Maori actors do you know of the acting calibre of Ben Kinsgley? This is actually a rather important question.

I don't know any.

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The Black Pearl
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Kingsley seems like a so-so casting for Mazer though. But he was great is Shutter Island.
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Stone_Wolf_
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I don't agree...about soso casting...but I'd have liked to have seen Ed Harris in that role. Forget all that race hullabaloo, he is such a great actor!
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Elison R. Salazar
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quote:
Originally posted by Tuukka:
quote:
Originally posted by Elison R. Salazar:
MovieBob says it how it is

MovieBob most likely doesn't have a problem with a half-Indian minority actor being chosen instead of a Maori minority actor. If you think so, you pretty much missed his point.
Why would I think he does?
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Samprimary
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There's so much I have to catch up on and work through. Some good points have been raised, and some extremely concerning attitudes have been engaged to try to defend marginalizing behavior, but I'll start with this.

quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:

That's pretty racist, it seems to me.

I can only hope! We have already determined from before that your definition of the word "racist" includes some things that are good and productive and that we will keep for good reasons. So stating that something I am advocating is "racist" does not really categorically say anything about it except that you are okay for it for what I can only assume are idealistic and probably 'raceblind' reasons.
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Samprimary
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But I would like to reiterate that there are plenty of extremely worthwhile questions that I intend to engage probably far less reflexively than you think I would, and I know why.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:

That's pretty racist, it seems to me.

I can only hope! We have already determined from before that your definition of the word "racist" includes some things that are good and productive and that we will keep for good reasons. So stating that something I am advocating is "racist" does not really categorically say anything about it except that you are okay for it for what I can only assume are idealistic and probably 'raceblind' reasons.
Who is "we" in this context? You didn't capitalize it the second time, so I know it's not the royal We. So... what gives?


Also, can you read this sentence again? You might want to read it aloud... "So stating that something I am advocating is "racist" does not really categorically say anything about it except that you are okay for it for what I can only assume are idealistic and probably 'raceblind' reasons."

I'm not real sure what you're saying here, and it doesn't hang together grammatically. In particular, "you are okay for it for" really jumps off the page.

What does "raceblind" mean in this context?

And finally... so, was my characterization of your position (the one you cut from your quote) correct? That is: Once OSC wrote the character as half-Maori, any casting choice or rewrite that did not leave us with a half-Maori actor playing the role would constitute an example of a Bad Racist Thing?

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Orincoro
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Dan, nitpicking Sam's grammar makes you seem petty and. disingenuous. Now, if you had just said: "I don't understand what you mean," which you often do anyway, it might sound like you actually wanted to have something clarified. But this is just another variation on your old strategy: "I don't get your argument (subtext: your argument is too stupid or abstruse to be understood by me, a common sense kind of guy). You do this a lot; I wonder if you know that it is transparent.

You'll probably ask me to clarify what I mean by all this. That would be nice.

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