Casting into weeds

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Inanimate plant matter would likely fair better cast into some of these rolls

I'm Not Angry
Kyle Leitch

A&C Writer

While re-watching David Cronenberg's 2005 film A History of Violence, I noticed how often I confused its star, Viggo Mortensen, with similarly square-jawed actor, Aaron Eckhart. Every time this confusion set in, I got sad because I realized how much better Eckhart would have done in the film.

"Kyle, you codgy old bastard!" I can hear them all saying. "Have you really run out of so many things to pick on that you need to ream out seven-year-old movies? Hardy-har-har!" Well, you smarmy pricks, that's not the point. The point is that a great number of otherwise awesome contemporary films have cheapened themselves with poor casting choices. From casting Keanu Reeves as the sandy-haired John Constantine, to casting the sandy-haired Daniel Craig as James Bond, it seems that some casting directors don't know their asses from a hole in the ground. At the very least, they don't know their source material from the actors who are attempting to portray it.

This is far from a new problem; people have been miscast in roles from the dawn of moving pictures in the late 1800s. It's become a more glaring problem in this most Hollywood-centric time when the star system is far more prevalent than the idea of – God forbid – making a decent fucking movie. There's no shortage of raw talent in the world: independent films can often be a great source of awesome untapped actors and actresses. The problem is that greedy Hollywood execs want the "safest" bet for the money they sink into a film. They want to minimize input while maximizing output, and the easiest way to do that is to attach so-called "name actors" to a picture, even if these name actors aren't the best, or even the comprehensible choices to make to hold up the artistic integrity of the film in question.

So, what then is the use of complaining? If it's always been a problem, and if the problem just continues to perpetuate and exacerbate itself, what's the point of bitching about it? Well, it only takes one overly sensitive person who considers even minor inconveniences to be personal attacks to change things. If I have to point out casting problems in (primarily) big budget features, then maybe other people will catch on, and hell, maybe even support the idea. Until studios understand that not all stars are suitable for all roles, we will continue to be subjected to these shenanigans.

When people stop caring about their jobs, they do poorly. When people do their jobs poorly, they get fired. That's how the real world works, and yes, I understand the subtle hilarity of mentioning reality as it pertains to film. What isn't all that funny is that the people responsible for casting just seem to draw a name out of an A-list celebrity hat, and we're expected to fawn over the film. In short, I piss on the mediocre attempts that the star system has made recently to produce meaningful work. We should not abide by a world in which thousands of brilliantly gifted actors flounder and die in the gutter while someone like Jonah Hill becomes inexplicably more and more popular with every passing day.

But I'm not angry. Honest.

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