Last night I watched Red
and then this morning I saw the first 40 minutes of The Conqueror
when I should have been looking for work. My thoughts on Red can be found in my review but both films got me thinking about casting and especially miscasting, as seeing John Wayne playing Genghis Kahn as a cowboy would would probably do to most people. Now I know that years ago casting might not have been the same as today but you need to wonder if the person responsible for the Duke playing Genghis was a little high when he thought it would be a good idea.
Everyone has bad films, look at De Niro and Pacino, two of the best actors and they do have bad films in their histories, see Revolution
for Pacino and nearly everything De Niro has done since Heat. I have started to notice a trend where actors do not seem to be turning in a performance but relying on a standard persona that they always tend to portray, the prime offenders of this seem to be Bruce Willis and Tom Cruise. Now you could say that this is due to the type of films they tend to star in but I argue that this is not the case. The film where Cruise impressed me the most was Collateral
where he went against type and played the bad guy. This was good casting as it was unexpected and meant he had to change is standard portrayal of a character, imagine if Vincent was the standard Cruise character, it would have been terrible and he would have lost the cold calculating nature of the character.
Thinking about this further I realize you get the options of the a character being perfectly cast, looking the part but not sounding it or convincingly portraying the part, portraying the part right and sounding right but not looking right, or everything being wrong. An example of looking the part but not sounding right would be in Alexander
, I never thought Colin Farrel did a bad job at the role but his accent was one step too far, mainly because everyone else in the movie was trying a different accent and I still am not sure where Angelina Jolies's character was from. This is a big problem as well, having a lead who cannot do the accent is not a problem until you make the supporting cast try and succeed in varying degrees. Either everyone needs to sound the same or not but do not have some actors doing the accent and others not. Kevin Costner did not do the English accent in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
and because everyone else was speaking English I did not notice it as much as I otherwise would have, but an English actor would have been better.
Casting can clearly be a difficult task, if a star is attached to a project because they are that star and are expected to give that performance I can see how bad casting and performances come about, but there must be someone that can say "sorry, this just would be silly if you did this role". If this was the case I would not ever have had to see the duke with a bad mustache trying to be the only cowboy Mongolian.
So screened community I put it to you, what are your thoughts on casting, what are both good and bad examples.