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Controversial casting in movies

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Pizza, Jun 2, 2021.

  1. Pizza

    Pizza With extra pepperoni Thread Starter

    Movie castings that caused a bit of a stink at their announcement. Sometimes the actor/actress proved themselves when the movie got released, sometimes not.

    I remember the uproar when I was a kid about Audrey Hepburn being cast in My Fair Lady. Julie Andrews played the role on Broadway but the movie producers didn't think she was a big enough name and casted Hepburn. It didn't help they overdubbed her vocals but she delivered an iconic performance that got ignored at the Oscars. The winner for best actress ironically went to Julie Andrews for Mary Poppins. Overall, I feel time proved Hepburn was terrific in the part.
    Zeki, SandAndGlass and Lightworker like this.
  2. Avenging Robot

    Avenging Robot Forum Resident

    People of a certain age back when had the Broadway cast recording in their collection, not the film soundtrack. I remember hearing from time to time from various elders what a crime it was not casting Julie Andrews in the movie.
    caracallac and Shoes1916 like this.
  3. Tom Cruise as the 6’5” Jack Reacher.
  4. More Than A Feeling

    More Than A Feeling Little River, Big Adventures!

    Hollywood: We need an actress to play our Japanese character. Let's cast Scarlet Johansson!
  5. Rob P S

    Rob P S Forum Resident

    Pittsburgh, PA
    Joel Grey as an Asian in Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins.
    Shoes1916 and Jazzmonkie like this.
  6. wwaldmanfan

    wwaldmanfan Born In The 50's

    Francis Ford Coppola casting his novice daughter as the female lead in The Godfather Part III.
  7. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Marple, PA, USA
    I guess Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's.
    Zeki, caracallac, Jimmy B. and 4 others like this.
  8. Spy Car

    Spy Car Forum Resident

    Los Angeles
    I'm, like, one of 5 to 10 people on the globe who think Sofia Coppola was perfect for the role.

  9. MrGrumpy

    MrGrumpy Forum Resident

    Tom Cruise in Interview with the Vampire. Anne Rice was publicly aghast, but eventually came around.
  10. MrGrumpy

    MrGrumpy Forum Resident

  11. Avenging Robot

    Avenging Robot Forum Resident

    I guess all of our friends in the UK are asleep now so on their behalf I will mention Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins.
  12. Heath Ledger cast as The Joker.

    Who was, of course, in good Bat-family company with Michael Keaton being similarly doubted as Batman before the film came out.
    hi_watt likes this.
  13. jwoverho

    jwoverho Licensed Drug Dealer

    Mobile, AL USA
    Kevin Costner as Robin Hood. Don't even try and make him seem English.
  14. Scooterpiety

    Scooterpiety Current operator of the Freedonia peanut stand

    Michael Keaton as Batman/Bruce Wayne.
    Nearly everyone thought that was laughable and was going to be a complete disaster.
    The two Keaton Batman films are the only two I like.
  15. Scooterpiety

    Scooterpiety Current operator of the Freedonia peanut stand

    Laurence Olivier as Gen. Douglas MacArthur in Inchon.
    A terrible film made even more so by the weird casting of Olivier.
    Olivier said he only did it for the money
    jwoverho likes this.
  16. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    New Orleans, LA
    She was, and her Cockney accent was better than Andrews'. I listen to the original Broadway cast album now and I hear how stagey her accent was. Hepburn nailed it.
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  17. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    call me #7 or 12...
    Shoes1916 and Spy Car like this.
  18. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    love Michael! I too thought he did a great job!
    SandAndGlass and BeatleJWOL like this.
  19. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    Being born the next decade after My Fair Lady came out, I've come to the same conclusion after seeing My Fair Lady, seeing Julie in other things, hearing Julie's stage recordings, seeing her act as Eliza in various variety show clips, and reading about the controversy. What Jack Warner did was a classic case of an out-of-touch executive not understanding what the fans of the source material wanted. The stage musical of My Fair Lady was the most popular musical ever up to that point. He didn't have to sell the material with a star actress. People all over knew about the play and wanted to see it on the big screen. It was in a very similar position in the cultural zeitgeist to where Hamilton has been recently.

    Whatever doubt Warner had about Andrews' ability to transition to the big screen, she proved him colossally wrong by becoming the biggest female box office draw of the 1960s, between Poppins, Sound of Music, Thoroughly Modern Millie and even Hawaii (the highest grosser of 1966). Instead of the woman who was truly born to play the role of Eliza, we got a patchwork performance with an actress who had to have her singing voice dubbed. It was an acceptable technique then, but it's definitely dated the movie now as everyone can tell when Audrey Hepburn's voice switches over to the dub. Ironically, Rex Harrison refused to lip sync to his songs for the movie and they had to build a special microphone for him to wear under his tie in order to record his singing voice in real time.

    Even beyond the singing, My Fair Lady is written to be a great comedy. Julie is a much more natural comedic actress then Audrey Hepburn. Hepburn doesn't capture the light tone and land the gag lines as well as Andrews would have. Hepburn makes the film feel more weighty and serious more often than it ought to be. There are moments that are supposed to be uproarious, but Hepburn is playing them as if she's trying to make us feel sad for her. It's also possible to see in some of the reenactments Julie did on TV how much better she portrays Eliza's transition from flower girl to sophisticated women. Audrey's good at the sophisticated part, but Julie was better at playing the comically obnoxious, low class flower girl.

    The industry definitely took Andrews' side too. The movie My Fair Lady swept awards shows except when it came to Hepburn, who was snubbed for the actress awards in favor of Andrews for Mary Poppins.

    From what I've seen on the net in modern times, there is a pretty dominant sentiment that Julie got screwed over, that she deserved to be in the movie and that the movie would be better if she had been. For her part, Julie has never been openly bitter about losing the part, but sounds very regretful that a video recording of the stage play while she was in it was never made. Apparently it was considered for a TV broadcast, but for some reason it never happened.

    Julie got her revenge by "zinging" Warner at the Golden Globes when she won.

    Last edited: Jun 3, 2021
  20. This will ALWAYS be my answer to this question. Although I'd change the word 'controversial' to 'stupid.'
    ChazFromCali likes this.
  21. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    Emma Watson's casting in the live-action Beauty and the Beast was somewhat controversial. Some people thought, much like the My Fair Lady scenario, it was based on recognition as a star more than on talent or who was best for the character. Emmy Rossum had some traction in "fan-casting" as someone who was a professional singer and looked more like Belle from the cartoon than Emma did. All she lacked was a big name.

    Shoes1916 and BeatleJWOL like this.
  22. Big Jimbo

    Big Jimbo Forum Resident

    Barbra Streisand as Dolly Levi in “Hello Dolly”. Too young.
    Michelle Pfeiffer as a plain looking woman in “Frankie and Johnny”
    People originally giggled at the idea of Bruce Willis, the guy from “Moonlighting” playing a cop taking out a group
    of armed robbers in “Die Hard”.
  23. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    I think Mel Gibson was hit with some accusations of being miscast when he did Hamlet in 1990.

    Rosie O'Donnell as Betty Rubble in Flintstones destroyed a lot of fantasies men had growing up.
  24. Roland Stone

    Roland Stone Offending Member

    Casting Zi Yi Zhang and other Chinese actors as Japanese characters in the American historical drama, MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA. As most of you know China and Japan have, er, historical differences.

    A Hollywood take on an American bestseller about traditional Japanese culture running into World War II was probably doomed to disappoint everyone . . .
    Zeki and Shoes1916 like this.
  25. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Alexandria VA
    I'd be curious to know how controversial that was 50 years ago.

    Poking around online, I see some criticisms from 1961 but I suspect these weren't dominant.

    Most people didn't think anything of portrayals like that back then - like how blackface wasn't controversial 20 years earlier.

    It was a bad decision that aged terribly, but I don't get the sense Rooney's casting created much ado in 1961...

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