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mygif

Whedon is very conscious of type-casting. In ANGEL, he turned Fred into Illyria and Gunn into a lawyer to show off to the audience (and really, prospective casting directors) that “Hey! These guys can do more than one role!” Amy Acker was fantastic in DOLLHOUSE in the various roles she played, and in both that show and ANGEL, she played people who were very hard indeed.

Apparently, Whedon has readings of Shakespeare at his house (or something) and it was Tudyk’s reading of Caesar that had him cast as Alpha when everyone was saying the guy’s just comic relief.

J Michael Straczynski also did this in BABYLON 5, very aware of how people in both the audience and Hollywood are quick to pigeonhole actors as ‘they play this part well and that’s it, so don’t give them any other type of part’. Some actors play to this, but others are bound by the fortune of their first big gig. Indeed, much of a performance can be gained by casting AGAINST type. DIE HARD, for example, had Bruce Willis, a rom-com actor play an action hero at the time of Stallone and Schwarzennegger. Christopher Nolan cast Liam Neeson and Heath Ledger as villains in his Batman movies when neither had ever played a villain before. Whedon often gets comedy actors to perform drama. There’s a lot to be gained out of ‘miscasting’ as you put it.

They’re not ‘miscast’ at all.

Also: click on the picture for a press release pdf and it gives you the cast list.

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mygif

Firstly, let it be stated that while I have nothing against the man himself, I’ve never much enjoyed the majority of his work – especially the awfulness that was ‘Firefly’.

Having said that, please be assured that if it were Richard Eyre, Lars von Trier, or Stephen Spielberg, I would STILL call it the HEIGHT OF FUCKING ARROGANCE to put ‘Based On A Play’ under your OWN name, without ONE mention of the actual author.

THE BARD WAS AROUND FOR CENTURIES BEFORE YOUR BANAL SCRIBBLINGS

GIVE THE BARD THE RESPECT THAT IS DUE TO HIM, DAMN YOU

DAMN. YOU.

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mygif

I agree on first blush — but then, I remember thinking how catastrophically miscast I thought Branaugh’s version was (and true, it wasn’t Keanu’s finest moment, but otherwise perfectly enjoyable). I think Denisof’s capable of bringing justice to Benedick, but it’s still a little baffling to have Denisof in that role while Fillion’s elsewhere on your cast list — maybe it’s just a matter of time commitments; given that they shot the thing in 12 days (!), Fillion might have only been able to contribute to a role as large as Dogberry’s. This will not stop me from imagining a Much Ado with Fillion as Benedick and Tudyk as Dogberry….

(Though if we’re talking casting, why not make it a Clark Gregg one-man show? I’d watch that. Several times.)

The only bit about this that outright disappoints me (as opposed to confuses or intrigues me) is choosing Much Ado. Given the Branaugh troupe handled it pretty solidly not long ago, I’d hope for a different, less recently-and-decently-adapted piece. But that’s not terrible. Given the speed (and impressive stealth) with which this project has moved, I fervently hope this film is the beginning and not just an end in itself. (And it gives us what will probably be the next X-Men-casting-list meme: Whedonites in Shakespearean roles. Can we get Ray Wise as Lear?)

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mygif

“Having said that, please be assured that if it were Richard Eyre, Lars von Trier, or Stephen Spielberg, I would STILL call it the HEIGHT OF FUCKING ARROGANCE to put ‘Based On A Play’ under your OWN name, without ONE mention of the actual author.”

It’s a joke (and typical of Whedon). He’s a huge Shakespeare fan.

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The Unstoppable Gravy Express said on October 24th, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Eliza Dushku as Lady MacBeth! :-)

Regards to casting, I could see how Nathan, doing the suave-charming bit every week on Castle, would likely prefer the change of pace that is Dogberry.

And yeah, I think most people will twig that it’s a production of Shakespeare.

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mygif

I would STILL call it the HEIGHT OF FUCKING ARROGANCE to put ‘Based On A Play’ under your OWN name, without ONE mention of the actual author.

It’s a joke.

A damn funny one at that.

Which I’m inclined to think tips a hand as to how Whedon is staging his production.

As a comedy.

Which is funny.

Unlike a lot of Shakespeare productions I’ve seen over the years where they’ll stage one of his comedies as some kind of reverential ode to The Bard rather than remembering that the man’s appeal to his generation was at least in part because he could play to both the groundlings AND the balcony at the same time.

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Ed (Jack Norris) said on October 24th, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Stig:
Caps-yelling pretty much always equals emotional issues of the “cranky little bitch” variety. Go back on your meds.

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mygif

Stig: Everyone’s heard of Much Ado. Surely no-one is going to read that and thing “oh, I wonder if it’s based on a different play called Much Ado About Nothing.” Given the reverence with which we treat Shakespeare, isn’t it OK to have a bit of fun with him as well?

MGK: I get the feeling that those are two very deliberate castings, for exactly the reasons you’ve put here. The character’s romance on Angel, for instance, was very slow and soft and not-speak-its-namey; the direct opposite of Much Ado. Wouldn’t surprise me at all to learn that Whedon did it that way on purpose. (I wish it had been a different play too – I’d kill for The Tempest, myself, but that’s the way it is.)

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mygif

Actually, I suspect Alexis Denisof might do well with Benedick. I once made a suggestion that he’d be perfectly cast as “Remington Steele” in a big-screen version of the TV series….

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mygif

Honestly, Fillion as Dogberry sounds like a fantastic bit of casting to me.

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mygif

but who gets the vital role of Messenger Boy?!

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It’s hard to imagine anyone in Whedon’s adaptation being as spectacularly miscast as was Keanu Reeves as Don John.

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ladypeyton said on October 25th, 2011 at 12:18 am

While I might agree about Denisoff as Benedick, I think you may be off the mark when it comes to Acker. There wasn’t a hell of a lot of fragility in Illyria.

Denisoff and Acker have astounding chemistry that I waited YEARS to see come to fruition and what did Whedon do?!?! He presented it and killed it in a 2 week period. Yeah. I should have expected that because it was Whedon but after the years I invested in them coupled with the years I invested in Spike/Buffy all I have to say is THAT MAN OWES ME A ROMANCE!

So yeah. I’ll see it. Because really, how can he kill of Beatrice of Benedick.

Umm…maybe I shouldn’t have said that out loud…

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mygif

As a theatre major and a complete unabashed Whedon-fanboy… Yes please.

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I can’t shake the idea that the whole THING is a hoax and not happening at all.

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@Charlotte Ashley: It does feel that way because we’ve heard nothing and then all of a sudden, he filmed it in 12 days whilst filming THE AVENGERS. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was some sort of bizarre hoax, but I hope not.

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Will "scifantasy" Frank said on October 25th, 2011 at 9:40 am

If it’s a hoax it’s a very convincing one. Fillion and Mo Tancharoen have both tweeted it with supplementary “yes, it’s real” tweets, and it’s been picked up by just about everybody.

Put me in the “I bet Acker and Denisof will do the job nicely” camp. As I said elsewhere, Denisof volunteers for his clean-cut/insecure/nebbishy roles; he’s the one who suggested that Wesley should fall flat on his ass in the third-season Buffy finale. And for that matter, Benedick can have a bit of insecurity–I remember seeing Jimmy Smits in the role and doing a lot of both near-slapstick comedy and insecurity in the “eavesdropping” scene. I think that can work.

Similarly, I think Acker–who, as others have mentioned, can in fact do more than the pure frailty parts, see Dollhouse–can accomplish the Beatrice dynamic of being very…well, feisty, frankly, but still melting sufficiently for “Peace! I shall stop your tongue.”

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mygif

Yeah, getting his actors to stretch in interesting ways is totally a Whedon thing, so I’m not worried about that. I’m not really worried about anything about this, actually. It sounds like a bit of a lark, kind of a Dr. Horrible redux. If anything, I’m concerned that he was apparently taking time out from The Avengers to do this, which seems like a bad idea. But then, he’s shown he can multitask like crazy.

I’m always interested by Whedon’s smaller, quirkier, more experimental stuff. Dr. Horrible was a pretty significant landmark for web content, and if he wanted to Joss could really blaze a trail there. I’m glad he hasn’t completely abandoned his more experimental side to go make huge-budget superhero movies, and I hope he uses the money and clout he gets from The Avengers to pursue more creative avenues instead of sinking into the morass of blockbuster movies.

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mygif

Well, this wasn’t while working on The Avengers, exactly. He apparently had a month-long vacation after wrap before beginning post for his 20th wedding anniversary, and instead of going to Italy like they planned, his wife talked him into finally making the Much Ado movie he always talked about.

Proving once again the man does not know what the word “vacation” means.

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mygif

I think Acker could pull it off- I watched the HIMYM episode with her in the other day, as Penelope, the native American expert who is helping Ted perform a rain dance. She’s pretty funny there, and fairly resilient. I didn’t really like her as Illyria, but I think I was at my height of being tired of Whedon killing women at that point.

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mygif

I see what you did there. Very droll.

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