Casting Directors, the Buffoons of Show Biz

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Casting Directors, the Buffoons of Show Biz

Post by dulcinea » Fri Jun 23, 2006 5:17 pm

:D :D :D Max von Sydow as an excruciatingly dull and uncharismatic Christ in THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD, and Marlon Brando as an even duller and less charismatic Napoleon in DESIREE; these two movies accomplish the unbelievable feat of making the lives of Christ and Napoleon seem boring and without drama. Anthony Hopkins as NIXON, Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Woodward and Bernstein in ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN, Jason Robards, jr, as Capone in THE ST VALENTINE'S DAY MASSACRE, Rex Harrison as Pope Julius II in THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY, Claudette Colbert as Cleopatra in the De Mille production of 1934, Clark Gable as PARNELL, and Errol Flynn as Jeb Stuart in SANTA FE TRAIL; none of these actors even remotely resembled the historical characters that they were supposed to portray. Angela Lansbury and Hedy Lamarr as sisters in De Mille's SAMSON AND DELILAH. Pernell Roberts, Dan Blocker and Michael Landon as brothers, and sons of Lorne Greene, in BONANZA. Blonde blue eyed Ingrid Bergman as a Gypsy in FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS. Red haired light eyed Shirley Mac Laine as an Indian princess in AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS. Blue eyed Chuck Connors as GERONIMO. Light-skinned Cedric Hardwicke and Anne Baxter as Egyptians in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. Several white actors pretending to be black in BIRTH OF A NATION. Ava Gardner as a mulatto in SHOWBOAT (were the producers of that movie so blinded by racism that they failed to appreciate the exquisite beauty of Lena Horne, compared to which even Gardner looked homely???). Marlon Brando, Wallace Beery and Paul Newman as Mexicans in, respectively, VIVA ZAPATA, VIVA VILLA and THE OUTRAGE. Boris Karloff, Curt Jurgens, Katharine Hepburn, John Wayne, Susan Hayward and Joseph Wiseman as Orientals in, respectively, THE MASK OF FU MANCHU, INN OF THE SIXTH HAPPINESS, DRAGON SEED, THE CONQUEROR and DR NO--and all looking perfectly convincing when compared to Victor Buono's truly bizarre makeup in THE SILENCERS, which segues to the four most ludicrous examples of miscasting: Dean Martin trying to be James Bond in the MATT HELM series, pretty boy Warren Beatty trying to be rugged DICK TRACY, Madonna trying to be Sharon Stone in BODY OF EVIDENCE, and eunuchoid Robert Redford trying to fool people into believing that he was a worthy successor of Cary Grant and Rock Hudson (If you look carefully at his body language, you will see that Redford is always more relaxed and at ease with his male costars, such as Hoffman and Newman, while around his leading ladies he always looks tense and uncomfortable). Even more ludicrous, however, is the following example, which God kindly prevented from becoming a reality. Following his triumph with LAST TANGO IN PARIS, Bernardo Bertolucci was HOT; everybody was eager to see his next masterpiece. For his next project, he chose to do an epic about Tupac Amaru. The governments of Peru and Bolivia were naturally delighted at the prospect of a big budget feature based on the exciting life of that precursor of Latin American independence. Their delight, however, turned to disappointment, chagrin and outright anger when Bertolucci announced his choices for the roles of Amaru and his devoted Indian princess girlfriend: MARLON BRANDO and JANE FONDA. Bertolucci was obviously insanely in love with Brando; I would not be surprised to discover that he was Bertolucci's initial choice to play THE LAST EMPEROR.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Fri Jun 23, 2006 6:31 pm

My mother dragged me to see Last Tango in Paris because she thought with Brando in it it would be as good as Godfather. Since she didn't read reviews because she didn't like to see the movie under the influence of a review, she didn't know what it was about. I, on the other hand, had read the reviews and I really didn't want to see it. So I took my radio, on which they were playing their annual Die Fledermaus, and I spent the movie with my glasses off so I didn't have to see it and listening to the opera. I had a very good time. My mother hated the movie and didn't enjoy it at all.
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Post by RebLem » Fri Jun 23, 2006 6:38 pm

The worst casting of all was Tony Curtis with a Bronx accent playing an Arab prince in "The Prince Who Was a Thief" (1951). At one point in the movie he actually says, "Yonder lies da castle of my fadder da King."
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Post by Corlyss_D » Fri Jun 23, 2006 6:44 pm

RebLem wrote:The worst casting of all was Tony Curtis with a Bronx accent playing an Arab prince in "The Prince Who Was a Thief" (1951). At one point in the movie he actually says, "Yonder lies da castle of my fadder da King."
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

I used to think the worst casting ever was Paul Newman in The Silver Chalice. And this was before he labeled it the worst movie ever made. But I defer to your choice. :lol:
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Casting Directors, the Buffoons of Show Business

Post by dulcinea » Fri Jun 23, 2006 8:35 pm

Did FORTY-ONE Y/O Barbra Streisand actually believe that she could pass for a teenage girl in YENTL? Did panty-waisted Adam West actually believe that he was the right man (!) to play BATMAN? Talk about actors' inflated egos!
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Post by Haydnseek » Fri Jun 23, 2006 9:28 pm

At least they got it right in The Far Horizon, the story of Lewis and Clark, by casting Donna Reed as Sacajawea.
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Casting Directors, the Buffoons of Show Biz

Post by dulcinea » Sat Jun 24, 2006 1:07 am

:roll: Take it from me: no man has ever been born in Puerto Rico who looked anything like the Greek George Chakiris in WEST SIDE STORY, nor any woman who looked anything like Ukrainian Natalie Wood.
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Post by Fugu » Sat Jun 24, 2006 1:16 am

Redford and Hofman were absolutely the best casting for All the President's Men. They were great in that movie.

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Re: Casting Directors, the Buffoons of Show Biz

Post by Haydnseek » Sat Jun 24, 2006 7:26 am

dulcinea wrote::roll: Take it from me: no man has ever been born in Puerto Rico who looked anything like the Greek George Chakiris in WEST SIDE STORY, nor any woman who looked anything like Ukrainian Natalie Wood.
And they put dark makeup on the one real Puerto Rican in the cast, Rita Moreno, because she didn't fit their idea of what a PR women looked like!

Ms. Moreno featured in another act of Hollywood absurdity. She played one of two sisters in the James Fenimore Cooper story "The Deerslayer." Good-girl type Cathy O'Donnell played the frilly sister whom all the lads like while ignoring "plain" Rita who dresses like a boy - in fact in form-fitting buckskins that are flattering to one of the most beautiful women in films. I guess the greatest need they had out on the frontier was for an optometrist.
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Casting Directors, the Buffoons of Show Business

Post by dulcinea » Wed Aug 23, 2006 7:11 am

:D One thing that particularly galls me is the common misconception that, if an actor has black hair, he can therefore play any ethnicity that is not blond-haired. Tyrone Power was all right as an Andalusian in BLOOD AND SAND (1941), but as a son of an English father and an Indian mother in KING OF THE KHYBER RIFLES, he was totally unbelievable. Here in Tampa I have met many Indian people, including my family doctor, Rohit Patel; none of them even remotely resembles Tyrone Power. Even more absurd is Jane Seymour in LIVE AND LET DIE. In a movie full of black actors, done at a time when black actors were in increasing demand, the very light-skinned Seymour sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb; 'tis painfully glaringly obvious that she is no more a black than Gwyneth Paltrow or Kirsten Dunst. Seymour herself admits that she was very worried about the believability of her character, but that, whenever she expressed her misgivings to the producers, all they always did was to put more greasepaint on her face, till a point came that she felt as if she were performing while wearing a full-face mask.
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Post by Ralph » Wed Aug 23, 2006 7:39 am

One of the most ridiculous miscastings was Nicholas Cage as an Italian army captain in "Corelli's Mandolin."
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Post by jbuck919 » Wed Aug 23, 2006 8:18 am

I missed this thread because I was enroute. Oh boy, were to start. Well, Robert Redford in anything (he really is a horror) but in particular Out of Africa because he didn't even attempt an accent. Gregory Peck for the same reason in, God help us, his film debut "Keys to the Kingdom." Why he couldn't do Scots for that and managed Irish for a couple of his latest movies must remain a mystery, and then let's not even get started about his alleged "perfect German" in The Guns of Navarone.

So grateful that the thread was revived. Let's have some more fun.

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Post by jbuck919 » Wed Aug 23, 2006 8:21 am

Oh, oh, I just couldn't wait given the fact that this started with Max von Sydow (generally a titan as an actor and no problem with accents) as Jesus in The Greatest Story Ever Told. There's never been a good Jesus, and run down the list, folks, they've all had blue eyes, including James Cavaziel, whose eyes were made brown digitally for THe Passion of the Christ.

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Post by RebLem » Wed Aug 23, 2006 8:35 am

jbuck919 wrote:I missed this thread because I was enroute. Oh boy, were to start. Well, Robert Redford in anything (he really is a horror) but in particular Out of Africa because he didn't even attempt an accent. Gregory Peck for the same reason in, God help us, his film debut "Keys to the Kingdom." Why he couldn't do Scots for that and managed Irish for a couple of his latest movies must remain a mystery, and then let's not even get started about his alleged "perfect German" in The Guns of Navarone.

So grateful that the thread was revived. Let's have some more fun.
I didn't like Out of Africa at all, except as a travelogue. The aerial cinematography is absolutely magnificent. The basic thing wrong is the basic idea of the story--a woman who writes under a male nom de plume becomes a feminist heroine by getting the clap from a married man.

How does that make you a feminist heroine? I could never quite grasp that.
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Post by jbuck919 » Wed Aug 23, 2006 8:41 am

A couple of posts mentioned West Side Story, possibly the miscasting disaster of all time. Richard Beymer, a real triple threat--couldn't sing, couldn't act, couldn't dance.

And as for Ms. Moreno, I heard her in a radio interview not too many years ago and she still hadn't gotten over having been dubbed for "A Boy Like That" (her voice was not low enough at the time). The dubber, and no it was not Marni Nixon, was a Mexican singer, and Moreno, obviously a real Puerto Rican unlike the others, couldn't stand having it sung in English with a Mexican accent.

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Post by Haydnseek » Wed Aug 23, 2006 9:51 am

jbuck919 wrote:Well, Robert Redford in anything (he really is a horror)...
He is a poor actor. His best efforts were maybe "The Great Waldo Pepper" and "Jeremiah Johnson." He was the only person miscast in "The Great Gatsby" which was otherwise a very good adaption of the novel. My wife and I were debating who should have played the part and settled on Jeff Bridges, but he probably wasn't a big enough name at the time.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Aug 23, 2006 8:23 pm

Ralph wrote:One of the most ridiculous miscastings was Nicholas Cage as an Italian army captain in "Corelli's Mandolin."
I think he's miscast in just about anything he's in. I don't like him and every movie I see him in just confirms why I don't like him. Any movie with him has 2 strikes against it. The nice thing about WTC is that he doesn't have that much screen time and what he does have he's under a pile of rubble.

I second John's misgivings about von Sydow. I haven't liked him in anything not directed by Bergman.

My vote for miscastings of the 20th Century were the many NY actors that ended up in westerns. I think James Cagney was perhaps the most disjunctive. Fortunately this excellent actor didn't spend much time on a horse. Some guys had it; others didn't.
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Post by Brendan » Wed Aug 23, 2006 8:37 pm

OK, someone has to mention Meryl Streep and her awful accent in (what was it called over there?) Evil Angels. Hell, Streep in anything sends me to the exit if I didn't notice she was in it.

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Post by jbuck919 » Wed Aug 23, 2006 8:47 pm

Brendan wrote:OK, someone has to mention Meryl Streep and her awful accent in (what was it called over there?) Evil Angels. Hell, Streep in anything sends me to the exit if I didn't notice she was in it.
I believe you mean "A Cry in the Dark." That bad, huh? She's done some good stuff, but you are not the first Aussie you has complaised about her accent in that movie.

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Post by GK » Wed Aug 23, 2006 10:19 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:My mother dragged me to see Last Tango in Paris because she thought with Brando in it it would be as good as Godfather. Since she didn't read reviews because she didn't like to see the movie under the influence of a review, she didn't know what it was about. I, on the other hand, had read the reviews and I really didn't want to see it. So I took my radio, on which they were playing their annual Die Fledermaus, and I spent the movie with my glasses off so I didn't have to see it and listening to the opera. I had a very good time. My mother hated the movie and didn't enjoy it at all.
All you're telling us here is that you prefer one musical over another. :lol:

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Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Aug 23, 2006 10:28 pm

GK wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:My mother dragged me to see Last Tango in Paris because she thought with Brando in it it would be as good as Godfather. Since she didn't read reviews because she didn't like to see the movie under the influence of a review, she didn't know what it was about. I, on the other hand, had read the reviews and I really didn't want to see it. So I took my radio, on which they were playing their annual Die Fledermaus, and I spent the movie with my glasses off so I didn't have to see it and listening to the opera. I had a very good time. My mother hated the movie and didn't enjoy it at all.
All you're telling us here is that you prefer one musical over another. :lol:
You bet! :lol:
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Post by Madame » Thu Aug 24, 2006 12:12 am

jbuck919 wrote:Well, Robert Redford in anything (he really is a horror)...


I guess it's a matter of taste -- I liked him in "The Sting" and "Butch Cassidy ... ", as well as "The Candidate" ... loved him with Jane Fonda in "Barefoot in the Park". I think his real talent is in producing/directing, though ... "A River Runs Through It", "The Milagro Beanfield War" to name a couple.

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Post by Brendan » Thu Aug 24, 2006 1:03 am

Corlyss_D wrote: I second John's misgivings about von Sydow. I haven't liked him in anything not directed by Bergman.
I thought he was superb in The Exorcist, from ancient memory.

I watched Kill Bill the other night, and have to say I thought Darryl Hannah should have got the lead - much more scary and intense than Uma, who was never believable for a moment. But hardly a deep role that matters very much.

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Post by dulcinea » Tue Aug 29, 2006 5:57 pm

After BATMAN's wimpish Adam West, the worst TV miscasting was having Dick York and Dick Sargent as the husband of Elizabeth Montgomery in BEWITCHED. No woman as beautiful and charming and accomplished as Samantha would have ever dreamed of marrying a geeky goon like Darren Stevens, who in both his incarnations looked, sounded and acted like a very early and very primitive version of the chimpanzee. Endora was right all along: Darren was not good enough for her daughter.
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Post by jbuck919 » Tue Aug 29, 2006 6:17 pm

dulcinea wrote:After BATMAN's wimpish Adam West, the worst TV miscasting was having Dick York and Dick Sargent as the husband of Elizabeth Montgomery in BEWITCHED. No woman as beautiful and charming and accomplished as Samantha would have ever dreamed of marrying a geeky goon like Darren Stevens, who in both his incarnations looked, sounded and acted like a very early and very primitive version of the chimpanzee. Endora was right all along: Darren was not good enough for her daughter.
Dick Sargent was gay, and this was obvious to many of us even back in the 60s. Dick York was a baboon, and what you are commenting on was made even worse by the fact that they had several episodes, including the pilot, in which he was made out to be quite a ladies' man.

Yes, a horrid case of mis-casting.

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Post by Haydnseek » Tue Aug 29, 2006 6:22 pm

dulcinea wrote:After BATMAN's wimpish Adam West, the worst TV miscasting was having Dick York and Dick Sargent as the husband of Elizabeth Montgomery in BEWITCHED. No woman as beautiful and charming and accomplished as Samantha would have ever dreamed of marrying a geeky goon like Darren Stevens, who in both his incarnations looked, sounded and acted like a very early and very primitive version of the chimpanzee. Endora was right all along: Darren was not good enough for her daughter.
The supporting cast for Bewitched had to be the most high-powered of any silly American sitcom: a whole lot of Broadway and West End talent showed up to help out Robert Montgomery's daughter.

As for Batman, who was the "authentic" Catwoman?
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Post by jbuck919 » Tue Aug 29, 2006 7:10 pm

Haydnseek wrote:
dulcinea wrote:After BATMAN's wimpish Adam West, the worst TV miscasting was having Dick York and Dick Sargent as the husband of Elizabeth Montgomery in BEWITCHED. No woman as beautiful and charming and accomplished as Samantha would have ever dreamed of marrying a geeky goon like Darren Stevens, who in both his incarnations looked, sounded and acted like a very early and very primitive version of the chimpanzee. Endora was right all along: Darren was not good enough for her daughter.
The supporting cast for Bewitched had to be the most high-powered of any silly American sitcom: a whole lot of Broadway and West End talent showed up to help out Robert Montgomery's daughter.

As for Batman, who was the "authentic" Catwoman?
I can't think of a single mis-casting in this super-silly, totally camp classic, of which I watched every single second, including pot-bellied Adam West. In those days I wanted it to be a serious superhero show, but I think even at that age I caught on, maybe only when they introduced the Bat Alphabet Soup Analyzer.

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Post by DavidRoss » Tue Aug 29, 2006 7:32 pm

Eartha Kitt was a splendid Catwoman, but I was really impressed with Michelle Pfeiffer--never would have guessed she had it in her. Robert Redford is a terrific actor but even a better director. He and Max von Sydow were splendid in the elevator together (and after) in Three Days of the Condor. It's hard to believe that folks here are trashing not only them, but Meryl Streep, too. Who next? Glenn Close? De Niro? David Strathairn? Judi Dench? Oy veh!
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Post by Brendan » Tue Aug 29, 2006 8:13 pm

DavidRoss wrote:Eartha Kitt was a splendid Catwoman, but I was really impressed with Michelle Pfeiffer--never would have guessed she had it in her. Robert Redford is a terrific actor but even a better director. He and Max von Sydow were splendid in the elevator together (and after) in Three Days of the Condor. It's hard to believe that folks here are trashing not only them, but Meryl Streep, too. Who next? Glenn Close? De Niro? David Strathairn? Judi Dench? Oy veh!
It's true I dislike every thing Meryl has ever done, but in the movie in question I feel quite justified in criticizing the poor quality of her accent. Patrick Duffy, of Dallas fame, could master it for an episode of The Love Boat, so it shouldn't be beyond the scope of one touted as one of the finest.

If I see her face or hear her speak I have to leave the room or change the channel. Just personal taste - if you enjoy her movies do so with glee and shake your head at those too foolish to appreciate her talents.

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Post by Haydnseek » Tue Aug 29, 2006 8:22 pm

Brendan wrote:Patrick Duffy, of Dallas fame, could master it for an episode of The Love Boat, so it shouldn't be beyond the scope of one touted as one of the finest.
How about Robert Mitchum in "The Sundowners"?
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Post by Brendan » Tue Aug 29, 2006 8:33 pm

I've never seen The Sundowners, to be honest, so cannot comment. But I wonder how our thespians are doing re the accent thing. Russell, Heath, Nicole, Kate Blanchett, Toni Collette etc. (Mel doesn't count) Any stinkers amongst their vocal/accent talents?

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Post by Madame » Tue Aug 29, 2006 8:46 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Dick Sargent was gay, and this was obvious to many of us even back in the 60s. Dick York was a baboon, and what you are commenting on was made even worse by the fact that they had several episodes, including the pilot, in which he was made out to be quite a ladies' man.

Yes, a horrid case of mis-casting.
Agreed .. but it has made good trivia material :)

Trying to think of the good comedic actors at that time who would have done justice to that role. Dudley Moore keeps coming to mind ... he was so funny, so talented, I think he could have delivered!

Anyone else?

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Post by Haydnseek » Tue Aug 29, 2006 8:50 pm

Brendan wrote:I've never seen The Sundowners, to be honest, so cannot comment. But I wonder how our thespians are doing re the accent thing. Russell, Heath, Nicole, Kate Blanchett, Toni Collette etc. (Mel doesn't count) Any stinkers amongst their vocal/accent talents?
I don't see many new movies so I can't comment on most of these actors but I can tell you I was surprised when I learned that Crowe and Portia di Rossi (of Ally McBeal fame) were not Americans. Judy Davis isn't flawless, but she's not bad either.
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