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The 7 - Random - Memoirs of a Geisha
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Kishke
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#1 Posted on 3.8.04 0033.15
Reposted on: 3.8.11 0033.15
From the Imdb.com:



    Asian movie stars Michelle Yeoh and Gong Li have signed to appear alongside Zhang Ziyi in Steven Spielberg's eagerly-anticipated film adaptation of Arthur Golden's book Memoirs Of A Geisha. Malaysian star Yeoh, 41 and Chinese actresses Gong, 38, and Ziyi, 25, will be directed by Chicago film maker Rob Marshall in the drama, which starts filming in Japan in September. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon beauty Ziyi is set to play lead role Sayuri - a young woman who is sold by her poverty-stricken parents to a geisha house in Kyoto. Executive producer Spielberg bought the film rights to the 1997 bestseller many years ago and has been searching for the perfect actresses. Superstar Madonna's geisha look in her 1998 video "Nothing Really Matters" was inspired by Golden's story and the singer always said she would love to star in the movie.




In the 21st Century, why is Hollywood still arbitrarily swapping Asian's ethnicity? And that is not to say a Chinese actor or actress couldn't or shouldn't play a Japanese person. But the casting seems like it was done, so us dumb Americans could be familiar with faces we saw in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. There are tons of Japanese actors and actresses that could play these roles. As hard as it is for Blacks or Hispanics to break out, it has to be much harder for Asians. Case in point, whenever there is a significant Asian character on T.V. it is always the same 4 or 5 people. If you have no martial arts background you are almost screwed. I expected better from executive producer Steven Spielberg since his adopted kids are Japanese-American. He is one of the few directors who does not have to answer to focus groups or marketing executives. I am glad this movie is finally being made, but I think it would have been better if Frank Darabont (director Green Mile, Shawshank Redemption) was directing this, as he had more respect for the source material. And Akiva Goldsman is adapting the script? After watching I, Robot a few days ago, I would advise everyone to keep their script adaptations the hell away from Akiva Goldsman. He along with Joel Schumacher brought the seemingly fool-proof Batman franchise to its knees. I do not see this going over well in Japan. But then again, I said the same thing about The Last Samurai....
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Iago
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#2 Posted on 3.8.04 0202.43
Reposted on: 3.8.11 0203.20
This kinda reminds of the bit of dialog between Hank Hill and Khan in King of the Hill. Paraphrased here:

H-"So you Chinese or Japanese?"
K-"I'm Laotian."
H-"Is that in China or Japan?"
K-"It's landlocked country in south east Asia."
H-"So... Chinese or Japanese?"
K- Walks away in disgust.

And Cotton picked it up right away.

But I guess I am kinda insulted with the decision to use actress' other than Japanese ones for this movie. I mean I am not even the remotest bit Asian, but this plays into the "If you ain't like me, you all look alike" stereotype.
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#3 Posted on 3.8.04 0748.05
Reposted on: 3.8.11 0748.37
I read the book, and I hope it translates well. It was a good read, but I would love to know what kind of artistic license (and where, for that matter) Spielberg will take. Since the book is essentially a biography, one could argue that artistic license has already been taken once.

The end result would end up being, well...fiction, or for that matter, as far from the actual truth than possible.
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#4 Posted on 3.8.04 0752.18
Reposted on: 3.8.11 0753.11
Personally, I'll give the casting here a pass. But only because I think all three of these actresses are top-notch.
Corajudo
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#5 Posted on 3.8.04 0803.29
Reposted on: 3.8.11 0809.47
The way Asian actors/actresses are used has always been a pet peeve of mine as well.

Also, the book is a work of fiction presented as a biography (one of the reasons I hated the book), so any artistic license taken by Speilberg will be less than that taken by Golden.

The one thing that Hollywood does that is even worse is the accents they use in movies where there is some dialogue in Spanish. The movie will have a scene in Colombia or Argentina (or wherever), and the actors will be speaking Spanish with Mexican or Puerto Rican (or, even worse, Spanglish) accents. And, most of the time, each actor is speaking with a different accent. Can you imagine a movie set in Boston with some speaking with Southern drawls and others with Canadian or midwest accents? Or, a movie set in England where everyone speaks with a Scottish brogue or with an Australian or Irish accent? Insert your own example here...

(edited by Corajudo on 3.8.04 0804)
Zeruel
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#6 Posted on 3.8.04 1017.15
Reposted on: 3.8.11 1017.42
    Originally posted by Corajudo
    The movie will have a scene in Colombia or Argentina (or wherever), and the actors will be speaking Spanish with Mexican or Puerto Rican (or, even worse, Spanglish) accents.


Appariently, Latinos like this.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A32693-2004Aug1.html

(reg required)

snippit:

Now, heading into the fall prime-time season, Telemundo has chipped away at Univision's ratings lead, bringing it down to about 3 to 1. The difference? McNamara said the network now produces its own telenovelas and teaches its actors -- whether they hail from Cuba, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru or Chile -- to speak like Mexicans.

Mexican television news anchors, to be precise.

For the past year, Telemundo has been employing on-set dialogue coaches to "neutralize" the many national and regional Spanish accents of the network's actors. The network is aiming for the Spanish equivalent of the English-speaking local news broadcaster sound -- a well-paced, accent-free patter that's pretty much the same, whether the anchors work in New York, Ohio or Los Angeles.

Accent-neutral Spanish is the sound of a coming media culture. Spanish-speakers make up the fastest-growing group of minority media consumers in the United States, according to Nielsen Media Research. Univision encourages accent-free Spanish among its actors, even if it does not enforce it as Telemundo does. And neutralized Spanish can be heard elsewhere, as well: Both presidential campaigns employ it in their Spanish-language television ads targeting Hispanic voters.
dMr
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#7 Posted on 3.8.04 1116.12
Reposted on: 3.8.11 1117.53
    Originally posted by Iago
    This kinda reminds of the bit of dialog between Hank Hill and Khan in King of the Hill. Paraphrased here:

    H-"So you Chinese or Japanese?"
    K-"I'm Laotian."
    H-"Is that in China or Japan?"
    K-"It's landlocked country in south east Asia."
    H-"So... Chinese or Japanese?"
    K- Walks away in disgust.

    And Cotton picked it up right away.

    But I guess I am kinda insulted with the decision to use actress' other than Japanese ones for this movie. I mean I am not even the remotest bit Asian, but this plays into the "If you ain't like me, you all look alike" stereotype.


I don't get the problem. I've seen Brad Pitt play an Irishman, Sean Connery play a Russian, George Lazenby play a Brit, and about 3 million different actors and actresses from hither and tither don atrocious Scottish accents (including an Australian playing a national icon) and it doesn't bother me one jot.

Spielberg would have been looking for actresses who were (in no particular order)

a) Asian in appearance
b) Talented
c) Recognisable to Western audiences

The three he chose fit those categories. Hence no problem.
Zeruel
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#8 Posted on 3.8.04 1157.55
Reposted on: 3.8.11 1159.01
    Originally posted by dMr


    Spielberg would have been looking for actresses who were (in no particular order)

    a) Asian in appearance
    b) Talented
    c) Recognisable to Western audiences

    The three he chose fit those categories. Hence no problem.


I hope all directors don't use that logic, or we might end up seeing "Tom Green IS Malcolm X"

EddieBurkett
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#9 Posted on 3.8.04 1331.22
Reposted on: 3.8.11 1333.37
    Originally posted by Zeruel
      Originally posted by dMr


      Spielberg would have been looking for actresses who were (in no particular order)

      a) Asian in appearance
      b) Talented
      c) Recognisable to Western audiences

      The three he chose fit those categories. Hence no problem.


    I hope all directors don't use that logic, or we might end up seeing "Tom Green IS Malcolm X"




Given that the logic specifically requires asian actors, I think you have to be more concerned with Jackie Chan than Tom Green.

For crying out loud, we have a thread elsewhere here talking about an Australian guy playing a British spy. And frankly, I'd rather have a good actor cast who isn't quite the right nationality than a bad actor who is.

Besides, the quote above mentions that Madonna wanted to star in the movie. At least this isn't that bad. Was it Miss Saigon where an actor (I think it was the guy from those old infinity commercials) donned white-face to play an asian? (and a woman, at that, IIRC). We may not be "there", per se, but there certainly has been progress.
Corajudo
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#10 Posted on 4.8.04 0843.46
Reposted on: 4.8.11 0845.00
    Originally posted by Zeruel
      Originally posted by Corajudo
      The movie will have a scene in Colombia or Argentina (or wherever), and the actors will be speaking Spanish with Mexican or Puerto Rican (or, even worse, Spanglish) accents.


    Appariently, Latinos like this.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A32693-2004Aug1.html

    (reg required)





I saw this article, but this is a completely different issue. I'm not talking about actors talking with neutral accents (such as the midwest accent in the U.S.). I'm talking about actors talking with strong accents that are not from the region where the show is based. For instance, Blow is based in Colombia. But, some actors have Puerto Rican accents, some have rural Mexican accents and others speak Spanish with an accent that indicates that they really don't speak much Spanish. Not one person speaks with a Colombian accent, and they certainly didn't speak Spanish like they do in Colombia.

Like I said, imagine a movie set in Brooklyn where a few actors speak with a southern drawl, another couple have a thick Boston accent and others have a midwestern accent but not one person spoke like they were actually from Brooklyn. And, the 'Brooklynites' said things like polecat, that dog won't hunt, goin' n' blowin', fixin' to, that boy is busier than a cat trying to bury crap on a marble floor or other slang that no one would ever, ever say in Brooklyn.

It would be one thing if everyone talked with the same, neutral accent, but that is not what I'm talking about.
Zeruel
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#11 Posted on 4.8.04 1035.44
Reposted on: 4.8.11 1037.23
Corajudo:

Ooopsie. My bad. I misunderstood. I gotcha now.

It would seem silly to have, like, a movie set in ancient
Greece and have everyone in English accents. Oh, wait...


(edited by Zeruel on 4.8.04 1142)
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