Friday, June 13, 2008

Dept. of Bad Casting

Film Drunk notes that Defiance is the story of three Jewish brothers who join the Russian army and fight the Nazis during WWII.

Daniel Craig stars. Guess which of those three groups his character belongs to?


Anonymous said...

He also played one of the Mossad members in Munich.

This isn't the first role he's played a Jew.

Anonymous said...

Besides, blond Jews exist.

Jonathan V. Last said...

Sigh. The point of this post isn't that there aren't some Jews, somewhere, who are blonde and blue-eyed. It's that Craig himself looks like he was sent to us by central casting for the role of "Anonymous SS Officer." He's unbelievably Teutonic.

This should be totally and completely obvious.

Anonymous said...

"This should be totally and completely obvious."

Not really.

Anonymous said...

sorry that turned into such a "Book". I tend to waffle.

Anonymous said...

this really pisses me off
my brother and i are both blond and blue eyed and we're still jewish
we actually we're not let into temple once, because "this is a very important jewish holiday and we hope you understand that we would like to be among our selves on this night"

Jonathan V. Last said...

This is getting ridiculous and I'm not sure if the commenters are being willfully silly or just ridiculously sensitive. But here's one last go at it:

Are there, somewhere, a couple Jewish fellows who look like Daniel Craig. Of course. In any large subset of people you'll find nearly the full spectrum of human possibility. That doesn't make the outliers the norm. Everyone knows that. Or should know that.

Case in point: Have there been 5'8" players in the NBA during the modern era? Yes. If you were shooting a movie about a pro basketball superstar, would Don Cheadle make a plausible leading man? Not really. Because the number of guys in the NBA who are Cheadle's size is pretty frackin' small.

Now let's compound things: You're making a movie about pro basketball and you've got Don Cheadle cast as the Jordan/Kobe/Shaq character, but you then cast Ray Allen (who was pretty impressive in He Got Game) as Cheadle's bumbling, awkward, nerdy brother who never played sports.

Are there tall, graceful guys like Allen who don't play sports? Sure. Does that make the casting in our hypothetical movie any less silly? Absolutely not.

Anonymous said...

Totally with you on this, JVL. My wife laughed out loud when I told her about this. Some of these other posters are being deliberately obtuse.

Unknown said...

Yes, he could pass for Random SS Officer, but also, I live in Israel, and craggy-faced men in their 40's with bangin' bodies are so common here, that if I saw him walking down the streets of Tel Aviv, I wouldn't question for a second that he was Israeli.

Josh said...

Absolutely, I agree with Ricahrd - you're basing your "norm" on the American idea of what "Jewish" looks like. Israel is filled with people from all over. They don't look like anything in particular.

Let's not do the "sigh, they're being deliberately argumentative" thing. You're wrong, and your analogy to the basketball movie is not comparative in scope nor scale. It would be like casting, say, a tall, athletic white European in a basketball movie. Is that what most people automatically think of when they hear "NBA"? Probably not, but the character is certainly representative.

Jonathan V. Last said...

More sighing.

The movie does not take place in modern-day Israel. It takes place in 1940s Eastern Europe.

Anonymous said...

I think the reason you're getting people that are being argumentative, JVL, is because your suggestion that a blonde teutonic-looking dude couldn't possibly pull off being an Eastern European Jew is more labored than you'd like to admit. And, that you haven't admitted it is a reason why you still get comments about it. Kinda reminds me of Obama's obstinance when it comes to saying something daft. He can't do it.

Shit, they can't make actors look the part in Hollywood? I wonder who's gonna fit the bill for the $8 hairdye and the $15 prosthetic hooked nose for Craig.

Give up trying to resuscitate it, your attempt at a joke was lame at birth.

Jonathan V. Last said...

I stand corrected. Clearly a large percentage of Eastern European Jewish men in the early 1940s looked very much like the blue-eyed, blond-haired Daniel Craig. The census data on this, I'm sure, is incontrovertible.

I don't know how I could be so silly. I mean, everyone knows that there are no physiological markers that are more or less common from one ethnicity or group to the other. Just hinting at such a thing is racist or anti-Semitic or daft.

Goodness knows its impossible to tell Swedes apart from Greeks. Or Brazilians from Canadians. Or Iranians from Egyptians. And anyone who says that they can, on balance, tell those groups apart? Well, they're just trafficking in stereotypes.

Which are never, ever, ever rooted in reality. Ever.

Anonymous said...

vzMr. Last,

Give it up. You lose. Craig seems more Russian to me anyway, he should be called Mischa. Driving a T-34. But he could be jewish. In eastern europe in the 1930's their were lots and lots of jews with blue eyes and blonde hair. "Clearly a large percentage of Eastern European Jewish men in the early 1940s looked very much like the blue-eyed, blond-haired Daniel Craig." They did in fact. Read George Bailey.


Jonathan V. Last said...

Craig is right!

Also, I'd like to point out the vicious stereotypes which exist about Tay-Sachs and sickle-cell anemia.

Can't we all just get along?

Anonymous said...

I hope they cast Maggie Wheeler as his girlfriend or sister or something. She so has the look.