June 12, 2001

Beware: More Casting Rants

I have to agree in part with the comment that the hobbits (and other characters--don't get me started) might have been better cast. While Elijah Wood at least can likely do as well a job as any full-sized actor, I couldn't help but feel a bit disappointed when I saw the second trailer which shows the hobbits and full-sized characters standing together. My fears that the computerized shrinking would look fake were realized. The image looks like just that--two images of different proportions superimposed on one another. Not only is the overall height of the characters diminished, which would be spendid if it stopped at that--but their hands, feet, and especially their heads look much too small compared to the other people in the picture. While hobbits may have been described by Tolkien as being perfectly proportioned little people half the size of humans, I'm sure he did not mean their heads were only half the size of human heads as well! This frame looks very odd to me in the trailer, and makes.

P.J is obviously wanting star appeal before anything else, not that star appeal is always bad; but in this case, the group of people who would by far be the most appreciative of this movie must take their lumps and defer to the greater popular culture: those who will only be drawn to the movie (supposedly) if Liv Tyler gets third billing. *sigh*

Ok,it's too late; I'm started. And how about Viggo Mortenson as Aragorn? While many of us are vehemently objecting to Liv Tyler as Arwen because she's too young and too hip (and seemingly not quite intelligent enough--forgive me Liv--for the introspective Arwen), how can we reconcile the very pretty, very young Mortenson as the grim ranger who has "had a hard life and a long"? Like his noble lady, Aragorn is not young; additionally, nor is he much to look at. The richness and the depth of the story will suffer somewhat with the casting of such young, less dimensional actors as Tyler and Mortenson. Watching the trailer, I am not convinced Mortenson's smooth-cheeked Aragorn has lived much of a long life or a hard. While I mean no personal afront to his person, I honestly feel he would have served better playing one of the campy, "looker" characters on the old Hercules or Xena series.

And while I'm on a role, I just want to add that if P.J. truly felt he had to go with a young, non-British heroine, why not put one where it would count? Eowyn's steely defiance and warrior-saavy might have been served well by someone other than Miranda Otto, who at thirty-something hardly seems to fit the bill as the impressionable maiden who has a girlish crush on Aragron. Leelee Sobieski would have been my choice, while Madelyn Stowe (or someone Madelyn Stow-ish) or an un-pregant Catherine Zeta-Jones or even a Sophie Marceau (insert almost any name other than Liv Tyler) would have made a far superior Arwen. Ok, if we have to go with a pretty face for Aragron, I would vote for Liam Neeson--at least he's got a bit of age on his side. Nevertheless, ultimately, I would have voted for a cast of unknowns, but who has ever heard of such a preposterous thing? I must concede it's all about the Benjamins; who am I to say anything about it? We all have to make a living in the end.