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.