December 18, 2008

Another non-Native to play Jacob?

Lautner 'Fighting For Role' In New MoonTwilight star Taylor Lautner is reportedly battling to play Jacob Black in the hit film's sequel New Moon--after rival actors Michael Copon and Ben Barnes showed an interest in taking over the role.

Lautner played the Native American character in the box office smash, and was expected to continue his portrayal of the part in the movie's highly anticipated follow-up--in which Black becomes a pivotal character.

But moviemaker Chris Weitz, who has taken over the director's chair from Twilight's Catherine Hardwicke, is planning to offer the part to a more established actor, according to industry reports.

Prince Caspian star Barnes and Scorpion King 2 actor Copon are reportedly both in the running to take over from Lautner.
Comment:  Leading candidate Copon is half white and half Filipino. Does he come from an indigenous Filipino tribe? Are all Filipinos "indigenous" because they have brown skin? Does that make him close enough to an American Indian to satisfy critics?

In a word, no. But maybe he's already searching for an indigenous princess among his Filipino ancestors and an Indian princess among his white ancestors. Maybe he's already compiling a binder of Quileute legends to show how he knows the Quileute people.

It's amazing how stupid Hollywood is being about this. Copon resembles Lautner enough to be his older brother. His only advantage is that he doesn't have a cute button nose that makes him look like a girl.

Do Twilight's producers really think any brown-skinned pretty boy is equivalent to a Native? Would they cast Lautner or Copon to star in a biopic of Michael Jordan or Bruce Lee? How is it that Natives are the only ethnic group where authenticity doesn't matter?

Sharkboy can't cut it?

And what's up with the firing of Lautner? Were his thespian abilities not up to snuff? Did he act unprofessionally on the set? Did someone decide he was too cute to play a werewolf? How did the producers not discover his flaws, whatever they were, before choosing him to star in a potential billion-dollar franchise?

These people spent a couple of years planning and executing Twilight. They spent perhaps $100 million to make and market it. But after all this--after the movie has played in theaters a month--now they realize they miscast one of the key roles? Has anyone on the Twilight team heard of auditions, rehearsals, focus groups, or test screenings?

If Twilight's producers had been around in 1940, I can just imagine their casting Laurence Olivier in Gone with the Wind or Bette Davis in The Wizard of Oz. "Oops, we made a mistake," they would've said after the movies debuted to criticism. "Maybe we should've gone with a rogue for Rhett Butler and a singer for Dorothy."

For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.

Below:  Indian wannabes Taylor Lautner and Michael Copon.


modest-goddess said...

95% of the fans don't care if a Native plays Jacob, they just want him to be tall and hot. Their dream guy is Steven Strait an Italian American. Basically any brunette will do. Love their racial sensitivity. It is obvious that Summit is not even looking for a Native actor, a short google search would lead to Eddie Spears or Takola but that would be too much effort.

dmarks said...

I guess Googling takes too much effort for them.

Melissa said...

I don't know if this is really the case, but I read somewhere that Lautner is too short for the upcoming movie. In the book series, Jacob grows really tall, at a fairly fast pace.

Personally, the Jacob I had pictured in my mind looked more like the two young men that was mentioned in the above comments. Especially Eddie Spears, he's much more what I imagined while reading the books.

dmarks said...

I would not call Telmarines "Spaniards" at all, any more than I would call Mexicans "Spaniards". At the time of Prince Caspian, Spain is in the distant past of the Telmarines.... more than 1500 years ago. That is a long time in which to diverge. Consider the people and culture of Rome if you compare 300 AD to 1800 AD (1500 years later). Big difference, and that is just people staying in one place.

From the start, the first Telmarines were half-Spanish, half-Polynesian. Not only that, as time goes on Telmarines have some intermarriage/etc with "indiginous" Narnian humans, and even non-humans such as dwarfs.

Ethnically, Ben Barnes probably has much more in common with the people of Spain than the "modern" Telmarines of Narnia have with Spanish pirate ancestors of 1500+ years before.

Back to the topic, I find Barnes as any sort of Native to be rather laughable.

Anonymous said...

This Twilight fan is part of the 5% who cares wholeheartedly that Jacob Black be an actual Native American and not a so-called "look alike" who fails even at that. I can't stand that Taylor LAutner, who isn't any of Jacob's characteristics, has been cast to play the role. Eddie Spears is the quintessential Jacob Black and Tokala Clifford would have made a great Paul. Unfortunately, every exception to Jacob's character in the books has been made in order to caste Taylor. I know Summit would not have been so flexible with ethnicity or race when it came to casting Edward or Bella's character.

Unknown said...

If there is anybody who doesn't know Lautner is continuing his role as Jacob in the upcoming film New Moon, well here's the scoop:

Dee said...

Just as a simple Google search will yield good choices for Native American actors, a simple IMDB search will let you know Taylor Lautner is "Of French, Dutch, German, and Native American (specifically Ottawa and Potawatomi) ancestry."

Funny how that last part means he is a Native...

Rob said...

Wrong, Dee. Having a small amount of Native "blood" does not make you Native. If it did, tens of millions of people could claim to be Native.