May 16, 2009

Whispers Like Thunder producer speaks

In Producers Set for Wyandot Film, Bobbi Miller-Moro posted the following:Thank you for this post. I am one of the producers on the film. The reason we are looking for A List talent is because the way the story is written it will be the only Native American film to date that will accurately depict the suffering, and cruelty that Native Americans faced and currently face.Well, except for several dozen movies I could name. In fact, it would be harder to find a Native movie that doesn't address Indians' pain and suffering than one that does.It is in line with what is currently happening in politics right now. Therefore that is why we have engaged Keith Harper to EP. The A List talent will bring much needed attention and world wide press to the Native American political affairs that only they can bring.Yeah, because Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, and Tom Cruise brought so much attention to the war in Iraq in Lions for Lambs. Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman brought so much attention to the plight of aborigines in Australia. And George Clooney brought so much attention to the early football era in Leatherheads.

Actually, I think a well-made movie with a gripping story and characters will bring more attention than A-list talent. That's because a movie without A-list talent is more likely to be a box-office hit. See Fallacy of the Big-Name Actor for why casting people like Johnny Depp isn't necessarily the best way to go.

Blood lines are important?We have been reaching out to many Native American actors and directors. It is very important to us that we stay true to having this film being as authentic as possible. Even A List actors having a Native American blood line is important.Okay, but so far you've hired two non-Natives--Ben Kingsley and his Brazilian wife--to play major Native characters. That is not being as authentic as possible. It's putting Kingsley and his needs ahead of being authentic.

So when exactly are you going to hire the first Native actor? Do you need me to suggest someone for you? I know a couple of casting people if you're having trouble finding qualified Natives.

If you're implying that you're going to hire A-list actors with a drop of Native blood to play the Native roles, you'll get a lot of criticism from the Native community. Or at least from me. There's nothing authentic about that.

So why don't you address the key question: Will you hire Native actors to play the three Wyandot sisters? Or will you cut Natives out of the process and go with non-Natives in your quest for profits publicity?Our goal is to shed light and hopefully create a resurgence of public interest in the injustice of the Native American community in a big way. I hope this sheds some light on your questions.Since you haven't said which roles you're seeking A-list talent, this doesn't shed much light on the issue. The question is pretty simple. Native actors for Native roles: yes or no?

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


Jet said...


The film financiers and distributors bank on "A" list star power, The producers know this (and there are no "A" list "Native actors....yet)

The flow of money needed to finance films slowed to a trickle when the recession started and the business of trying to fund any independent film has gotten even more difficult.

It all comes down to this:

Those who finance films get to choose what…and who…the movie-going audience sees on the big screen.

Until the tribal community gets behind film productions this will not change.

But it’s a Catch-22:

Even though many tribes are diversifying and embracing new enterprises, the business of filmmaking is one that very few tribes have experience in, BUT the only way to create a greater, more positive, “Native American” presence in films is for the tribal community to help finance film productions and get involved in the independent film community.

Only then will Native Americans be better represented in films. Period.

Until then, we’ll get to see a few “Hollywood” Indians on the big screen and independent filmmakers will be forced to produce films that are easier to find funding for.

I hear Johnny Depp has been cast as Tonto in the remake of the Lone Ranger.

Keep the faith, I hope someday I’ll see you in the movies.


Rob said...

Whoever banks on "A-list star power" isn't thinking clearly--as I explained in Fallacy of the Big-Name Actor.

For more on the subject, see Jet's Film Financing Story.

P.S. You probably heard about Johnny Depp's playing Tonto here--in postings such as Johnny Depp Talks About Tonto and Johnny Depp as Tonto?!