June 02, 2011

Routh is a Native?!

A reaction to my "Superman" Star to Play Native Coach posting:I dont like that the article says "Wikepedia confirms that Routh is mainly non-Native". That's so rude. He is a confirmed Native, even if it is a small portion. Why should he have to throw that ancestry away just because he doesn't "look" Native? Now if he was FULLY Caucasian then I'd be able to understand the controversy, but he is in fact Native.Routh is a "confirmed Native" if someone actually confirms it. That is, if he's a member of a recognized tribe. Or he participates in a tribal culture. Or his tribal peers accept him as one of them.

None of these are true in Routh's case. That makes him a non-Native with a small amount of Native blood. Same as tens of millions of other Americans, none of whom qualify as "Native."

We're talking about why the role didn't go to one of the talented Native actors out there who looks and acts Native and represents his Native culture. Why are you defending Routh when he's taking a job from a real Native actor? Should Adam Beach, Chaske Spencer, et al. stand on the sidelines and applaud Routh the "Native"?

Someone else added:Let's flip it. Common, the entertainer, has White ancestry. There's no denying that. Look at his freckles. So since his great grandaddy may have been an Irishman, he can play Abe Lincoln.I don't think anyone considers Common "white" because he has a few white ancestors. The same applies to Routh and his Native ancestors.

For more on casting decisions, see Tavare on Hollywood Indians and Depp's "Dilemma" Over Playing Mexican. For more on who counts as an Indian, see Indian Identity Matters to Indians and "Actual Indian" Defined.

Below:  The next role for Common the "white" actor?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

You can have a movie with Brandon Routh and a bunch of talented Native actors that gets a sizable budget and distribution or you can have a movie with a bunch of talented Native actors that gets a shoestring budget and shoestring distribution.

You can't apply Twilight logic to this project. Twilight would've been huge with a Native or non-Native Jacob so you're absolutely right about the casting in Twilight. This project doesn't have the huge existing fanbase that Twilight did before it was made. Thus an existing name attached to the project or not is a deal-breaker.

Name one Native actor in the right age range with even just 1/2 the name recognition of even Brandon Routh and I'll concede the point.

dmarks said...

Well, they could have cast another former Superman, Dean Cain. He's part Japanese, which for some Hollywood casting directors, also means "that's Native enough for me".

Anonymous said...

dmarks, lmao

L.E. Falcone said...

dmarks, I think you nailed it.

Rob said...

It doesn't matter why Twilight was a hit for the purposes of this discussion. I suspect that all its Native actors are better known and have a better box-office record than Routh at this point. So why not hire one of them?

Whether Routh's casting was a deal-breaker or not is pure speculation. But let's assume it was. There's no evidence that Routh can carry a movie and some evidence (Superman Returns) that he can't. So where's the logic of casting him?

Answer: It doesn't exist. If the studio executives aren't operating for racist reasons, the investors are. Which is the same thing as far as I'm concerned. The whole Hollywood system is riddled with biased decision-making from the get-go.

For more on the subject, see Movie "Star Vehicles" Flop and Fallacy of the Big-Name Actor.

dmarks said...

Anon said: "Name one Native actor in the right age range with even just 1/2 the name recognition of even Brandon Routh and I'll concede the point."

I would think that Adam Beach has roughly the same amount of name recognition, if not more.

I agree with Rob when he says: "There's no evidence that Routh can carry a movie and some evidence (Superman Returns) that he can't."