August 27, 2009

Eclipse to show werewolf origin?

A Facebook note from NativeCelebs:MARIEL BELANGER has landed the role of "The Third Wife" in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Mariel will be shooting in mid August. We'll all have to head to the theatres for this one.

She said: "It's not near as big a scene as the book would indicate but it was a great day on set. Byron Chief Moon will play Taha Aki."
To which I responded:

Are they really going to put (their version of) a Quileute legend on screen? I.e., show us how the Indians became were-beasts? I sense a potential disaster here.

Someone misunderstood what I meant:Rob, they already have. The second Twilight installment opens 11/20.So I clarified myself:

I'm not talking about showing the Indians turning into wolves in the present day. I'm talking about filming a fictitious Quileute legend showing how the Indians originally became werewolves.

Needless to say, this is something that would be better left alone. It may end up being the phoniest, silliest version of Indian lore ever filmed. Your typical "Indian spirit in a burial ground" will pale in comparison to this epic bastardization of a tribe's beliefs.

Why this is wrong

Let's recap. In The Origin of Twilight's Werewolves, I discussed Stephenie Meyer's made-up "Quileute legend." In Twilight vs. Quileute Legends, I discussed how this phony legend bore no resemblance to anything genuinely Quileute. In Flashback in Twilight Movie, I discussed how the first film presented a brief but ridiculous version of Quileute history.

Given this information plus Twilight's ongoing slighting of Indians, what are the odd that Eclipse will show a sensitive and honest portrayal of Quileute culture? How is that even possible when the source material is a complete fiction? If I were a Quileute Indian, I'd be upset at seeing a white woman's fairy tale presented as my spiritual and cultural history. Tens of millions of viewers will watch Eclipse and learn that Indians are steeped in mysticism and magic.

Natives often get upset when white storytellers appropriate their legends, make minor changes to them, and present them as their own. In Eclipse's case, we're not talking about making minor changes, we're talking about fabricating a whole legend and making half a billion dollars off it. This could be one of the biggest cases of Native exploitation in recent history.

So long, suckers

And then what...the Twilight people will pat the Quileutes on the back and give them some autographed photos? Before they pack up and forget the Quileutes ever existed? Here's what I imagine the moviemakers will be thinking:

"Thanks for letting us use you, suckers. While you're barely making ends meet, we'll be in our mansions counting our millions.

"Have fun trying to correct all the misinformation we've spewed about your tribe. You spent the last century insisting you weren't savages and you'll spend the next one insisting you're not human wolves.

"If you have any other legends we can steal, be sure to let us know. We enriched ourselves at your expense once and we'd love to do it again."

For more on the subject, see Quileute Werewolves in Twilight.

Below:  Mariel Belanger--model, actress, host; born 1973; Okanagan.

1 comment:

dmarks said...

Imagine how impressive it would be if they showed it as an excruciatingly accurate version of the actual Quileute legend.

And they could change the legend from fake to real without impacting or messing up any of the "Twilight" story.