July 26, 2010

Taika Waititi as Tom Kalmaku

After Adam Beach left the Green Lantern movie, I forgot to pursue the matter. If Beach isn't playing Tom Kalmaku, then who is?

Comic-Con reminded me that Green Lantern is coming, so here's the scoop:

Taika WaititiBirth Name

Taika David Waititi


6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Biography

Taika is of Te-Whanau-a-Apanui descent and hails from the Raukokore region of the East Coast. He has been involved in the film industry for several years, initially as an actor, and now focusing on writing and directing.


He is of Maori and European-Jewish descent.
Comment:  Once again, Hollywood casts a non-Native in a Native role. Yes, Waititi is indigenous (Maori), so he isn't the worst choice possible. But he isn't Inuit like Tom Kalmaku. Adam Beach would've been closer to the mark.

I include his height because it shows how casting changes the character in subtle ways. Kalmaku is supposedly 5'7", although he looks more like 5'3" or 5'4". He's a typically short Inuit person. Making him tall means he can push his way through crowds. He doesn't have to be as bright because he has a strong physical presence.

Let's see...Waititi has played 13 roles before Kalmaku. None of them look big or impressive, although they may have been in New Zealand. My initial impression is that Waititi doesn't have any special qualifications to play Kalmaku.

Once again, the producers hired any ol' brown-skin because they're all the same, right? They didn't hire one of the thousands of Native actors who's closer to Kalmaku physically and culturally than Waititi is. They certainly didn't try to find an Inuit actor--unlike, say, the producers of Sikumi or Everybody Loves Whales. They went for a simple, expedient choice rather than a good and proper one.

And what about all the Inuit aspiring to be actors? Oh, well...maybe next time. The next time somebody does a major studio film featuring a major Inuit character, that is.

For more on the subject, see The Many Faces of Tom Kalmaku and Casting Tom Kalmaku.

Below:  "We both look vaguely brown and Asiatic. What else do you want?"

1 comment:

jean said...

Never heard of him before but Maori was the first thing that came to mind when I saw him.
Nothing against the guy but it makes me wonder why casting scouts go to such extraordinary lengths to seek abroad rather than stay home.Free holiday at Prod's expense...?