June 01, 2011

"Superman" star to play Native coach

Another day, another travesty of a casting decision:

Routh takes aim at 'Crooked Arrows'

'Superman Returns' star set for sports pic

By Jeff Sneider
"Superman Returns" star Brandon Routh is set to topline "Crooked Arrows," an underdog sports pic set in the world of lacrosse.

Steve Rash ("Can't Buy Me Love") is directing from a script by Todd Baird.

Story follows a rag-tag Native American high school lacrosse team that is forced to join the local prep school league, which is comprised of better trained and equipped rivals.

Routh will play the tribal chairman's part-Native American entrepreneurial son who is tasked with coaching the reservation's motley lacrosse team in the hopes that he'll reconnect with his fellow tribe members. An unlikely and uplifting journey to the prep league's championship game ensues.

J. Todd Harris and Mitchell Peck are producing, while Sports Studio ("Miracle") will co-produce with a focus on authentic athletic casting, outfitting and choreography. Reebok is the film's first athletic corporate sponsor. Production is scheduled to start this July in the Boston area.

Over Memorial Day weekend, Routh attended the NCAA Lacrosse Final Four in Baltimore, where "Crooked Arrows" held an open casting call. "I was moved by the script," said Routh, whose ancestors hail from the Kickapoo Tribe. "While it has all the ingredients of a classic underdog sports movie, it actually appealed to me on a deeper level. I think the father-son and brother-sister dynamics of the story are compelling, as is [the] more spiritual Native American aspect."

"We couldn't be happier," boasted Harris. "Brandon is a highly recognizable and well-liked actor around the world, and he brings authenticity to the athletic and Native aspects of the film."
Wikipedia confirms that Routh is mostly non-Native:

Brandon RouthRouth, the third of four children, was born in Norwalk, Iowa, on October 9, 1979, the son of Catherine (née Lear), a teacher, and Ronald Ray Routh, a carpenter. Routh's family, which is Methodist, has German, French, English, and Native American ancestry.Comment:  How bad is this casting choice? Routh doesn't look much like a Native. He has no known connection to Kickapoo Indians other than a few drops of blood. Neither Iowa nor the Kickapoo Tribe is near the center of Native lacrosse.

Moreover, Routh's main claim to fame is starring in Superman Returns, which is widely considered a disappointment or a failure. So how does a little-known "star" with one flop to his name get a major Native role? It certainly can't be because of his box-office potentially, which is effectively nil.

What's going on here is sadly obvious. Hollywood's cowardly executives have cast someone with a hint of Native ancestry (see Johnny Depp and Taylor Lautner) so they can claim "authenticity." They think a white actor without significant accomplishments is more marketable than a talented Native actor. They've made the character "part Native" in a feeble attempt to inoculate themselves from criticism.

Of course, a tribal chairman's son is likely to be a member of the tribe regardless of his "blood." He's likely to live with the tribe and participate in its culture. All of which leaves the non-Native Routh out. The guy has zero "authenticity" as a Native except in a racist's mind.

Haynes gets criticized

I believe Rene Haynes is the movie's casting director. She's done good things in the past. I think she hired Native actors for New Moon after the Twilight fiasco. But she may have been responsible for hiring Julia Jones, Boo Boo Stewart, and Tinsel Korey also.

I gather she's taking some heat for this casting decision. If so, good. Anyone who thinks Routh is "authentic" shouldn't be involved in casting.

For more on the movie, see Financing Crooked Arrows. For more on casting decisions, see Tavare on Hollywood Indians and Depp's "Dilemma" Over Playing Mexican.


Anonymous said...

Racebending much?

"the more spiritual Native American aspect". *vomits* Hey, I think I see my spleen!

Thunderbird Man said...

Definitely a poor choice, but not surprising. Especially with the part being that of the Tribal Chairman's mixed blood son. Chances are the Tribal Chair is full blood and his son even though 'Metis' would have some very strong features. Maybe they can do like they did in the old days and just darken him up a bit, and add a long black wig. Why the casting director didn't choose a "Reel Injun" to play the part is any ones guess. Probably trying to get an automatic audience by bringing in a know star. Seems like we are the only ones who recognize our very talented and authentic actors. If you haven't seen "Reel Injun" I highly suggest you do. Then you will understand why so many of us scratch our heads every time this BS happens.