Weekend Cinema Listomania (Special Bad Actors, Bad Decisions Edition)

on June 09, 2008 by Steve Simels

And speaking, as we were yesterday, of shall we say non-traditional casting, our thoughts turn, as they inevitably must, to the August 15th release of Tropic Thunder, the Ben Stiller/Jack Black action comedy also starring Tom Cruise in a fat suit and Robert Downey Jr. in blackface.

Yes, that's right. Blackface.


Okay, Downey may be as brilliant in the part as he was earlier this summer in Iron Man, or he could be as hideously embarassing as C. Thomas Howell in Soul Man -- we'll have to wait and see. Meawhile, for the definitive examination of the practice of casting caucasians in non-caucasian roles, here's MST3K's Crow T. Robot (Trace Beaulieu) on "The Miss Saigon Syndrome" (starting about 3:24 into the clip).

That said, the weekend is upon us and as usual things will be mostly quiet around here until Monday. So while we wait, here's an obviously relevant little project to tide us all over --

Most Egregious Casting of a White Actor in a Role That Should Have Gone to Someone Else For Obvious Reasons!!!!

Here's my totally top of my head Top Five:

5. Tony Randall in The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (George Pal -- 1960) Crow T. Robot was right -- there's seven of them right there.

4. Luise Rainer in The Good Earth (Sidney Franklin -- 1937) The gorgeous and brilliant Chinese-American actress Anna May Wong was supposed to get the part, but instead the studio gave it to the German Rainer. Hooray for Hollywood!!!

3. Rock Hudson in Winchester '73 (Anthony Mann -- 1950) You're watching it and thinking this is one of the best westerns you've ever seen, until suddenly you go -- hey, why the hell is Commissioner McMillan playing a Native American?

2. Robert Blake in California Goldrush (R.G. Springsteen -- 1946) An Italian kid from Nutley, New Jersey as an Indian named Little Beaver? Genius! (Frightening thought: Blake played the character in 22 other films).

And the number one most egregious piece of casting of a white actor, it's not even close so why are we even arguing, is ---

1. Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffanys (Blake Edwards -- 1961) Hey, I defer to no one in my admiration for The Mick, but his bucktoothed Japanese stereotype almost sinks what is otherwise one of the loveliest films of its day.

Okay -- what would your choices be?

Tags: Tropic Thunder, Tom Cruise, Robert Downey Jr., Soul Man, C. Thomas Howell

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