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Actors playing characters with which they do not share characteristics

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Samson, Jan 12, 2021.

  1. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    I saw your post pre-edit. Since you have a chronic problem understanding my posts, maybe you should stop reading them. :huh:

    Does a non-diabetic person know how it feels to be hypoglycemic? It's damned terrifying. There are certain physical reactions that make the person look like they're drunk, which is why some diabetics have died in police custody because the idiot cops never thought to check that possibility. When it gets that bad, the person may not be capable of articulating that they're hypo and need sugar NOW.

    The reason I'm bringing this up is because I know what these conditions feel like. Even after my diagnosis, I had no idea what it would feel like until it happened (I was well-acquainted with the opposite end of the issue). However, if a script calls for a character to have this situation happen, should the casting director only be allowed to consider a diabetic actor who knows what this feels like, knows what happens, and can therefore play it accurately? It's more than just using needles, lancets, etc. which yes, most people can learn to do correctly. It's conveying what's going on in the person's head as well.

    If they can find an actor with these life experiences and they're a good fit for the part, great. If they can't... by Davies' reasoning, nobody should play that character. The movie/episode will never be made because they couldn't find an actor to fill that precise niche.

    So yeah - if you can get a person to play the part who actually is part of whatever demographic the role is, great. But if you can't, it's ridiculous to say "stop, cancel the project, because you haven't found a ______ to play a (same demographic) _______."

    Why are you continually refusing to connect the dots to understand my posts? They're not that difficult.

    Let's say that some day somebody decides to make a biopic about George Takei, after he dies (for those unfamiliar with him, he played Sulu in the original Star Trek series). He worked in Hollywood for decades before he came out (though of course there were plenty of people who already knew or suspected and kept quiet). To play him accurately, according to Davies, you not only need a Japanese actor in certain age groups, but you need a gay Japanese actor in certain age groups. And if they include everything in depicting his life, they'd have an impossible situation because there are no gay Japanese child actors who were interned in a camp during WWII who could portray Takei at that age. That was 80 years ago, and those kids have all grown up now.

    So... no such biopic could ever happen, because no actors other than Takei himself would tick all of Davies' little boxes on an actor's resume. And that would be a shame, because I've read his autobiography and he's led an interesting life.

    If Davies had his way, a casting director would have to ask every auditioning actor, "Are you gay or straight (or whatever other descriptor might apply)?" Or maybe in Davies' world every actor would be required to note that along with their height, eye color, hair color, etc. along with their photos. So a casting director would toss out a hell of a lot of potentially great performers based on who they're attracted to, love, marry, sleep with, etc.

    What a way to invade people's privacy over something they may not want anyone else to know yet, or maybe to ever know, for numerous reasons. Actors aren't immune to the same family-related issues others have if their families are afflicted with this thing called "bigotry."

    Gotta wonder... how much acquaintance do you have with TV, movie, or plays from the production/casting side? I knew several gay actors, during my theatre years. Trust me, the director and producer didn't give even the slightest damn about that part of anyone's life. They wanted people who could act, sing, and dance. Their sexuality was never a consideration.

    Could you please explain the difference, for those of us who may only have heard of the architectural differences between doric columns and ionic columns?

    (sincerely curious)
     
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  2. Angst

    Angst Rambling and inconsistent

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    All I know is that of the musical church modes, Ionian is bland and Dorian is the best.
     
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  3. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    Dorian greeks (including Spartans, Corinthians, Argos, Macedonians - at least the ruling class) were generally more warlike and austere. Ionian greeks (including Athens, Chalkis, Asia Minor city states like Ephesos and Miletos) were more about colonies and philosophy. Exceptions and intermixes exist, obviously - for example Corinth was also about money and colonies, and Megara was about money, colonies and philosophy.
     
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  4. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    I think the language I've been trying to consistently use is "should", not "must". I appreciate it's a bit of a tedious difference, but it is a difference, because some people seem to be acting like this is The Gay Agenda forced upon their lives, here. It's the opinion of a gay dude who writes TV (and possibly other stuff, I haven't kept up with his work).

    For example, it doesn't matter to you. I get that. It's going to be a relative personal investment, or lack of one. So what is your investment here, exactly, if it doesn't matter who gets cast assuming the end product is decent? Is it this "reverse discrimination" argument? I want to understand where you're coming from.

    To that end, I care because progressive causes are something that are important to me. And heck, that isn't even Davies' stance (he says so himself). But the greater cause is definitely more progressive than it isn't. So I care, because LGBTQ folks have historically been shut out of what could be defining roles for reasons completely unrelated to their actual talent.

    I dislike being mischaracterised, so I'll read what I like, thanks. Posts are typically edited (by me) because there's a problem in them that only appears on subsequent reads. Given that I edited it within minutes of posting it, that's something you've been sitting on all day, huh? Or overnight, more likely, given timezones. Maybe that's the cause for your unwarranted attitude.

    Given that hypoglycemia is not the sole purview of people with diabetes (though it's definitely a primary demographic), I can imagine that non-diabetic people in fact do. But you missed my point. You can't teach, or instruct someone, to feel what living in a homophobic society (or family) feels like. You can teach someone to use a (fake) autoinjector. People have been acting various forms of passing out (and more advanced medical sequences) for decades.

    Your comparison, basically, just isn't a good fit (not to mention fallacious). And this is what people consistently underestimate in this thread. I'm very sure you could find medical trauma that is similarly difficult and nuanced as to compare to LGBTQ-phobic trauma, to be honest. And I'd honestly side with it being a touchy subject that yeah possibly shouldn't get made, unless you have extensive contact and consultation with people actually suffering in that way. Which, for the record, is a common refrain from LGBTQ advocates with regards to film and TV. So you can't cast the role correctly. Fine. Accept consultation and critique on the direction of your show. That also happens less than it should (which is to say, it should happen every time).

    You place too much sanctity on the notion that a show somehow deserves to get made.

    You could argue I'm arguing too much about what pain or trauma is worth vetting more than others, but that's my entire point. It is a spectrum when it comes to determining the portrayal of a subject in film or television, and subjects on the more sensitive end of that spectrum absolutely should be treated with more respect for authenticity.

    I'm not refusing to connect anything. Maybe you need to stop arguing with a version of me that isn't the one writing these posts? You're being demonstrably combative for no reason, and I doubt you'd like the same in response. Nobody would.

    You're cherrypicking specific, highly-unique examples as though it proves an overarching point. No. You're picking these because they're unique. You're trying to gotcha the suggested principle because there are things that might be made that are arguably near-impossible to recreate authentically. There are always exceptions to any rule (in the context of casting for film and TV, for the record). However, your example misses the mark. The specific thing you use to highlight the unique nature of Takei's life is his internment in a WWII camp (I despise "relocation centre"). You're going to struggle to find people who fit that regardless of Takei being gay or not. And yes, that is something that again you should probably consult people on if making such a biopic. The least you could is try and cast a gay Japanese-American (though, notably, Takei is American-born). No? Or is that too much effort for a biopic of such a well-known and well-regarded actor?

    You're putting the show before the people the (completely theoretical, invented for the purposes of this discussion) show is meant to be about. Arguably, that's not how you make a good show. Nobody is suggesting Hollywood haul up someone who can't act so long as they're gay and Japanese-American. Nobody is suggesting you out actors or actresses to their bigoted relatives to make sure they're a decent fit for the role. These are things you're making up to demonise the suggestion. To make it look worse than it is.

    I don't care about the opinion of a few people you knew however long ago. Times change. It's not like you'd change your mind if I gave an anecdote that went in favour of Davies' suggestion, would you? Be honest. It's just an attempted jab at what you think I know.
     
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  5. Chicken Pizza

    Chicken Pizza Chieftain

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    I think it is. If God in all his love gives me a good show, I could be inclined to let go of my problems with gay people, but it may as well be some other good deed.
     
  6. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

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    Wow, its been a while since I encountered general homophobia on CFC. Brings me back to 2010.
     
  7. Sofista

    Sofista card-carrying

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    "[on whether he resented being typed as a "horror star"] One always hears of actors complaining of being typed - if he's young, he's typed as a juvenile; if he's handsome, he's typed as a leading man. I was lucky. Whereas bootmakers have to spend millions to establish a trademark, I was handed a trademark free of charge. When an actor gets in a position to select his own roles, he's in big trouble, for he never knows what he can do best. I'm sure I'd be damn good as little Lord Fauntleroy, but who would pay ten cents to see it?" - Boris Karloff
     
  8. Chicken Pizza

    Chicken Pizza Chieftain

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    Moderator Action: Snip... We don't need posts about erect penises, please. --LM

    I have a problem with people showing insecurity when they're not more of a victim than others, for example the very overveight woman that recently came out of a pizzeria and anciently looked around what people thought.

    What am I supposed to do about that? Approach her and assure her the truth that she's perfectly fine as she is, when she probably couldn't care less about me or starving people? Only rich people can afford to believe in karma.

    I have a problem with Seinfeld that wanted a deaf person on the show when they didn't have the empathy to back it up to make her comfortable enough to do the job or get the point through.

    I have a problem with american and finish people on swedish radio, that chooses to enhance their speech problem instead of trying to make it appeal more to the listener.

    I have a problem with some people looking up to me, because they shouldn't. I have a problem with my christian mother that still sees me as her property, and is mostly interested in the quest to be filled with the holy spirit so she can spread the message.

    Have a nice evening.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2021 at 2:00 PM
  9. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

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    Hmmmmm.
     
  10. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    I'm talking about Davies' opinion, not yours. He, not you, has the authority to make hiring decisions regarding who gets to act in his projects. That's what producers, directors, and casting directors do. Davies, as a writer/producer, obviously has opinions that could mean the difference between employment and unemployment for an actor, based on that actor's RL sexuality. That is DISCRIMINATION. It's unethical, and wrong.

    And I'll admit: I don't like the way he <mucked up> Doctor Who. He did a terrible job on that show, and is one of the reasons I don't watch it anymore. But I'd despise his "reveal your intimate personal details on your resume so I'll know if I want to cast you" views no matter what his involvement may or may not have been in nuWho.

    As for your "Gay Agenda" crack... I know you were addressing someone else, but I am not perceiving anyone in this thread who is worried about that (well, okay, I did see one when re-reading the last couple of pages - but that isn't me). I don't want to see anyone lose a job based on sexual orientation. There are actually laws against that in Canada; sexual orientation is one of the bases for discrimination in the Charter, and people have recourse to their province's Human Rights Commission as well.

    Discrimination is discrimination. Do not try to convince me that there are only some segments of society that can be discriminated against. It won't work. Save your typing.

    I don't disagree that they've been shut out. But Davies is advocating shutting out everyone whose stated sexuality doesn't match that of the character they're auditioning to play. That is discrimination, no matter which side it's coming from or which side it's directed at.

    Maybe you should realize how the forum software actually works. I have my preferences set to instant email notifications of new replies. That means I am sent the original version of your post, not the edited version. So if you say something I don't like, editing it won't help. It's going to remain in my email archive until I decide to delete it (if I decide; there are some posts and PMs from CFC in my archive that date back over 10 years - because I've learned over the years and on multiple forums that it's a good thing sometimes to be able to prove who said what in a contentious situation, and all the editing and deleting on the site won't erase my own records).

    Further to that - I don't keep typical North American hours. So don't go by my location when you're assuming when I've read something. And also keep in mind that when I'm replying to something, I might take a few hours, or even a couple of days to compose a reply - either because I'm busy with a lot of other things, or because I'm putting a lot of thought into my post. The final time stamp may be much later than when I started composing my reply.

    This sentence is unclear. Do what?

    You've missed MY point. You can't teach either of them what it's like to feel those unique aspects of being in whatever demographic we're talking about.

    Whatever.

    :rolleyes:

    Where did I say that anything deserves to get made? My point is that if someone wants to make a movie or TV show or produce a play (remember that my background is in musical theatre, with some dinner theatre on the side - tech side of things, so the production aspect of things is what I'm most familiar with and I have attended auditions), they should not be restricted to choosing their cast based on the actors' private intimate lives, nor should actors be forced to disclose this information against their own wishes just to get a job, if they'd prefer not to. Actors should not be put at risk of losing a job just because their own sexuality doesn't match that of the characters they want to be hired to portray. And a producer should not be put at risk of having to shut down a project if he can't find an actor capable of doing justice to the main character just because the best candidate happens to be the "wrong" sexuality in RL.

    Treated with more respect, absolutely. But we're talking about a producer who thinks it's his business what actors do in the privacy of their own bedrooms.

    :rolleyes: 2 Pot, meet kettle. You have done nothing BUT argue with me, even on the occasions when we're actually in agreement (not something that happens often, but whatever). You keep claiming you "don't understand" my posts, which seem to be perfectly understandable by the majority of the posters in this thread, so I have no idea what your problem is, other than a habit you have of arguing with me and claiming you don't understand my points.

    Please stop stressing yourself and just don't read my posts, if you find them so difficult. Or take it to PM and make a sincere, good-faith effort to understand, because whatever you're up to here, it's not a good-faith effort.

    :rolleyes: Oh, please. It's called using an example. I used an example of a hypothetical situation involving an actor whose Trek-related work I'm very familiar with, including his work on a highly-regarded ST fan film. I could have used any other actor as an example, but I'm using Takei to show just how many boxes Davies would need to tick to get the perfect actor according to his views that no straight person should ever play a gay character. If his views ever became actual rules, there would be a hell of a lot of people out of work, based on something in their own private lives and which should have no bearing whatsoever in their ability to entertain an audience.

    I am taking Davies' ideas to their logical conclusion if they ever became real, enforceable guidelines or rules for casting. It used to be that people lost jobs and were blacklisted due to their political opinions (real or suspected). Doing the same for people's real or suspected sexual orientation is even more wrong (political opinions aren't something you're born with).

    WTF does this even mean? If you're referring to my theatre work, let me make it clear: NOBODY CARED ABOUT THE ACTORS' SEXUAL ORIENTATION. Okay? The producer and director chose the cast according to their ability to act, sing, and dance. Their private lives are irrelevant in this case, even if the particular character they played was not a match to themselves.

    I'm done with this part of the conversation. You have no real wish to "understand" my posts. You just want to argue and put words on my keyboard and attitudes in my mind that I don't have.
     
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  11. Akka

    Akka Moody old mage.

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    The entire point of an actor is to play the part of someone he isn't.
    So obviously, an actor should be chosen on his ability to play this part. It means his appearance could well be a determining factor, but his non-visible attributes shouldn't.
    This discussion shouldn't even take place, though unsurprisingly, the usual hypocrites are defending when it goes their way what they fight teeth and nails when it doesn't (namely, discrimination). But hey, they are sort of immune to noticing their cognitive dissonance, again as usual.
     
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  12. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    Movies are make-believe anyway. You aren't watching a documentary. And this is positive, because the scope and intention is different in a documentary.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
  13. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    He never said about revealing intimate personal details on a resume. This is not something that's in the article. He's just professing a belief because he believes it would lead to more authentic and thus better TV. You are making a complete fabrication of alleged discrimination just because of his preference for authenticity in casting.

    There is no universe in which you can equate discrimination against different marginalised demographics to discrimination in general. That doesn't mean that, say, I can't be discriminated against, but it's not the same thing. It's not a protected characteristic. I will not save my typing. You're equating a straight white guy being passed over for a role with antisemitism, or anti-black racism, homophobia, or transphobia.

    No he isn't. Are we reading the same article?

    I know how the forum software "actually" works. What you're describing is a niche use-case. It's not something I can assume people use. But it's good to know.

    That people without diabetes can and do know what hypoglycemia feels like.

    I think it's a safe bet to say someone can portray a diabetic more than someone can play a traumatised LGBTQ person. Even if the show explicitly requires some kind of hypoglycemic episode (for whatever contrived reason). However, like I said, there are likely medical conditions so severe that they're more comparable, and consistently I said I would err on the side of consultancy (and how LGBTQ folks often aren't consulted on shows involving their lives and experiences). So if you want, there absolutely could be a show involving a diabetic who isn't played by one, but is closely consulted by one (or more). Does that make sense?

    (I missed this when posting it, so will come back to it later if necessary)

    Being LGBTQ doesn't start and end in the bedroom :rolleyes:

    I'm trying to understand your posts. I try not to assume when I don't know (for example, take Akka's post at the bottom of this. I know exactly where he's coming from. Repeated past conversations have established this context). You're making me sound worse than I am, for no apparent reason.

    It's not that I find them difficult. And I'm certainly not being a hypocrite. You think this is me being combative? :D Regardless, stop justifying your behaviour on how you perceive mine. That's a race to the bottom. You talk about good-faith? You say I'm acting in bad faith? And yet you repeatedly use rolleyes emoji and find a way to justify how you're coming across? You're holding me to a standard you're not displaying yourself.

    "if his views ever became actual rules" is doing a lot of work here.

    As for your example, it's contrived. It's not just a straight person arguably playing a gay person. It's a straight person playing a gay Japanese-American who was interned in a camp in WWII. That's way too specific - you're using it on-purpose when in reality it would be an exception to any rule (real or otherwise). Or maybe you're right, and Davies would ban any creation of a Takei biopic in his assumed future role as Totalitarian Dictator of Hiring for the Entire World.

    You are taking Davies' ideas to some kind of dystopian future that doesn't exist and he didn't ask for. It's 2020. People are openly LGBTQ across the Western world (and more). If someone isn't openly LGBTQ, then obviously it wouldn't be a thing. You're claiming something that he didn't say to invent a future that doesn't exist.

    I want to understand your posts. It doesn't mean I still won't disagree with them. It's difficult when you keep inventing aspects of my personality that don't exist and are passive-aggressive with your attitude (and emoji). Do you not see that?

    I was referring to your theatre work, yes. I don't doubt your claims. I'm saying time has passed. It isn't relevant to 2020. It's an anecdote. You challenged me for whom I know in the same kind of space, right? This came about because you were snide and judgmental about what experience you think I have with this kind of business. What relevance does that have to my points? Just because you experienced one thing, that means my position, or Davies' position is automatically wrong?

    An actor should be chosen on their ability to play a part, absolutely. Are you arguing that a character being gay (or not) has no impact on their ability to play the part of a gay person? None whatsoever?

    I mean, it's cute to call people names (whatever happened to the polarisation of discourse being a bad thing? Is it only a bad thing when the people you don't like do it?), but this seems to heavily lean into the myth of meritocratic hiring. Such a meritocracy doesn't exist (as I talked about in earlier posts).
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
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  14. Akka

    Akka Moody old mage.

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    That is irrelevant. You don't hire someone blindly, you test them. If they manage to pull it off, be it because they are gay or straight or used to lie or full of talent or whatever, then they are a good fit. Only selecting people because of their sexual orientation is literaly illegal discrimination.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
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  15. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    Nobody said anything about only selecting people because of their sexual orientation. But don't let me get in the way of your outrage.
     
  16. Chicken Pizza

    Chicken Pizza Chieftain

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    "Bad guys" being played by actual criminals? Real astronauts in the movie Apollo 13? It doesn't work. They have the experience but good actors tell their story better.

    What would Mississippi Burning be without Dafoe and Hackman? Or Training Day with Hawkes and Washington switching roles?

    I believe that movie makers are competent at casting, to give the audience a good balance of entertainment, learning facts and even leaving the theatre as a better person.

    You can't hurry love.
     
  17. Akka

    Akka Moody old mage.

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    You're playing on the words to try to weasel out of the plain fact that you're advocating for discrimination about sexual preferences. Maybe you should address this point rather than attempt to deflect with flimsy barbs.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
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  18. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    That's a lot of words for "I was wrong". The thing you're claiming is not happening, period. Project this however you want.
     
  19. Akka

    Akka Moody old mage.

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    Seems I'm not the one projecting.
    You plainly said that gay people should be favored to get roles for which characters are gay. You're then trying very hard to pretend it's not discrimination based on sexual preferences.
    Is this denial or hypocrisy ?
     
  20. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    Saying straight people should be favoured for the same roles is what, then? Not discrimination? Because someone is ultimately going to be favoured, for whatever reason :D The entire point is "the best person for the role". If someone is gay (and good at their job) they're likely to be better-suited for a gay role than someone who isn't. That's just life experience.

    You're the one who came in here about the "usual hypocrites", then complained about "flimsy barbs". You're the one who claimed that folks were selecting people "only" on their sexual orientation. If you don't want people holding you to the words you type, maybe don't type them :thumbsup:

    If you want to argue that it's "irrelevant" if a gay person auditions for the role of a gay character, own that argument. Don't walk around talking about "weasel words" and attempting to accuse other posters of discrimination when you have to move the goalposts from "people are only getting hired for their sexual orientation" to " you said gay people should be favoured for roles where they play gay characters". These are two very separate arguments.
     
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