Friday, March 18, 2005

Bullshit watch...

The April issue of GQ has a typically lame star profile/interview with Jessica Alba, who is about as interesting as the average 23 year-old sexpot. By which I mean, not much. She swears a lot, professes to know wine (who cares?) and there's a lot about her restrictive religious upbringing, blah blah blah.

I'm one of no doubt many, many fans whose eyes crossed when they heard Alba was signed to play Sue Storm in the Fantastic Four movie. She's just all wrong. Yes, she looks wrong, and is the wrong racial type. However, I can't imagine many fans cared much about that, beyond an inital, bewildered, "What, they can't find a young blonde woman in Hollywood?" sort of thought.

The thing with bringing a comic book character to the screen is that we already have an established image of them, and yes, it can throw you to have a completely different physical type cast. However, if the actor is right for the part, who really cares? They made Kingpin black in Daredevil, and pretty much nobody batted an eye because the actor matched the role well.

I think the real problem most of us have--me, definately--is that Alba is too outrageously sexpot-y to really capture Sue, not to mention that it raises the fear that Sue is now going to suddenly turn into a highly inappropriate Dark Angel-esque ass kicker.

However, sigh, the article has to go all "RACIAL CONTROVERSY" with the subject:

"Controversy has raged...She's half-Mexican, which might be okay for her stripper role in Sin City, but Fantastic Four's Sue Storm is the very picture of the American Heartland Wasp..."

That's bullshit. The way they try to imply that Middle America, or whoever they mean to indict, is only comfortable when a "half-Mexican" actress plays strippers and such is straight out crap. That's not the issue. The reason Alba playing a stripper in Sin City didn't raise eyebrows is because Alba, as, you know, an individual person, generally plays characters in a sort of slutty, strutting, sexually aggressive fashion. Thus that part seems right up her alley.

The problem with her playing Sue Storm isn't--other than in a minor, 'huh?' sort of a way--that you are taking a character who for forty years has indeed been established as being an "American Heartland Wasp" and casting a 'half-Mexican' in the role. It's that Sue has always been a pretty demur character, and 'demur' is not a characteristic that comes to mind when Alba is thought of. The fact that the article is mostly an excuse to publish numerous full-page photos featuring coy flashes of Alba's boobs and several close-up looks at her pert ass in teeny baby doll underpants didn't exactly undercut this point.

For instance, let's say that Pamela Anderson had been cast as Sue. I really think the reaction would have been just as bad, or even worse, despite the fact that Anderson is a blonde and presumably closer to the traditional "Heartland Wasp" that Sue has always been. However, the same personality problems I have with Alba would still be present. Plus, the idea of Sue with a rack that big is ridiculous.

So this isn't a case of TYPICAL AMERIKKKAN MIDWESTERN RACISM, but rather a well-justified fear by nerds that once again the properties they care about perhaps more deeply than they should are going to adapted in a way that makes them unrecognizable. For instance, a British actor has been cast as Reed Richards. That hasn't sparked any outcry, again because personality-wise he seems right for the part. However, I do have a problem with him being too young, for reasons I went into in a previous post.

I especially found this statement highly suspect and obnoxiously phrased: "All across the Net that day were postings by the Fantastic Four fans who claimed they would not venture into a theater where a half-Mexican actress played Sue Storm."

Bullshit on that racial stuff. Yes, some really immature fans will be freaked that the wrong looking type was cast as Sue. Hell, I remember reading a letter from a truly outraged kid, back in the days in which you saw such things in print in fandom magazines, moaning that Michael Keaton couldn't play Batman because Bruce Wayne had black hair and Keaton's was brown. So yes, there are people that anal about comic books. However, to try to make this about 'racism' is crap.

Also, I really, really doubt that a torrent of such sentiments raced "all across the Net". And the idea that any comic fan, no matter how well justified their fears are, will not "go to a theater" to see a Fantastic Four movie is laughable.

By the way, in a commentary track on the DVD of the very fun superhero spoof The Specials, lead actress Paige Brewster keeps referring to Alba as a "monster." Apparently the two have spent some time together and Alba drove Brewster up the wall. Every once in a while, Brewster will attempt to cut her some slack, noting the rigors of sudden stardom and stuff, but then the venom will quickly rise to the surface again and come spewing out. It's pretty funny.


At 10:47 AM, Blogger nshumate said...

"And co-starring Pamela Anderson as The Very Visible Girl!"

At 12:15 AM, Blogger Henry Brennan said...

I very much agree, Ken. I posted my thoughts on the matter on the Jabootu site. It's amazing how blind people are to what is appropriate as opposed to what is politcally correct. Or even worse, what is dictated by the times.

At 9:40 AM, Blogger Tim Lehnerer said...

If they're trying for the Ultimate FF continuity, Alba's a better choice--if they're trying to recreate the 1960s Stan & Jack FF, there's some problems. It's weird, though, because there's almost fifty years of continuity where Sue Storm has been all KINDS of different. Including, if I remember right, a year or so in a leather gimp suit calling herself "Malice".

Of course, THE INCREDIBLES makes the upcoming Fantastic Four movie almost entirely a moot point...

At 10:59 PM, Blogger Stop Snoring Exercise said...

Anyone know the lastest hot info on any of these stars? Jennifer Lopez, Briteney Spears, Beyonce Knowles, Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Alba, Christina Aguilera or Reese witherspoon? Thanks for any post.


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