Friday, May 21, 2010

American Actresses vs. the Brits

Past weekend, watched “The French Lieutenant’s Woman.” I had read the novel ages ago, and the screenplay even further back.

Must say that I was disappointed. I found it very flat with the exception of Jeremy Iron’s rformance. I love Irons (Brideshead, of course, and in Reversal of Fortune) but have found him passionate only in this Elizabeth I.

It was amusing to see British actors who went on to bigger and better or at least more amusing roles--Leo McKern, Richard Griffiths, and Penelope Wilton known to Doctor Who fans as Harriet Jones. But I was very disappointed in Meryl Streep. For all her fame in accents, I found hers uneven and unconvincing in this.

Which brings up the question, why, when Hollywood is perfectly willing to cast British actors as Brits (and often as Americans) is it so reluctant to cast British actresses as Brits??? Particularly iconic British roles—like this one or Bridget Jones for example. Australians as Americans thrive in Hollywood, and it does not turn around and cast Americans as Australians—Cate Blanchett gets to play an Australian although Nicole Kidman played a Brit in Australia. If it is name recognition then why did Collin Firth get to be in Bridget Jones?

But then, why ask why—Hollywood has been doing it to Asians forever, from “The Good Earth” to the Chinese as Japanese in the excruciating “Memoirs of a Geisha.” Japanese actresses should actually be glad that they weren’t associated with that travesty.

Oh, and speaking of travesties, Uma Thurman as Emma Peel. Not to mention it remains a touchstone for me of terrible films--as in, at least it wasn't as bad as The Avengers.

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