Sunday, July 16, 2006

Angelina Jolie, playing Mariane Pearl...huh?

Update: June 22, 2007 @ 7:24am

Well, I'm out of the hell that is finals, so I can dust off my blogger's hat.

A Mighty Heart is set to open this weekend and most of the reviews have been quite good. Not that there was any doubt that Jolie could pull off the role or that she has the star pull to make people talk about the movie.

Here are a few links:

I still think it's funny seeing the pictures though. It just rubs me the wrong way when there are so many excellent actresses who you'd not have to look at twice to see the resemblance.

But I get it. This is about exposure and with Jolie, that's what you get. Plus, Jolie and Pearl are friends and Jolie is a marvelous actress who can bring the needed publicity to this flick just due to who she is.

So, to that I say, may this movie make tons of money and while it's at it, hopefully, some will pay attention to the story and not just the center of the vortex that caught their attention.


Update: May 7, 2007 @ 3:13pm

It's time for A Mighty Heart: The Daniel Pearl Story to be released soon.

How do I know this? I know this because "news" articles, which are actually free publicity, are starting to come out. Soon we'll see Angelina and crew in interviews and that will be tied to the movie's release.

Anyway, since I was on the "what the hell?" side of the discussion last year when it was announced that Angelina Jolie was set to play Mariane Pearl in A Mighty Heart: The Daniel Pearl Story, I figure I can be someone to help them with more free news buzz now that the movie is set to come out soon.

Here are some fresh news links:

Entertainment Weekly: Angelina Jolie's 'Mighty Heart'
Glamour Magazine: Angelina & Mariane’s Powerful Bond


I totally admire Angelina Jolie's humanitarian work. However, I'm really not understanding the reasoning behind the news that Jolie will play Mariane Pearl in an upcoming movie adaptation of Pearl's book A Mighty Heart: The Daniel Pearl Story. *Yes, I know it's being produced by Brad Pitt's production company. It comes in handy to be a top tier actor in a serious relationship another top tier actor who also owns a production company, no doubt. However, Jolie isn't hurting for work if she seeks it.

Yes, I know she's been roughing it in both Africa and Asia doing good things for people and children who need it. I really admire her for the work she's been doing because her fame and notoriety bring press to issues that people would otherwise ignore. I've volunteered my time for a long time for special causes, and it burns me up to see the privileged and wealthy care more about being seen in the right light in Page Six than giving back. Jolie shows all of us that we must never loose sight of those less well off and we must give back.

With that said, I get the "we are the world" sentiment, but last I checked Angelina Jolie was not a black woman with a biracial heritage nor does she bear even the slightest resemblance to Mariane Pearl.

Is that racist of me to react this way? I don't think so because I'm such a liberal that I would let it go if there was the slightest physical resemblance.

I think it's entirely pragmatic of me to react this way. It's no more racist than the excuse that tons of black actors have heard in the past regarding roles. I mean there always seems to be a priority placed on casting the right "type", and many a black actor has been passed over for someone who is a closer physical "fit". I will even acknowledge that black actors have been breaking down barriers and getting cast as superheroes and love interests in movies in which maybe twenty years ago they would have never been considered much less cast.

However, I see that as a leveling of the playing field that has always been skewed against blacks. It feels like we're going back to a time where white actors were cast in roles portraying the tragic mulatta. There are tons of examples, but one is Ava Gardner who played the bi-racial, half black and half white, character Julie LaVerne in Showboat.

Is this casting decision a backlash? As stated, the playing field is more even than ever. Is it even enough that a plum role such as this, which would have been a coup for any actor to land, is cast with a white woman? I don't think it's THAT even yet. Just look at pictures of Angelina Jolie, Mariane Pearl and Thandie Newton side by side and you tell me who looks more like whom? Forgive me, as my photo and graphic skills clearly need some work, but it works out nicely with Thandie, then Mariane, then Angelina. It's just a bit crude.

Why is it that talented and well known black actresses like Thandie Netwon, Rosario Dawson, and Halle Berry got skipped for this role?

I really do think this is a case of altruism, optimism and just plain ol' love gone mad. Essentially, it's a bad case of groupthink where no one in the room even realized there was this big pink elephant in the corner. I also think that anyone who did notice probably realized it would be best not to point out that there was a casting incongruity out of fear they'd loose their job.

I'll point it out for them as I don't have to worry about Brad Pitt firing me. There are better suited actors to play this role.

Yes, yes...I bloody well know it's Brad Pitt's production company and that, as a film producer, what he says goes, but come on. We know this is all about box office draw and profit, but there are other ways to get similar results.

What's next? Brad Pitt will skip over tons of talented racially mixed actors such as Daniel Henney (a personal favorite) to cast himself as bi-racial, Chinese and white, Brandon Lee in a movie depicting his life too?

This is as stupid as it is insulting.
*BTW, it would be nice if all these people writing about this story would spell Mariane Pearl's name correctly. I too was unsure if it was Marianne Pearl or Mariane Pearl. However, I took myself to to see how the publisher spelt her name on her book. I figured that was pretty certain authority.

You'd think that the press would do a fact check on this. Now, I make mistakes too (just read a few other posts), but I think I'm good with accurately spelling someone's name. To the news rooms and magazines out there, clearly you folks need some competent help. I’m available, so just send me an email.

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