4 Movie Theories That Explain Bizarre Casting Choices
Movie casting doesn't always make sense. Case In Point: Me being turned down for the role of Delivery Boy in Lonely Housewives' Sausage Pizza Party despite offering to method act the whole thing and stay in character for the entire shoot. Those are all the examples I could come up with because, now that I think about it, most movie casting does make total sense. (I really need to start writing these columns after I decide what they'll be about.)
After all, audiences are more likely to see a movie if it features a beautiful, well-known, apparently-not-mine face. And even when that casting choice seems as nonsensical as sandpaper Q-Tips, sometimes it can accidentally make a movie better by opening the doors to wild-but-plausible theories that completely change the way you look at a film. For example:
Gerard Butler's Accent Suggests That 300 Is Actually A Stage Play
I think I watched 300 a total of five or six times, and only half of them were as character research for Chad Poundington, part-time delivery boy, full-time six-packed erection machine. The reason why I kept going back to it is simple: 300 isn't a movie.
Though it is racist enough to be considered a porno.
It's more of an adaptation of all the macho, slow motion action fantasies that play in my geeky head 24/7. This gives it near endless replay value AND it lets it get away with a lot of silly bullshit. This most notably includes filling the role of Leonidas with Gerard Butler, a sexy hunk of a man who unfortunately also sounds so Scottish that he can only achieve orgasm by imagining he's literally violating Big Ben.
While making this exact face.
Just ... Scottish Spartans? How does THAT work?
You know where else can you find Scottish Spartans? English translations of Greek plays. You're going to learn a little about translation theory, so go ahead and give yourself a preemptive wedgie.
Dynamic equivalence is the idea that you shouldn't translate stuff literally but rather in such a way that will cause the same reaction in the mind of the translation recipient as it would with the recipient of the original text. You've probably heard the Polish word kurwa, which means "bitch" or "slut" but is used much in the same way as Americans use "fuck," i.e. as everything from a noun to adjective to interjection. That's why the famous "fuck" scene in Boondock Saints was translated into Polish using kurwa instead of the straight translation of the word "fuck" (pierdolic/jebac). That's dynamic equivalence.
So, a century or so back, when English dudes were translating Greek theater plays and came across lines written in the Spartan variant of Greek, they looked for a dialect that English people would perceive the same way Athenians perceived Spartan Greek. That is, a dialect spoken by battle-obsessed madmen. It didn't take them long to decide to write all the Spartan lines in Scottish English after making sure no crazy Scottish person heard them calling Scots crazy. (If you tried to do the same thing with American English, you'd probably give Spartans Texan accents.)
Check out one such Scottish-Spartan translation of Aristophanes' Lysistrata:
"Assess them, ye tickler, wi' such tender chucks I feel as if I were an altar-victim."
"And throw ye another haggis on the barbie."
In light of this, it makes perfect sense that 300 is a filmed STAGE ADAPTATION of the Thermopylae story. It would explain the lead's Scottish accent, the exaggerated violence, and the almost theatrical production values. Keep in mind, though, that this would be the kind of theater production where the first two rows receive free plastic tarps due to all the flying bro sweat.
Plus, at the end of 300, it turns out that the entire story was told by one of Leonidas' soldiers. That character is clearly acting as the choragus, the leader of the chorus in Greek theater who narrates the story and sometimes even inserts himself into it. This effectively makes 300 the second secretly theatrical pop culture staple after Super Mario Bros. 3.
Batman v Superman's Jesse Eisenberg Is A Clone Of The REAL Lex Luthor
To explain my thoughts on Batman v Superman I'm going to quote the casting director of Lonely Housewives' Sausage Pizza Party, "I appreciate the ... effort, but please leave before I call the police." There were parts of the movie I liked but, in the end, I just couldn't get over the total, baffling butchery of Lex Luthor's character. For anyone taking notes, here's how you write Luthor correctly: less smugness and also almost looking like a hero (and Telly Savalas).
Not like Tila Tequila circa 2019.
As I mentioned in another column, Luthor is terrified of Supes and of what Supes might do when he realizes he has the power to fist the Moon to death. But the point is that Lex keeps it all locked away under a serious, dignified exterior befitting the threat he faces. To Luthor, defeating Superman is a matter of survival for the human race. That's why he doesn't jump around like a kid off his ADHD meds when thinking of ways to kill him. He doesn't laugh giddily and dance and take pleasure in the battle. In short, he is the exact opposite of Jesse Eisenberg's character.
What if Eisenlex is a clever throwback to the Superman comic books? "What if hamburgers fried in bacon grease made your dick bigger?" you might ask, but I'm being serious here. I think he might have been inspired by the '90s Lex Luthor ... the second.
For one, they both got their hair at the same mop emporium.
See, way back, when Luthor was redesigned for the modern age, he was given cancer because the '90s were edgy like that. To cure himself, he transferred his brain into a cloned body that he later passed off as his illegitimate, ginger son, Lex Luthor II.
Now, one of LeLu2's main storylines was him gaining control of an incarnation of Supergirl who was actually an artificial construct and that's all I'll say because if I spent any more time explaining it, you'd all retroactively regain your virginities. The point is that Ginger Luthor used her as his own private, living weapon (and/or sex toy), which bears a lot of resemblance to what Eisenlex did in BvS when he created Doomsday.
Am I saying that Eisenberg fucked Doomsday? No. Am I NOT saying it? Also no.
More importantly, Ginger Lex eventually started to go insane due to a sudden case of plot convenience, which really brings the whole theory together. If the REAL Luthor faked his death and passed off his deteriorating clone as his son, then it would totally explain why Eisenlex was loonier and less dignified than a Canadian goose. It's a much more comforting thought than the screenwriter not giving a flying kurwa about comic book canon.
If you need more proof, check out how he looks when you use GIMP to turn his hair red:
Now if we add a ginger beard ...
Finally, and this is where things get eerie, see what happens when we completely replace Eisenberg's photo with a picture of the comic book Luthor II:
Sean Connery's Character In Highlander Is The Father Of All Scottish People
When I was a kid, I believed another kid when he told me that I was secretly a robot and had a total freakout about it. I also believed some guy when he said he'd pay me $100 if I wrote the word kurwa on the pavement in chalk. My point is that I was a gullible idiot in my younger days but even I did not believe for a second that Sean Connery was Spanish and/or Egyptian in Highlander.
"Dat's shlander dat ish!"
The thing is, Sean Connery is not an actor. He's a movie star, like, say, John Wayne, and movie stars don't play characters. They play themselves in different costumes. (Unlike me, who'd have BECOME Chad Poundington if only given a chance!) That's why Connery's Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez, supposedly born Tak Ne in 9th century BC Egypt, sounds more Scottish than a unicorn drowning in whiskey. It looks bad for a movie when the least believable part of a story about immortal brawlers is the ethnicity of one of the main characters.
Most countries have some sort of legend about their citizens being descended from some mythical, magical people many millennia ago. White folks have the Aryans, Polish people had Sarmatia, and the Scots had Egypt.
"You guys have sand? We have a word for sand! Holy hell, we must be related!"
There exists a legend about how all Scottish people are descended from Scota. According to lore, Scota was the daughter of an Egyptian pharaoh, who was exiled from Egypt and settled in Spain. Her descendants, the legend continues, would eventually travel north and settle Scotland and Ireland where they could keep the Egyptians' innate hatred of pants alive.
The details between the legend of Scota and Highlander don't match exactly, but they are perfectly compatible in spirit. I mean, the movie (and I mean only the first movie because I refuse to acknowledge everything that came after it, for the same reason we all choose to ignore the fact that the most delicious food eventually turns into poop) is all about singular, immortal people influencing history.
And if it also helps explain a character's accent being a few thousand miles off, all the better.
Because Highlander is already a kickass movie, I choose to believe that it's secretly way grander than I ever thought. I choose to believe that Connery's Tak Ne was born in Egypt, lived in Spain, then crossed the English Channel and created all of the Scots with his penis many years before the events of the first movie. It not only helps expand the world of Highlander without stupid-ass aliens, but it also makes total sense because if there's a man who embodies the spirit of Scotland more than Sean "I-Got-Knighted-By-The-Queen-While-Wearing-A-Kilt" Connery, I haven't heard about him.
Idris Elba's Heimdall (FromThor) Either Created, Guided, Or Fucked Early Humans
You're hearing it here first: Idris Elba has accepted the role as Chad Poundington in Lonely Housewives' Sausage Pizza Party. But that's not the reason that I'm writing this entry. I'm certainly not writing it in the hopes that Idris Elba will read it, and I'm definitely not writing it because it will encourage Elba to get me cast in Lonely Housewives' Sausage Pizza Party 2: XXXtra Cheese.
Also, I honestly don't think there's a movie that could not be improved by the inclusion of Idris Elba. Especially one where he plays a badass, omniscient tollbooth god, like in Thor. So, no, I'm not one of those guys who shat their pants in lieu of going to the toilet so they could have more time to bitch about the casting of a black man as the Asgardian god Heimdall.
Wait, if Heimdall can see everything, can he see why kids love the taste of Cinnamon Toast Crunch?
Are Nordic people and their gods whiter than albino mayo? Yes. Is the comic book Heimdall a white dude? Yes. Was the mythological Heimdall described as "the whitest of gods?" Also yes. This is all true. On the other hand, it's Idris Elba we're talking about. So even though his casting might not make canonical sense, he's still IDRIS fucking ELBA, star of Pacific Rim, Luther, The Dark Tower, and Lonely Housewives' Sausage Pizza Party 3: Marinara Tara's Two Topping Special.
Actually, let's talk more about how Heimdall is described in Nordic mythology. Other than apparently being as pasty as a Wonder Bread and snow sandwich, Heimdall's greatest accomplishment was the creation of the human race. And even though that'd also make him responsible for Batman v Superman and Sean Spicer, I choose to see that as a positive thing.
And, well, wouldn't it also make perfect sense for the father of the human race to be black, considering humanity originated in Africa?
It would definitely be great to call Idris Elba "daddy" without it being weird.
We can all agree that the powers of the Asgardians are sort of all over the place. Some can control lightning, some can shapeshift, so would it be such a stretch of the imagination if one of them also had the power of time travel and/or guiding the evolution of lower beings? It would not.
As it is, I have no trouble imagining Elba's Heimdall traveling to Earth a few millennia ago and nudging a bunch of pre-humans with his Asgardian science-magic to become humans -- ones in his own image, no less. Or maybe he simply guided our technological development. Or maybe he had sex with cavewomen and, quite literally, inserted his godly DNA into our species. Seeing as every option would make a great comic book story/porno, I'm all for the idea that Elba's Heimdall is the father of all humanity.
Cezary Jan Strusiewicz is a Cracked columnist, interviewer, and editor. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter.
For more check out 6 Fan Theories That Vastly Improve Films (If They Were True) and 6 Insane Fan Theories That Make Great Movies Better: Update.
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