Colorful Casting

Gunjih leuhnggo hau: the officials have two mouths

Within the character for “official” appears two mouths (they look like square boxes).  Regular people use one mouth.  This phrase means that those in power can speak much louder.  Whether they’re right or wrong, you still have to listen to them.

Some things are out of one’s control.  When a writer gets their work turned into a movie, it transitions out of their hands.  Film adaptations require different skills.  That’s why there are screenwriters, although some novelists can also create beautiful screenplays.  Here’s a list of ten surprising movies based on books.

An author has no say on who’s cast in the picture.  That’s when gunjih leuhnggo hau, the officials use their two mouths.  For example, The Departed, a remake of an Asian film, featured Caucasian actors.  Here’s an article highlighting the similarities between the original version and the Hollywood one.  A film coming out, based on the South Korean revenge thriller Oldboy, features this casting call list.

I can understand remakes not using casts similar to the original ones.  What about a play set in ancient China, though?  The La Jolla Playhouse received complaints from the community about their casting for “The Nightingale.”  Artistic director Christopher Ashley responded by saying that they “wanted to create a multicultural cast in a reinterpretation of this Hans Christian Andersen classic fable, blending East and West, past and present.” 

What’s your take on this move?  Does it strengthen or weaken the play’s themes?

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