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Movie: Another Shit Idea

Life isn’t fair. The fact is that sometimes life outright sucks. Take for example the double standard that comes into play when an actor is typecast (Sure, there are far greater examples of why life sucks, but this is the one we’re running with today, ok kids!?): Look at guys like Don Adams, Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis, Bob Denver and Alan Hale Jr., Heck, even George Takei and Leonard Nimoy. Now, if you recognised any of those names, I bet you said to yourself something along the lines of, “Oh, that’s the guy from Get Smart/The Musters/Gilligan’s Island/Star Trek!” And that’s my point, we know these people as the character that they made famous and little else.

While these people achieved a certain level of fame for their portrayal of some much loved characters our perception of them, as that character, never changed. In effect you could say that the character killed the actors career. Take Don Adams; while I’m not about to sit here and tell you that he was the greatest actor to have ever lived, surely the man could have, if given the chance, inhabited characters other than just Maxwell Smart. But, sadly I believe we missed out on seeing the full potential of this actor (and many others) because we, as an audience (and casting directors everywhere), failed to look past a beloved character.

Imagine if we’d done the same thing to, say, Tom Cruse (The kid from Risky Business) or, Brad Pitt (The cowboy from Thelma & Louise) or, Will Smith (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)… Harrison Ford! Imagine that Harrison Ford had been typecast after appearing in Gun Smoke or American Graffiti… What would have become of Han Solo (Star Wars), Lt Mike Barnsby (Force 10 from Navarone), Colonel Lucas (Apocalypse Now), Tommy Lillard (The Frisco Kid), Indiana Jones (Raiders etc), Rick Deckard (Blade Runner) or any of the numerous other characters that we’ve accepted his portrayal of?

Yeah, I hear you saying, “But Elroy, have you considered that some of these actors and their characters were essentially the same? As in, they were effectively playing ‘themselves’ and therefore weren’t really capable of playing characters, distinguishably different from themselves, unlike our friend Mr Ford?”

Despite your insolence, you have a point, but it merely supports the contention of this whole post… But before I get to that, listen up… you interrupt me again like that and I swear, it’s a shiv for you… Got it, chatty? Good.

Let say that you’re right and that it’s the actor who’s at fault or that I’m right and it’s our fault that these people have been typecast.. Isn’t the result the same, aren’t we both saying that these actors OWN the part? Isn’t it fair to say that Don Adams IS Maxwell Smart? Or that Bob Denver IS Gilligan.. Because without THEM the character simply wouldn’t be the character that we love and wouldn’t let them leave.

So, now we get to that double standard that I mentioned earlier and the ‘shit idea’ that I alluded to in the title of this post… Warner Bros. are again vying for the title of ‘company capable of coming up with ideas even more shit than the FOX network ‘ by moving forward with a movie based on the classic Mel Brooks/Buck Henry series GET SMART.

The movie, penned by Tom Astle and Matt Ember (Failure to Launch) begins shooting next month under the direction of Peter Segal (50 First Dates, The Longest Yard). Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Terence Stamp have joined the cast as Agent 23 (a new character) and ‘an evil leader’ respectively.

So, why is it that the original actor could never be separated from the character… and yet now, we’re suppose to allow the character to be separated from the actor? Agh – Never mind me, I’m just bitter about seeing another cherished memory from my childhood raped for a few bucks… I’ll give them this though, the casting of Anne Hathaway as Agent 99 and the brilliant Steve Carell as Don Adams… I mean Maxwell Smart (Agent 86), are both perfect choices. I respect Carell enough to believe that he’ll do his best to do the character Justice.. or at least he’d better… or it’s a shiv for him too! [source]

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12 Comments

    Why are these pics here?
    Uh…because she’s hot? And also: highly dubious about the whole remake of Get Smart.

  • Give the boy a prize!
    I’m with you on both counts. When I heard that Anne Hathaway was going to be in the film, I thought “99? I’d give her one” – Oddly I spent much of my youth thinking the same thing.

    And, yeah, dubious is the right word.

  • Yeah, but what about?…
    If Anne Hathaway is playing ’99’, who has the lead role of ’86’? Considering Don Adams made this role his own (as well as ‘Inspector Gadget’)it will make it very difficult for anyone else to fill this vacancy. Are they looking for an exact copy or will they take a different route for the bumbling secret agent?

    For example, Steve Martin is a comic genius, but trying to remake the Pink Panther was a short (but expensive) trip to hidingsville.

    There are some things that should be left alone and genuine classics are at the top of the list.

    From a viewers humble perspective, movies to be avoided are:

    1. Remakes of classic TV shows; those with characters who were made unforgetable by distinctive actors. (read above)

    2. Movies by celebrated directors. Anything by Alfred Hitchcock comes to mind.

    3. Anything that was a musical on stage. Chicago, Rent, Hair.

    3. Movies that stank the first time around.

  • The dude from The (US) Office.
    Steve Carell has been cast as Max (86) which, like I said in the post, is one of the few things that makes me even slightly interested in this film. And only because I can see Carell playing the part with respect to Don Adams and not as a parody of him (like Steve Martin’s Clouseau ended up being).

    Pretty much the whole point of my initial post was to say that, when an actor ends up so bound to a character that we fail to see them as anyone else, then that has to go both ways – the character must then belong to that actor… So, when the actor dies (or is unable to play the part any longer) then, in my opinion, the character dies also. We can always revisit and appreciate the original work but that’s it.

    I’m not excluding derivative work here (new characters/same universe kind of thing): In this case I’m sure that there are plenty of other Control agents that we could have been introduced to.

    Steve Carell’s performance MAY end up being a fine homage to Don Adams – But he’ll never BE Maxwell Smart the way Adams was.

  • agreed
    THAT’S why it’s your website.

  • Yeap!
    It’s also why I get to do all the shiving!

    /makes thrusting motion with the pointy end of a sharpened toothbrush

  • not a good look…
    Prolly not a good idea to use the word ‘shiv’ as it has distinct prison undertones.

    (has flashback to Chevy Chase move…

    Chevy – “What’s your name?”

    Huge Biker dude -(gruff voice) “Bend over!”

    Chevy – “Pleased to meet you, Ben. My name’s Chevy…”

    Not a nerd-friendly environment…


  • You quoteth a conversation from “Fletch Lives”, and Chevy (Fletch) introduces himself as “Victor Hugo”

    /Sorry ;)

  • felony or a misdemeanour?
    The character is played by Randall Cobb (who was also in the awesome Golden Child) and, what I’ve always found amusing, is that he is actually credited as playing “Ben Dover”.

    Oh, Just for the record too, the guy is in jail on a charge of molesting a dead horse.

  • what day is it today?…
    That’s the one!

    I was quoting from memory but I’m thrilled you knew the bit of the scene I was talking about!!

    But the point is; not a nerd freindly environment.

  • Shiv me not
    Point taken macca, I will discard the aforementioned sharpened toothbrush and, following your lead, I will instead use random movie references in its place…

    Mopery anyone?

  • go with what you know…
    Better off taking the high ground and going with your strengths.

    Besides, I’ve never met a nerd who could wield a decent shiv…