The Lost Boys of Hook, 25 Years Later

Ready to feel old?

This December, Steven Spielberg’s Hook — the film that imagined what happened to Peter Pan (the late Robin Williams) after he grew up — will be celebrating its 25th anniversary. Recently, Entertainment Tonight reunited the movie’s Lost Boys — who were all child actors at the time — to get back into their Neverland costumes one more time. Fortunately for us, our pal Dante Basco, Rufio himself(!), brought a camera with him and shot some behind the scenes video of the photo shoot!

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‘Pan’ and the Amazing Technicolor Natives

First things first: Pan — opening in U.S. theaters this weekend — is a colorful, action-packed PG-13 reimagining  of the origins of Peter Pan and his relationships with and to Captain Hook, Tiger Lily, and Neverland as we know them through J.M. Barrie’s play and novel and their myriad subsequent Broadway, Disney, and Hollywood (re)interpretations.

My daughters, ages 11 and 6, enjoyed the film, and the 6-year-old, who often asks to leave the theater during intense or “scary” action sequences, made it through with only a bit of parental ear-covering during loud bits. The world-building and -design and the effects were beautiful and well-done, with visual call-backs to many fantasy, science fiction, and action films that parents will recognize fondly (the Mad Max films and Avatar being just an example) and original effects like giant bubbles of water containing aquatic life floating in the sky that I will remember for a while. But it’s the twists, and the questions and consequences they bring up, that I want to talk about now. So from here on in, SPOILERS AHEAD.

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Finding the Right (White) Actor to Cast in that Non-White Role

Over the past weekend, The Hollywood Reporter released an article about the heightened alert placed on ethnic casting. The article starts off with the controversial choice to cast Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily in the upcoming Warner Brothers picture Pan, which will be a re-imagined take on Peter Pan lore. Throughout the article, unnamed producers and studio execs justify their casting decisions with the “tried and true” reasoning that it’s always the best actor being cast for the job, regardless of race, even if that means casting white people to play non-white folks. Ideally, I would be in full support of this idea as I think it really should be about choosing the best actor for the job, regardless of race and nationality. Ideally, casting should be “colorblind” because as actors, we are trained to bring a character to life as far removed from us as possible.

And that’s as far as I can go. No really, that’s it. This is where that dreamy ideal world I’d like to be in is instantly crushed by the not-so-sugary reality that “choosing the best actor for the job” and all that hippy dippy freedom-of-the-arts talk is usually reserved only for the status quo. Or in blunt politically incorrect terms: white people.

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An Open Letter to J.K. Rowling about the American Wizarding School in Fantastic Beasts

by Dr. Adrienne Keene | Originally posted at Native Appropriations

Dear J.K. Rowling,

I am unabashedly a huge Harry Potter fan. I first encountered Harry when I was in Junior High, volunteering at the public library (nerd status, I know). The children’s librarian handed me book one, and I was hooked. I even used to frequent Harry Potter message boards back in the day with my friend Kathleen (we were “Parvati” and “Lavender” cause we also shared an interest in divination, ha). Anyway, all this is to say, Harry holds a sacred spot in my heart. But I’m not one of those fans who can recite things verbatim, or remember every tiny detail, so if I’m missing something, I hope one of those fans will help me out.

I’ve been interestedly following the news that there is a new Harry Potter prequel-of-sorts in the works, for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, following “magizoologist” Newt Scamander. I hadn’t been following it closely, but a few days ago, I saw your exchanges on Twitter about the name/location of the American Wizarding School — and I started to get a bit concerned.

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Why “Fix” Tiger Lily? Why Can’t We Just Let Her Go?

by Dr. Adrienne Keene | Originally posted at Indian Country Today

On Thursday night, NBC aired their Peter Pan Live! event, a highly publicized three-hour-plus live performance starring Allison Williams as a weirdly sexualized little boy who doesn’t want to grow up. Tucked among the many press releases for the event was the information that the role of Tiger Lily would be played by Alanna Saunders, who is a “descendant of members of the Cherokee Nation.” OK.

Additionally, the show promised us they changed the offensive “Ugg-a-Wug” song to something culturally “authentic” and appropriate. They even hired a Native composer, Chickasaw Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate, to consult on the “improved” “Ugg-a-Wug,” causing National Museum of the American Indian director Kevin Gover to praise the production for being, “closer to our heritage, our culture and portrays a deeper sensitivity and helps diminish the many stereotypes surrounding Native Americans.”

I’m going to hope that he said all that before he saw the costume or the number. Because the costume. Oh the costume. Vegas showgirl-meets-Halloween-pocahottie-flapper.

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R.I.P. Robin Williams

Like most of the world, we were shocked to hear of the passing of Robin Williams last night. It’s hard to crystallize all of the emotions that come when a beloved personality passes away. Shock gives way to grief and then finally reflection. There are countless tributes and eulogies celebrating Williams’ life and career all over the internet. Here, we’re going to remember the roles and memories that have touched our lives and will continue to bring joy and laughter to generations to come.

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Elsewhere Around the Internet

Last week, while we were a little preoccupied with the idea of casting an Asian American actor as Iron Fist, Hollywood — as if on cue — once again proved cross-racial casting is really a one-way street and announced Girl with the Dragon Tattoo star Rooney Mara will be playing Tiger Lily in Warner Brothers’ upcoming live action Peter Pan adaptation.

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