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Tag Archives: Big Mistakes

The 90 Million Dollar Jason Momoa Mistake

Can you blame Conan the Barbarian failing on Jason Momoa? Not all of it. August is not the best time to release movies and the box office was overcrowded with movies aimed at young adult males already. That let The Help sweep past them to the top, while movies like Fright Night, Captain America and Cowboys and Aliens fought over the winnings.

But you can blame some of it. If you’re going to cast a barbarian, he should be well… barbaric. Schwarzenegger projected the thug with a sword because it wasn’t too far off from what he was. A relentlessly ambitious bodybuilder willing to do anything to get to the top. Jason Momoa recalls The Rock, a nice guy who happens to be big. The Rock at least came out of wrestling and knew how to put on some attitude. Momoa can’t even seem to do that much.

Casting him in Game of Thrones was a mistake. But putting him in Conan, that was a 90 million dollar mistake. Stick a wrestling star in there and the movie might have worked. It wouldn’t have been good, and it probably wouldn’t have passed 20 million, but it wouldn’t have been flat. Ron Perlman channels the savage early on, and that’s what Conan needed to be. But Momoa’s Conan just goes through the motions.

Dark Tower Falling

On the up side, no one will ever have to sit through Javier Bardem playing Roland. Down side, who knows it might have been good. Hard to say. Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman had an ambitious project in mind. Movies and TV shows interlinking. Maybe too ambitious. Walking Dead and Game of Thrones showed that Dark Tower could have probably worked on cable. But getting people to pay to see movies coming out of a cable show in between seasons of the cable show was a little too ambitious. Sure it may be the direction the industry is headed, everything converging on everything else, but more probably not. You need a major fan base to move a film based on a TV show and it helps to have some time for the TV to become a sentimental memory. Moving fluidly back and forth was tough. And I think Universal will finally just cut costs, turn into a cable series for AMC or FX and move on. Maybe a single movie at a much lower budget to launch the franchise.

Star Trek Generations Could Have Been Even Worse

Who knew

When were casting the role of Soran, which Malcolm McDowell played in Generations, I got a call from Marlon Brando’s agent saying that he was interested in doing it. It was the biggest thrill of my life. But the studio was not willing to pay the money that Mr. Brando was looking for.

Remember this was not the good Brando (debates on whether there ever was a good Brando will be held for another time), this was the Brando who went on to do The Island of Dr. Moreau at around the same time, a legendarily insane shoot which he made even worse by showing up with no pants, arbitrarily changing what was supposed to happen in the movie, possibly getting the director fired and other great stuff.

If Brando had actually shown up in Generations, the shoot, especially with a TV director like David Livingston who was completely out of his depth anyway, would have been spectacularly bad. Generations might have actually had to shut down, which might have forced Rick Berman out prematurely and changed Star Trek history forever. For better or worse, I don’t know.

Even if that didn’t happen, Brando’s presence wouldn’t have made the movie any better. Malcolm McDowell is a veteran and capably played the role. A few actors could have done it better, but how? Soren’s behavior had no framework. He was just a loon desperately addicted to a fantasy world and bent on killing as many people as it took to get there. And his screentime was limited by the goofy antics of the cast. If Soren had been developed properly, instead of showing us Data having a nervous breakdown, maybe.

Star Trek movies post-Harve Bennett did not have working villains. And even before that Star Trek III’s Kruge was an afterthought and the less said about Star Trek V the better. Christopher Plummer somehow managed to take a one note villain and play him with such sarcastic zest that he actually comes off really well. If Brando had done that, well who knows.

Christopher Nolan Fails at Casting

So far we’ve got Anne Hathaway playing Catwoman in Nolan’s Batman 3 reboot. One of the stiffest actresses of her generation. Tom Hardy as Bane, a large angry Latino man on steroids. Nope. Rumors of Joseph Gordon Levitt as the Riddler, yes the minuscule Levitt as the Riddler.

But Nolan has miscast every Batman film. Christian Bale is a terrible Batman. Katie Holmes playing a top prosecutor in Batman Begins was silly. Cillian Murphy didn’t even register. He got lucky with the older actors, seasoned pros like Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Liam Neeson who redeemed the whole affair.

The casting for Dark Knight was still weak. Heath Ledger’s performance was average. If he hadn’t died tragically before the movie opening, that’s the way people would have seen it. Maggie Gyllenhaal was okay. Aaron Eckhart was great as the golden boy of hope, but terrible as Two Face. But it didn’t matter, because Dark Knight was a sprawling ensemble piece, in which even Bale and Ledger’s weak performances hardly registered against the epicness of it all. It’s like complaining about the acting in a Cecil B. DeMille film.

Can The Dark Knight Rises pull off the same trick? Nolan made another epic movie with Inception. He’ll probably do it again. But dragging along his Inception cast is a bad move. Nolan has miscast all the Batman movies and this looks to have the worst cast of them all.

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