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Thread: Harry Potter: why "Brit only" need apply

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They just want what we've got old boy.

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I hear non American friends say all the time - You Americans are so arrogant!
Why are they here I wonder?? Big Smile Smilie
Swampfaye: This American figures it is only our celebrities and our government who appear arrogant; not our ordinary citizens, with the exception of course of our loud-mouthed stereotype tourists. Most people can only base their opinions on what they see in our media, which definitely does not show a representative view of the way things are. Elf Confused Smilie

As for no Americans in her books, that can be explained because she assumes we have our own schools of magic and Hogwarts doesn't accept Rhodes Scholars and besides she probably has never met any of our ordinary citizens on which to base her characters, and certainly wouldn't allow any of our stereotypes in the class or on the faculty--of course were Dr. Kissenger native born, he might make a good choice for the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, well compared to the ones she has written so far. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie

And as far as why no American actors need apply for her films, I think it is good to give the British actors all the screen time they can get. Our American culture is so domineering via our media that whatever countries like France, Canada, and Britain can do to hold their own is fine by me. Cool Elf Smilie

Where the Heck is Book Five?

[Edited on 26/12/2002 by Grondmaster]
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I get kinda tired about hearing that American's have this big "ego" and stick our noses into everyone's business.

This topic has been been addressed in several threads already, Swampfaye. Below is a link to the latest one. In a couple of days I would like to move this thread there as there are some responses that should be shared.

http://www.planet-tolkien.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=Forum&file=viewthread&postThreadID=757

As for the Harry Potter, well, the characters are going to a wizard school in England so why would you use an American or Canadian (or any other nation, for that matter) location and/or actor if you want to stay true to the books?
Stereotyping is a dangerous thing. I believe every person in every nation is an individual and deserves to be respected and loved on their own merit. And I know many people who share my feelings. There have been many men and women from various nations who have done great and wonderful things to make this a better world.
I participated in those discussions, but this is about entertainment - not politics. I didn't want to put politics into it at all.

I just have been thinking about the "authenticity" aspect that my European friends bring up over and over - but if that were true, you wouldn't use a 28 year old to play a 16 year old and you certainly wouldn't use a 30 something to play a 14 year old (which they did in the last movie)

I just want to know why not admit "we want to have only Brits cast so we can expose more Brit actors to good roles in a popular movie" - I think that's fine - I even think if you would admit you were "promoting" Brit'centrism - that would be something to actually be proud of (nationalism can be good, you know) - but no one has ever brought that up to me - it's always "authenticity" issues...
Would you have cast an American in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? Sure, it could be done. But why? Cast an American just for the sake of casting an American? It's not as if descent A and B-list American actors are in desperate need of work. And plus, THEY'RE EXPENSIVE! Not a lot of Non-American actors demanding $20 million paychecks.

But it's strange...these things never really crossed my mind. I've seen Brit actors play Americans and Americans play Brits... doesn't bother me either way as long as the accent is halfway decent. (Orlando Bloom seemed to be having a difficult time of it in Blackhawk Down and it was a bit distracting during his brief screentime).

I'd like to see Brit films get more play here in the US. I recently saw Dog Soldiers which turned out to be one of the better horror/action films I've seen in a while... but here in the US it was treated like Sci Fi Channel trash. That just ain't right.

Then there's Snatch. If Brad Pitt hadn't been in it, it never would have seen theatrical release in the US...and it's one of the funniest (and craziest) movies I've seen. Guy Ritchie even said as much- that he cast Brad Pitt "just to get butts in the seats." I don't think that's right, though it's understandable.

And just look at LotR. Sure, Americans are footing the bill but it's largely a New Zealand production.

Perhaps they didn't want any Americans in order to prove that a "Brit-centric" film can make a worldwide box office splash. Perhaps now that that's been proven, we'll see what else we've been missing.

American films and stars have been dominating the market for the better part of a century. How can we complain if someone sets out to prove that Americans aren't the only ones who can make blockbusters.
Okay - I can buy that Prog - but the truth about Hollywood is it really *is* international. I know two Canadians and several NZ'ers who are hoofing it in Hollywood to "break in". ENtertainment is global in it's nature now - and if Britian wants to try and take a bite of that pie - I think that's fine. Ireland, I hear, now has a large entertainment driven economy - as well as NZ after Hercules started it off. But yes, I would have cast an American in Crouching Tiger - I consider Jackie Chan an American now as well as Lucy Lu, when Max Smirnov was doing Improv in San Diego, he still had a heavy Russian accent (a communist refugee) but he was definitely (in his mind at least) an "American." I still think people are thinking "all Americans are white and speak like New Yorkers." Americans are as diverse a population as you will find anywhere - there *are* Americans WITH British accents - I know quite a few of them myself.

I can accept the fact, though, that Brits want to give Brit actors a run and a chance to shine. But I don't think that was the intent, that arguement has not often been presented, and I don't think it was what JKR had in mind when she made the deal with WB. But I will just tell myself that it was...

thanks!
As long as they can act well and fit the part they are playing, I don't care what nationality the actor is. What does bug me though is the way certain films have to be portrayed to get financial (ie. Hollywood) backing.

The two films which immediately spring to mind are Memphis Belle and Enigma. In the former the writer took the script about a Lancaster plane and its British crew, but could only get backing if the plane became a Flying Fortress and its crew American.

The latter case, in which the Americans discover a German Enigma code machine on board a submarine is even more annoying because it is not just a fictional story they are messing with. It is a true story except it was a British crew that rescued the encrypter.

It should not really matter what nation did what if it really happened, so why does Hollywood feel the need to glorify America at the expense of other nations?
Well, I DO see your point Faye. Though I can't seem to imagine Jackie Chan in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Big Laugh Smilie

It really comes down to money. It ALWAYS comes down to money. As Faye pointed out, a film's box office run in the States can make it or break it financially...that's simply because of the sheer size of our population..280 million people with ten bucks and the desire to see a movie. And the fact is that it's not just Americans who like Americanized films. Films that are smash hits here are (with a few exceptions like The Patriot, Pearl Harbor and other singularly American stories) smash hits worldwide. The films that fail miserably here, also fail elsewhere.

Other countries simply don't have the audience base to make big budget action, adventure, sci fi/fantasy films. Why do you think the Japanese Godzilla movies still feature a guy in a rubber suit Big Laugh Smilie

For that reason the industry seems to cater to Americans first and everyone else second, at least in the case of super big budget films. It's a matter of "butts in the seats."

I'd like to see that sort of thing end and maybe now that HP has done so well more big budget films will be made outside the US. That means more movies with different artistic sensibilities and that can only be a good thing.

But I agree that casting one or two American b-list character actors in HP wouldn't have made it any less of a British production. Like I said before, despite the presence of several American actors and the fact that it was paid for entirely by American film studios, I still consider LotR to be a largely non-American production.

You have to wonder if their refusal to even CONSIDER American actors for HP doesn't indicate some deeper resentment.

But what's done is done and all's well that ends well. And anyway, the first two film's director, Chris Columbus IS an American. And the next film's director, Alfonso Cuaron, is also American, though of Mexican birth. So America did manage to get its fingers in there some how Big Laugh Smilie
actually - thanks to taxes in California - most filming of major pictures are done outside of the US. This, I don't mind at all - Ireland, New Zeland and even places like Yugoslavia now have a film industry thanks to stupid California taxes and environmental laws (You have to do an EPA study on all films shot outside of a studio - and to film on federal land, you have to have a bureaucrat on site...)

actually, I found out there is one American as a student at hogwarts... the directors daughter! sigh Hollywood is such a den of nepotism!
Heh, a thought on HP from me....

Chris Columbus: okay, I'll do the first two, nice little books, I won't have to cut hardly anything out, people will love me and despair!!! I'd hate to be the next guy who has to do a 6 hour movie, or cut it to hell, he's gonna get killed....

clever guy Mr. Columbus, discovered america as well you know.... and did that detective show....
oh yeah, columbus all over the place. he must be getting up there in the years i guess. Elf Winking Smilie

Surely the original question does not need a reply if you have heard the really authentic irish accents of nicole kidman and tom cruise in 'Home and Away'. Lets move away from incidents such as in the film Ghandi where we get blacked up white actors playing asian and black parts, why not have british actors playing british parts and thus avoid the 'Dick Van Dyke in murrrry poppons' syndrome?
I may have been tipsy in the last post but i didn't think that the shortening of the name Richard needed bleeping out in my previous entry? Obviously any actor from any country should play any part ie Rene Z (whose name I can't spell) was really great in Bridget Jones. Sorry, if i was a slosh head, I just really hate really bad irish or scottish(american actor) accents.


[Edited on 2/1/2003 by Eolynn]
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I may have been tipsy in the last post but i didn't think that the shortening of the name Richard needed bleeping out in my previous entry?
Naw, it isn't you, it is our fine anti-smut filter that won't let us write about such fine literary classics as the first year primer Richard and Jane and the tall tail of the white whale tale Moby Richard. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie
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.... and did that detective show..


Not to be a nitpicker, but I think you meant ColumbO. Big Laugh Smilie One of my favorite shows in the detective genre, BTW. Along with Law and Order: Criminal Intent.

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nicole kidman and tom cruise in 'Home and Away'.


Ok, so I AM a nitpicker. I think you mean 'FAR and Away'. Good movie, though. But I wasn't so impressed with Mr. Cruise's brogue.

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I just really hate really bad irish or scottish(american actor) accents.


Me too! But it can't be easy. I'm told I do a great British accent but I bet if our British PT friends were to hear me they'd pop a gasket laughing.

Watch Blackhawk Down and see how badly Orli Bloom struggles with a mid-atlantic American accent. Not TOO bad... but you can see he's struggling.

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and the tall tail of the white whale tale Moby Richard.


ROFL! Big Laugh Smilie
I'm a Texan... and I've heard some real butchering of Texas accents, but it doesn't bend me all out of shape, and I can't think of a Texan who says "He just can't pull off the accent" when it comes to it... why are Brits so bloody bothered about accurate accents? Ehy bother trying anyway - you didn't like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang any less because Richard... lol .. Van Dyke was using an AMERICAN accent instead of even trying to do a Brit one - and it didn't take from the movie at all (though, you may notice all the rest of the characters had very pronounced accents). Why not do something like that if you are so bothered by accents? Surely there are "americans" in Britian (I know quite a few myself...) and one or two in the mix isn't going to make a British movie any "less" authentic than throwing in a "real" Hindi instead of a Indian'Brit...

and I've been to Ireland as a tourist (visiting an Irish friend) and found there are as many different "brogues" there as there are accents in America - and though I think Tom Cruise is a mediocre actor, I just can't bring myself to crit him for his Irish accent... I must say the Irish are much more tollerant and aimable about Americans imitating their accent than Brits are - what is that about?

but I'd love to see more Irishmen in the next HP movie (but if I have to wait for GOF, thats okay too)

[Edited on 1/6/2003 by swampfaye]
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.... and did that detective show..


Not to be a nitpicker, but I think you meant ColumbO. Big Laugh Smilie One of my favorite shows in the detective genre, BTW. Along with Law and Order: Criminal Intent.


It's just a joke Prog, I nicked it from Arnold Rimmer (of Red Dwarf fame) who describes Columbus as "The man in the dirty Mac who discovered America".

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Ok, so I AM a nitpicker. I think you mean 'FAR and Away'. Good movie, though. But I wasn't so impressed with Mr. Cruise's brogue.


I'd like to see them in Home and Away, after all Kidman IS an Aussie actress....

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I just really hate really bad irish or scottish(american actor) accents.


Me too! But it can't be easy. I'm told I do a great British accent but I bet if our British PT friends were to hear me they'd pop a gasket laughing.

I bet you're right, Keanu Reeves in Dracula has to win as the funniest ever, unless you count the aforementioned MR. Van Dyke in Mary Poppins.

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Watch Blackhawk Down and see how badly Orli Bloom struggles with a mid-atlantic American accent. Not TOO bad... but you can see he's struggling.


Apparently he's had to go back and redo his Irish for the Ned Kelly movie as well, cos it sucked bigtime, as did Heath ledger's.
Was Heath Ledger in another movie where he had to do an Irish accent? Or am I remembering wrong? (Yes, I know that's really vague...I'll work on remembering better.)

I think it's completely silly to exclude anyone from appearing in a movie based on nationality. If they can do a decent accent, it shouldn't matter. I mean, if they had done the casting for HP and ended up with all Brits, that's fine, but to disallow anyone else seems a bit much.
Well, Heath Ledger did a good enough American accent in The Patriot that I never had a clue that he wasn't actually American. And speaking of The Patriot and accents, what the hey ever happened to Mel Gibson's accent? He sounds as American as apple pie now...

Come to think of it, maybe it's just an Aussie thing, cuz Nichole Kidman does a flawless Mid-Atlantic. Who knows...
I know this might offend a lot to our USA partners, as well as my oun mexican partners, but this is not an issue known by the rest of the world. I just wanted european guys to have this new point of view. I know politics are not allowed here, but this is not that, it is just plain history class.


Moderator Smilie I'm afraid however you attempted to disguise your post as a history lesson, it hit all of our political hot buttons and has thus been heavily edited.

The blanket bans we made were not us being vindictive against certain topics. We have a multi-racial membership here, and we have one thing in common, Tolkien. The ban we placed on certain topics was done with the intention of preventing posts likely to be upsetting or offensive to other members. Whether your posts are political, or thinly disguised as a history lesson, if they are deemed likely to offend, they will be removed.

We are not trying to limit the freedom of speach, or just to hear certain sides of an arguement. We are attempting to maintain a friendly site here, and prevent any upsets. Moderator Smilie

We are all friends here. If you think your post might offend another member, don't post it. Thank you for your cooperation.


[Edited on 28/1/2003 by Valedhelgwath]
Oh man, what I could do with that!!! Somebody better hurry and stuff a sock in this one, I don't know how long I can hold my tongue.
Has anyone noticed that the majority of bad guys in films are now Brit's, why is this , is it because we wont get the hump or what. Ever since the end of the cold war we get the blame for everything. Take the Patriot when they burn down that barn that happened in the second world war and was commited by Nazi's. val I think you mean U571 and yes it was an english destroyer that rescued the enigma code book for the Nazi submarine fleet.
Man. It really was a history lesson, because noone knows about mexico, and noone cares. So i wanted to open my countries backstage a little. But i still wonder, why to call USA people "americans", and all the world refer to them as such, if americans are all the people who live in this continent. just wondering
Well, the thread is drifting off course, I feel it't been discussed to a high enough level suitable for the thread to now be closed.

Thanks for the ... erm... 'history lesson' / non 'political debate' ... *cough*

CLOSED.
Moderator Smilie I've just deleted the last couple of posts from this thread because the members who wrote them apparently forgot about our ban on political topics. Please remember, folks, even the most innoculous political comment usually upsets somebody. That's not what we want here....

Thank you
Moderator Smilie