January 16th, 2007


While researching my big post of the day... (forthcoming)

... I found a question on Yahoo's Q&A board.

The question was simple:
What do A-list actors, B-list actor, C-list actors, and D-list actors mean?
I heard that B-list are TV actors, and A-list actors are movie actors.
Can someone set it straight?

Unfortunately, someone gave the stock answer:
Okay..obviously you don't understand the social pyramid of hollywood.Dude here it goes: A-listers are particularly successful movie stars or celebutantes or whatever ranging from Will Smith to Paris Hilton, that is how various it is;B-listers are tv actors or other not too successful movie actors or not too known celebutantes like Ashley Johnson or more correctly, Kimberly Stewart;C-listers are rich but they are now probably former tv or movie actors and musicians that might be on some reality show;D-listers are not very important in the hollywood food chain but they do get some recognition they usually include comedians ranging from Michael Ian Black to Godfrey and others....I hope you get it now.

This is dangerously inaccurate. I use the term dangerously because it's close enough to accurate that it will lead people to sometimes correct but more often than naught incorrect assumptions.

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So.. this was my answer to the question.. Which I had to squeeze down to 300 characters because the window of opportunity had been closed:

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So this is just my general opinion and is a lead in for a post that's about 75% done that I think will be kinda cool.
Oooh, dear. That's not right

It took a while, but I found my casting... DaVinci Code

My undergraduate study (well one of them) was directing for stage. This of course was complimented by classes in Musical Theatre, Radio/TV Production, Film theory...

Directing is my first love. Once I get a cast into a rehearsal hall I am in ecstasy. I can pummel 15 minutes of a show for 3 hours and find driving emotions from a performer. I can buzz thru 45 minutes of material in 5 minutes and not lose the quality of a scene. It's all a question of focus.

But enough threats to people I will soon work with ;)

One of the things that is rare to most of us in theatre, tv, and non-professional film production is 'pre-casting.' Pre-casting is where one can take the media and say, "I want X to play the role."

I actually learned the process from my father (who had pretty much 0 contact with media). His favourite book was "The Stand" {i've never been able to make it thru anything by King}. He'd re-read the book every 2 years to then talk about 'who should be in the movie.'

Many people like to play the pre-cast game. Certain media begs for it. Among my favourites that are (were) continually pre-cast by the public are: "Wrinkle in Time", "The Endless/Sandman Series", "X-Men"... and so forth. (Note: I've given up on Annie Lennox playing Desire.. She's too old now. I guess I'll just have to go with Tilda Swinton)

Of course then you get into "Hell-casting" where you pick the worst coupling of Director and Media and then decide how they'd cast it. "Spike Lee directs The Music Man with Eddie Murphy as Harold Hill and Chris Rock as the annoying kid with a lisp that Ron Howard played."

Try a few of these Hell Castings if you like
Stanley Kubrick directs Pee Wee's Big Adventure
M. Night Shyamalan directs Gone with the Wind
Tim Burton directs Cats (hrmn.)
George A. Romero directs Rent
Oliver Stone directs The Crow
and of course
Steven Speilberg and George Lucas co direct Mary Poppins
But I digress.

DaVinci Code was a stickler for me. I knew before I even read the book that Tom Hanks was hands down the absolute worst casting ever done.

Well, this is if we define casting as "Who is the best actor to represent the character in the book" If we define casting as, "In the hollywood political substructure, which name will counterbalance our budget with a guaranteed return to make this an instant blockbuster in the first few weeks until the word of mouth kills our revenue flow"

But to be honest... I couldn't find an actor that worked for me. I was happy with one choice from the film. I was begrudgingly okay with another... but I wanted my perfect cast. Who would have made the film scream for me? When I do this kind of casting I do not think of budgets, name quality, politics. I put actor vs. actor based on what I've seen them do.

While ranting about tDvC last night I finally got my answers:

oh yes... and before you read...
Yes, virginia. There are spoilers.

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Much like Dune, I wouldn't mind seeing another attempt at DaVinci Code into an epic mini-series.

I'm not going to go much further into the problems with the original text or the screenplay.. that's a post for another time. And I'm a director... not a writer.