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The Coming of "Geisha"
Topic by: JGereben
Posted: December 8, 2005 - 5:03 PM PST
Last Reply: December 16, 2005 - 11:04 AM PST

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author topic: The Coming of "Geisha"
post #61  on December 14, 2005 - 4:04 PM PST  
> On December 14, 2005 - 3:05 PM PST woozy wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> But would you take offense at "Pooja, I bet you think this. Ha! I know you do"? I certainly would and do. Do you not see the difference?

Hmm... I'd have to say NO unless I was somehow powerless to interject to set the record straight... it's just conversational, it seems to me. A rhetorical device. I wouldn't set such a distance between the ideas of ASSumption and Presumption, woozy. I just wouldn't. I really would find it difficult to be offended by someone putting a question to me that way. Being lectured to like I was some kind of moron, THAT I find presumptious in an offensive way.

"Pooja, I bet you think this. Ha! I know you do!"
"Ah, but woozy, that's where you're mistaken, because I actually think that." is how I think that conversation should go. Not much different, but maybe even a bit more colorful than:
"Pooja, is this what you mean?"
"No, it's more like that..."

Maybe I need a better example from you. I don't really understand why:
"woozy, I bet you think this. Ha! I know you do?" would lead to:
"pooja, you did it again! I'm highly offended." Why wouldn't you just say, "pooja that's not what I think at all! Listen..."

> I'd simply prefer to avoid the argument (unless I were the director in which case I'd feel but the whole point of my movie is that it's a Streep movie and I *want* her star power

I think that's what went into casting the 3 biggest female Asian actresses in the Geisha roles. This is a Ziyi Zhang (and Gong Li and Michelle Yeoh) movie. The suits decided there weren't any Japanese actresses of equal stature right now. Once this is a given, I'd rather hear about the actresses' performances, not just their accents, from critics. Just harping on their accents seems like a cheap shot, as I said before.

Maybe the problem is that we are presuming that there is a model "Japanese accent"... maybe there is, in popular culture anyway (George Takei in that Simpsons episode) and among stand up comedians. So if actors in a film deviate from that model accent members of the audience are thrown for a loop. We're expecting them to all have the SAME accent.

Going back to the days of Gilbert & Sullivan, when foreigners were played by English speaking actors in make-up and costume, an audience member could reasonably expect to hear the same accent from every "Japanese" character. They would have all received the same instruction, pronounce "th" like "d" or "t"... replace "r" for "l", etc.

Maybe there is still a vestige of that kind of expectation... it's not so long since Teahouse of the August Moon was a hit for Brando.

BUT, in the real world, if we had a roomful of Japanese women and we asked them to talk to us in their best English (or it could be a roomful of Punjabi women or Thai women or Vietnamese women or whatever) we would be treated to a very wide range of accents and idiosyncrasies. Even if the girls were all from the same town, or the same school, they probably wouldn't speak English in a uniform manner. I don't see how we could possibly reasonably expect them to.

Heck, from seeing 2046 and Crouching Tiger, I'd bet these three wouldn't even have similar accents when they're speaking Chinese! That's assuming that they share some level of proficiency in at least one of the major dialects.

So maybe going in to this film, you just have to be prepared to suspend disbelief a little bit more than usual. Is that a big deal?

> I'd figure I'd have an obligation to address the issue.)

I would think that this is one area where we could let the marketplace decide... it's not like a casting choice is going to kill someone or orphan any children...
post #62  on December 14, 2005 - 5:15 PM PST  
> On December 14, 2005 - 4:04 PM PST pooja wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On December 14, 2005 - 3:05 PM PST woozy wrote:
> > ---------------------------------
> > But would you take offense at "Pooja, I bet you think this. Ha! I know you do"? I certainly would and do. Do you not see the difference?
> Hmm... I'd have to say NO unless I was somehow powerless to interject to set the record straight...

"Ha! I bet you think XXX" puts you in the unfair position of of having to create plausible deniability ("Naw-huh. I don't think that" or defend something not of your creation. "Geez, that sounds like or is just as bad as XXX" puts me in the fair, fair because I am the accuser, position of having of defending why the accusation follows.

Just seems like common courtesy to me.
post #63  on December 14, 2005 - 6:07 PM PST  
the marketplace has spoken! the public demands more! so next year, the 3 female stars will be reunited as female monks in tibet: heart of the lion, and uplifting historical tale of the grandeur of this important autonomous region of china.
post #64  on December 14, 2005 - 6:11 PM PST  
tibetans didn't much care for the book, but screw 'em.
post #65  on December 16, 2005 - 1:34 AM PST  
Well I kind of skipped through a lot of everyone's posts (I've been absent for awhile I have a lot of catching up!) but I have a questions and this seems to be a semi-appropriate thread to ask it in...

There is a director or perhaps writer, I think from Hong Kong who is coming out with his first english film and there are talks or he will be casting Nicole Kidman I think in his film. Does anyone know what this movie is?

PS-the reason I thought this was an appropriate place to pose this question is because I keep telling people it is Memoirs f a Geisha because I am an idiot and I am known for frequently forgetting that Rob Marshall exists because I think he's overrated.

post #66  on December 16, 2005 - 6:34 AM PST  
wong kar-wai will be working with nicole kidman to make the lady from shanghai, which is apparently not a remake of the 1948 film with orson welles and rita hayworth. it's being shot partly in europe and is a chinese/french coproduction.

(search was: "hong kong" director kidman)
post #67  on December 16, 2005 - 11:04 AM PST  
The Lady from Shanghai

Set in the 1930's, a mysterious woman who claims that she came from Shanghai has a dangerous affair with a spy.

From an interview with Kar Wai Wong

Q: What can you tell us about Lady From Shanghai, the film you're doing with Nicole Kidman?

A: Well, we're working on the script. We have ideas. Normally I will build a story around one character and I think it will be interesting to have Nicole Kidman play it as a woman who claims she came from Shanghai, and it's very mysterious.


Takeshi Kitano has also been mentioned as the candidate for playing the "bad guy". Chang Suk-Ping, the art director and costume designer for most of Wong's films, has arrived in the States to work on the character of Nicole Kidman.
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