Philip Marlowe/Casting Your Films/Internet Specials...
Your Angry Filmmaker guest quote of the week.
~ Raymond Chandler
I love Raymond Chandler. He was a terrific writer and he had such a way with words. When I was living in LA I read all of his books and then one of the art house theaters did a whole weekend of his films. I was in heaven! I was in that theater for just about every one. They also had the different versions of some of his films. That was a great weekend.
And even though times have changed,
A lot of people have portrayed Philip Marlowe over the years, and I think I finally figured out what works best for me. If you combine Humphrey Bogart’s attitude with Robert Mitchum's physical presence you have the ultimate Philip Marlowe. Bogart doesn’t take anything off of anyone and you always know that he is on the case for the long haul. Mitchum looked large on the screen and has this weariness that I think is the essence of Marlowe. Mitchum’s Marlowe had seen it all and he was tired. He didn’t own much (an over coat and two pistols according to one of the films), but he was going to see this thing through to the end, and it didn’t matter to him if he survived.
If you could put those two guys together you’d have one great character. Trust me, I like them as individuals, it’s just that Marlowe is larger than life.
So who could play Marlowe now? Is there an actor out there that has the attitude and the physical presence to pull it off?
One of the things that most filmmakers who are starting out do is to cast their friends in their films. While it is always great to have free actors, one thing you need to be careful of, (especially young filmmakers) is casting a bunch of people that are all the same age and ethnicity. Sure, your leads can be a certain type, but then you need to fill your supporting roles with people of different ages and ethnic types.
Why? Because you need to give your audience characters that they can identify with, who are like them in different ways. It also shows a more accurate picture of the world around us. When I am judging some film festivals I can usually tell the age of the director by the age of the cast. This is not always true, but you would be amazed at how accurate I can be. Young filmmakers make films that have tons of young people in them. Don’t think about making films just for your friends; expand your vision and the world around you.
I was told by a lot of different distributors when we were shopping Birddog around, how amazed they were in the casting. They were all good actors and very believable in their roles, but they were all different. I was told that most first time directors make the casting mistake, this was just one of the reasons the distributors had a tough time believing it was my first film. I told them it was my 12th film, but first feature.
Populate your films with all types and your films will look more “professional”. But also keep them historically accurate or you’re gonna have Spike Lee or Clint Eastwood bothering you!
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