Fans want Control

Casting for 50 Shades

What’s going on with the recent fan protests about the casting of 50 Shades and Batman?  On its own, I’m struggling to be interested in the hoo-ha about 50 Shades (apparently voted the least-desired present for Christmas, and the most likely book to be left behind in a Travelodge).  But, with the Batman protest a few weeks ago, it feels like it might be becoming a phenomenon: fans want control.

But does any actor embody a character as you imagine them?  Mostly, after a while, it’s impossible to imagine the character as anyone else, though.

Playing with audience appetites is a long-established Hollywood game.  Back when Garbo and John Gilbert were the subject of hot gossip, the studio put them in a film with a mischievous title so they could announce they were in Love. 

Maybe this furore is just good advertising.

So, answers please:  Is this significant?  Should an audience be able to affect creative decisions before a book or film is released?

(Incidentally, the picture isn’t an illustration of any fans, just suggested cast.)

3 thoughts on “Fans want Control

  1. Matching the actor with the character as close as possible should always be the primary casting objective of the producer and/or director, but unfortunately in big-budget hollywood this basic criteria is rarely followed…..much to many screenwriter’s or authors’ dismay. The Hollywood Machine is not geared to run on high-octane creativeness, but rather on the lower grade of association, favors, positioning, attachment and career advancement.

    As far as letting the general audience make the creative decisions, that will never happen…even tho they would probably do a better job than the ‘experts’ in many cases. I’m afraid the walls are high, the moat is deep and hollywood is very adept at keeping the power within the box.

    Will be interesting to see how Fifty Shades turns out given that someone had the knackers to turn the helming over to a relative (almost complete) unknown. Bravo for her and I hope she does well.


    btw…like your casting idea for FSG…but the female lead needs a little more T&A to meet hollywood standards ))

  2. The problem casting adaptations lies in the imagination of the fans. An actor can only partially embody what we see in our heads, and that is as it should be.
    A film adaptation is a point of view, nothing more. Was Michael Keaton a more authentic Batman than Adam West? Was Lewis Wilson Better than Robert Lowery? Who knows?
    Pleasing the fans is something studios would seek, but it is not the only factor to consider because a movie is aimed at a wider audience.
    Finally (and this may be heresy), I like Ben Affleck as an older Batman 🙂

  3. I think if you asked Peter Jackson, the answer would probably be, “yes”. From the things he posts on social media, you can see that he is very interested in interacting with fans’ responses to his films. (Often in very amusing ways). And there was the case of “Figwit” in the LOTR films: named as such by the fans after the first film; given a speaking role and credited as such in the third.

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