Mister Cinecal

Mister Cinecal

Sunday, 9 February 2014

5 Undignified Roles by 5 Dignified English Actors

There are many things we can rely on the English for. We can rely on them to whip up a cup of tea at a second’s notice, we can rely on them to, at any given moment in time, be losing a game of cricket to Australia and we can rely on them to churn out a never ending line of distinguished, well-trained actors. It is also often the case that the older generation of English actors, despite their class, are willing to appear in absolutely any old rubbish for a large fee, in the name of pleasing their strangely-accented grandchildren or to provide their house with enough stories to make it befitting of an old man with an English accent. Laurence Olivier, the famous Shakespearean actor, was once famously asked why he appeared in Inchon, described as “the most expensive B-movie ever made”. His reply, “money dear boy” about sums it up. Here are ten acclaimed British actors who took on work less interested in their reputations and much more interested in the dumptruck made of diamonds that delivered them stacks of bills dipped in gold.

1. Sir Ben Kingsley in BloodRayne

In Sir Ben’s defence, if you win the Oscar for Best Actor the very first time you star in a film, there’s really nowhere to go but down. Just a few years after Gandhi, Kingsley starred in a film called Harem, where an American woman is kidnapped by an Arab sheik and who gradually comes around to the man who forced her into sexual slavery. The feel-good romantic comedy of the century! So his career has pretty consistently been a series of peaks and valleys and probably the deepest pit of a valley is BloodRayne, an adaptation of a middling video game about sexy vampires by reviled director Uwe Boll. Boll, it is said, was able to make rubbish like BloodRayne because of a German tax loophole that meant his investors actually did better if the film didn’t make a profit. Uncle Ben said he did BloodRayne because he really wanted to play a vampire. A rapist vampire. An Academy Award-winning, Knight of the Realm Video Game Rapist Vampire. I’m sure he was beating down Boll’s door for that chance, and that tax law loophole had nothing to do with it.
2. Michael Caine in Jaws: The Revenge

A shark has to keep moving at all times or else it will die. The Jaws franchise on the other hand, was able to keep moving on long after displaying any signs of life. Jaws: The Revenge was a truly ridiculous movie wherein the titular shark actually bears a grudge against the Brody family, to the point that it follows them to the Bahamas in an attempt to kill them all. Roy Scheider’s character has been killed off at this point, not from a shark attack, but from a heart attack. Which his traumatised widow attributes to fear of shark attack. Michael Caine plays a character named “Hoagie”, a seaplane pilot who puts the moves on the widow Brody. Caine was unable to collect his Academy Award for Hannah and Her Sisters in person because he was too busy shooting a movie where a shark roars like a lion. When asked about Jaws: The Revenge, Caine said: "I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific." The original Jaws helped to start the “movie blockbuster” as we know it today. Who knew it would end with a man named after a sandwich romancing on old lady with PTSD?

3. Helen Mirren in Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole
Look, I know Lord of the Rings made a lot of money and all, but if there’s any indication that the race to adapt any and every long-running fantasy book series has long since gone too far, it’s the existence of a movie about an owl going on an owl adventure to beat the evil owl before he takes over all the owl kingdoms. There comes a point when even the biggest nerd has to draw a line in the sand. And that point involves a CGI owl wearing armour. Helen Mirren lends her voice to Nyra, who is a) Queen of the Pure Ones, b) second-in-command to the evil Metal Beak and c) a fucking owl.
4. Geoffrey Rush in The Warrior's Way

“Ninjas. Damn.” Damn indeed Geoffrey. Just think how much better The King’s Speech would be if Geoffrey was training the king of England to use ninja skills to defeat the Nazis.

5. David Niven in Casino Royale

Yes, Casino Royale was not just the darker, grittier reboot of the James Bond franchise/2 and a half hour advertisement for Sony products, it was also the second go around at making a film based on the Casino Royale story. In 1967, producer Charles Feldman got the rights to the story, but decided to make it a spy spoof. The film had an impressive cast, with The Most English Man Of All Time David Niven playing Bond, Orson Welles playing La Chiffre and Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress and distinguished creep Woody Allen in supporting roles. The whole thing ended up as a mess though, Sellers signed on when the movie was more serious and became frustrated enough to quit halfway through, Welles’ ego was in full swing as he demanded to do magic tricks in the movie for no real reason and the movie was constantly rewritten and ended up with six directors, making the movie convoluted and incomprehensible. Niven tried to keep a stiff-upper lip throughout, but he couldn’t elevate a James Bond movie that ended up being even stupider than the one with the Ice Castle in it.


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