Brits Star in Superhero Movies

Posted by on February 2nd, 2011 at 11:00 AM

There’s going to be another attempt at a Superman series, and Spider-Man has been recast. The two new actors are both British, as is Christian Bale, of course. So the three best-known superheroes are all going to be played by Brits. A columnist for the Guardian discusses the development.

The piece has lots of all-cap words and exclamation points, and a frenetic, raddled facetiousness that replaces thought and humor. So go ahead and read it.

update, Guardian columnist David Mitchell caveats:

It turns out that Garfield was born in Los Angeles and has dual citizenship, Cavill is from Jersey, not the new one but it still isn’t part of the UK, and Bale largely grew up in Hollywood. …

Still, they’re a bit British – they’re British-influenced. Cavill was in The Tudors and went to Stowe School, Garfield’s been on Channel 4, and not just in a Frasier repeat, and Bale was born in Wales. He’s slightly Welsh and you can’t get more English than that, unless he was also a quarter Scottish with an Irish great grandparent. So it’s still something, right?

Next he provides some grim analysis:

This is how Charles Gant, film editor of Heat, explains the new global reality: “Superman, Batman and Spider-Man might be American icons, but the primary revenue streams for these films are outside America.” The important demographic, our future Asian paymasters, neither care about nor discern the difference between Britons and Americans. If Cavill’s American accent’s a bit shaky, they won’t give a damn. …

The British are the new Canadians. We’re not taking over American culture, we’re being absorbed by it, and at the very moment when its influence is starting to wane.

Of course the Charles Gant quote doesn’t say anything about Asians, but a provocative tweaker of settled opinion isn’t bothered by that sort of thing. Op-ed columnists in Britain all sound like the same bright 15-year-old whose parents think he’s entertaining their dinner guests.

update, Matthew Yglesias retraces the history of Superman’s immigration status. His account of the court ruling that rendered Superman legal reminds us of Weisinger’s special touch. Apparently the Supreme Court determined that “since he was transported to the planet earth in a kind of artificial womb, he’s actually a natural born citizen of the United States of America.” Sure, a fully viable infant in a metal vehicle is basically an embryo in the womb.

The occasion for the Yglesias post, and for the Guardian column up above, is the alleged fuss being made about the casting of a Brit as Superman. I say alleged because I haven’t looked at any of the sites where such a fuss might logically be found. But I have a horrible feeling the claim is true. Fanboys love to get worked up and there are so many people on the Internet. At least a few must be willing to pitch in and yowl.

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