In Hollywood, even superheroes getting outsourced
By Andy Goldberg Mar 23, 2011, 15:09 GMT
02/27/2011 - Christian Bale and Reese Witherspoon - 83rd Annual Academy Awards - Press Room - Kodak Theatre - Hollywood, CA, USA © Andrew Evans / PR Photos
Los Angeles - What do Christian Bale, Michael Fassbender, Andrew Garfield and Henry Cavill have in common, besides all being devilishly handsome?
As America frets about its declining influence in the world, these actors represent the cinematic angle of America's slide. These actors have been hired by the country's most powerful film moguls to represent all-American heroes in quintessential Hollywood blockbusters, despite the glaringly obvious fact that they hail from countries like Wales, England and Germany.
America has long been outsourcing its manufacturing to China and other low-cost countries. Now it's outsourcing its superheroes, too - including the holy trinity of American wondermen - Batman, Superman and Spiderman.
Bale, a dashing 37-year-old Welshman, fresh from his Oscar win for The Fighter, will play a moody Bruce Wayne for a third time in the forthcoming Batman action sequel, The Dark Knight Rises, in which he no doubt will use his amazing powers to save the good citizens of Gotham from unspeakable evil.
Joining him in the exclusive club of foreign superheroes is Andrew Garfield, who will star in the title role of 2012's The Amazing Spider-Man. Garfield, 27, was actually born in the US but grew up in Britain from age 3.
His role as the web-slinging crime-fighter marks only his third major Hollywood part, following his acclaimed performance in the Facebook movie The Social Network, and a supporting role in the fantasy film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.
Henry Cavill is best known to viewers for his role as a headstrong Henry VIII in the mini-series The Tudors, but his dark intensity made him the top choice for director Zack Snyder and producer Christopher Nolan when they were casting the ultimate American icon Superman in the Warner Bros revival movie.
Michael Fassbender 33, will have a pivotal role in X-Men First Class, in which he will play the role of arch villain Magneto, opposite another foreign born superstar superhero, the Australian Hugh Jackman. He first came to mainstream attention in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, in which the German-born actor displayed his internationalist chops by playing a British officer, no less. He has appeared in Jonah Hex and Knockout and can currently be seen in theatres in the film Jane Eyre.
'Michael oozes charisma, and he is a brilliant actor,' director Mattew Vaughn said recently. 'Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Steve McQueen - there aren't that many like them anymore who carry their persona on and off screen. Michael is the real deal.'
What's behind this trend, and is it really a symbol of the decline of America? Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com, says that it's not just a case of Hollywood producers wanting to get better quality actors for less money - just like car buyers did with Japanese cars and Chinese-made electronics.
'With the international box office now earning more than the US domestic box office, producers are looking for actors with international appeal,' he told the German Press Agency dpa.
Casting agents often prefer lesser-known actors for these iconic roles so they don't come with 'baggage.'
'The audience has no preconceived notion about them, so they can really identify them as the character,' Dergarabedian said.
Luring talented foreigners to US productions is a venerable tradition in the film world as much as in other US industries.
'This country has been built by attracting the best talent from around the globe and making them American,' he said. 'Hollywood is no different.'
That might not be a great comfort for die-hard American patriots lamenting the decline of yet another symbol of US preeminence.
But at least there is one superhero whose nationality will match the Stars and Stripes of his spandex costume. Massachusetts-born Chris Evan will take the starring role in Captain American: The First Avenger, which hits cinemas later this year. Even better, the film will be helmed by Texas-born director Joe Johnston.
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FROM THE WEB
Further Reading on M&CAndrew Garfield Biography - Christian Bale Biography -
Christian Bale Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesHenry Cavill Biography -
Henry Cavill Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesMichael Fassbender Biography -
Michael Fassbender Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sites
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