Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Forest Whitaker Is "Ugly, Black & Unbankable"

Acclaimed Australian director Rowan Woods had to fight to keep Oscar winner Forest Whitaker in his new film Winged Creatures after a film company executive dismissed the actor as "ugly, black and unbankable."

Despite having "the hottest ensemble cast in town", including Guy Pearce, Kate Beckinsale, Dakota Fanning, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Jennifer Hudson, Woods said the company who owned the script wouldn't accept Whitaker as a leading man.

"The initial finance fell through when I stuck with Forest Whitaker for the role of Charlie," Woods said.

"An executive told me straight: `Even if he wins the Oscar he's ugly, he's black and he's unbankable.'"

Checking the IMDB listing for the movie (which can often be unreliable), Winged Creatures was executive produced by RGM Entertainment. Indications are that the company is not based in the US and executive production is normally about putting together the financing. Whether that means a US company would never use that reasoning or would just never admit to the "ugly & black" part of it, who knows.

Buried in the story is a less serious bit of information:

Woods said his high profile cast was a pleasure to work with except for teenage starlet Dakota Fanning, who could be a diva on the set.

She initially refused to come out of her trailer on day one of shooting because her scene wasn't filmed first, and was "intensely jealous" of her young co-star Josh Hutcherson.

"Everyone was on their best behaviour on this film because they have got a `really serious Australian director who is known for his ensemble work'," Woods laughed.

"(Fanning) was the only one who was naughty."

Woods said while he thinks Fanning is a fine actor, on this film she didn't hit the mark.

"She is a gorgeous girl ... but she was the disaster," he said.

"There was something about her presence that wasn't ringing true.

"Most of our work was cutting her scenes and a lot of her scenes were cut."

I only hope that means I won't have to watch that creepy girl in too many movies going forward.

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