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British invasion under way for American film roles

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British invasion under way for American film roles

Post by Admin on Tue Jul 13, 2010 1:25 am

http://www.bostonherald.com/entertainment/movies/general/view/20100713british_invasion_under_way_for_american_film_roles/srvc=home&position=also

Stephen Schaefer By Stephen Schaefer
Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - Added 7 hours ago

So all-American superhero Spider-Man will be played next year by rising young British actor Andrew Garfield, 26.

This comes on the heels of Britons James McAvoy and Alice Eve (alongside Ireland’s Michael Fassbender) cast in the new “X-Men: First Class” movie.

And Dominic Cooper is set to play Iron Man’s father in “Captain America,” which co-stars British ingenue Hayley Atwell.

All of which begs the question: Why? What do these Brits have that American actors don’t?

Not so long ago it was America’s film actors who set the standard.

Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, James Dean, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight. These big-screen titans inspired imitators and challengers.

Now it seems the British, long regarded as the greatest among stage actors, are leading the way onscreen - playing Americans.

Michael Douglas recently co-starred in “The Solitary Man” with British actress Imogen Poots, who played the very American, sexually destructive daughter of Mary-Louise Parker’s character.

“I thought that it was interesting that we could not find a sophisticated New Yorker to cast and had to go to the UK for Imogen Poots,” Douglas said.

In Spidey’s case, it reportedly came down to old-fashioned screen tests among finalists - which Garfield easily won.

There are those who would counter that Garfield was born in Los Angeles, which makes him half-Yank. But his training and work have been in Britain. And if you look back, Oscar-winning sisters Olivia de Havilland (“The Snake Pit”) and Joan Fontaine (“Rebecca”) were born in Tokyo, but no one ever called them Japanese.

As Douglas observed, “Directors have so much else to do besides tell actors what to do. There are so many issues. If you cast a movie right, most of the time actors elevate things.”

And these days it’s the Brits who are doing the elevating.

“We saw a lot of American actresses who had a lot of craft,” said “Solitary Man” director Brian Koppelman, “but a lot of those girls can’t carry themselves with a sophisticated air.”

Ouch.

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