The Lone Ranger is coming out this week. I'm kind of anxious to see it even though I'm not much of a Westerns fan. But who could resist seeing Johnny Depp with a big black bird on his head? Can't wait. But then when I think about it, I wonder why Johnny Depp was cast as Tonto. Has Hollywood learned nothing from their past sins of bad racial typecasting? I saw Depp interviewed about the movie and in his defense, he now says he's part Native American. Maybe a drop or two like most of us.
But this got me to thinking about some of the worst casting mistakes in film history and there are many, too many to mention all of them. These are some of the worst:
Kathryn Hepburn in 1944's Dragon Seed where she plays the Chinese, Jade. Take a look:
Or how about Marlon Brando as Sakini in Teahouse of the August Moon?
Then there's Sam Jaffe as Gunga Din. The makeup job harkens back to minstrel shows - he looks more like Al Jolson than an East Indian!
In 1968 William Shatner starred in the film White Comanche. He played dual roles - brothers, one a white man and the other a wannabe native America. Was he miscast or what? The Indian brother looks nothing like an Indian except that he wears a head band. I guess the wardrobe mistress gave up on this one. Good thing she didn't work on the Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp - she would have given him a simple head band and not that impressive bird!
Maybe one of the worst castings is Mickey Rooney In Breakfast At Tiffanys. His role of Yunioshi is an insult to all the Japanese actors that could have had that part. He was just ridiculous in that film. I wonder whose idea it was to cast him. Mickey Rooney doesn't show up until the end of the trailer so have patience.
I could go on and on with other examples, but I think 5 is enough. Let me know if you'd like to add to this list.
Don't forget to check out next season's films for the North County Film Club.