Now, I love Joss Whedon and will honestly read/watch/listen to anything he makes. ANYTHING. But I have a problem with how obsessed he is with the specific actors that he chose to play his characters. The recent fan-driven discussion around bringing back Firefly indicates how specific the actors are to the characters:

Step 2: Cancel Castle. Step 3: Cancel Homeland. Step 4: Generally destroy everybody’s careers. Step 5: Avoid Step 2.

Now, I love Joss’ loyalty to the actors that bring life to the characters that he creates but tying the character to a single actor kind of goes against the nature of acting and performance. One of the things that makes Shakespeare great is that it provides a litmus test for any aspiring actor because it forces them to own the performance rather than doing an impersonation of Lawrence Olivier.

But film and television are different because one actor often establishes an indexical relationship to the character to the point they become inextricable from the character. The Shatner/Kirk relationship is probably the best example of this and I’m sure that JJ Abrams was probably freaking out about finding. the. right. actor. Interestingly, the character of James Bond is the inverse of this, where many actors have stepped into the role that Sean Connery defined. It’s probably no surprise that I like Roger Moore and Daniel Craig because each brought a completely different and refreshing approach to the character.

So what gives Joss? While I love Nathan Fillion and the crew of Serenity, I’d hate to see the characters become frozen because they “belong” to someone. Isn’t there something interesting to be gained in having different actors step into Mal’s shoes?


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