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  • #31
    Weren't we talking about Zero Mostel and Fiddler on the Roof some time ago (or am I remembering a conversation I had with someone else)?
    Must have been someone else. But it is certainly an interesting topic. That is especially interesting since by the time they did the movie Mostel was considered too old and they wen't with Topol - but it is still remembered as Mostel's part.

    But that was an almost unique case. Everyone may hear about Geilgud's Hamlet or Julie Andrews in My Fair Lady, but only those who saw them might see those as "their" roles. For most people Eliza Doolittle is Audrey Hepburn.

    The difference in Mostel's case is that he made frequent TV appearances both while promoting the show and for years after doing excerpts, the cast album was a huge popular radio hit (moreso than most Broadway shows) with two of Mostel's numbers ("If I Were a Rich Man" and "Sunrise, Sunset") getting played into the ground. Also Mostel was such a presence in other venues (like film version of his other Broadway musical, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) that people who never saw him play Tevye on could almost imagine they had. And Mostel is one of those actors who is vividly and obviously who he is. You can't confuse him with anyone else, the way you can mix up so blandly attractive leading men. The way Henry Fonda, whatever and whoever else he might be in a given role, was also somehow Henry Fonda. He couldn't be mistaken for Jimmy Stewart and you could rarely picture one of them in role associated with the other.

    In an odd way, this brings us back around to Andreas. Perhaps more than anyone else in B5 (with the possible exception of Peter Jurassik) he had this theatrical, larger-than-life quality, this uniqueness, this sense of controlled power. (I think this is the difference between actors who have extensive stage experience before they go to into films or television and those who basically come up acting for the camera. Stage actors often have to ratchet back their performances, scale them down to the intimate distances of film work. But the fact that they could bring up what they do to fill the whole soundstage without seeming like they're shouting or exaggerating at all - that gives them something that a "camera actor" who wouldn't even know how to do such a thing can never have.)

    Regards,

    Joe
    Joseph DeMartino
    Sigh Corps
    Pat Tallman Division

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Joseph DeMartino
      Must have been someone else. But it is certainly an interesting topic. That is especially interesting since by the time they did the movie Mostel was considered too old and they wen't with Topol - but it is still remembered as Mostel's part.
      All good points in your snipped comments. FYI, the story I had been talking about with (whoever it was) was about an interview I caught on NPR, which was either with Sheldon Harnick (it was an archival interview), or maybe someone recalling him. It seems that writing the Hebraic scat-type chanting in "If I Were a Rich Man" was out of the lyricist's comfortable range, and so he originally had some tamer syllables in there. Apparently, Mostel took him aside during a rehearsal and said "Shel, let me try this the way I think it should sound..." and the rest is history.

      In an odd way, this brings us back around to Andreas.
      (Of course for me, all roads lead back around to Andreas...<g>)

      Perhaps more than anyone else in B5 (with the possible exception of Peter Jurassik) he had this theatrical, larger-than-life quality, this uniqueness, this sense of controlled power. (I think this is the difference between actors who have extensive stage experience before they go to into films or television and those who basically come up acting for the camera. Stage actors often have to ratchet back their performances, scale them down to the intimate distances of film work. But the fact that they could bring up what they do to fill the whole soundstage without seeming like they're shouting or exaggerating at all - that gives them something that a "camera actor" who wouldn't even know how to do such a thing can never have.)
      It's true, in television you never have to preach to the cheap seats. <g> But it isn't just a difference in intensity or volume; there's a certain 'stageyness' to the performance you'd give in theater, that we used to see in television (think Twilight Zone) that we no longer see. Joe gave us that in Babylon 5, and for that, if nothing else, I'm really grateful to him. I miss that style a lot -- I'm quite weary of the current trend toward hyper-realism, and that Aaron Sorkin-esque way of mumbling and characters talking over one another.

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      • #33
        Re: Mr. Roberts

        It is hard for even the best actor to do Mr. Roberts without everyone in the audience measuring him against Henry Fonda's definitive interpretation.
        I should have mentioned that in addition to his great talent and personal charisma, Mr. Fonda had a slightly unfair advantage over most later interpreters of the role: he actually was a lieutenant (j.g.) in the U.S. Navy throughout World War II, having enlisted as a common seamen not long after collecting his Oscar for The Grapes of Wrath in 1941, and rising through the ranks from there.

        Regards,

        Joe
        Joseph DeMartino
        Sigh Corps
        Pat Tallman Division

        Comment


        • #34
          Okay, maybe the comparison between Film an Theatre is too far a stretch, but if we stay with the movies we find other examples of different actors playing the same role. I just want to say: James Bond.

          I think the reasoning has more to do with what we are accustomed to than with what "works". A story certainly works with different actors, but as Jan pointed out several postings before every actor gives *his* spin of the character. So I *can* envision another G'Kar, just NOT Andreas G'Kar. To be honest, I would liked to have a new Captain Kirk in the Movies instead of that... well aged (*g*) one we see again and again. But then I am me, and I am not the mainstream (which is something I am even happy about *g*)

          PeAcE
          greetings from austria, best known for its history and fine wine... feels like a wine cellar on a graveyard 8-)

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          • #35
            But at least in the ST movies the stories acknowledged the ages of the cast and even had them coming out of retirement at one point, if memory serves.
            The Optimist: The glass is half full
            The Pessimist: The glass is half empty
            The Engineer: The glass is twice as big as it needs to be

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            • #36
              When I think of all the stories that could be told in the B5 universe just as we know it now (and we only know a fraction of it) I see no reason to try to revive the charactors of Franklin or G'Kar. I wouldn't even like to see an electronic ghost of them. Let them rest in memory, where I think we all can agree they remain bright enough for all purposes.
              I believe that when we leave a place, part of it goes with us and part of us remains. Go anywhere in the station, when it is quiet, and just listen. After a while, you will hear the echoes of all our conversations, every thought and word we've exchanged. Long after we are gone .. our voices will linger in these walls for as long as this place remains. But I will admit .. that the part of me that is going .. will very much miss the part of you that is staying.

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              • #37
                Well i'm new here, but i thought i would chime in on this subject, and do so in a diffrent way. reading thur the majority of people seem to feel that the actors can not and should not be replaced and future stories can be told with them off else where.

                before i get to my points i think i should talk a bit about my sci-fi experiances

                i am 24, i did not watch or really know b5 existed while it was on the air originally.

                anne mccaffrey's pern was my first jump into sci-fi, followed fairly closely by the return of star trek in 89, before this you could consider he-man, she-ra, thundercats, volron, etc scifi but were formative cartoons (and a reason i disdane much of todays trash toons) it wasn't untill b5 that i realized jms had been involved with some of those wonderful shpws of my childhood.

                with trek and age my tastes grew i found heinlein and clarke and others, and whole new understandings and loves came into my life. But about 10 years ago now i discovered possibly the most important sci-fi item to me i found DOCTOR WHO(yes this all leads to the point i'm going to make) the longest running sci-fi of all time(i'm sure those of you who know DW can see where this is leading)

                Doctor Who survives and thrives even to today(season 29 is filming even now) and it does so by CHANGING ITS LEAD ACTOR, all 10 of the doctors are in many ways THE DOCTOR

                what this means to b5 and to the g'kar/franklin issue is this, fraklin/biggs was a wonderful actor, but in no way irreplacible, you need a steady actor who has a good voice, doesn't even hve to look like biggs, the voice is the key as that was what made franklin such a good foil to others (and the ability to spout techno-babble)

                G'Kar is much much more difficult but again can be done, under the make up you can get a very close match, but its an actors pressence and VOICE in many ways G'Kar and Londo are the VOICE of Babylon 5, to have other actors play either of those 2 roles (and those may be the only 2 roles that can't be replaced) is a very hard idea to accept, of the top of my head i can think of only 1 acotr who i would feel could carry off g'kar and be acceptible (Richard dean Anderson)

                but for the stories the wonderful universe that jms created, if you must replace the actors, i have no problem with it so long as it is done right (and i expect JMS to do it right, after all i think he is the only one who could have handles spider-mans unmasking correctly and he did a brilliant job)

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                • #38
                  Hi, Lunan! Welcome aboard. I see you and I share some of the same loves in writers.

                  Jan
                  "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

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                  • #39

                    of the top of my head i can think of only 1 acotr who i would feel could carry off g'kar and be acceptible (Richard dean Anderson)

                    Mcguyver??? no thanks. Dr Who works because everybody expects the actor to change - it's part of the character. There was a massive outcry when the first doctor gave way to the second as well.

                    For my money I'd leave it. The babylon 5 Universe doesn't seem to adapt well to expansion as the ST universe. This may well be due to the "novelised" format that makes B5 such a complete story. In Crusade you always felt the pull of B5 like a black hole contorting the story.

                    Far from recasting the parts JMS would be better ditching all the cast and characters and starting again - not in the future a'la ST TNG but rather in the past, maybe where humanity first meets the Centauri or perhaps the Dilgar war.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Lunan
                      of the top of my head i can think of only 1 acotr who i would feel could carry off g'kar and be acceptible (Richard dean Anderson)
                      General Hospital's Jeff Webber???

                      Gah! Just...gah.

                      Sorry. Andreas is simply not replaceable. This isn't just my opinion, or the opinion of many fans; it's JMS's opinion, too, thank the gods.

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                      • #41
                        done right
                        Setting aside the obvious issue of the pain of recasting effectively replacing someone of great personal value, recasting "done right" would be a big problem. "Done right" according to whom? It's something that would tear the Babylon 5 fandom to shreads. Look how aggressively divided the fandom can get over something like the quality of Legend of the Rangers. That sort of aggression would be exponentially larger if any attempt was made to recast G'Kar or Dr Franklin.

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                        • #42
                          I don't know why we are even still having these debates. JMS has categorically stated the he will not recast either Franklin or G'Kar. If he were to go back on that now, he would certainly lose respect from this fan, regardless of how well or badly it might be handled.

                          By way of comparison ... what about Na'Toth? She was a minor character in S1, but brilliantly portrayed by Julie Caitlin Brown. When she decided to leave the show and the role was re-cast, it was an unmitigated disaster.

                          Yes, Mary Kay Adams decided to show us a softer, gentler Na'Toth (which was the actor's choice and therefore her mistake), but the main problem for me was that JCB was Na'Toth - she had a certain look, sound and presence, and when the character was on-screen, I expected to see her mannerisms and hear her voice.

                          Na'Toth was one of my fave characters but as soon as MKA took over, I would have been delighted to see her follow Ko'Dath out of the airlock. Nothing against Mary Kay Adams, she just wasn't Na'Toth.

                          Now imagine that reaction right across B5 fandom to a decision to re-cast G'Kar, a much more important, prominent, recognisable and popular character than Na'Toth.

                          The bottom line is ... Andreas Katsulas is G'Kar, pure and simple. If I were to ask one thing of JMS for the rest of his career it would be to not go back on his stated position that G'Kar (and Franklin - for the same reasons) should never be re-cast.

                          Moreover, which actor in his right mind would want to take on the role, knowing the sheer number of unforgiving eyes scrutinising everything he does and, in many cases, finding any excuse to criticise and remind him that he isn't reallu G'Kar.
                          The Optimist: The glass is half full
                          The Pessimist: The glass is half empty
                          The Engineer: The glass is twice as big as it needs to be

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                          • #43
                            Julie Caitlin Brown rules.

                            Ivanova: "Why don't you check out her teeth while you're at it?"
                            Na'Toth: "You think that's a good idea?"

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                            • #44
                              In light of this discussion, I'm wondering if anyone knows offhand how many hours the longest Doctor Who logged as the character. Because another thing that can't be overlooked in the question of recasting - if such an egregious thing were even on the table - is the fact that Andreas and Rick played their respective characters through a pilot (well, at least Andreas did), 110 season episodes, and up to five other (non-pilot) films. That's a whole lotta hours logged as their respective characters. And peoples' memories are _long_ in matters such as these. I just want to know how apt the Doctor Who comparison is, because I'm sure I'm going to be refuting that particular argument for the next several years of new Babylon 5 material...

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                              • #45
                                I think it's apples and oranges anyway. I imagine that the different Doctor Who thing started as accidentally as Murphy Brown's revolving secretaries did and somebody bright managed to incorporate it into the canon. I'm glad it worked for them but the two situations are hardly comparable.

                                Jan
                                "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

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