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Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

First things first... there’s a new rule that I suggest needs to be amended to the Screen Actor’s Guild MBA: you are required to cast Alan Rickman and Sam Rockwell in any science-fiction comedy ever made. Worked for GALAXY QUEST. Worked again here.

Now... how do I begin?

I could give you the requisite preamble about how important the work of Douglas Adams is to me. I could write about how many of my friendships over the years have been at least partially predicated on a shared affection for the most inaccurately named trilogy of all time. Or I could try to chart all the stuttered starts and stops the film’s gone through in development over the years.

But ultimately, what really matters is the film itself. Is it any good? Will it satisfy fans? Will it play for audiences unfamiliar with the books? I can’t answer that last question... Disney’s marketing department is going to have to do that... but I can tell you that I thought the film was a glorious shambling tribute to the work of Adams, a beautifully realized vision filled to the brim with quirky performances and hilarious details. It’s almost shockingly eccentric and manages to stay very faithful to the spirit of all the previous incarnations of the story while also contributing some fascinating new ideas to the overall mythos.

Also, let’s be clear about something. This is not a final or a formal review by any means. I’ve seen a lot of test screenings since moving to LA over a decade ago, but this was one of the most unfinished in many ways. With a comedy, fine-tuning is everything, and I saw Jay Roach at the screening, making notes. I saw the first two AUSTIN POWERS films at test screenings, more than once, and I watched how he really polished those movies as they got closer and closer to release. It’s encouraging to see that he’s involved in the process, right there alongside director Garth Jennings.

I know they’re both big fans of the property, and they want to get it right, and there’s still time to sort things out. The cut we saw on Thursday night was particularly rough in the first twenty minutes or so, and I’d like to see them give the film a little more room to breathe at the start. There are some details that either felt rushed or that were missing altogether that can really help fill in the texture of a film. For example, we don’t hear the specifics of why Ford was on Earth, and, most noticeably, we never hear the entry that exists in the Guide about the planet Earth. I understand... you’re trying to get down to the business of getting Ford and Arthur off the planet, but if you lose all those little details up front, it feels too frantic. Sell the sense of humor more. Seduce us a bit before we plunge headlong into the story.

Actually, the very start of the film is one of the things that made me love this movie. It’s an explanation of dolphins and their attempts to warn us about the impending destruction of Earth, all spoken over footage of dolphins doing tricks in front of crowds. This leads into a musical number, over which the opening titles play. The song, sung by the dolphins, “So Long And Thanks For All The Fish,” is one of the few pieces of original score that was ready for the screening, and it’s damn funny stuff. I’m very curious now to hear what Joby Talbot’s score sounds like, because that’ll be a big part of that fine-tuning the film still needs.

One of the things that matters most in this film is chemistry. HHGTTG has always been about the friction between all these great crazy characters that Adams created. More than the specific situations that they were in, it was the way they all related that I always found so entertaining. Everything starts with Ford and Arthur, and so much of the weight of the movie rests on how well Mos Def and Martin Freeman work together. I know that Mos was a controversial choice for many fans, and it disheartens me to see how many of the slams against him seem to dismiss the guy as “some rapper.” He’s a monstrously gifted stage actor and he’s got dramatic chops to spare. If you haven’t seen his work yet, that’s your fault, not his. He was great in SOMETHING THE LORD MADE, he’s got one scene that is unforgettable in the middle of the otherwise-mediocre THE WOODSMAN, and he was the one funny thing in the remake of THE ITALIAN JOB.

Seriously, if you don’t like him after seeing his work, that’s one thing, but there’s something smarmy and distasteful about the way he’s been attacked because of his color. It’s that ugly side of fanboy culture that people try to laugh off, but it’s hard to defend against charges of racism when people fly off the handle the moment a black actor gets cast in something. For me, Ford Prefect needs to be cool, first and foremost. He’s got to be unflappable. This is a guy who travels the galaxy collecting information and experiences and then writing it all up for the Guide. He’s seen it all. He’s got to be centered enough for two people, since he’s traveling with Arthur Dent, who’s about as flappable as they come. Mos ends up being, to my mind, an inspired choice. He’s not playing it broad or obvious. It’s not an over the top “comedy” performance. He’s got a delivery and a rhythm all his own, and he gets more than his fair share of laughs. He makes a really nice foil for Freeman, who was always so good on THE OFFICE. You may recognize a little bit of his Tim in the way he plays Arthur, at least at first, but there are some really important distinctions. Arthur’s nowhere near as cool as Tim. He’s rarely in control of himself. Arthur is the eyes and ears of the audience, and as he learns things, we learn them. As a result, he stays deeply discombobulated through most of the film, and there is something magnificent about that big cartoon balloon head of Freeman’s. He plays frustrated beautifully, and those moments where it all finally gets to be too much are hilarious.

And then there’s Sam Rockwell. Sam’s one of those guys who makes a movie better simply by showing up. Any movie. So giving him a great, freaky comedy character like Zaphod Beeblebrox is a gift, both for him and for the audience. He’s a totally different kind of cool than Ford Prefect, all manic energy and big dick rock star swagger, and he makes a perfect entrance in the film. It’s during a flashback as Arthur tells Ford about how he met this amazing girl, Tricia McMillan, at a party. Zaphod comes barging into their conversation with the best pick-up line ever: “Hi, is this guy boring you? I’m from another planet. Wanna see my spaceship?”

Honestly... Arthur never stands a chance.

There’s only one person who can steal a scene from Sam Rockwell, and that’s Sam Rockwell. The way they decided to handle Zaphod’s second head is more than just a clever way of keeping the budget down. As Zaphod explains, when he was elected President of the Galaxy, he was told that he was going to have to give up half his brain, since no President is allowed to have a whole one. Zaphod wanted to keep the excised bits close, so had the second head crafted and hidden under the first one. The parts of his brain they put into the second head are the unbridled libido... the temper... all the most volatile pieces of his personality. When that second head comes rolling up, someone’s likely to get punched in the face or some button that shouldn’t be pushed is going to get pushed or something’s going to get stolen. The effect is groovy, but more importantly, it’s character-driven. It’s not just a cheap excuse for a CGI gag, as so many effects seem to be these days.

Zooey Deschanel is an odd choice for Trillian at first glance. She’s not English and she isn’t known for sharp-tongued comedy. But the film’s Trillian is probably the most re-imagined character, and Zooey ends up being a perfect fit for this particular version. That flashback scene I mentioned earlier... the one where she meets Arthur at the party... is sort of a verbal sparring match where she’s testing him. She likes him right away, but she’s looking for a kindred spirit, someone with a sense of adventure equal to hers. When he finally catches up with her again onboard the HEART OF GOLD, it makes perfect sense that she’d be there. She explains it to him in a way that even he can’t argue with. One thing I’ve heard over the years as a criticism of HHGTTG is that it’s too glib to count, that you never actually care about any of the people, so you can never actually invest in the story. Douglas Adams and his co-writer, Karey Kirkpatrick, have turned up the attraction between Arthur and Trillian in a way that both makes the film more accessible to new audiences and also gives you a real rooting interest, an overall arc to the piece. And don’t panic... it doesn’t overpower the film. All it does is humnanize these outrageous characters a bit. Zooey’s got one great moment, where she’s just found the Point-Of-View gun (a very funny, if underutilized, new device created for the film) that once again proves that she’s an original presence, one the film benefits from enormously.

Some of the most important performances in the film are by people who we never see on-camera. Stephen Fry is perfect as The Guide, and if I have any major complaint about this cut, it’s that we don’t get enough of him. Take a step back from the demands of the studio or set aside the worries about mainstream appeal or conventional storytelling rules and just remember for a moment... the film is called THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY. The single greatest notion in the entire career of Douglas Adams as a writer was the creation of the Guide. It’s a spectacular device for both exposition and comedy. Utilize it. Please... don’t trim the film so tight that you lose the wonderful digression of the Guide. As it is, the segments that are in the film right now are really well-realized, using animation with just the right comic sensibility. Many of the Guide segments are word-for-word translations from previous incarnations of the story, including the Babel Fish explanation and the bit about the Vogons. Fry’s narration is absolutely spot-on in terms of delivery. Equally good is the way Alan Rickman gives voice to Marvin, one of the most enduringly beloved characters from the series. Rickman communicates just the right mix of depression and disdain, and there’s something brilliant about that voice coming out of that body. He looks like something Steve Jobs would sell, but there’s this jet-black morose world view that seems almost directly opposed to his appearance. I think they use Marvin just right, resisting the urge to make him the star of the film, and the way they use him during the climax of the movie is particularly funny.

Mixing science-fiction and comedy is a difficult thing, especially in the big-budget world. When a studio makes a science-fiction film, they’re normally really making an action film and just dressing it up with special effects. They’re expensive films, and action sells better around the world than comedy does. That’s just a fact. It translates better. It’s easier. When they do make science-fiction comedies, they tend to be fairly low-rent affairs like SPACEBALLS or TV fare like RED DWARF. One of the great pleasures of this film is the rich visual wit that Garth Jennings brings to it. This is a gorgeous movie, packed with eccentric detail in every frame. For the most part, Jennings is working with a production team that’s new to feature films, and it feels like they’re all trying to prove something.

Igor Jadue-Lillo’s cinematography is impressive, rich and colorful in all the right places, but not afraid to be grimy. Production designer Joel Collins and the entire art department have created a world that’s always interesting and frequently hysterical. Their work makes me think of Terry Gilliam’s movies, TIME BANDITS and BRAZIL in particular. There’s a great handmade quality to everything. There’s so much imagination on display that I know I’ll need to see the film a second time or even a third, just to get it all. What we saw wasn’t finished by any means, but I can tell you already that the tour of the factory floor on Magrathea is one of the most amazing things you’ll see in a film this year. It’s very funny, but it’s also an oddly moving tribute to the sheer beauty of our planet, made even more poignant by the performance of Bill Nighy as Slartibartfast. Nighy’s really hit his stride in the last few years, and even though he doesn’t have a huge role here, he manages to play a lot of levels underneath the surface silliness. He’s the perfect tour guide for this section of the film. As lovely as Magrathea is, everything involving the Vogons is that ugly times five, including the Vogons themselves. Hats off to the wizards at the Henson Shop, because these are the best animatronic characters since Audrey II in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. The articulation on their faces is amazing, and they’ve got personality to spare. I’m sorry... I mean, Vogonality. The poetry scene is a thing of twisted beauty, and I love Questular Rontok (Anna Chancellor) trying to deal with the bureaucratic mindset of the Vogons in the midst of an intergalactic pursuit.

Did I have any problems with the film? Yeah. At this stage, there are some things that just don’t work. As I said, the first act felt rushed to the point of confusion. If I wasn’t so familiar with the material, it would have been too choppy to follow, and I don’t think they’ve nailed the rhythm yet. The bigger problem stems from the subplot involving Humma Kavula, a deranged religious leader played by John Malkovich. He’s an interesting new character, and there’s no doubt that Malkovich plays him well. He find just the right balance of malice and madness, and he makes the character both creepy and funny. But all the stuff that’s set up in Kavula’s first scene is abandoned, evidently, and as a result, there’s a tension that seems to be missing from the third act, questions that go completely unanswered.

What did he want the Point-Of-View gun for? How did he know where it was? What did he plan to do with it? What about Zaphod’s head and arm? Shouldn’t Zaphod try to rescue them? What made Kavula look the way he does in the first place?

The missed narrative opportunites here are going to be the greatest frustration for filmgoers. It’s a shame, too, because everything else in the third act is great. The Arthur/Trillian story has a surprisingly sweet and satisfying conclusion, and overall, there’s something wonderful about the way the film wraps up. My co-writer Scott described it as an inverse WIZARD OF OZ, where Dorothy finally makes it back to Kansas only to realize that living in black-and-white sucks. Oz is, simply put, more fun.

Still, these are minor complaints. I’m being selfish when I say that I want this film to be perfect, and I want it to be a massive success. I want to see THE RESTAURANT AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE with this same cast and this same director. Any film with a scene as surreal and lovely as the bit with the sperm whale (voiced perfectly by Bill Bailey) might be too strange for a crossover audience, but it hits me square in the pleasure center. It’s obvious that this is a love letter to fans of the series overall, with touches like the use of “Journey of the Sorceror” at just the right moment or the appearances by Simon Jones asn the original Marvin from the TV show, or that final heartbreaking leap into Improbability Warp by the HEART OF GOLD. The film is wonderfully weird. Remember those images of the toys that appeared at CHUD the other day? You know those plushie versions? Well, they’re actually in the film. Arthur vomits yarn. Try to wrap your head around that one.

I’m going to cross my fingers just as hard as Disney is and hope that filmgoers are ready for something this strange and that we’ll get more. One thing’s for sure... Douglas Adams would be very proud. In the end, that’s the greatest success that Robbie Stamp and Spyglass Entertainment and Jay Roach and Touchstone could have hoped for. I look forward to seeing the final cut as we get closer to May. Until then...

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 30, 2005, 6:12 a.m. CST

    This film will thrive.....

    by Praetor

    In spite of the 'general American audience' who won't get it.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 6:22 a.m. CST

    Red Dwarf

    by Randall Flagg

    Hey Mori, just to clarify, was that a dig at Red Dwarf or just a comment on it's budget? I'll take Red Dwarf over big budget Galaxy Quest & MIB in a heartbeat... "Yeah, but all his friends were French!!"

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 6:50 a.m. CST

    Hang on, so did they leave out the "mostly harmless" bit?

    by Monkey Butler

    And did they explain why Ford called himself that? Do they even make Ford Prefect's anymore/in anywhere other than England?

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 7:04 a.m. CST

    I think Mos Def was a great choice

    by ChorleyFM

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 7:07 a.m. CST

    Messed up, above post continued..

    by ChorleyFM

    He is an amazing MC, he has so much charisma and he simply has a screen presence. Whenever I have seen him in anything I am just drawn to looking at what he is doing on screen and I honestly think that although he was a choice right out of left-field that he is perfect for the part of Ford. Ultimately though the majority of us will have to wait and see.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 7:20 a.m. CST

    I wasn't upset because Mos Def was African American, I was upset

    by Horseflesh

    I wanted this thing to be BRITISH BRITISH BRITISH! I at least feel better after reading this review and I agree that Mos is a damned good actor, I just wanted it all English accents and.... aaaaaaaww, I'm spoiled by the TV show.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 8:16 a.m. CST

    Many thanks for the review, Moriarty.

    by Schnorbitz

    I'm just really glad that some of the really skilled people who've emerged in British comedy in the last few years are getting a chance to do something with a big budget, that will hopefully cross into the mainstream. Now, when is that Red Dwarf film coming?...

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 8:57 a.m. CST

    Sounds great so far

    by moviemaniac-7

    And with a few months to tweak the film everything should be just perfect when it's released. High on my To-See list. Very, very high.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 9:07 a.m. CST

    Still have grave reservations about this filick...

    by Gabba-UK

    Still don't like the fact that Stephen Moore isn't the voice of Marvin. The lack of Zaphods extra head is so blatently a cost cutting move that it screams desperation and lack of belief in the material. BUT.. the one thing that it has going for it as far as I'm concerned is that Moriarty liked it. His is the one sane voice in reviews that I respect for this site. Sorry Harry but you geek-out far too easily and lose all objectivity when you do so. It was still a test screening so I'll give this a cautious welcome till I get to see. I'll reserve any flaming till then...

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 9:16 a.m. CST


    by Fugazi32

    You racist idiots!

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 10:06 a.m. CST

    I've seen Mos Def on stage - > he IS mediocre

    by Dannychico

    at best. I saw him in London doing Topdog/Underdog, and all I can say is he looked like an amateur up there on stage with Jeffrey Wright. Of course, most would in that situation, but still. I was unimpressed.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 10:13 a.m. CST

    maybe those who want to argue with me should listen to Moriarity

    by SirBiatchReturns


  • Jan. 30, 2005, 10:19 a.m. CST

    tick tick...

    by SirBiatchReturns

    waiting for some random talkback troll to fly off the handle and try to discredit me, when its obvious that what i say has some merit. they'll forget that Moriarity has noticed it too and just come solely after me. as an aside... i think Mos Def is a decent actor. i have not seen much of his work sadly enough. He's one of the few rappers who i can actually stand to see in dramatic roles. People need to stop casting retards like Ja Rule. and in a certain respect, DMX too. and as much as i love Nas as a rapper, Nas should never be allowed 6 feet within a camera. i want to see more roles for black people in Hollywood. but good roles and talented actors/actresses, not mediocre hip hop roles for mediocre actors/actresses.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 10:44 a.m. CST

    by Philo

    Is it really racist to want the best possible cast for a movie? I kinda liked Mos Def in 'The Italian Job' (decent enough movie but do yourself a favour and watch the Michael Caine original instead) and I guess you could argue that since Ford is an alien - why the hell couldn't he be black? Maybe I was just spoiled by the brilliant casting of the TV series. Can't really imagine a better Ford than that guy (Mark Wing-Davies?), that's all.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 10:53 a.m. CST

    Let's just hope Hitchhiker's Guide isn't the next Old Boy

    by Garbageman33

    Every once in a while, AICN adopts a pet project that it gushes over like a proud parent. Recently, it was Shaun of the Dead, which turned out to be quite good. And then, it was Old Boy. Well, guess what? Old Boy was a mess. It's one of those films where the last twenty minutes is nothing but the villain explaining, in exhuasting detail, why he did what he did. And the reason is so ridiculous, it kinda kills everything that came before it. Even the supposedly awesome fight scene, the one done in a single tracking shot, is laughable. Let's just say I've seen punches land closer to their target in a Saturday Night Live skit. Oh, and given their "relationship", the villain was at least ten years too young for the part. But enough about that. I'm getting myself worked up again. I just hope HHGTG is more like Shaun of the Dead and less like Old Boy.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 11:10 a.m. CST

    RED DWARF clarifaction...

    by RenoNevada2000

    I never thought of RED DWARF as a sci-fi comedy but more of a character comedy set in a sci-fi setting. Much like MASH (tv series) isn't so much a war comedy than it is a character comedy set behind the front lines of a war...

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 11:22 a.m. CST

    Trying to discredit SirBiatchReturns?

    by Garbageman33

    Isn't that a bit like trying to discredit OJ Simpson? They both do a pretty darn good job of discrediting themselves. Seriously guys, let's not turn every single talkback into a discussion of racism. I know it's tempting to get into it with SBR (I've done it myself), mostly because it's so easy (and fun) to twist the poor guy into knots. But let's resist the urge.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 11:54 a.m. CST

    Jay Roach involved = we're all doomed

    by Creamery Butter

    Jay Roach is the hackiest hack who ever hacked a comedy together. Oh, I'm sorry; you're saying you liked the Austin Powers sequels? His involvement can only mean shit and piss jokes in abundance. So here's to you, Jay Roach. I hope you get cancer.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, noon CST

    and like true tools, the talkbackers came...

    by SirBiatchReturns

    Wolf at the door, my comment wasn't actually aimed at you. i didn't think u were a troll until u just posted. i know there are many talented UK black actors, and they should have probably cast one of them. thats not my point. my point is that some people on AICN automatically get antsy when black people are involved in a movie. i see your point. maybe a black UK actor should have been used. but we'll see when the movie comes back. Of course the garbageman posted. whats new. any more irrelevant and random flame comments? seriously... i'm waiting. but keep in mind that i may not post back if they are totally retarded.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 12:02 p.m. CST

    Martin Smith from Croydon

    by Seepgood

    Could somebody explain to me what it is that makes Ford Prefect inherently, unchangeably British? OK, there's one sentence in the book that says he claims to be from Guildford, but that's about it. So what's all this fuss about? It can't be because he's British in the book - he isn't. It can't be because he's "gone native" and thrown himself wholeheartedly into the society around him - he's there against his will and very keen to get away as soon as he can, and I don't remember him showing any particular affection for or identification with anything British. He makes an effort to fit in only to the extent required to maintain his cover. It can't be because the setting and ambience of the story as a whole is pervasively British - Zaphod was always portrayed as having an American accent and is a stereotypically "American" type of character (brash, self-obsessed, shallow etc), while Adams's galaxy, with its emphasis on crass commercialism, is probably more like a version America than of any other place on Earth. It can hardly even be that his personality is somehow of a characteristically British type, because unless I'm missing something it simply isn't. Arthur's Englishness is a central, indispensible part of the story, which simply wouldn't work without it. But Ford? I don't get it.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 12:03 p.m. CST

    and another thing wolf at the door...

    by SirBiatchReturns

    do u even read? LOOK at what Moriarity just said. Its true! why are you going against me? why not argue with Moriarity? i'm not trying to defend Mos Def's role. I think he's a decent actor. and you have a point. they should have used a black UK actor. but what i'm saying is different from that. my point is that regardless of the project, some people on AICN just like to hate on a black person having a role in their movie. they feel it has been hip hoppedized or made 'PC' or some bogus garbage like this.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 12:46 p.m. CST


    by Seepgood

    I think you're underestimating the importance of science fiction in Red Dwarf. Of course character is at the heart of it, but with so many episodes where so much of the humour arises out the characters entering a world where time runs backwards, or having emotions removed from them, or encountering parallel-universe versions of themselves, or becoming trapped in a metaphorical representation of someone's mind, it adds up to rather more than just sitcom against a sci-fi backdrop. While a few Red Dwarf plots could be translated to a more "conventional" setting without fundamental changes ("Marooned", for example), most of them could not.

  • they've made some incredible videos. supergrass' "pumping on your stereo," blur's "coffee & tv" and beck's "lost cause" are the ones that stick out in my mind. and if you've ever seen any of those videos, you already know jennings is a better director for this than jay roach. not that i necessarily know wtf i'm talking about, though. i've never read hhgttg.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 1:13 p.m. CST


    by Seepgood

    Is Ford being portrayed as "a rapper from Brooklyn"? If so, that's clearly not good, but it's news to me. Or are you just referring to the actor? In that case, if he can act then he should be perfectly capable of appearing unlike a rapper from Brooklyn (if he can't, we've got problems anyway). As for Ford's ordinariness...well, I'm reaching for a copy here: "There was something very slightly odd about him, but it was difficult to say what it was. Perhaps it was that his eyes didn't seem to blink often enough and when you talked to him for any length of time your eyes began to water on his behalf. Perhaps it was that he smiled too broadly and gave people the unnerving impression that he was about to go for their neck. He struck most of the friends he had made on Earth as an eccentric, but a harmless one - an unruly boozer with some oddish habits." So, not exactly sticking out like a sore thumb, but not the epitome of unremarkable Middle England mundanity either. To me, an out-of-work American stage actor need not be a particularly outlandish presence in southern England. That is of course assuming that that's the way they're playing it. Thanks for the response, anyway.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 1:21 p.m. CST

    NOTHING worked for galaxy quest

    by MiltonWaddams

    god damn, i can't get one paragraph through your review without seeing glaring errors.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 1:26 p.m. CST

    and reguarding racism

    by MiltonWaddams

    the only counts of 'racism' i've seen are when the fanboys get mad when a black actor gets cast in a white character's role. kingpin, catwoman, etc. i've never read the books, and i have no opinion on mos def, but that's just what i've seen happen.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 2:01 p.m. CST

    Jay Roach is married to Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles

    by Garbageman33

    So the dude must be doing something right. That something just doesn't happen to be directing movies.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 2:16 p.m. CST

    you racist pinheads

    by omarthesnake

    Mos Def is a damned good actor, and has shown himself to be talented in multiple genres (music, stage, film ... just watch Something the Lord Made) and dismissing him as a "rapper from Brooklyn" just shows what a narrowminded sack of dogshite you are. No matter how you try to disguise your complaints, it's simply racist and boneheaded. Why can't the alien be a black guy? Who, outside of Dr. Who, says all aliens who aren't scaly monsters are white British folk? Mos Def is an inspired choice for the movie, and has charisma and talent to spare. and considering what great choices they've made for Arthur and Zaphod, for you to all be thumping your chests and proclaiming "oh, just a rapper from Brooklyn, he's going to suck" shows disrespect not only for Mos, but for people who seem to be doing a first-rate job of creating a Hitchhiker's Guide movie that respects the source material. From all indications, they know what they're doing. And if for some reason they DO end up futzing up the movie, it won't be Mos Def's fault. But me, I've got faith in 'em. And you, you haven't seen the movie, so wait til then to do your bitching and moaning.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 2:51 p.m. CST

    by Jugs

    Who cares who plays Ford Prefect? Who cares if they are American, British or Outer Mongolian? Ford Prefect is an alien, he could even be played by an actress. Actors aren't meant to 'be' their characters, they just pretend to.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 3:17 p.m. CST

    by AlwaysThere

    Red Dwarf > anything else similar

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 3:24 p.m. CST

    no, no, wolfatthedoor...

    by omarthesnake

    YOU fuck off. But before you do that, go look at Mos Def's resume. Here, I'll help you. Take a look. He's been in a lot of good productions, in film, television and on stage. He's a talented actor, and most fundamentally of all, FORD PREFECT IS NOT FROM GUILDFORD. He's an alien pretending to be from there and not exactly fooling anybody because he's a little off-kilter. I'd have loved to have seen Lenny Henry in that role, but Mos is a fine choice. And your basic ignorance is showing if you can't recognize a talented actor because you dismiss him for not meeting qualifications (British, accent) that there's NO REASON FOR THE CHARACTER TO MEET IN THE FIRST DAMNED PLACE. And it doesn't make me feel all warm and fuzzy to call this racism... I wish you goddamned racists didn't even exist. Have a nice day.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 3:35 p.m. CST

    Movie FAQ

    by Dunstable

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 3:38 p.m. CST


    by Schnorbitz

    like Croydon, Eccles, Slough and Wigan is one of those places where even the name is an anti-climax. The joke comes from the fact that Ford is from (from memory) a planet orbiting Betelgeuse, and not from Guildford after all. We'll have to see whether Mos Def can handle the bathos... But let's decide once we've all actually seen the film.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 4:46 p.m. CST

    It is fair to dismiss Mos Def because he's Mos Def

    by SirBiatchReturns

    but not because he happens to be a black rapper. that is ignorance, which is what me and other talkbackers are getting at. I think Mos Def, from the little that i have seen, is a very decent actor. so i think he could play the role of Ford Perfect quite well. I don't know anything about the books so i don't know how "British" the guy should be. They could have casted many other British black actors as well. i agree with wolf at the door on that point. If Ford Perfect is supposed to be quite British, then a black British actor would have been a better choice. But as someone mentioned, given who Ford Perfect is, it may have not been strictly necessary for someone British to play the role. And Mos Def has acting chops. so i think he can do a decent job. we'll see when the movie comes out.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 5:23 p.m. CST

    Don't Panic

    by Ribbons

    Mos Def is a good actor, and certainly he was well-cast for what I'm sure "they" wanted Ford Prefect to be in this movie. Now whether or not that's in line with the "slightly eccentric" character that some of you may have envisioned remains to be seen, but for what it's worth I think that it's a little too far along in the production process to change that aspect of the movie. And sooooo what if he's an "urban musician turned actor?" You say it's not about that and yet you sneer at his background in the very next breath. Yeesh.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 5:24 p.m. CST

    Why after you folk talk am I thinking Avengers?

    by Roborob

    Simple Because there was another UK ICON that was screwed up by Hollywood. I don't care who plays Ford Prefect, as long as he is good. Sure Mos Def ??? is not a traditional choice, mainly as he is AMERICAN. We get Black people in the UK, funny ones too just look at Lenny Hendry from Dudly (the autographical stage show on the BBC last year was fantastic) One of the most popular Black people in UK entertainment, Heck Mos Def might be perfect if he drops the Rap image for something more in a UK style. Or at least as relaxed as Ice-T in Law & Order S.V.U. But race should not be a factor in deciding who should play a part rther how good an actor will be in that part. I can't actualy say as I don't realy know what this Mos Def is like, I think I have seen only 1 of his films and that is no way to judge is someone will be suitable for a hard part. Yes Ford Prefect is a hard part as egcentric is not easy to play let alone in a Sci-Fi Comedy a genre full of let downs an no laugh FX shows. Yes indeed I am starting to see The Avengers yet again, waaaahhh!!

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 5:45 p.m. CST

    Wow, Wolfatthedoor

    by omarthesnake

    I'm amazed... almost impressed (almost) that a racist pinhead like yourself can be the one making the claims that someone ELSE is the KKKracker. As for knowing the book, I've been into Hitchhikers since oh, about 1988 and have all the books, audiobooks, radio play, computer game, gaiman's companion book, you name it. I know the books, and I know that Douglas Adams wouldn't have had a problem with this casting. heck, he would have also been pleased to know that the casting choice got the panties of worthless little twits in a knot. That would have amused him, much as it amuses me that you keep spewing and spitting like Daffy Duck. Your opinion on this matter? worthless. You haven't seen the movie, and you apparently haven't seen Mos Def's work, otherwise you'd know he has the range to pull this off. "No obvious background for the role"? He's an actor, first of all, and he can pull off the smooth, wry demeanor necessary for Ford Prefect. That's the most important factor, not whether or not he was born on a specific island that the character he's playing isn't native to anyhow. and I'd conclude this by an insult, perhaps calling you dumbass or dipshit, but calling you "wolf at the door" seems to cover that nicely.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 5:57 p.m. CST

    Re: Who, outside of Dr. Who, says all aliens who aren't scaly mo

    by Fugazi32

    Erm...there are a large number of Doctor Who episodes with black actors playing Timelords and various other humanoid aliens....Doctor Who isn't racist...and neither will the new series be...

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 6:15 p.m. CST


    by RenoNevada2000

    My comment was directed mostly towards early seasons of RED DWarf and in comparison to say Richard Benjamin's QUARK (the only American sci-fi TV comedy I can think of at the moment) it pulled it's comedy from the characters first, and the situations/sci-fi trappings second.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 6:26 p.m. CST


    by darthferris

    Uh, not quite, Moriarty. Whereas I'm sure that there are some (i.e., in the minority) fanboys out there are racist, most people were dubious of the casting of Mos Def as Ford because he's not not the most likely choice for a character who most people familiar with the books tend to imagine. If you'd told me they'd cast, oh I dunno, David Schwimmer as Ford, I would have been dubious too. Which isn't to say that neither of them can't act (ok, maybe Schwimmer was a bad choice for this example), but until they prove themselves, they're not the right guy. It's kinda like when Michael Keaton was cast as Batman and everybody got pissy, not cause he's Catholic, but because no one was sure if he had the proper gravitas to carry the role. In contrast, when Michael Clarke Duncan was cast as Kingpin, I for one thought it was cool precisely because we'd seen him pull off the type of character required for the role. As for Halle Berry as that movie ever had a chance to begin with, with her, Michelle Pfeifer, or frickin' anyone, white or black. You know, this is the second time that I can think of that M has attacked the fanboy community (the Hulk downloading fiasco being the first); is he losing touch?

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 6:38 p.m. CST

    woo, there you go again, wolfy...

    by omarthesnake

    I'm the one defending the black actor, yet you -- you know, the one who's attacking the black actor -- are the one claiming I'M the racist. How's that work, again? (actually, don't answer. It'll be some stretch of logic that will just prove your stupidity and, let's face it, we don't need any proof of that at this stage of the game). Mos Def being an actor is only one part of the equation, pally. Hence my admittedly confusing use of the phrase "first of all," which i must explain to you is an indication that there's a second element to the point being made. And to repeat that second element, since your reading skills are obviously so limited: Mos Def is an actor who can pull off the smooth, unflappable nature of Ford Prefect... You know, the character that doesn't need to be either white or English. Now, go ahead and make some other (allegedly) comical observation declaring me to be a Klansman, while YOU'RE the one attacking the ethnicity and background of the guy they chose to cast in the role. what a funny little wolfy you are. hee.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 7:02 p.m. CST


    by Phat_Elvis

    MOS DEF is in fact, the most deft. He is a true reigning prince of hip hop, and by that I mean REAL hip hop such as j5, talib, MD, quazimoto, peanut butter wolf, 'kast, et al. He is a GIFTED musician and a sublime poet and perpetrator of the spoken word. HE IS NOT SOME RAP GUY. If you dont dig on rap, youre white, brown, purple, love metal, WHATEVER, you owe it to yourself to check out "black on both sides" and "Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Blackstar". They are a couple of the greatest RECORDS ever made, regardless of genre. If you love music, you'll dig it. As far as anyone who thinks that because MD is "Some Rap Guy" he can't get Ford down, I dont share your pessimism. MD IS a gifted actor and has inspired comic timing, and is intelligent and charismatic enough to really play Ford. I just hope grins thru pretty much, say, THE WHOLE FILM. That would be cool.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 7:12 p.m. CST

    Nude Yoda on E-Bay

    by ransomz

    This is really some bizarre shiznit:

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 9:49 p.m. CST

    "some schmo rapper from brooklyn"

    by omarthesnake

    That, wolfiepoo, is how you described an actor whose career you apparently know nothing about. Here's a handy-dandy link to a list of awards and nominations Mos Def has gotten for his acting talents: ------------------------ And why, pray tell, would someone who had spent their entire life in the UK be better able to portray a space alien who had spent a portion of their time in the UK? Wouldn't an actor who was from outside that region be better to play someone who was slightly askew on what it is to be British? (the answer is "Yes, I suppose he would", if that helps). Basically, you need to get off your frickin' high horse and accept the fact that they've cast an American... and apparently, you're determined to "spew your race hatred" against an actor just for being American, without bothering to check on his credentials. (and that reminds me: where, in any of my posts, do you imagine me spewing any 'race hatred' of any sort? Seriously, i know it's easy for you to sputter and fume about it, but where, where in the flaming hell, are you even pretending to get that from? I never said anything against anyone british... I believe i'm on record saying I'd have liked Lenny Henry in the role, if you bother to read previous posts... but I trust the producers of this movie, and you should too, you narrowminded wolfatthedoor you. as soon as they cast Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent, I knew the producers knew what they were doing. Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman, Bill Bailey, and Stephen Fry on top of that... man, great choices all around, and how many Brits do you need in the cast to make you happy, you sad, sorry little wolfathedoor?)

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 10:48 p.m. CST

    the "black actors playing white roles" thing

    by symphy

    In most cases, it really doesn't bother me. I think Mos Def is a fun choice keeping in the spirit of his character. I don't mind that the upcoming Honeymooners movie changed the principle characters to African Americans, either. But I don't think that anyone who expresses concern over a race-change from book to movie or tv to moie is "racist" -- that's just silly. I mean hell, I could name a hundred examples where a role described as a white character ended up portrayed by a black actor, but can anyone think of an example of a character described as black ended up being portrayed by someone white? (And no, Jesus doesn't count :) hehe) Don't you think they're be a bit of an uproar if they made an important Richard Wright or Maya Angelou character white just for the hell of it and/or to increase demographic appeal? Sometimes you have a character in your head and you cast based on how the author described them -- there's nothing wrong with that. In this case, there's nothing about Ford's character that would require him be white, but sometimes like in King's "Dreamcatcher", the race switch is jarring because Curtis is soooo well defined in detail as southern-caucasian that the movie essentially has to create a new character from scratch.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 11:09 p.m. CST

    Racism/ fandom

    by Darth Thoth

    Thanks for calling it out Moriarty. Much respect.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 11:24 p.m. CST

    Just being critical of Mos Def in this particular role makes you

    by IAmJacksUserID would have been perferctly ok to be skeptical I suppose. Get off your righteous high horse, Mori, and quit being so assumptive and downright insulting. And you were actually being pretty racist yourself when you said, after mentioning the casting of a black actor, that "for me, Ford Prefect needs to be cool". So since Ford is being played by a black guy, that means the character will be "cool"? Anyway, discussing race is a no-win situation around here anyway because the angry little twats will be all to eager to fling their canned flames at you.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 11:37 p.m. CST

    "urban musician turned actor?"

    by FlickChick

    Actually, he's an actor, turned urban musican...You may now resume your non-racist ramblings about whether Mos Def should be playing Ford or not. ;-)

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 12:39 a.m. CST

    BAHAMUT-KUN/Star Wars Episode III: A Lost Hope

    by L.H.Puttgrass

    Thanks for the link. That was simply the funniest fan film I've seen in a long time. It reminds me of Hardware Wars. Some of the scenes looked pretty damn good. It looks like they lifted backgrounds directly from movies. The lightsabre effects were also well done. But aside from all that it was just plain funny. The Deathticle, "Way to go Kenobi!", "Pee on this.", "Other hand!", From the office of THE EMPEROR, etc. Thats funny. Also there are no words to describe that naked Yoda ebay link. None. At all. And lastly, Mori you are one gloriously lucky bastard. The closest I've ever gotten to seeing a movie before it gets out has been when they show a "special" preview on the Saturday evening before the Friday premiere. Not months in advance. Oh life, how you taunt me. *sigh*

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 12:57 a.m. CST

    sorry symphy, u don't really seem to get it.

    by SirBiatchReturns

    "made some important Richard Wright or Maya Angelou character white for the hell of it/demographic appeal". You see, this is why i think some of the people on this website are indeed ignorant. when black people are cast in a movie, its because 'we have to appeal to demographics', not because of the fact that they might actually be talented. And lets be real. Maya Angelou is a real person. to cast as her as white would simply be retarded. just as it would be retarded to make JFK black. But when a character is fictional (key word here), the question of race becomes more difficult. a character can be tweaked either way as long as it does not mess with the whole message/point of the story.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 1:04 a.m. CST

    *laugh* Wow.

    by symphy

    "Maya Angelou is a real person. to cast as her as white would simply be retarded". And "SirBiatch" says I "don't get it". :) Richard Wright and Maya Angelou are AUTHORS who wrote some of the most powerful novels about the black experience in the 20th century. I obviously wasn't talking about having white people play the authors themselves (the Sir clearly has no idea who they are), but characters they created, who were black. My point is that no one would ever cast a white actor in a role created for a black character. So why is it okay the other way? Again, I'm not saying I mind so much in most cases -- just pointing out the racism behind the double standard.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 2:06 a.m. CST

    symphy, i made a mistake but u're still missing something

    by SirBiatchReturns

    I made a mistake actually. i didn't not notice the word 'characters' after Maya Angelou when u were writing. it was an oversight. so i just thought u said some incredibly dumb shit. i wouldn't put it past some people on AICN. but that was a mistake on my part. u are not as dumb as i thought, but u're still missing some things. a number of black authors in America have characters that are quintessentially black. as in, the story would not exist if the main character was not black. "Blackness" is rooted in the whole consciousness of the piece. You just can't have the character be not black. But with something so trivial as comic books, hitchikers, etc, making a character black or white is not so important. The characters are not embedded in race, but are rather characters on their own. embedded in some special personality that makes them appealing, marketable and reader friendly. So please stop with that argument. Dumbasses like yourself always cry double standard, trying to bring in this whole "well, they wouldn't like it if Shaft was made white". news for u buddy... Nobody is going to make Shaft white. why? cuz it simply wouldn't make any sense at all. Shaft HAS to be black. it is one of the defining things about him. it shaped a lot of his experiences growing up, how he thinks, and the new ones he creates. But i would argue that Sue Storm will still be able to go invisible and defeat the bad guys whether she's Puerto Rican or Arab. Whenever u deal with fictional characters and race, u have to honestly ask: 'does it really matter what race this person is? is the race of this character only a skin deep issue?'. cuz with Angelou's work, it most definitely is not just skin deep.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 5:43 a.m. CST

    mos def...

    by DukeDeMondo

    Great review, or Preview, Mori, and i totally agree with you about Mos Def, and the racism thing evident all-too-often in these circles. That hoopla about Beyonce being cast as Lois Lane a while back is one of my more unpleasant memories of fanboy knee-jerk reaction... I must draw the line, though, at your "mediocre" (or similar) remark concernign The Woodsman. I thought that flick was a motherfucking work of wonder, is what. Dig this; Anyhow, good stuff.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 5:53 a.m. CST


    by ScaryJim

    I mean you know how much of a disaster it can be when they cast characters out of their exact description - I mean Look at James Bond . What did they do ? Got sean Connery to play him and he's fucking scottish playing an ENGLISH secret agent !! I mean you can see why that was such a flop!! Producers beware !! LOL !

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 5:55 a.m. CST

    Ford's 15 years on Earth...

    by Thes

    ... weren't ALL spent in the UK. Remember why he was on Earth to start with. He travelled everywhere. Doesn't he discover all his submissions (how beautiful the Great Barrier Reef is etc) in the Guide in Life, The Universe and Everything? So, isn't it fair to say that, with that amount of travelling under his belt (or towel) he wouldn't really have that strong a UK accent? It's just a theory.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 6:05 a.m. CST

    Racism shmacism

    by Lone Fox

    Sure there are a certain minority (hah a pun) that are reduced to racism concerning comments regarding black actors cast in 'traditionally' white roles, but I don't see much evidence here. Ford was not played by a black actor in previous interpretations of HGTTG, nor did he come across as such in print, however if Mos Def is the best choice to play him then great. It'd be interesting to see the reaction were a white actor cast as, say, Blade, though. And fuck Lenny Henry!

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 6:19 a.m. CST

    Lenny Henry

    by Scunner

    Black or white or tange-fekkin-rine, Lenny Henry is a comedy vacuum!

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 6:44 a.m. CST


    by ScaryJim

    I think your right there - lenny hasn't been funny for at least 15 years, thankfully his charity work absolves him partly . And as far as i know he hasn't acted in any film before ..

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 6:47 a.m. CST

    I tell a lie

    by ScaryJim

    True identity Miles Pope (Lenny Henry) is a struggling black actor whose life takes a hilarious turn for the worse when he unwittingly discovers a ruthless mobster's most guarded secret. To save his neck, Miles enlists the help of an eccentric makeup whiz who concocts a brilliant disguise to conceal his 'true identity'... dammit i think my 11 year old mind actually found that quite funny at the time too :0/

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 6:52 a.m. CST

    Saying 'OK' for a long time should not be regarded as funny

    by Lone Fox

    Well, you're almost right! He was in that crap pre-Wayan brothers (and pre-Martin Lawrence, for the love of fuck) race switching movie. That nobody saw. He was only funny fifteen years ago because we were about 10 years old and retarded. Well, I was.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 7:12 a.m. CST

    Hey wolf you stupid

    by ScaryJim

    CUNT .NO you fucking dumbass - well done for playing that old nationalist card again, i'll just clear it up for you though, i'm from the west of england and FYI his mother was Swiss, his father English. Both were killed by an avalanche when James was eleven years old. Bond was kicked out of Eton and afterwards attended the former school of his father. He served in the military where the British Secret Service recruited him from the Royal Navy and granted him the license to kill. Ok your right that sounds scottish to me??! .. BUT the point being made is that it didn't matter what accent the character spoke with, just like it's not going to make any fucking difference what accent Mos Def speaks with as long as he plays the character well - and stop your face-saving 'well the could have got a black UK actor' They probably chose him because he's black AND american - just face it.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 7:17 a.m. CST


    by ScaryJim

    You do know that England is a part of Britain don't you Wolf? You do know it's a country yes ? You do know that Britain is a group of countries possibly where you live?

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 7:21 a.m. CST

    Wolfatthedoor, what the fuck is your problem?

    by Monkey Butler

    Is Ford Prefect supposed to be English? Is he supposed to be white? Is he supposed to have an English accent? If you answered 'yes' to any of those answers, I'm sure you wouldn't mind backing that up with quotes from the book. Yeah, Ford SAID he was from Guildford, but as has already been pointed out, he'd travelled the world for The Guide, so a different accent could be very easily explained away. Note, not "bad English", but "different". Because from all accounts, Mos Def doesn't use an English accent in the film. So sure there are a bunch of English actors, of all colours, that could've played the role, but the producers thought that Mos Def was the most suitable because the character isn't defined by ethnicity or accent but rather his personality. If Mos Def has that part nailed, and I've heard no evidence that he hasn't (similarly, I've heard no evidence that he has) then that's all that matters. I'm not going to get into some huge fucking argument about why he was cast without seeing the film. Then maybe I'll be able to make up my mind as to whether he was good in the role, and also whether or not somebody else could've done a better job. And then maybe you can stop making stupid, baseless, accusations of racism.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 7:25 a.m. CST


    by Evil Chicken

    Great re/preview! I'm looking forward to Zaphod's extra head. This'll be a blast.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 7:28 a.m. CST

    It's not racism, it's stating the obvious...

    by turk128

    Seriously, Mos Def? How can you blame the fans for reacting any differently... unless you drink too much from the PC coolaid (I hear it thins the skin, too). I'd rather they had gotten Red Dwarf's Craig Charles or, better yet, Chris Barrie. Speaking of which, I have a sneaky suspicion that this might end up being Red Dwarf-lite... more reasons for me to go see it.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 7:43 a.m. CST

    Ford Prefect

    by Cory849

    Meh. This big fighr about Ford...Im just on the side of some of the folks on here who worry because he"s playing the role with an American accent. Black or white I dotn much care about, but the absence of British accents from Ford and Trillian IS a mistake in my opinion. The British sense of humour works best with a British accent. This film is one of the classic pieces of British humour. Maybe Mos Def and Zooey will do great...Im open minded. But it is an annoying shift that should not have happened in a post Harry Potter world. As for him being black - I dont care. There is nothing particualrly caucasian about Ford Prefect. Black is fine. He should just be British black. thats all.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 8:11 a.m. CST

    So he doesn't seem like an authentic Guildfordian...

    by Monkey Butler

    What's the problem? "I'm from Guildford, I just travel alot, so I don't really act or sound like I do anymore". As long as Def plays Ford well, I don't care if it seems unlikely that he's from Guildford or that Arthur would actually believe that he wasn't actually human (fanboys do that way too much when talking about movies - "that guy's acting weird, why don't the other characters see that he's obviously an alien/ghost/serial kill?"). But I appreciated the racism comments.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 8:12 a.m. CST

    Wow, Wolfieathedoor...

    by omarthesnake

    You're just a total argumentative asshole, aintcha? Casting Mos Def wasn't about any demographics --- if it was, they'd have picked a higher-profile actor than that. it was about picking someone they felt was right for the role and could play the character well. and I'm betting he can, and you havent bothered to look at his previous work so you can't really say. and when the movie comes out and you see how good he is in it, you'd best be writing him a letter of apology, you hopeless jerk. And again, what the hell kind of twisted logic are you using to call me racist when you're blatantly biased against African-Americans and Americans in general yourself? You're just a hateful ball of worthlessness, a sour little troll who desperately looks for things to be unhappy about and people to berate to cover up your own petty, sad little sourness. It's pathetic. (and go ahead and reply with whatever ya want, I'm tired of this thread and your pointless attacks, since you're not willing to debate actual points and choose instead to falsely accuse, so this is my last posting. It's been fun exposing you for the hatemonger you are, though. Have a miserable rest of your miserable life.)

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 8:17 a.m. CST


    by BarrelRider

    OK, you felt Oldboy was a mess. Fair enough. Your folly is in thinking that AICN has made a mistake in backing OldBoy to the extent it has. You seem blissfully unaware of the fact that the movie won the Grand Prix at Cannes. I can assure you that the film was awarded on its merits, not because the judges were avid supporters of AICN. Infact, it's been reported that all the judges except one wanted the movie to win the Palm d'Or, but they couldn't get a unanimous decision so it went to 9/11. The film has won numerous awards in Korea for best director, best actor etc. After I saw OldBoy, I was worried that many critics would dismiss it as too violent, or simply not see it at all. Yet I was pleasantly surprised to find that every single review I read in a newspaper or film journal was unstintingly positive. If the publication used a ratings system, Oldboy was invariably awarded 5 stars, or whatever the maximum happened to be. So here's my challenge: you find me a single review of the film, written by a respectable film reviewer, which is mainly negative in tone. Now, no offence to the guys at AICN, but by a respectable film reviewer, I mean one who writes a regular film review column in a national newspaper, or in a printed film journal of some kind. Most publications have an online edition, so it won't take you long to pull up the review from, say - the New York Times. I seem to remember Manohla Dargis or Stephen Holden or one of those people gushing all over OldBoy. But take your pick, you can look for reviews from any publication you like - I guarantee you won't find a bad one. Then, if you want to make yourself feel better, you can go on some kind of "Movie Poop-Shoot" website, and find some fanboy troll who is equally as embittered as you, and who has decided to completely hate the film as you have. Hopefully at some point during the whole process which I've just described, you'll realise that you've fucked up completely, and, where you've been criticising AICN for getting behind Oldboy so firmly, in fact, you should have been criticising yourself for (a) not having the brains to understand why Oldboy is such a great and important film (b) choosing to make yourself feel better by bringing this point up on a talkback about The Hitchhiker's Guide (c) doing the internet equivalent of standing on a rooftop in your underwear on a freezing winter's day shouting "hey, everybody, look at me!! I'm a complete fucking retard! No, seriously, look at how retarded I am!" ---- ---- I'm sorry you didn't enjoy OldBoy, really I am, because you missed out on one of the greatest cinematic treats of the last 12 years. But please stop trying to convince yourslef that AICN are somehow the only people to have seen merit and value in the film; they aren't - every film critic and fan with half a clue, realized straight away how important it is. Not you, you come onto a Hitchhiker's talkback to moan about it, because deep in your unconscious there uis a little voice telling you that you just don't have the temperament to appreciate a decent movie like Oldboy. ---- Anyway, back on-topic: THGTTG is sounding good. Real good.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 8:18 a.m. CST

    psst, monkeybutler

    by omarthesnake

    Tag, you're it. It's your turn to rile wolfieathedoor by using logic and good points and being responded to with venomous, out-of-nowhere charges of racism. He's obviously a racist himself, trying to rationalize and cover up his own hatreds by lashing out at anyone who dares to have the gall to disagree with his ridiculous ramblings. I've had enough of his nonsensical attempts at debating an issue that, fortunately for the world, is out of his hands and in the hands of the producers of this film who seem imminently competent. So now, I entrust you to keep him agitated until perhaps, with luck, we will drive him into the nuthouse where he belongs. :)

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 8:26 a.m. CST

    My two cents about Ford

    by Shan

    From remembering the tv series and David Dixon's appearance and how he played the part, I was thinking that Alan Davies from the TV show "Jonathan Creek" would have been perfect for how I saw Ford Prefect. The way he played Johnathan, as an illusionist (well the guy who comes up with the tricks for the guy on stage) as not being like your average man on the street (very lateral thought processes, he lives in a windmill! etc) would definitely fit with something *not* *quite* what you'd expect but couldn't put finger on as Ford is described in the book. It isn't cast in stone at all, I guess a lot of us just assumed that Ford is British. As it is, I know nothing at all about Mos Def, so I'll have to wait and see how good he is (well, as good as I think he is for my point of view) in the role.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 8:46 a.m. CST

    I think what he meant was that red dwarf can't be film-ised, whi

    by scrumdiddly

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 9:22 a.m. CST

    I never called you racist wolf at the door

    by Monkey Butler

    And I actually find your posts kinda funny, and not in a patronising way. And if I was that pissed off about your posts, I just wouldn't reply. But what DOES get me pissed off, and this doesn't apply just to Hitchhiker's, is people who prejudge things - for example, your assertion that Mos Def will be crap in the role of Ford Prefect and that the movie will most likely bomb. You have absolutely nothing to back those beliefs up with other than your own pessimism, and yet you still spout it like it's Gospel. That's what pisses me off, not any claims that I'm a racist. Seriously, I thought the subject line of your post about goose-stepping and holocaust-denial was very funny.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 10:15 a.m. CST


    by ScaryJim

    LOL perhaps thats why he went into acting then ?

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 10:24 a.m. CST

    yeah Mos's album was incredibly disappointing.

    by SirBiatchReturns

    Black on Both Sides is classic. then to come out with this, after so long, i felt like slapping him. In another note, there has been a lot of flaming over Ford Perfect/Mos Def. My advice people is to see when the movie comes out. we simply cannot judge how good he will be. It is not obvious that he is wrong for the role. it is also not obvious that he is PERFECT for the role of "Ford Perfect". haha. i think thats a good one. a bit lame i know, but whatever. Fanboys, please stop whining. Its like, unless the dude/girl is what they've imagined while masturbating to the comic, they'll always be against it. Chill. lets see when the movie drops.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 10:48 a.m. CST

    I'm glad Mori said it and not me or SirBiatch

    by Lost Skeleton

    ...cuz everytime we mention the littel undercurrent of "r" that runs through every casting decision that involves someone of color...we always get this kneejerk reaction. Mos Def is a terrific actor. From the Cosby Mysteries to Monsters Ball. His terrific performance with Alan Rickman in Something the Lord has Made. His turn in the Italian Job. Mos has the chops. In fact, he is more of an actor than a musician. That said...I am realy hoping this flies and Mori seems to think that the movie is on track. I love these books and I, for one, can't wait until May.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 11 a.m. CST

    how bout this

    by hector

    Isnt it also racism to be handing Mos Def his lifetime achievement award considering how limited his actual resume is? Seriously, if he was a white actor you wouldnt hear all the gushing about how fantastic he was in the freaking Italian Job. You probably wouldnt know his name. Its no more racist to bitch about Mos Def playing Ford than to bitch about Kevin Costner playing Robin Hood. Its about the character, not the actor, and color isnt the issue.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 11:25 a.m. CST

    ah, couldn't resist sniffing around once more

    by omarthesnake

    Glad to see you're still missing the point by a country mile, wolfie. Your assessment of Mos Def, based on a total lack of knowledge of his career, is the problem... you're making assumptions because you see him as some "shmo" rapper. That's racist, not to mention incredibly narrowminded, not to mention pointlessly confrontational and argumentative. But from you, we could expect no less. Now, this time, I mean it, I'm outta here. I grow tired of being called a moron BY a moron; you're quite the pot calling the snowdrift black. But what has grown tiresome and tedious for now will be amusing once again in the future; and thus, I look forward to squabbling with you on some other talkback in the future, you miserable little troll you. :)

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 11:52 a.m. CST


    by radio1_mike

    I personally never really though of Ford as 'cool'... Zaphod? Surely. Ford, no. Good chap, likes to drink, plays to lose, and just a general loafer. The casting of Mos Def can be critical if you look at what was the genesis of his casting. If they wanted to cast a black guy, just because it would be cooler, hipper or 'more urban' and therefore appeal to a wider audience that would frankly be not a good thing. If they thought why not just cast a black guy as Ford Prefect? Fine. But why would they not get one the black UK stage actors instead? At least, they could infuse Ford with the real sense of the UK/'Britishness' that Ford would have needed to survive all those years in Guilford. This movie is not going to be a blockbuster, so why would it matter if Mos Def was not there...? And this is nothing against Mos Def either. I like what he has been so far. And what is with the new characters? John Malkovich? What the... Why not just add Gary Oldman and Bruce Willis and call it the sequel to The Fifth Element??!

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 12:38 p.m. CST

    Hmmm, slightly more encouraging Mor but I

    by morGoth

    I guess the best thing to do now is NOT read any more reviews as the additional characters bit makes me nervous all over again. I know, instead of healthy skepticism, let

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 12:43 p.m. CST

    My thoughts on Mos Def

    by LordSoth

    I don't think I'm rascist by saying Mos Def was miscast as Ford. I'll see the movie and won't be horribly offended by Mos Def, but I just think selecting an actor that somewhat resembles the character is important. Much like I don't think you should get Whitney Houston to play Lois Lane, any white guy to play Blade, three men to play Charlie's Angels, or any of the guys who have played Lurch in the Adams Family to play Frodo from the Shire!

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 1:08 p.m. CST

    fair point

    by symphy

    Sir: I think I see what you're saying, in that, if someone writes a character who just happens to be white or black, it shouldn't be a big deal to change them if a good actor happens to be of a different race (like Queen Latifah in Chicago), but if an author wrote a character whose racial identity was crucial to their story, then it'd be silly to change it. I think we agree on that. But it is odd that it's only one way -- I still can't think of a single character who was black in the book/play/tv/etc. who was played by a white actor for the film adaptation. Probably because they're be an outcry. But you can't have it both ways -- it can't be "racist" if someone has a problem with a black actor potraying a white character and also "racist" if a white actor plays a black character. :)

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 1:09 p.m. CST


    by symphy


  • Jan. 31, 2005, 2:12 p.m. CST

    How is it racist?

    by badboymason

    Mos Def was met with the same outcry that would have met the casting of Mark Wahlberg, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Paul Walker, Will Smith, Ice Cube or Eminem, as Ford Prefect. Not because he is black, but because hes a bad choice for the role. He is an at best mediocre actor, and totally inappropriate for the role AS originally written. Now, if they had cast a decent actor, who could pull off an urban American Ford Prefect (which seems a quintessential English name to me), then the outcry would not have been so great I think. Still, at least it wasnt Martin Lawrence...

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 2:19 p.m. CST

    If you're gonna cast an American black guy, why cast him as Ford

    by rev_skarekroe

    Wouldn't Zaphod be a better choice? Ah well.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 3:05 p.m. CST

    symphy, you also make a fair point

    by SirBiatchReturns

    but then again, i'm not aware of any characters that had to be white that were changed to black. i can't think of any. Like i said, it all depends on the character of the individual being portrayed. does race play a huge or noticeable role? give me some instances where the role simply HAD to be a white guy and it was given over to a black guy. i can't think of any off the top of my head. and please don't mention Kingpin. Kingpin is a comic book character and as far as i know, his race doesn't really have any impact on him being the Kingpin. Blade for example, could have been a white guy. From what i know, his race has nothing to do with him slaying vampires. Yes, fans will be disappointed because that is one less black superhero (and believe me, there are so few). So u have to also understand that the 'balance' is not fair. the scale is not equal. You can say 'yeah, nobody will make an outcry when a white character in a comic book is made black' and u may have a point. but don't forget that there are simply a huge void when it comes to black superheroes. You cannot take away from people who already have so little in that respect. Someone will look at it and be like: 'geez, get over it. there are 90000 more white superheroes for you. its about time we got some of our own too.' I'm not saying this attitude is right, but i can understand it and it does exist among certain people.

  • ...but she was American in the BBC TV series version of the story as well, played by Washington D.C.-born Sandra Dickinson. I've never heard the original BBC radio version, though.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 4:26 p.m. CST

    Hey Garbageman

    by gerrit4

    You wrote the exact same OldBoy post over in the Sympathy For Lady Vengeance column. Atleast it was relevant there. Are you going to fit it into every review on this site? Harry's in the Hospital - Maybe he's watching OldBoy, which has the villain reciting why he did what he did for the last 20 minutes, yada yada yada.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 4:33 p.m. CST

    Barrel Rider

    by Garbageman33

    Sorry I didn't like your little movie. But I think you went a little overboard in your response. By the way, Old Boy currently has a 64% fresh rating on, putting it in the same category as such cinematic masterpieces as Coach Carter and Shall We Dance. Have a nice day, sunshine.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 4:35 p.m. CST

    Ever changing text

    by Thes

    Every version of HHGTTG is different in some way. Radio series (the first incarnation) was different to the books which were different to the TV series which was different to the game etc. This was Adam's intention, as is the differences in the film. Having said that look at how different TV Trillian was to book Trillian. SO what is the big deal about Def being Ford? Ancient Lights made a terrific point about The Shawshank Redemption and Morgan Freeman's casting as WHITE IRISH Red. I doubt anyone can criticise Freeman's performance in this excellent film, so until HHGTTG is released and the general populace actually SEE it - isn't it a bit premature to ridicule someone's casting? BTW, just a quick scroll through my Guide and I can't find ANYTHING about the colour of Ford's skin, eyes, hair, nor anything about his BRITISH accent. As I mentioned earlier, Ford spent most of his 15 years travelling the world. I spent just over two months in the US but when I came home to Australia my freinds told me I sounded less like an Aussie and more like a American. Surely Ford's accent would be more universal given his occupation? I mean, when exactly did he lose his Beatleguese accent anyway?

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 4:45 p.m. CST


    by Garbageman33

    Yeah, you're right, I did post it twice. I just watched it on Saturday night and I guess I'm really frustrated and was hoping someone could explain to me why they liked it so much. Apparently, I came to the wrong place. But hey, at least you didn't call my mother a whore or anything like Barrel Rider. Oh, and you're right that I probably should have used a different tone (and a different talkback, for that matter). But, like I said, I was frustrated. Sorry.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 6:17 p.m. CST

    AncientLights is pretty fly for a white guy

    by SirBiatchReturns

    sorry for the crappy Offspring reference. i'm guessing you're white. but anyway, you're 100% correct. people need to loosen up. like i said before, if the race of a character or country background really doesn't have anything to do with the overall story and theme of the work, then its ok to tweak it. It makes something fresh, as long as it is done well.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 6:17 p.m. CST

    Actors vs. marketing-inspired casting

    by jeffv

    I was left a little confused by this. I thought people were annoyed because he was a rapper, not because of his race. I hadn't heard of Mos Def. When I heard a "rapper" was being cast, I was afraid it was a marketing ploy to make the movie hip. I thought the "we need a name to draw the 18-34 year olds" marketing people were behind it. When decisions like that get made, I'm afraid it may be with no regard to the acting ability of the person. So, I had some trepidation. It's something like the feeling I would've had if some pop princess Britney Spears successor had been cast as Trillian, but not as pronounced because I wasn't *sure* the guy was a flavour-of-the-month singer posing as an actor. I was just afraid he might be. I don't care what the race of Ford Prefect is. It's trivia, and there's definitely more changed about the story than such a detail as this. I just want someone who can act. Apparently at least some people think he can, so there's hope. (FWIW, to give the benefit of the doubt to those that *do* care about actors resembling their vision of a character, it's not necessarily any more racist than complaining about Keanu Reeves playing John Constantine without the bleach blond hair and British accent.)

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 6:28 p.m. CST

    Bravo, AncientLights

    by Ribbons

    Good post. By the way, and this is to no one in particular, I find it amusing that some people are under the delusion that casting Mos Def, "a rapper," was a ploy to draw the kiddies. If you think that Mos Def has any kind of clout among the majority of rap fans (not saying he doesn't deserve to), then you're seriously, seriously out of touch. That's got nothing to do with why this decision was made. And as a recommendation, we should probably find something else to talk about, though I'm not sure what. Hmmm....well I like pepperoni pizza. Howsabout you folks?

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 6:42 p.m. CST

    Pizza toppings

    by Thes

    My fav is ham and pineapple, but I know pineapple isn't big on pizza over there (it's quite popular here Down Under).

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 8:15 p.m. CST

    You have a homo fixation, fuckknuckles

    by I Dunno

    ...not that there's anything wrong with that.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 8:41 p.m. CST


    by Fugazi32


  • Jan. 31, 2005, 9:57 p.m. CST

    What I Want to Know Is...

    by Van Damned

    ... who won Moriarty's friggin' contest? Will he post the results of the best Vogon poems, or will we all have to simply stew?

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 10:14 p.m. CST


    by FlickChick

    You said (paraphrasing)you couldn't think of a single instance where a white actor played a black character? I'll name a few: Queen of Sheba, Makeba, David's Ethiopian mistress played by many white actresses Renee Zellweger's recent portrayal of the black character of Ruby Thewes and...Most of the cast of horrible Ursula K. LeGuin adaptation for the sci-fi channel (mind you, they weren't necessarily supposed to be black, but definitely of color) But, really...Argue away. It's not going to change the fact that Mos is Ford in the movie. I must re-emphasize, Mos Def WAS AN ACCLAIMED ACTOR before he was a rapper.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 10:25 p.m. CST

    A Few Responses...

    by drew mcweeny

    Once again, each and every talkbacker thinks that I've singled them out with something I wrote. If you're not a racist, and you haven't made racist cracks on previous HHGTTG talkbacks, then guess what? I WASN'T TALKING ABOUT YOU! I think this thread has called some people out, and I think some of the responses have been very telling, and it's interesting that some of the most racist remarks are from the angriest people. Me thinks thou doth protest too much, though, wolfatthedoor. You tie yourself in knots to defend your point, but the language you use is incredibly revealing. You are what you are. Deal with it. I'll have the winner of the Vogon poetry contest chosen soon, but you guys buried me under a mountain of entries. Not coincidentally, the final tally came in just shy of 4200 poems submitted. Adams would have smiled.

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 10:48 p.m. CST

    Mos Def...

    by Cajun Lightning

    I'm sorry, but can someone explain to me what possible ulterior motive Disney would have for casting Mos Def? The way some people are carrying on, it seems as though he has been cast for 90 different reasons other than the apparently remote possibility that he might be a good actor. He must be. Because I can't think of any other reason why they would cast someone so obscure in what they are hoping to be a blockbuster movie. It's not like they shoehorned some big, shiny, box-office draw. It's not Will Smith. It's some kid many of us have never heard of. So I am going to guess that he's legitimately good. And he also happens to be black. Which really shouldn't be bothering people to such a degree because a) there are black people in Britain and b) Ford is not British. He's a damn alien. And the mere fact that his skin is darker does not inherently change the character because everything about that character while on Earth is inherently false. What difference does it make if he is pretending to be a white British guy or a black guy? The point of it is, he

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 11:06 p.m. CST

    Hawaiian pizza, eh?

    by Ribbons

    Not usually a fan myself, but I can scarf down a couple pieces of those bad boys if I'm hungry.

  • Feb. 1, 2005, 1:19 a.m. CST

    Ford Prefect IS NOT BRITISH, PEOPLE.

    by symphy

    He's an alien from a small planet in the vicinity of Betelgeuse. Are we really saying we needed to cast an alien from a small planet in the vicinity of Betelgeuse for the part for it to be authentic? What made him "British"? Hell even his name is only pronuncible in an obscure Betelgeusian dialect. Good Lord.

  • Feb. 1, 2005, 3:14 a.m. CST

    The nature of Ford Prefect.

    by AnnoyYou

    Everyone who has read THGTHG knows perfectly well that Ford Prefect is not actually British, but he IS an alien impersonating a ginger-haired, odd-eyed failed British actor. And therein lies the problem with Mos Def in the role -- he may be odd-eyed, he may even have ginger hair, but he is definitely NOT playing Ford as a fake Brit! I understand Hollywood producers and directors always feel compelled to put their "stamp" on a film, usually at the expense of fidelity to the original source, and I suppose that's fine, as Ford will forever be what he originally was between the covers of the books. But you can't expect everyone to be pleased by the liberties taken in the film: three main characters transformed into [fake/unfake] Americans living in England, Zaphod without an actual second head (which seems like such a cheap cheat it's ridiculous), a subplot not in the original book, no explanation for Ford's presence on Earth, etc. These things give the impression that the filmmakers actually don't give a damn about Adams' original vision and story, and also makes one think that this adaptation will be much closer to the movie version of "Bonfire of the Vanities" than, say, the film version of "To Kill A Mockingbird."

  • Feb. 1, 2005, 3:56 a.m. CST


    by pammybabe

    A few of you like rev_skarekroe have pointed out that Trillion was American. I think this was deliberate. You have two earth people in Hitchhickers. The joke always seems to be that Trillion, despite the fact she is in exactly the same situations as Arthur, always seems to take everythink in her stride whilst Arthur reacts badly. I think Adams was making a joke about the ways British and American cultures react to change. The Americans embrace anything new and exciting whilst the Brits react with horror and distrust. I am British by the way. In the end it doesn't matter who plays Ford rather how he plays him.

  • Feb. 1, 2005, 4:57 a.m. CST


    by ScaryJim

    heh Mori ! anyway - Wolf you forget that quite alot of us were in the other hitch hikers talkback were you were not so liberal - simply calling people who called you a racist a racist back isn't going remove what you said before .

  • Feb. 1, 2005, 5:04 a.m. CST


    by ScaryJim

    uhh i meant previous posts

  • Feb. 1, 2005, 5:33 a.m. CST

    Hey Daredevil? One free lapdance please, biaaaaaaaaaatch

    by Lone Fox

    Hahahahahahahah! I never thought of that, but the Kingpin's theme tune was that stupid lapdance song! Ah well, who cares about character anymore, when we've got big people eh?

  • Feb. 1, 2005, 11:54 a.m. CST

    Superman as a black Brit

    by ROBE

    Ford Prefect is an alien pretending to be an out of work British actor. Kal-El aka Clark Kent aka Superman is a alien pretending to be your average American big city reporter from small town America. Americans would no doubt be rather annoyed if DC comics got bought out by a British company who decided to take the same liberties with Supes as Hollywood is taking with Ford Prefect. And before any smart ass brings up the one off DC story Superman True Brit, I have read it and it doesn't count as it is a "what if" story.

  • Feb. 1, 2005, 12:35 p.m. CST


    by Childe Roland

    Before making my observation about the two most out of line talkbackers in this thread, let me say that I have been pleasantly surprised by Mos Def in every role I've seen him play, and I have no problem whatsoever with his tackling this part in a movie adaptation of a book I care very much about. But for Sir Biatch to post as much as he has, arguing with folks who have a problem with the casting, when he has obviously never read the book and has no clue what the character is supposed to be like, is, at best, ignorant and, at worst, simply baiting/trolling. I tend to think it's the latter based on the tone of his first post, which latched onto a half-baked and poorly expressed thought in Moriarty's review, then beat it like a drum (essentially: if you don't like this casting, you are racist). Read the fucking book before you call it trivial, Sir Biatch. And try addressing someone's arguments as presented rather than twisting them to fit your agenda(while I don't agree with him about Mos Def being little more than a schmoe rapper from Brooklyn, I didn't get any indication that his problem with Mos Def had anything to do with blackness). Which brings me to the other wildly inappropriate post... from Moriarty. Good god, man, but you really have no shame! You cast a wide aspersion in your article, either based on your inability to form a cohesive thought on a complex subject or your inability to clearly express that thought in writing, then attack someone who disagrees with your faulty logic? Again, I think Mos Def might be very good in this role. But if I would have preferred any number of other African American or Hispanic or Asian or even white actors in the role, that would not make me a racist fanboy, as you suggest. For you to try and cast a talkbacker (Wolf at the Door) in this light, purely to reinforce a thought you clearly didn't think carefully enough about before committing it to your keyboard, is irresponsible and cowardly. You wrote something stupid in your review (several things, actually) and offended people. Admit it and disarm the ugly situation you created rather than demonizing a talkbacker to protecct your credibility.

  • Feb. 1, 2005, 12:57 p.m. CST

    Childe Roland, u came into this conversation late.

    by SirBiatchReturns

    and its obvious that u can't read either. We pretty much came to the conclusion that we'll wait and see how Mos Def is in this movie. and its obvious u're trying to start something because if u were actually reading, u would see that one post i have called "its fair to hate on Mos Def because he's Mos Def, not because he's black". in other words, we can argue about how credible of an actor Mos Def is, but that issues of race are mostly irrelevant. do me a favor and read the posts before u, think about it, think about where everyone is coming from, then make a comment.

  • Feb. 1, 2005, 3:17 p.m. CST

    Are you using the royal "we" when...

    by Childe Roland claim "We pretty much came to the conclusion that we'll wait and see how Mos Def is in this movie." That's a very lopsided and idiot-centric view of events if you bother to read every post in the talkback, like I did. You clearly decided that you had jumped the gun in your eagerness to put steam into Moriarty's racism train with your first post and made a half-assed attempt in your last post (not including your response to me) to divert well-deserved heat from yourself. Doesn't change the fact that you still typed some very ignorant shite in this talkback and never once admitted you had made incorrect assumptions about other's motives or positions. Nor does it change Moriarty's inexcusable behaviour. So get off my dick, Bi(a)tch, and think before you type or make assumptions about what I have or haven't read.

  • Feb. 1, 2005, 4:33 p.m. CST

    Changes in the script

    by Brainodo

    If those posters who are vehemently opposed to changes within the script from 'Adam's vision' would calm down and perhaps pay attention for a moment, they might actually realise that many of the changes were made by Douglas himself. FWIW, I'm with the Ford-may-have-claimed-he-was-from-Guildford-but-wasn't-particularly-convincing Party (no votes). Until I see what Mos Def is like in the role, I'll withhold judgement. I always preferred David Dixon to Geoffrey McGivern though.

  • Feb. 1, 2005, 5:04 p.m. CST

    Childe Roland, you're such a dumbass

    by SirBiatchReturns

    this topic has already been exhausted. and then u show up late trying to start shit. my advice: go fuck yourself. i'm sure u were doing that before u showed up on this talkback.

  • Feb. 1, 2005, 5:14 p.m. CST

    Very creative and intelligent response...

    by Childe Roland

    ...Biatch. You a regular paragon of intellectual discourse. Sorry to have to rub your nose in your own mess and then spank you so obviously in front of all these good people. But based on the consistent idiocy I've seen from you in other talkbacks, you must be used to it by now. Now be a good little punk and wipe your poo off my loveshaft, would you? And I'd prefer you not use your tongue this time... it's filthy.

  • Feb. 1, 2005, 5:19 p.m. CST

    My bad... meant to type:

    by Childe Roland

    "u a regular paragon of intellectual discourse." so you'd understand it, Biatch, but I was laughing too hard. I'm sure you got the point, though.

  • Feb. 1, 2005, 11:48 p.m. CST

    R.C.'s opinion: The movie should be terrific. Great cast, budg

    by R.C. the "Wise"

    Not only is he a sensational MC but he's an acclaimed actor. He's done broadway. He's won many awards for his writing, producing and acting including an Emmy, a Grammy, and an Image awards. He was recently nominated for a Golden Globe and a Tony. Mos is the truth. He's very funny on Chapelle's Show. Hell, instead of the "typical" black stereotypical black comedic actor, he's actually articulate and funny. I'm no "Mo" I'm just complimenting the fella :^D I'm sure he'll be superb along Sam Rockwell and the bunch in Hitchhiker's.

  • Feb. 2, 2005, 3:59 a.m. CST

    I like this new feature

    by Thes

    Quick Talkback Form! Good work, Harry!! BTW, I think the casting is terrific, the 'new' elelments to the story sound great and I like Marvin's look (sort of). I'm also an avid Adams fan so I'm not coming into this topic cold or uninformed.

  • Feb. 2, 2005, 7:13 a.m. CST

    This is a TEST

    by Evil Chicken

    Skip to the next message, the following is a test. Wiz da Shinizle

  • Feb. 2, 2005, 3:10 p.m. CST

    You know who the real racist is?

    by WeedyMcSmokey

    Douglas Adams. Never wrote one stinking black character into any of his books about the funny British people. He should have know that black people are instantly 'cool'. Apparently it's a genetic thing - being 'white' I'm sure I don't understand. Mos Def may be a great Actor/Rapper/Dancer/Fancy Dresser but he clearly can't be Ford Prefect, because his 'blackness' would show up instantly in print and aliens aren't black- - cuz then they'd be human. Nevertheless, the real culprit here is Adams. He should be dashed to pieces against the BBC Radio 1 building. And yes, I am aware that he is dead. I can say all of this without needing to actually see the film because that would be giving someone the benefit of the doubt and obviously we are incapable of doing that.

  • Feb. 2, 2005, 4:01 p.m. CST

    Weedy, have you really read all of Douglas Adam's books?

    by Avon

    and can you even offer an informed opinion when you say he never wrote any black characters into any of his books? If not, why not shut the fuck up. Just because someone is white, doesn't make them racist you Douglas Adams-prejudiced fuck. Maybe he never even specified if certain characters were black or white and left it up to the imagination of whoever is reading them. Bet you never thought about that, idiot.

  • Well, they'd be complaining, but not about this racist, nationalistic, hissy fit bullshit. I personally always thought of Tim Roth as Ford, but I have confidence that Mos Def will pull it off. This doesn't sound so much to me as "Anti-Black" or even "Anti-American" as it is "Anti-Rapper." The furor over the rumors about Beyonce being cast as Lois Lane wasn't about her skin color, it was about the fact that she had only been in one movie, and wasn't very good in it. But I think Ices T and Cube have proven themselves to be first rate actors, and as has been said many, many times here, Mos Def was an actor first before becoming a rapper. It's certainly not the way I would have gone had I been casting this movie, but it doesn't make me want to give up. Now Cat as Zaphod, that would have been interesting. Especially if they'd let him keep his two heads throughout the movie. Seriously, if there's any reason the fans should be pissed, it's that. Not the skin color or nationality or rapping skills of an eccentric alien hitchhiker.

  • Feb. 2, 2005, 7:08 p.m. CST

    Avon - a response

    by WeedyMcSmokey

    You are a masterful debater. I humbly retract my previous statement in all instances as you have clearly bettered me on the field of logic. I say good show to you sir. Good show. Tears welled in my eyes upon contemplating your thoughts vis a vis my original comments - I am most seriously in your debt. I can't explain the power of your revelations - somehow the air seems clearer; the sun brighter; I accept Douglas Adams into my heart with all purity and devotion. I am a new man.... Or maybe I wasn't being serious. I imagined it would have been easy given the obvious nature of my remarks, but, hey, here we are - talking in vain seriousness about a film, and a role that no one has seen. Just a bunch of pseudo-intellectuals shouting into the ether.

  • Feb. 2, 2005, 7:11 p.m. CST

    Oh yeah - Avon

    by WeedyMcSmokey

    Yes I've read all his books. They were goddamn great. The Meaning of Liff is one of my all time favorites.

  • Feb. 2, 2005, 9:27 p.m. CST

    What the...

    by jonleeus

    FUCK??? tHIS MOVIE LOOKS GREAT,I'm excited as hell to see it,but 90% of this Talkback was 2 or 3 assholes arguing about race??? Ahh,fukit..child roland pretty much put moriarty in his place(take responsibility)AND SIRBIATCH IS A TOTAL FUCKING TOOL!!!!!

  • Feb. 3, 2005, 8:11 a.m. CST

    "sadly, one that's been scrawled by an illiterate 9-year old wit

    by minderbinder

    Have you even seen this thing?

  • Feb. 3, 2005, 9:36 a.m. CST

    I'm thinking there would be far less accusations of racism if pe

    by minderbinder

    Come on, are you going to whine about Harrison Ford because obviously Han Solo shouldn't be "a carpenter from chicago". Mos Def acts. He doesn't do rapper schtick in every movie (has he in any movie?). Watching Italian Job, would you even think he's a rapper from brooklyn? I've NEVER seen him give a "rap image" performance. What makes this really funny is that the character Ford IS NOT BRITISH. Sure, he's lived in England, but he's not from there, and the people can tell. And do the books even say much about him being white? If you're going to be pissed about the casting, it should be because they cast someone from earth instead of an actual creature from space. "it looks like HHGTTG will most likely tank at the box office" Why? Because you think there's something wrong with the movie, or because you think HHGTTG can't be made into a successful movie? "Adams didn't have enough wacky shit in there so they had to create some new stuff?" this case THEY is Adams himself. He wrote the script and made a number of changes to it (just like he's made changes to all versions of it).

  • Feb. 3, 2005, 12:13 p.m. CST

    Remake of Mork and Mindy

    by ROBE

    Are we going to see a movie version of Mork and Mindy with Mork played by a Japanese actor with accent? After all Mork is an alien and not from America, why should he be American?

  • Feb. 3, 2005, 12:35 p.m. CST

    To Ancient Lights

    by LordSoth

    I have a problem when movies make unnecessary changes when adapting characters from books. If a book says, "Character X was an African-American raised an Ireland," then making him Asian in the movie would be wrong unless the movie isn't even trying to be faithful. I don't personally care too much about Ford Prefect because there are British people who are black and don't think people would be raising such a rucus if he a white american were cast (because a good fake accent is always possible). It really ticked me off when in Spawn, they made one of the key black characters into a white guy. It annoyed me more than that the movie was terrible. However, pointless changes to an adapted work that aren't necessary for an adaption always tick me off, and if my comments rubbed you the wrong way, I think you must be missing my point (watch The Majestic to see movie executives that make these kinds of decisions). I don't think actors need to have a perfect physical appearance that matches viewers expectations, but they should be able to foster suspsension of disbelief. My point is, it would have been wrong for a 7' tall guy to have played one of the key hobbits in Lord of the Rings without aid of digital shrinkage. It doesn't mean the movie will be bad, but it would make it a terrible adaption when it didn't need be terrible. You can apply that comemnt to pretty much the whole new Fantastic Four flick.

  • Well, that's similar to what was said about the Lord of the Rings too but I think John and Jane Doe latched on to that quite readily, yes? As for the "rapper from Brooklyn, I just thought the poster meant that they were, in effextc, a dime a dozen so there was nothing special about him. I admit, when I first heard about the casting of Ford, all I ever knew about Mos was that he was "a rapper" so, yes, I was appaled at the thought. That had absolutely nothing to do with race but the fear that it would take me right out of the story. After finding out he was a legit actor and watching some of his performances, my initial fear has been allayed. Again, that has zip to do with race. I agree with the notion that Ford isn't described in enough detail to argue that he COULDN'T be black (or English). It's just the typical pre-conceived notion thingy which is perfectly normal and distinctly human (as opposed to Betelgeusian!). That leads me to think all of the perceived Talk Backer racism is just a lot of PC over sensitivity (see: Much Ado About Nothing). O the hoot! O the hoot!

  • Feb. 3, 2005, 12:48 p.m. CST

    So WHY constantly refer to him as a rapper from brooklyn.

    by minderbinder

    What's the relevance of where an actor is from or what they do when they're not acting? Might as well mention who he's married to or what his favorite flavor ice cream is. If you don't like his acting, make reference to perfomances you didn't like. That's relevant. Plenty of actors give performances that have nothing to do with where they are from or what else they do. Why do you think that he can't do the same? What exactly about his performance do you anticipate that will make the audience think "urban musician turned actor"?

  • Feb. 3, 2005, 1:11 p.m. CST

    RE: Lord Soth:

    by Tinfang

    I remember when all the casting announcements for LoTR were going on and how some poster got all bent out of shape over the notion of Denzel Washington being cast in the role of Aragorn. Of course that was never even considered by PJ but the poster argued that to say Denzel wouldn't be right for the role because he was black was being racist. What a load of oliphaunt squat! Now, it probably wouldn't have made a difference to movie goers who weren't familiar with the books but for those who were, it would be a jarring PC anachronism. People are so quick to cry racism anymore that it reminds me of a 'Man On the Street' interview I saw during the Iranian hostage crisis. The erstwhile Iranian man was going on about how his pet dog was so sick and that he KNEW the American CIA was behind it! Often, people see racism where it isn't. Of course, the opposite holds true but people should be able to recognize both. Despite all of that, my hopes for this movie have risen from reading Moriarity's review. Of course, this will label me as a racist by the TBPC Police. Otherwise, DON'T PANIC!

  • Feb. 3, 2005, 4:25 p.m. CST

    Black actors in white roles...

    by B.NyeTheUruk-Hai

    Can you imagine the vicious fanboy backlash if ever an African-American was to play a role in a fantasy movie? Like, let's say, for example, that Marlon Wayans were to play a fantasy character and use modern urban speak. Can you imagine? Can you... oh... wait...

  • Feb. 3, 2005, 5:40 p.m. CST

    Mos Definitely

    by stale mate

    Many people have preconcieved notions regarding someone who is labled "rapper". Mos Def is an extremly talented individual who will probably succeed at what ever he puts his mind to. Hip Hop has been just one of his pursuits. If you ever heard the Blackstar album, then you know that this man is not only very intelligent and a great wordsmith but also socially aware. To encapsulate all that he is under the term "Rapper" is an injustice. The reason that a lot of people don't know who he is is that he's not out promoting the "Bling" lifestyle that has unfortunately become so popular in hip hop (blame the record execs that cultivate such garbage). So when you hear "rapper", you automatically recoil. If you don't know anything about him, wait and see. I mean, Marky Mark became the talented and versatile Mark Wahlberg and guess what BTW, you don't hear him being introduced as "ex-rapper Mark Wahlberg". Food for thought.

  • Feb. 3, 2005, 6:40 p.m. CST

    "how can you expect folk to take you seriously when you still go

    by SirBiatchReturns

    Wolf at the door, i wont judge you. but that is a very trollish comment to make. Just cuz you and some people may be oblivious to Mos Def is not his fault. its yours actually. Any artist who is considered one of the best in their respective genres deserves respect and an open mind. I'd suggest listening to "Black on Both Sides" and "Blackstar" and come back and tell me that Mos Def is talented. And people were like u were smarter, u'd take him seriously.

  • Feb. 3, 2005, 6:42 p.m. CST


    by SirBiatchReturns

    i meant to say "and IF people like you were smarter...."

  • Feb. 3, 2005, 8:02 p.m. CST

    Flogging a dead horse...

    by Thes

    ... aren't you, Wolf? BTW, I'd have to say this statement of yours - "most filmgoers can be forgiven for regarding mos def as 'some rapper' given that he goes by his rap name" - is one of the most amazing examples of sweeping generalisation I've read on this sight, and that is saying something!

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 12:02 p.m. CST

    While this "rapper from Brooklyn" mess PLEASE STOP.

    by E.C.

    It's like you read Moriarty's charge, addressed it, then went ahead and proved it through your own stupidity. Why don't you complain about any other actor being some "ex-waiter from Oklahoma" or "some doorman from Tennessee" or "some model?" You make it dirt-easy for someone to call you racist. I don't know whether you're racist or just one of those elitist anti-rap or anti-trendy types. Either way, Mos Def is not only regarded as one of best rappers ever (and not the popular MTV "bitches and bling" kind [since you seem like the type that thinks all rap music is the same], but more of the message/poetic kind that doesn't get as much attention; think of an talented Indie rock band), but, most importantly, he's ALREADY GOT ACTING CREDITS, INCLUDING EMMY/GG NOMINATIONS and he's said himself on various interviews that ACTING WAS HIS FIRST PASSION, RAPPING WAS HIS NEXT. There is NO other rapper-turned-actor that has shown as much talent and range that he has. Even if he decided to go by "Dante Smith" in the credits, I'm sure tools like you would still play that "some rapper from Brooklyn" card.

  • Don't forget Queen Latifah. Most critics really like her dramatic performances, but I'm sure they can't get over her name being "Queen Latifah."

  • I'm a musician so don't tell me I don't know what I'm talking about. OK, now cue the mindles and automatically trip-wired responses calling me a racist. Let's see, 80% of Country Music sucks too, is that going to make me an Elitist Honkey-hater now? Man, you people and YOUR elitist PC Race Police Attitudes.

  • Nothing? OK, shut the hell up.

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 2:23 p.m. CST

    Now you've gone and done it...

    by Childe Roland

    ...Ancient Lights. You typed his name. Invariably somebody's gonna quote your post, typing his name again, and then someone elese will quote that post and that's all it will take. J.T.'s name will have been typed three times and we all know what happens when his name is typed or spoken three times. The fucking entertainment apocalypse! As to the topic at hand, which has gone on long past give a shit, Mos Def has the role. There's really no point in arguing about it now, especially when no one's seen scene one of him playing the part. And this racism spectre that Moriarty stirred up is tired and downright inapplicable. Even wolf, whom Moriarty has seen fit to make the local scapegoat for his ridiculous theory, isn't saying that Ford Prefect shouldn't be black. He's suggested he'd rather have seen a black Brit in the role than a black Yank, who may or may not even try to do the accent (again, we have no idea yet how he plans to play this). Wolf: Mos Def is a competent actor. I'm sure he can do a better accent than Don Cheadle, at least, and that would be plenty good for the application at hand (seeing as how there should be something at least a little "off" about his performance within the performance anyway). Everybody else: stop looking for someone to lynch as a racist in this talkback. It's really sickening.

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 2:52 p.m. CST

    The reason why the race card comes up with rap music....

    by E.C. the outright generalized hatred that comes with it. I don't like playing the race card myself (if you notice, I didn't charge anyone), but in dealing with this subject, it's inevitable. I encounter lots of people that don't like country music, just as much as anti-rap people. Broadstroke generalization of the ENTIRE genre, not just radio rap. That's not a race problem; that's more of a "I think I know shit, but I don't know shit" problem (believe it or not, writing and delivering meaningful lyrics is talent; otherwise, poetry would never be taught in schools; of course, if you want to come back with another generalization to counter that, go ahead). But the real problem is anti-country sentiment is NOWHERE NEAR as vehement as rap haters. No other facet of anything is as bad as the hatred against rap. Not reality TV, not teeny-bop pop stars, nothing. I see forum signatures, websites, T-shirts, bumper-stickers against rap music. And, I'd say half the time, the haters DO have racist intent, especially anonymous people online. People dropping the n-word usually point to "hip hop culture" or anything else indicative of young black Americans and ridicule it. Even when rap music was still young, back when lyrics meant something and the scene was about having fun or just expressing yourself (before the genre in general took the wrong down the Bitches'n'Bling road that permeates MTV and top 40 radio stations today), there were harsh critics, one infamously calling it "jungle music." You all can act like this is just PC race card dropping all you want. But I see and read this shit every other day, and both overgeneralizing and hating rap as either an underhanded racist jab or even just a show of lack of musical diversity pisses me off.

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 5:15 p.m. CST

    The hell is your problem wolfie?

    by stale mate

    You seem ready to hate this guy no matter what. I submit that the very things you keep railing on are nothing more than other people's opinions. If they think he's great, where's the problem? Are they not entitled to think what the hell ever they want? If you don't like the dude, fine, but keep all the hating to yourself and evaluate the guy as an actor WHEN the movie is released. Or maybe all you want is to stir shit up and push people's buttons. If that's the case, STFU. If not, try to constuctively critisize that which you don't agree with instead of acting like a cynical jerk.

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 5:18 p.m. CST

    My point exactly.

    by Tinfang

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 8:30 p.m. CST

    " There is NO other rapper-turned-actor that has shown as much t

    by Wild At Heart

    Now THAT is one of the funniest fucking things I have ever read. Read it again. Think about it. Talk about damnation with faint praise. I'm sure Mos Def is a nice guy, but I can think of about 150 other performers who might be more preferable in this role. Oh well, time to hitch up the wagon and go and lynch me some darkies I guess.

  • Feb. 5, 2005, 1:42 p.m. CST

    AncientLights, don't bother. people who hate rap don't understan

    by SirBiatchReturns

    I have an Italian housemate who came from Italy and is perfecting his English. Hasn't really heard a lot of rap. I was playing rap and he's now picked it up. He listen to rock and everything else. My point: he's open minded. People who think rap is not music have a mental block somewhere. Personally, i've listened to almost all genres of music. and rap is something i think is the most special. Rap is one of the only musical genres that speaks for the people, not to them. When rap started out, it was a way of getting stuff off your chest. and believe me, those in the ghetto had a LOT to get off their chest. gun violence, crack epidemic, racial profiling. the police spread crack in their neighbourhoods and then arrested them for it. but thats another topic. When handed the mic, you would say whatever it was you wanted to say and deliver it with rhymes. thats poetry! poetry from the heart. then they brought a beat into a background. to me, that is real, human music. And to tell me that rap doesn't require talent is pure and absolute garbage. i find it funny that so many people were against rap when it was coming up, and it meant something back then. Now that it has been watered down to bling, people have accepted it more. yet, at the same time, the companies that make millions of rap are the same that talk about how rap is evil. why? to make more money. simple. create controversy and it sells. Bottom line is that you may not like rap because it does not offer the rhythmn you appreciate. this is a fair reason. but to call rap 'not music or melodic' is GARBAGE. and is simply disrespectful. but its ok. continue to be ignorant. its not my problem.

  • Feb. 6, 2005, 12:59 a.m. CST

    "There is, of course, a perfo(r)ma(n)ce element to rap, and I'm

    by IAmJacksUserID

    Performing lyrics? Yeah, I don't understand rap at all because I don't see how lyrics are 'performed'. Alot of the time, it's just loud yelling or talking monotone mixed in with gibberish and profanity and huge bass hits. There is more of a hatred against rap because alot of rap PROMOTES HATRED. Against women, against cops, against whites (yup, even old Ice Cube had a very racist song that encouraged killing 'the white devil'), against each other, against enemies, against other ethnic groups (Asians),etc. It glorifies that ghetto life that the genius SirBiatch says it speaks out against. NOT ALL OF IT, but alot of it and especially the more prevalent 'groups'. I'm sure the always eloquent SirBiatch will pull out his broken record player and spin up a nice recording of "YOU STUPID RACIST" for us all to delight in.

  • Feb. 6, 2005, 4:29 a.m. CST

    IAmJack'sUserID, you are such a tool. all popular music promotes

    by SirBiatchReturns

    Look at your average pop song, marketed at little children. they have alot of sexual references. then u put on rock music and its all about getting crazy and releasing your anger. i've seen raves and rock concerts. the dudes on stage scream lyrics to ridiculously loud guitars while people get crazy. What about techno? the only reason people like that shit is cuz they're high on extasy. u don't see or hear of many cases of black people dying off extasy in a club. Then u turn on hip hop and u hear people glorifying violence and talking about bitches. My point is that all popular music is garbage to some extent. There is a whole American culture that glorifies violence and cheap sex. And it is obvious in almost all mainstream music. even country. so get off your fucking high horse. music has to have that 'hard edge' or sex appeal to sell. The same people who buy J.Lo cds are the same that pick up Nelly cds and absolutely love Ludacris' videos. In addition, they'll also buy a Hoobastank album. here's a statistic for your dumbass. More than 70% of people who buy rap albums are not even black. so who are all these people? take a guess. Its the same people who grew up listening to crappy rock and pop. In every genre of music, there is always talent. it does not always surface though, ESPECIALLY with rap these days. and JackTool, before u dismiss Ice Cube, keep in mind that when he came out with that song you're referencing, he had a white manager. and companies owned by white people pushed that song to be heard. Then their friends in the media business write about how offensive it is. Controversy sells records. Nothing is what it seems my dear tool. My advice: think before you talk.

  • ...

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 6:26 p.m. CST

    Is there room in the end of this for a sequel?

    by Holly_Wight

    Or does this movie try to cover the whole "trilogy" itself? I'm curious.

  • Feb. 22, 2005, 6:03 p.m. CST

    wolf at the door: way to misquote me, asshole. Here's what I s

    by minderbinder

    How the fuck is his *name* part of his *performance*? Idiot.

  • Feb. 23, 2005, 9:02 a.m. CST

    Just to be boring...

    by Jugs

    ...Trillian in the original Radio Series had a lovely British accent. She could have been butt ugly though, it was radio!