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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chromatic Recast: Sherlock Holmes (a la "Red Cliff")

So, encouraged by Ah Yuan, I've decided to participate in this Chromatic Recasting meme. I actually really really wanted to do one for Let the Right One In (THE MOST AMAZING, ADORABLE, INTENSE, REALISTIC, GENDER-DEFYING VAMPIRE MOVIE YOU WILL EVER NEED TO SEE), but promptly realized I didn't know that many grade-school-looking actors, American, Asian, or otherwise lol.

So, instead, I've turned to my recent obsession, the Sherlock Holmes series! Prior to the 2009 movie (RDJ SO MUCH LOVE ♥), I had been a huge fan of Hound of the Baskervilles - I literally reread it multiple times per day when the mood hit me lol - so my choices are also influenced by the original novels as well. However, the moment I decided Takeshi Kaneshiro would be my Holmes, my actor choices immediately gravitated towards his co-actors from the recent John Woo epic Red Cliff. Okay, I can probably explain why most of my choices are actors from this awesome awesome movie: John Woo went ahead and casted some gorgeous and talented people. They're also multi-ethnic (to a degree)! Takeshi and Nakamura from Japan, Tony from Hong Kong, Lin Chilin and Zhang Zhen from Taiwan, and Hu Jun, Zhao Wei, Zhang FengYi, etc. from mainland China. As someone who watches all different facets of East Asian media, I've seen most of these actors in at least one film before, all of them quite memorable. So I'm not just randomly excusing myself to recast one movie into another fandom, really XD;

And thus, onto my Sherlock Holmes Chromatic Recast, aka "the meme wherefor I ended up recasting Red Cliff actors into Sherlock Holmes"!

Chromatic Recast Meme: Red Cliff → Sherlock Holmes

Kaneshiro, Takeshi as
Zhuge Liang → Sherlock Holmes
If you've seen Takeshi as the incredibly quirky mute in Wong Kar-Wai's Fallen Angels or a sweet but emotionless angel of death in the Japanese movie Sweet Rain, you'll know that he is able to carry eccentricity around like a second skin. He can also be alternatingly intense and carefree, such as in Warlords, and perform with a touch of mental instability in Perhaps, Love. And of course, his portrayal of Zhuge Liang, a man so intelligent and dedicated he died of overwork (though not in this movie) in Red Cliff parallels nicely with my conception of Sherlock Holmes.
Hu, Jun as
Zhao Zilong → John Watson
I was quite enamoured by Hu Jun in Demi Gods & Semi Devils. Something about his tough-guy look (super strong warrior), combined with a slight vulnerability (loss of memories). In Red Cliff, he plays a strong and valiant hero who is at the same time humble and gentle, something I think reflects Watson's ex-army and doctor aspects really well. Plus, and maybe I'm the only one who noticed, but he smiles around Zhuge Liang in the same admiring way I would imagine Watson smiling at Holmes. His character is also devastatingly loyal, and he trusts Zhuge Liang's (the strategist) plans without question. Essentially, his image has that nice balance between brawn and brains, or power and vulnerability that relates to the original novel and Jude Law's interpretation really well.
Vicki Zhao as
Sun Shangxiang → Irene Adler
The first time I saw Vicki Zhao on TV was her infamous portrayal of the rebellious, mischievous, playful accidental-princess in Princess "Returning Pearl" (LOLWTF english name translations). The whole point of her character was that she rebelled against female norms of her era (ancient China). She carries over a more tame performance as the Emperor's little sister in Red Cliff, but she's still disarming horses and men alike, as well as infiltrating the enemy base disguised as a man. She laments to Zhuge Liang about how people look down on her and the two share a kind of trust in each others abilities (she asks Zhuge Liang not to get in the way of her dangerous scouting mission and he complies). Oh, and she's portraying Mulan in the new Chinese remake, of which I've heard there's badassery abound (and thus MUST watch). So, she's gorgeous, cunning, can pull off a tomboy disguise, AND is overall rather badass. Perfect Irene.
Lin, Chilin as
Xiao Qiao → Mary Morstan
Red Cliff was her first movie, so I've never seen Lin Chilin in any other films before. However, from this movie alone, she really pulls off the graceful, gentle and intuitive vibe really well. For those who have read the original novel Mary was in (The Sign of the Four, click to read my review), we see more dimensions of Mary. She is a proper lady through and through, but she's also strong (in the face of her father's death) and rather smart as well (Holmes compliments her on her intuition on what evidence is considered important). She's also got that genuinely warm disposition that I think should have been what Mary was like (the movie portrayal was a bit "smirky" to me).
Tony Leung as
Zhou Yu → Lord Blackwood
Tony has a great competitive chemistry with Takeshi. In the two movies they've worked together in, Confession of Pain and Red Cliff, there was definitely respect (both times they played "friends"), but their characters also walk that thin line between allies and enemies. Tony has that quiet but dangerous quality to him, and I imagine he can pull off the face of cold cruelty pretty well (as in Confession). And he's got the air of ambition and pride of a lord that would make an awesome nobleman criminal.
Chang, Chen as
Sun Quan → Lord Coward
Even in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, I thought his character was a bit...underwhelming. His Red Cliff role was a newly crowned Emperor with a huge inferiority complex, and even though I can tell he did try, he just doesn't have enough screen presence to be in command. On the other hand, he's definitely got that sly, suspicious appearance of Coward...maybe it's the mustache lol.
Zhang, Fengyi as
Cao Cao → Professor Moriarty
This is one of those seasoned Chinese actors who often gets cast as the leaders of countries and armies. I think I've seen him play Emperors a few times, and army generals as well. And being such a seasoned actor, he really has an incredibly strong screen presence, with a controlling demeanor and dark charisma (seriously, Cao Cao was one of my favourite characters in Red Cliff), exactly how I imagine Moriarty will be.
Zang, Jinsheng as
Zhang Fei → Lestrade
Slightly clumsy, mostly brawn-little brains, but still has a strong sense of honour. Plus he's funny. I kept the facial hair photo because I kinda wanna pet it...

Hou, Yong as
Lu Su → Clarky
I've seen him mostly in supporting roles, and even in Red Cliff, he still plays the slightly confounded sidekick-friend, always trying to get Zhuge Liang to explain what he's doing, and always getting teased or mentally looped by his playful intellect.

Um so, I'm not sure how many people have actually watched Red Cliff and/or Sherlock Holmes (2009), but I definitely had fun mixing up the roles =D
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Ah Yuan // wingstodust said...

YAYAYAYAYAY you did it!! (Doooooooo Let the Right One In. Dooooooo iiiiiiiiiiiit) Remember my Vic argument? It still stands

Ah Yuan // wingstodust said...

Also, Zhuge = Takeshi = Sherlock is KILLING ME. kekeke Zhuge = Sherlock reincarnate?! AKA most amazing casting evar?!?! (I'm gonna get killed by the RO3K traditionalists for this, I know)

You should make a Sherlock!Trailer out of the Red Cliff Movie. =D =D =D *nudges you*

Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write said...

How fun!

MissAttitude said...

lol @ zhang fei's facial hair and u wanting to pet it! It's kinda creepy but it reminds me of a cuddly koala bear. I like Zhou You as Lord Blackwood and Zhuge Liang seems like the PERFECT Sherlock Holmes! I'm not a big fan of zhao zilong. I guess he looks sort of old to me?

How cool that they are re-making Mulan! I hope it's released in the U.s. :)

vvb32 reads said...

i loved this. good mix. i watched sherlock holmes so know only that half. now i have a list of asian films to watch. hard to see tony leung though as a bad guy.

ninefly said...

@ wingstodust
wouldn't Holmes be Zhuge Liang's reincarnation? since Zhuge came first lol

@ Alyssa
I definitely had fun >D

@ MissAttitude
I adored his facial hair, it's like, a character in and of itself 8D
many fans were saying Zhao Zilong's actor looked ugly, I don't know why =(
I'm definitely going to try and watch it, Mulan becomes a GENERAL 8DDDD

@ vvb32
I'd like to recommend you watch Tony in Confession of Pain as the "bad guy" (that's not really a spoiler), but I can't honestly rate it as an amazing movie...if you want to see Takeshi and Tony acting together though, I'm sure you'll enjoy it somehow =D