Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Enter The New Normal Writing Contest From Issa Rae's ColorCreative & Project Greenlight Digital Studios Enter The New Normal Writing Contest From Issa Rae's ColorCreative & Project Greenlight Digital Studios Missed It Last Night? Watch 'A Ballerina’s Tale' in Full Now Missed It Last Night? Watch 'A Ballerina’s Tale' in Full Now Ava DuVernay Wanted for Two (2!) Major Sci-Fi/Fantasy Studio Projects (UPDATE: Lupita Nyong'o May Star in One of Them) Ava DuVernay Wanted for Two (2!) Major Sci-Fi/Fantasy Studio Projects (UPDATE: Lupita Nyong'o May Star in One of Them) Tonight: Nelson George's Misty Copeland Doc - 'A Ballerina’s Tale' - Premieres on INDEPENDENT LENS Tonight: Nelson George's Misty Copeland Doc - 'A Ballerina’s Tale' - Premieres on INDEPENDENT LENS Jamie Foxx Will Play Little John to Taron Egerton's Robin Hood in "Progressive" Take on the Legend Jamie Foxx Will Play Little John to Taron Egerton's Robin Hood in "Progressive" Take on the Legend James Franco Will Direct Film Based on Aziah "Zola" Wells' 148-Tweet Narrative That Went Viral James Franco Will Direct Film Based on Aziah "Zola" Wells' 148-Tweet Narrative That Went Viral Is Idris Elba a Hollywood Leading Man Yet? Is Idris Elba a Hollywood Leading Man Yet? Regarding 'Song of the South' – The Film That Disney Doesn’t Want You to See Regarding 'Song of the South' – The Film That Disney Doesn’t Want You to See Watch Mekhi Phifer in Trailer for "First-Person Shooter" Zombie Thriller, 'Pandemic' Watch Mekhi Phifer in Trailer for "First-Person Shooter" Zombie Thriller, 'Pandemic' HBO Sets April Premiere Date for 'Confirmation' HBO Sets April Premiere Date for 'Confirmation' Watch the Electrifying First Trailer for Don Cheadle's 'Miles Ahead' Watch the Electrifying First Trailer for Don Cheadle's 'Miles Ahead' Watch Episode 1 of PBS' New Civil War-Set Drama Series 'Mercy Street' + On-Set Visit Watch Episode 1 of PBS' New Civil War-Set Drama Series 'Mercy Street' + On-Set Visit Watch: OWN Previews New Primetime Series 'It's Not You, It's Men' (Tyrese Gibson & Rev Run Host) Watch: OWN Previews New Primetime Series 'It's Not You, It's Men' (Tyrese Gibson & Rev Run Host) LeToya Luckett, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Andra Fuller Star in New TV One Comedy Series 'Here We Go Again' LeToya Luckett, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Andra Fuller Star in New TV One Comedy Series 'Here We Go Again' TV One Aims to Change the Reality Genre with New Series, 'The Next 15' TV One Aims to Change the Reality Genre with New Series, 'The Next 15' Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton Is Heading to TV Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton Is Heading to TV Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Harvey Weinstein Talks 'Intouchables' Remake; Leaning Towards Casting Latino In Omar Sy's Role

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act July 14, 2012 at 12:10PM

I gotta say that despite everything I hear and read about Harvey Weinstein, and my own first (and only) time meeting him in person several years ago, I almost always enjoy listening to him in conversation - specifically in interviews.
5
Intouchables

I gotta say that despite everything I hear and read about Harvey Weinstein, and my own first (and only) time meeting him in person several years ago, I almost always enjoy listening to him in conversation - specifically in interviews.

He's so much a fanboy, and his love, passion (and knowledge) of cinema is infectious and endearing.

But that's not what this post is about :)

In the below interview with Elvis Mitchell, they talk film (what else), specifically The Intouchables, which is The Weinstein Company's latest international hit - the multiple award-winning feel good French blockbuster that stars our man Omar Sy

During the conversation, the remake of the film that Harvey is already developing, came up, and Mitchell asked what the approach would be with regards to Omar Sy's character (who's Senegalese), versus the real life man he played in the film, who is Algerian, and the conversation delves into matters of immigration as experienced in France, compared to the USA, and how all that will factor into the USA remake.

Here's that segment of their conversation:

HARVEY: "Originally, the intention was to have a black actor do it, but you talk about immigration, and the whole Latino thing that's happening right now, it's opened up our eyes, and obviously there's an explosion of thought."

He then goes on to talk about the unreliability of the Republicans on the immigration issue here in the USA, before Elvis jumps back in with this:

ELVIS: "In that way it could be a political film... the president decided to grant special status to people who live in this country... it felt like it could be a way into the story that you never thought about."

And Harvey agrees with Mitchell on that, further talking about what he felt was a misunderstanding we here in the USA have had about the French film, essentially that we don't get it, and we're looking at it through American eyes, if you will, and losing the message of the film in the process - one that's been embraced not only in France, but all over the world.

If you read our interview with Omar Cy (HERE) along with interviews we've posted with the filmmakers of The Intouchables, I think you'll see a similar kind of response. On one hand I actually sympathize with people like Omar Sy who make films in their native countries (France in this case), the films travel (to the USA notably) and the actors are hit with an unexpected range of questions about race, and representation, history, identity, etc, that they didn't have to address in their home countries, where there's maybe a different understanding altogether. But that's a post for another time that I'm actually pondering and plan to put together with some help.

A lot to consider in all this, and a closer look is warranted, but let's see how Harvey runs with this remake; as noted in previous posts, the real-life story the film is based on, the character played by Omar Sy, Abdel Sellou, is Algerian in real life. But they went with the Senegalese Sy. And there was question of whether the actor chosen to play the role in the American remake may not be African American/African.

Omar Sy himself said that the Stateside equivalent of the relationship between the countries that two men in the original film/real life are from, would be akin to the relationship between the USA and Mexico; so the character he plays in the original film should really be played by a Mexican actor in the Hollywood/Weinstein Company remake - if they wanted to be 100% authentic as Omar Sy described.

So leaning towards casting a Latino actor instead of an African American actor as previously believed, shouldn't be all that difficult to understand.

Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the ongoing debate about the term "Latino," and its convenient (some would say lazy) use (often interchangeably with "Hispanic") as an umbrella label to describe all Spanish-speaking people in America, even though no Latino state exists, as there are many different national identities (as well as shades of skin color and heritage) that exist under that umbrella term.

There are after all *Black Latinos.*

But that's also another discussion for another post.

It was reported about a month ago, that Jamie Foxx, Chris Rock and Idris Elba were all on the short list of actors to play the lead role in director Paul Feig's remake. None of that was confirmed by Harvey, however. So we can't say with certainty which way he's leaning, and if those actors mentioned really are/were in the running. 

He did say in the interview that they originally planned to cast an black (African American) actor, and have since considered NOT doing so, therefore, maybe Foxx, Rock and Elba were indeed in the running. 

And what if Idris Elba, who's British, was cast in the role? How does that alter the story's immigration theme?

Let's wait and see how this all shakes out. But at least, now you know, so when the cast is finally announced, you shouldn't be surprised by whichever way they go with the part. 

Listen to the 28-minute conversation between Harvey and Elvis below:

This article is related to: Omar Sy


Shadow & ActNewsletter