“Salt” was supposed to be Pepper

Normally, I show no interest in summer movie blockbusters.  No time, don’t want to pay the high prices, and cell phone talking crowds are annoying.  Netflix is fine with me.  However, I was stuck in my car the other day during rush hour while listening to NPR.  The topic of discussion was the new movie “Salt.”

The original movie script was supposed to have a strong lead male role.  However, Tom Cruise turned down the role depicting a spy and father.  As a result, Sony Pictures thought Angelina Jolie was an acceptable replacement and the male role with a family would now be a single woman.  According to Steven Zeitchik of the Los Angeles Times: “Screenwriter Kurt Wimmer ripped up his original script, which he had spent years writing and shopping around, to make sure it fit snugly with a female character. Gone was the man with the endangered wife and child, in was the next MacGyver and Jason Bourne, a resourceful, fleet-footed killing machine in a pencil skirt (and, at one point, in drag as a male military officer).”

However, this is Hollywood and having a strong lead woman with children wouldn’t fit the money making formula.  Zeitchik: “The filmmakers also reconfigured the entire arc of the movie. Cruise’s Salt was supposed to rescue his wife and child.  Jolie’s Salt is married but the filmmakers worried a mother character could read too gentle, so they made her childless and turned her into more of a vigilante with a less clear-cut heroic mission.”  Mothers, too “gentle”?

Casting Jolie is a step in the right direction but I can’t help to think why her character couldn’t be a strong action mother.  Aren’t women doing this everyday?  Zeitchik: “But those looking to claim a glass ceiling has been broken may be jumping the gun; unlike their television counterparts, who have repeatedly cast female action leads, several film producers privately say they still wouldn’t feel comfortable casting any other actress as an action lead.”

The standing ovation will have to wait but a continue push in the right direction is still needed. Anyways, it’s been an effective advertising blitz to create buzz.  I’m writing about the movie in this blog…

The links:

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-et-salt-20100722,0,5541823.story

http://topics.npr.org/article/0cxJaba6dPcqo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZ40WlshNwU

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