Thursday, October 21, 2004

"...And We Are Merely Players..."

There’s a posting over on Baron of Deseret about an aspect of Mo Movies that’s beginning to crop up, that being the moral relativism that get associated with casting choices. The lines are blurring between actor and role.

Now, this is nothing new. How many of us have assumed that since an actor plays so many roles that are similar, that they themselves are that way?

But for some reason, we want those that star in “OUR” movies to reflect “OUR” lifestyle as well. And we get upset when they don’t. In Baron’s blog, for example, the lady writes in upset that the actress that played Jean in “The Other Side of Heaven” will be doing a role with nudity. Many were surprised to find out that the younger missionary in “God’s Army” is actually Jewish. On an anti-mormon website, they were reporting that the girl that played Eliza in “Legacy” has done some nude scenes, and the guy that played Joseph Smith was openly gay. All were non-members.

Part of it comes from misconceptions. Many people are assuming that it’s THE CHURCH that is out making these movies, not private companies.

Part of it comes from us wanting to put the best face in front of the world.

I think that also it comes from our old pioneer notions of self-sufficiency. We want to do it ourselves, for ourselves. We don’t want to think we need the outside world. We don’t want to imagine that someone other than us can tell our story. It is, after all, OUR story, isn’t it?

There’s some discussion going on right now on the LDS Musician’s group about how some LDS artists, and their labels, are turning to Nashville’s Contemporary Christian circles for songwriters. The cry is, “Aren’t our own songs good enough that we have to go looking to the outside world?”

Others say that by working with the outside world, we are making contacts that are ultimately sharing the gospel, and dispelling our image as a tight-knit, defensive group.

I, personally like a lot of CCM. There a few songs that I’d even consider covering. There’s some great stuff coming out, and I wish that LDS artists would learn from it. I wish our scene were as vibrant and diverse as theirs, and I believe it will be someday.

I can watch a show where intellectually, I know that these people are not members, and I can still feel the message in the performance. When the younger missionary finally kneels down and prays and gets his own testimony, it’s a powerful moment. Carried beautifully. By a Jewish actor.

But I also admit that I really like it when LDS people make LDS art. It brings it all together, I think.

Mark Hansen

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