Sometimes Hollywood knows exactly the right mad libs game to use to make a movie, and this latest casting news is a great example. Jaden Smith has been cast in the film adaptation of last year’s New York Times best-selling novel The Good Lord Bird by James McBride, which is about slavery in 1856 Kansas. But it’s a satire about slavery that happens to feature a slave cross-dressing to escape. And I’ll remind you once again that Jaden Smith is going to be in it. Should they just rename this movie What Were We Thinking? and get it over with?
I haven’t read The Good Lord Bird, but it got positive reviews and received awards and sold well, so I assume it handles balancing a comedic tone with serious historical tragedy well. It’s certainly not impossible to tell a humorous story about slavery. Mark Twain did it, and Django Unchained received plenty of praise. But I think since 12 Years a Slave just won Best Picture for depicting slavery in such a heartbreaking manner, hearing “slavery” and “funny” in the same sentence is disorienting.
But that’s not even most of what makes me think this spells disaster. That honor goes to Mr. Jaden Smith. Can we please stop pretending he’s an actor and start calling him what he is — a Twitter comedian, a weird outfit wearer and the son of famous people? It’s one thing to star in a Karate Kid remake or a terrible sci-fi movie, but this is just baffling. And he’ll be dressed like a girl? Jimmy Kimmel, you can come out from wherever you’re hiding now.
The movie will also star Liev Schreiber as an abolitionist who helps Jaden’s character escape his master. But I doubt even Liev will be able to save this movie from the dreaded “WTF is Jaden Smith doing on screen in a dress right now?” curse. Yeah, that’s a curse now. I just made it up. So far the movies affected by it are The Good Lord Bird… and hopefully nothing else ever again.
(Photo: Guillermo Proano/WENN.com)