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Filmism.net Dispatch March 20, 2011

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The biggest news out of tinsletown this week is the casting of Joseph Gordon-Levitt in The Dark Knight Rises as Alberto Falcone, son of gangster Carmine from Batman Begins. We already know Tom Hardy has been cast as villain Bane, and Ellen Page is also in talks for a role.

I've talked more than enough about directors working with the same clutch of actors every time. Tim Burton is usually the worst offender, his wife Helena Bonham Carter not fooling anyone suggesting she had to audition for The Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland just like everyone else (did she do the same for Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Planet of the Apes and the forthcoming Dark Shadows?)

Scorsese is a close second by flinging roles at Leo DiCaprio like a teenage fan throwing her underwear. But why do I use the word 'offender?' Surely there's nothing wrong with a director and an actor establishing a shorthand and a friendship that translates well on screen?

Absolutely not, but there's a secondary effect that's far less talked about. Burton and muse Johnny Depp have shown us just how boring such a pairing can be, with the roles of Ichabod Crane, Sweeney Todd, Victor Van Dort, Ed Wood and the Mad Hatter so similar only the costumes change (but collegehumour.com said it better than I could).

I'm not suggesting Chris Nolan is doing the same lazy retreads of the same material over and over like Burton is. Inception was the best film of 2010 by far, and his final Batman will likely blow critics, audiences and box office records away.

But he's already had Michael Caine in almost every film. Cillian Murphy and Ken Watanabe are also regulars. Now Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and possibly Ellen Page are getting their T-shirts printed too ('Nolan's Bitch'?)

All I'm saying Chris (as I'm sure he's reading this) is be careful...

And while we're on the topic of originality, I recently caught up with Who Framed Roger Rabbit once more, one of the standout films of the 1980s. That's not a misprint, either, there sp was never a question mark in the title. Know why? It's long been considered bad luck in Hollywood.

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