The Download: The Jungle Book, Gary Oldman, and Kim Jong-Un

Posted 8:28 PM June 28th, 2014 by Binh Ngo
Gary Oldman

The Download crew is at full force this week with Sara's return. On this edition, we talk about Disney's The Jungle Book, what Gary Oldman said in his Playboy interview, Kim Jong-Un and more.

Binh: Hey Sara, welcome back! We missed you on last week's Download. I hope you had a great time. I want to ask, were any animals hurt during your trip? Particularly, any bears?

Sara: No bears, but I do have a very sad story about the world's most adorable camo frog...

Was pretty excited about Jeff's post about Kingsley entering the Jungle Book cast! (despite the fact there's a Gandhi joke in there somewhere).

Jeff: That was Binh!

Sara: OMG I missed that. And I thought I was such a byline Nazi. So then, you hate Scarlett Johansson as Kaa or is that just me? Idris Elba is gonna kill it as Shere Khan, and that's coming from a big George Stevens fan.

Binh: Sorry, that was me. So, you didn't chase down any bears? That was disappointing.

Yeah, if you're a fan of Kingsley, he's a good addition. It's such a waste of his talents just to have him as a voice though. He should be one of the human cast. Really, I don't usually care who's doing the voice because they're not doing anything on screen. Anyone decent would have worked. The casting of known actors is more of a marketing decision.

Sara: I never expect perfection but I am going in expecting the glass to be half full. It's sometimes read as racist but the original animation featured the voices of people like Louis Prima and crammed in as many big jazz names as it could. Yeah, fine, call that marketing, but when it comes to voice actors or actors appearing in voice only I expect good things. I'll never forget how epic Ray Winstone was as Beowulf. I know that one was mocap, but it's the voice performance I remember, and I remember it more than all the arm-tearing gore of Crispin Glover or the absurdly built-in heels of Angelina Jolie.

Binh: In your example, I think it says more about Ray Winstone as a voice actor.

Jeff: My level of interest in this project is decidedly low. I'm keeping my knowledge of various cast members' comings and goings to the bare necessities.

Binh: Nice of you to work that in, Jeff! The Jungle Book is a children movie and the plot is not exactly complex. I'm going to go out on a limb and say the 1967 animation is going to be the better of the two films.

I'm not giving up on bears yet, Sara! So who do you want for the voice of Baloo the bear in The Jungle Book? I think they may go with someone young sounding for this one.

Jeff: It's John Goodman or I'm officially pretending this movie doesn't exist.

Sara: I just heard John Goodman play a fat, hairy, tank in Trans4mers. I want another big actor. Michael Bay just wiped the gloss right off him.

Jeff: If they don't get Goodman, then they're going to get Seth Rogen or Jonah Hill, and to that I say an emphatic "No thank you."

Sara: I'm sorry, I can't stomach an ironic cartoon bear. Hiring young is one thing, hiring Rogen or Hill is nuking the fridge.

Jeff: Oh God, what if they hired Kevin James or that Fluffy guy? I'm telling you, it's Goodman or bust.

Sara: I hear you on Goodman (despite my hope he doesn't get the part) but Kevin James is too b*tchy and Fluffy is too Latin. Also, why aren't we thinking about English dudes? There are plenty of big Brits. And any word on whether or not Scarlett Johansson will don an accent? I don't like American voices for this one. I imagine Binh views that as immaterial but Jersey didn't colonize India and I'd like to see a little Kipling preserved for the record.

Binh: I don't think they would cast Johansson and have her do an English accent, Sara, and the reason they're not casting many Brits is because the American names are the bigger draw. Oh well, there's always the Warner Bros. adaptation.

Jeff: There's always the old Disney cartoon, too, which I've seen a million times. If I have to watch a talking bear, at this point I think I'd rather see The Country Bears (note: I do not want to see The Country Bears).

Binh: Yes, there's always the old cartoon, which is not bad, by the way.

Let's move on to our good friend Gary Oldman, who pulls a Mel Gibson by talking about Mel Gibson in a Playboy interview and has to later apologize for it. Looks like he went a bit off script there and is being chastised for speaking his mind.

Jeff: I know I'm among a very small minority here, but I don't understand why we're supposed to care about Gary Oldman's opinions regarding anything other than the things that happen while he's acting. I mean, it's disconcerting to read those quotes attached to someone who's obviously very gifted, but that's kind of our fault for conflating talent with intelligence, right?

Sara: So this morning I read he'd gone on Jimmy Kimmel to apologize and I have a hard time with that. Not that he used the talk show to air his sadness, just that he HAD to apologize. What he said wasn't admonishing of anything, it was generally forgiving. I'm not one to throw out foul language or racial slurs but I thought he characterized his (and others') use of slurs as a way of saying "hey paparazzi--get away, my words are weapons." As press, I'm pretty glad he uses word weapons when he could use lots of other kinds.

I see what you're saying but I have a modicum of respect for the guy and don't think he's dumb. If we can talk about what a Kardashian is saying/doing we really should give an acclaimed Shakespearean actor the same room to screw up in the international press. I stand by my statement that his words were preferable to the alternative.

Binh: He's just pointing out the hypocrisy and is being punished for it. We don't care about Oldman's opinion, but when you're a public figure, you're supposed to set a good example. Pointing out the warts is a no-no in a town selling people with perfect images.

Sara: That's a centering explanation.

Binh: The fact he has to come out and apologize for his opinion goes to show how image conscious this industry is. Fall out of favor with the public? You'll never work in this town again.

Wait, didn't we say something similar the last time we talked about Mel Gibson? I think we did, so that means it's time to move Seth Rogen's and James Franco's upcoming comedy The Interview.

A North Korean foreign ministry spokesman called the movie an "act of war" because it's about two journalists trying to assassinate the North Korean leader. I expect more exercises for the North Korean military along the DMZ.

Sara: I'm totally aggravated by this one because I see how people could turn an irresponsible stunt joke into a First Amendment debate when it's nothing of the sort. We're not right here, we just can't be.

I love freedom of speech like every hamburger loving American, but it's one thing to make a joke about politics abroad and another to insinuate harm to a despot. Why in hell would anyone be so cavalier as to write a script about killing the leader of another country? If the shoe were on the other foot, we'd be livid, and on the scale of war loving nations, you don't need Michael Moore to tell you we rank pretty high. Like many, I worry for North Korea's populace (the oppression is deeper than haircuts), and I think freedom of speech is a beautiful right of the nation, but it's OUR thing, not theirs, and we shouldn't be foisting our "liberated" threatening jokes on the world cinema market. It's irresponsible and really just low.

Binh: First off, this dust up is the best thing that could have happened to the movie. Free advertisement! And second, I completely understand how the other side feels. If, for example, a Muslim filmmaker makes a movie about killing Americans and/or our leaders, I would feel threatened as well, particularly if it ends up being popular. On the other hand, making fun of our political enemies is not new.

Sara: Making fun of and hypothetically threatening aren't the same thing.

Binh: You're right, of course. It's because North Korea couldn't hit back. We won't see a comedy about assassinating Vladimir Putin, for example. All this assassination talk won't get us on NSA's watch list, right?

Sara: The watchlist is American, no? We can't (ironically) see ourselves as a threat...

Binh: As The Interview shows, governments can't take a joke, so ...

Sara: I don't think Governments SHOULD take jokes. It demonstrates a dearth of creativity to take a stab at another nation's leadership. But that truth aside--I always think back to the wise words of Tommy Lee Jones, in Men in Black, who said "We at the FBI have no sense of humor we're aware of."

Binh: And we'll have to end with that before we get our travel privileges revoked. Until next time!

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