Saturday, December 5, 2009
Matt Dillon's armored truck fetish
Did anyone else see the trailer for Armored, and then later see the trailer for Takers, or vice versa, and think they were same movie, but didn't quite, because you remembered enough about the trailers to think there was something different between them?
And did you think they were the same movie because both movies are about an armored truck heist, and both movies star Matt Dillon?
I had recently decided that Takers never existed, and it was always Armored. After all, some number of months ago, I saw a trailer for a generic action thriller about the plan to rob an armored truck, and then, here came Armored, a generic action thriller about the plan to rob an armored truck. There was nothing more to think about.
Yet when I was at the theater on Wednesday night to see Precious, I saw the Takers trailer again, and realized that was definitely the trailer I saw several months ago. And I thought "Ahhh, these really are two different movies." As the first handful of actors who were introduced -- Idris Elba, T.I., Chris Brown, Michael Ealy -- were all black, I figured Takers was the urban version of Armored. As Paul Walker and Hayden Christensen (wearing a silly hat) were introduced, I started to reconsider.
And as Matt Dillon was introduced, I started to laugh.
We're no strangers to movies with the same subject matter coming out within a couple months of each other -- from asteroid movies to volcano movies to Mars movies to movies about runner Steve Prefontaine. Although it's not yet certain whether Armored and Takers will be prominent enough to take their place alongside these others as famous dueling concept movies, the release dates do line up correctly -- Armored, today; Takers, February 26th.
But the same actor appearing in both films? It's absurd, and quite possibly, unprecedented. I'm going to think about the possibility of a precedent as I write this, and will get back to you a couple paragraphs from now.
Dillon even seems to play the same character in both films. Of course, I haven't read the scripts, nor have I analyzed the trailers side by side. But from what I've gleaned, he may very well play the nefarious inside man in both movies -- the guy who gets the legitimate job working in or around the armored truck in order to case it for its weaknesses.
You have to wonder what went through Matt Dillon's head. Actors accept acting gigs for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is money. But didn't he have to think, at least for a second, "If I do this, they're going to think of me as the 'armored truck guy'?"
Of course, when you broaden the phenomenon outwards, the precedent gets much larger. The very notion of typecasting is based on the idea that certain actors play certain roles very well, so those are the roles they're repeatedly offered.
But typecasting is generally something that occurs over the course of a career, or at least, a several-year period, after which the actor may choose to go in the opposite direction, to prove he or she shouldn't be typecast. Playing basically the same role in two versions of basically the same movie that are released within three months of each other? Well, that's a new one on me.
Okay, so it's a couple paragraphs later, and I didn't think of another example yet. But maybe you did. And if you did, let me know, because not only would I love to hear it, I'm sure Matt Dillon would too. It'd take a little of the heat off him.