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February 21 2006

Chiwetel Ejiofor goes from Operative to Transvestite. Saw a fun trailer for Kinky Boots today, and our favorite Operative plays the transvestite lead. Looks fun.

Thanks for posting this - I'd assumed we'd already linked to the movie's official site, but couldn't find a trace of it in the archives.

Chewy looks great, but the trailer makes the movie look like another in the line of niche-y off-kilter Britcoms, from The Full Monty and Brassed Off, down through that one about the hairdressing contest, Blow-Dry was it?

Gently funny (and Nick Frost is in it! How come I didn't know that?) perhaps, but I wish British movies would strive to be a little less, I don't know, gleefully parochial.
That was fun. I will definately be hiring the dvd - and in part to savour some 'gleeful parochialism' from the other side of the world. Nice phrase SNT - I sort of agree with you but on the other hand...

PS - For the sake of the tags and the archives - his surname is "Ejiofor" with 2 "o"s.

[ edited by purplehazel on 2006-02-21 08:47 ]
This was linked to before, on this site, but not as a whole new thread, but in the comments of a thread by AmazonGirl I believe. Here is the comment.

Well as a person who does not watch Britcoms often, I wouldn't know how this compared to the rest of them. But I am looking forward to seeing it, plus, transexuals, whats not to love? Is it transexual or transvestite, or really drag queen? I think Lola is a drag queen, although I can't tell.

[ edited by kurya on 2006-02-21 09:05 ]
I saw this movie at Sundance this year, and not only did I find it immensly enjoyable, so did everyone in the theatre. The film got a prolonged standing ovation, and so did Chiwetel.

While it does keep things fun and comical, there's also a deeper message that becomes very clear, without being preached, allowing for a wider demographic, IMO.

Mostly though, Chiwetel's performance was phenomenal, not to mention the singing he did for this film. Also, he's an amazing friendly fellow and was not only happy to sign my Serenity DVD, but was really stoked to see it, showing it to his publicity people and such.
I've seen it and I have soooo enjoyed it.
I think this looks like fun. And what range Chiwetel has!
I dunno, SNT, I think the 'gleefully parochial' element may be the one thing British cinema still has to offer. And i'd say thematically all the films you mention are fairly universal ('The Full Monty' could be set in Detroit or Pittsburgh maybe), it's just the locations, accents etc. which differ (e.g. in 'Blow Dry' Josh Hartnett's 'Yorkshire' accent is different to anything previously heard on planet Earth ;). I suspect that, for instance, 'Shaun of the Dead' wouldn't have been so well received in the US if it wasn't an essentially British (more specifically English) take on an established genre (the fact that it was bloody funny didn't hurt either).

Now, if you're actually saying we need to make more than just heart-warming tales of plucky Brits overcoming adversity or mockney gangster movies then I completely agree. I just think we can do that without losing the Britishness of the films we make here (not many films are as quintessentially British as the Ealing comedies for instance and yet I still think they have a fairly universal appeal - cue chorus of Americans going 'Ealing whatidies ?' to prove me categorically wrong ;).
I did see the trailer when this movie was mentioned before, and heard some clips from the soundtrack(Chewy's a wonderful singer!). I must say that I definitely look forward to seeing this movie.
Saje, I agree with you in part. Change that to, "I wish British movies would strive to be something more than just gleefully parochial." As you say in your second paragraph.

My chief issue with The Full Monty et al. is that they set the scene beautifully, and then fail to live up to (my) expectations. TFM could have gone in a number of really interesting directions, but instead settled for fairly predictable. By contrast, I thought Shaun of the Dead was genuinely innovative. And bloody funny.

But, no, let's not lose the sense of place that British movies often do well. (I'm actually looking to seeing ASH's latest, Imagine Me & You, not only for him, but because it's set where I grew up, in Primrose Hill . . .).
Saje, First you have to teach us how to pronounce "whatidies" and explain whether it is something that should be said in mixed company. Then we can move on to what an Ealing comedy is. ;-)
Actually, I like the name "whatadies" for the Ealing comedies. As a confirmed film geek, I've seen several. They're really interesting and diverting movies but, er, not actually all that, er, funny to my American sensibilities. So to me they are whatadies indeed! And it's not like I don't get all British humor (or should I say "humour"?). Still, the British/American humor thing is kind of weird and unpredictable. I'm a huge Python fan, I prefer the British version of "The Office", love old British movies (particularly Presberger-Powell/The Archers) to death. You might say I'm an Anglophile, but not for one second have I had even the slightest comprehension of "The Goon Show."

Re: Chewitel. I'm really looking forward to "Kinky Boots." I'm also looking forward to seeing him in the new Spike Lee "joint." Saw a trailer for this the other night and it looks like Mr. E. has a fairly big part in "Inside Man" as detective Denzel Washington's partner. It actually looks a lot more like a big-budget "movie" than a "joint" and also stars Clive Owen and...savoring the subtle irony...Jody Foster, she of the great talent and beauty and the movie which robbed "Serenity" of a few much-needed million.
whatidies (wha-ti-deez). noun. 1. a word describing a comedy/set of comedies that potentially no-one else has heard of 2. lacking in realness 3. largely, in the strictly factual sense, made up by me

I actively encourage its use in multiple company types (it's safe right the way up to church sermon tho' audiences with the Pope aren't covered under warranty). Pick the word up, throw it around, spank its second syllable to within an inch of its vowel. You can even feed it after midnight tho' i'd still probably keep it away from water if I were you, just for safety's sake.

Ealing comedies (assuming I haven't mis-calibrated my irony-ometer, newcj ;) are a bunch of films made by Ealing film studios in West London (not all that far from SNT's old stomping grounds) mainly from the mid '40s to mid '50s and featuring such classics as 'Kind Hearts and Coronets', 'The Man in the White Suit' and 'The Ladykillers' (recently remade) among many others. They're usually mildly satirical and often feature 'little people' struggling against faceless bureaucracies (e.g. the government or a large corporation). Normally, polls taken for favourite British comedy film will feature 1 or more in the top 10, I think to some extent out of nostalgia for the bygone era they represent (a bygone era that careful watching reveals the films were often poking fun at).

(If I have mis-calibrated the aforementioned meter then consider my response in strictly post-modern, meta-ironic terms i.e. ignore it ;).

bobster, it's true they're often not laugh out loud funny, more sort of wry-grin-at-the-daftness-of-it-all funny and are also often comedies of manners which doesn't really work too well if you don't know the conventions being broken (this is as true of modern Brits as it is of international viewers). If you take 'The Ladykillers' there's really (IMO) only one joke throughout which is the idea that a bunch of hardened crooks can be thwarted, partly (and sometimes literally ;) unconsciously by an extremely proper little old lady (also, this one in particular is quite dark).
Yeah, Saje -- I think I would have enjoyed "The Ladykillers" a lot more had I realized that. By the time I got to "Kind Hearts and Coronets", I figured that any movie that had Alec Guinness in drag a good part of the time had to be relatively broad. Nope -- but a neat little witty demi-thriller, nonetheless. I think my favorite of those I've seen is probably "The Man in the White Suit", which I saw at about 15 or so and which Mike Hodel, the late-lamented host of a SF fan show called Hour 25 which used to air on L.A.'s Pacifica a long time ago, mentioned over the air was actually science fiction.

It's interesting about the manners. I wonder if there's anything in our American comedies the English don't get. Do you have farts over there?
'Whisky Galore !' is a personal favourite of mine tho' I think they all have something to offer. That's a good point about 'The Man in the White Suit'. Hadn't thought of the film in those terms but it absolutely is science-fiction with the whole what-if scenario posited by Guinness' invention and the consequences of mindlessly applied technology (think it was Larry Niven who said, to paraphrase, 'If someone invents the car, science-fiction writers have to invent the traffic jam').

Little known fact but no, British people don't fart (this is one of the reasons the pilgrim fathers were persecuted and eventually left), we store it up throughout our lives for post-mortem disposal (when Churchill died a 2 square mile area around the crematorium was evacuated over fears of explosive damage).
I finally got around to seeing this trailer. It had me smiling and ready to see the movie by the end.

Saje, Ah yes, Ealing Studios. The pieces are all falling together…even with the humor thrown in. ;-) I keep thinking that the name of the movie was “The Man in the White Flannel Suit” (Which I saw again a few months ago when I got it out of the library. I thought my son would find it interesting to see Obi Won it a different light.) but I think I am getting the title confused with another movie “The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit”…or maybe not. Work now, Goggle later.

Glad to hear about “whatities.” Although the context you used indicated your explanation perfectly, whenever I tried to figure out a pronunciation, no matter how hard I fought it, I kept seeing a bunch of burly, unkempt men, with no sense of decorum, drinking beer and using it either as an exclamation in response to the mention of a well-endowed woman or a question about a lesser endowed woman. I kept hearing it being pronounced “wha titteez!?!” In that we are speaking of the British here, I realize, of course, that such a thing is out of the question.{/sarcasm}

In regards to the lack of bodily functions, my mother was raised by women here in the USA who had no bodily functions at all, so the phenomenon crosses borders and oceans. I'm just surprised that you would pick Winston Churchhill as an example. He always seemed like a fairly down to earth sort who would enjoy breaking the rules (within reason.) I realize that the the most obvious subject of your comments might still be off limits, and far be it from me to be so rude as to bring the white gloves and hats crowd into the discussion. ;-)

SNT, I can understand your point about wanting to see more from British cinema than the rather cute comedies that use the stereotypical British archetypes, but I think those movies have a place. They are usually culture clash movies, as this one seems to be, or fish out of water stories. IMO both of these can have depth and something to say that is a lot more worth hearing than many of the seemingly mindless comedies currently being produced. The fact that most do not live up to what they could have been is a sad fact of life as we know it. (As much as I did enjoy "Back to the Future" I am always sad that they did not play the parents straight. It could have had so much more depth and said so much more if they had trusted the script and not made the parents into cartoon characters. On the other hand, it made tons of money and spawned two sequels, so what do I know.)
Saje --

That was so funny I was trying to come up with some Winston Churchill quote to mangle appropriately, but I think basically you just created the Winston Churchill flatulence gag to end all Churchillian flatulence gags.

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