Will Ferrell to play Brigham Young?

21Apr07

I have been to the movies twice this weekend. I must be making up for months and months of passing on who knows how many films. I broke down and even paid full price for one of them.

The movies in question were The Work and the Glory: A house Divided, which, according to the Deseret News will be the last of the movies that will be last film adapted from Gerald Lund’s works of historical fiction. The other was Blades of Glory that incidentally features John Heder, a member of the church and star of Napoleon Dynamite.

A house Divided is obviously a Mormon film. Unless a nonmember is really familiar with the history of the early days of the Church, they will find this movie almost incomprehensible. But, for someone who has been in the Church for their whole lives, and is familiar with the stories that are told in Sunday school, they will have no problems understanding what is going on and why certain events are portrayed as being significant. What I find interesting also is that after coming to our local theatre about a month ago, it is still there.

Blades of glory is a slapstick comedy along the lines of Tommy Boy, Billy Madison, Dodgeball and a host of others that began in the early 90’s and have been made over and over until as recently as Blades. It bears a P-13 rating, and rightfully so. Many Church members would find some of the content in this film objectionable, and as I write this, I am thinking that my money would have been better spent on something else. Well, anything else honestly.

But both of these movies raise questions about Mormons and filmmaking. For instance, will Mormon movies ever attract good actors? I know that sounds harsh, but in the films targeted specifically at a Mormon audience, often the acting leaves much to be desired. While the A house Divided was interesting because of the subject matter it dealt with, the performances of the actors detracted from what could had the potential of being a powerful film.

In Blades of Glory, John Heder turned out a good performance, and has found his place as a comedic actor. Unfortunately Heder, while it would not have mattered with any other actor to me, was required him to do some things that, while funny, did things many mainstream members of the Church would find questionable.

Blades of Glory forces one to ask, what is acceptable for someone who holds a temple recommend to do in film. Perhaps while Heder’s role can serve as the limit as to what one can do in an LDS film.

Anyways, I would like to see better LDS films and LDS actors behaving better in films that receive wide theatrical release.

On the other hand I have found that Mormon artists have tended to have a very liberal interpretation of the Church’s standards so perhaps Heder was fine with what his role opposite Will Ferrell asked of him.

Oh well, they say that, “there’s what’s right and what’s right and never shall the twain meet” (Nicolas Cage in Raising Arizona). Hopefully that will not be true of good acting in movies targeted at the LDS audience in the future.

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One Response to “Will Ferrell to play Brigham Young?”

  1. 1 Jared

    I got into acting when I was in Jr High. I enjoyed it so much that I was honestly thinking that I would like to become a real film actor some day. Then I kept on watching movies and plays. I went as far as to read plays and screenplays for fun. The more I saw, the more I realized that it would be quite hard to have a successful career and not lower my standards. Although I still think I’d like to try my hat at it, I figure it’s only getting worse, not better.

    I later turned to Radio, which allows the individual to be creative and funny and heard while choosing how far he goes. Most DJ’s choose not to be “Howard Stern” or “Don Imus”. However, I learned that behind the sound booth (and often toeing the line on air) the same sense of immorality penetrates the whole field.

    For a short time I was thinking of local TV, but saw the same things over and over again. I eventually gave up and decided to just stick to computers. I’m not famous, I’m far from rich, but I’m happy and comfortable with who I am.


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