Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"It won't cost much... just your voice!" (aka The Fairy Tale Fortunes of a Voice Actress)

Samantha Morton loses her "voice" (image via The Film Experience)
From a little story I came across yesterday, which reminded me of another little story you may have heard of, in which a desperate mermaid bargains away her voice for something she wanted even more...

(Via Slashfilm):
Most of us don’t spend a lot of time considering the nuances of disembodied robot voices like Siri’s or the GPS navigator’s. But then most of us aren’t directing movies in which an operating system is one of the romantic leads.
Scarlett Johansson has replaced Samantha Morton as the computerized love interest of Spike Jonze‘s Her, which stars Joaquin Phoenix as a writer who falls for his operating system. The change came about at the last minute — initial shooting had already wrapped when Jonze decided to recast the part.
Samantha Morton as Agatha in The Minority Report
The Film Experience put it this way:
I realize it's only* voicework but I'm bit sad that Samantha Morton's voice has been removed from the upcoming Spike Jonze picture Her. She was to voice the operating system that Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with in lieu of, one supposes, flesh and blood options. I thought Samantha was brilliant in insert anything from her filmography here, and even though it was only* voicework, I was anxious to "see" her again.
Morton has the most terrible ratio of talent-to-role opportunities. I don't quite get what's happened to her career as she's one of the best screen actors alive. Still, since the world has a very short memory I didn't notice much mourning online about her replacement when the news broke.

Samantha Morton
It should be noted that Spike Jonze has released a statement saying he has the utmost respect for Ms. Morton, that she's a longtime friend and remains so.

The parallels with Andersen's The Little Mermaid are fascinating as it's an aspect of the story not concentrated on as much - that of losing your "voice", or position, or "say" when someone else comes along and (through no fault of their own) takes your place. It's the biz. It's actually most "biz" and it kinda sucks. But this is one of the reasons we love the tales. Because they're very good at showing the consequences of various scenarios and we have a better chance of making an informed decision when it comes to our own lives.

Unlike Disney's version, Andersen's Little Mermaid doesn't have a happy ending in that she doesn't get the "role" she had her heart set on, of being the prince's True Love. Even though Samantha Morton earned her "legs" (or as IMDB puts it "is known as one of the finest actors of her generation") she still got bumped by the star du jour (who, to be fair, is not without "legs" herself).

It should be noted, though, that Andersen's unnamed Mermaid did end up with a soul by behaving like the true princess she'd wanted to be (soulless to soul-having = not too shabby) so there's always hope that this unfortunate setback of Ms. Morton's will (somehow) free her up to move onto bigger and better things - especially with the support of so many critics shaking fingers at this odd last-minute change by Spike Jonez this week.

I do think it's pretty neat that in the middle of this (apparent) crisis, the general response from those looking on is that, no matter what, they still want Samantha Morton to be "part of that world"... 
Samantha Morton

Note: This message is brought to you by the DCA: Dinglehopper Colllectors Anonymous. ;)

*Please note that "only voicework" was not meant to be derogatory in any way. The writer even made his own little annotated note on the subject in The Film Experience's article.

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