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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

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Old December 29 2009, 08:05 PM   #1726
Dimesdan
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Re: Cast the Characters of Trek Literature

Christopher wrote: View Post
^Huh? I didn't mean real-life personality, I meant onscreen persona -- the voice, the delivery, the expressions, the attitude. I have an image in my mind of how T'Ryssa looks and how she talks and acts. The whole point of this is to find an actress who can not only look the part but pull off the performance.
My mistake then, but from that description then you are possibly being a bit narrow minded.

Take Hugh Laurie as an example, not taking into account the span of years between the two productions, watching him in Blackadder the Third and Blackadder goes Forth as Prince George and Lieutenant George respectively do you think (and not using hindsight) he would have made a good Gregory House? An arrogant, condescending prick of an American when in both Blackadder's he is an upper class toff of an Englishman?
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Old December 29 2009, 09:32 PM   #1727
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Re: Cast the Characters of Trek Literature

^Why are you assuming I'm an idiot? I know perfectly well that it's possible for actors to assume multiple different roles. What I'm saying -- and I'm amazed I have to explain something as straightforward as this -- is that if the question is whether a given actress is right for a certain role, I need to know if she's capable of pulling off that characterization. That has nothing to do with assuming she's only capable of one characterization overall. I mean, come on, this is obviously a part of any casting process. The person needs to demonstrate that they're able to play the character you're casting for. Why is that not a given here? Why are you arguing with me about this?

All I'm saying is that it's impossible to cast a role based solely on a photograph, because that doesn't tell me anything about the person's range as a performer and whether they'd be good in a particular role. Why is that so hard to understand?
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Old December 29 2009, 09:40 PM   #1728
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Re: Cast the Characters of Trek Literature

Christopher wrote: View Post
^Why are you assuming I'm an idiot? I know perfectly well that it's possible for actors to assume multiple different roles. What I'm saying -- and I'm amazed I have to explain something as straightforward as this -- is that if the question is whether a given actress is right for a certain role, I need to know if she's capable of pulling off that characterization. That has nothing to do with assuming she's only capable of one characterization overall. I mean, come on, this is obviously a part of any casting process. The person needs to demonstrate that they're able to play the character you're casting for. Why is that not a given here? Why are you arguing with me about this?
No, I'm not assuming you are an idiot, from the way you conduct yourself in these parts, that is far from what I think of you, yet you continue to believe that certain actors can not perform a certain part, the only way you can know they can't is by having them come in and audition for said part, but as we can't do that in this thread, any and all suggestions should be vallied regardless of what you, I or Joe Blogs thinks.

And am I argueing with you, I guess it depends on what you class as an argument and how much of a persecution complex you may or may not have? I just thought it was healthy debate and putting across a somewhat vallied point and an alternative viewpoint.
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Old December 29 2009, 10:12 PM   #1729
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Re: Cast the Characters of Trek Literature

Dimesdan wrote: View Post
No, I'm not assuming you are an idiot, from the way you conduct yourself in these parts, that is far from what I think of you, yet you continue to believe that certain actors can not perform a certain part, the only way you can know they can't is by having them come in and audition for said part, but as we can't do that in this thread, any and all suggestions should be vallied regardless of what you, I or Joe Blogs thinks.
What the hell are you TALKING about???? The subject under discussion is the casting for a character that I created, a character I have a very clear mental image of. People are asking if certain actresses are a good fit for my image of her, and I'm offering my opinions in response to those questions, based on what I know about them. That seems perfectly straightforward to me. You're twisting it in some bizarre way I can't begin to understand. You're talking as though it's somehow unjust for me to express my opinions and impressions. I'm not asserting anything as a fact. I'm just giving my impressions, which is what I THOUGHT people in this thread were asking me for.
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Old December 30 2009, 12:16 AM   #1730
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Re: Cast the Characters of Trek Literature

Yes, that is what I asked for. I wanted to know what image Christpher had in mind when he imagined T'Ryssa Chen. I can see how the woman who plays Michelle Lee doesn't give the sense of the character of Tryss, and definitely not Lucy Liu. We can't just say, well, she's got some Chinese blood so she should be acted by any Asian woman.

We've been playing this game for years. I recall threads on the S&S forum going back four years at least, in which Marco Palmieri, for one, would claim it was a huge waste of time, and then follow up with his castings. (ugh! That sounds like something a worm would do, LOL!)

I'm not sure, as I only ever poke my head in every so often, but I think the person you pick is supposed to actually be able to do the role. I believe that is how the game is played. So it's not really narrow-minded if one person replies that he doesn't think the actress someone else picked can carry of the role. I think that's actually a valid difference of opinion.

Anyhow, I like the image I have for Tryss and I may come back with a better suggestion after I read a few more books, so... can we move on to Jasminder?

My difficult thing about Jasminder, oddly enough, is that I can't tell if she's Hindu or Buddhist. If she's like Gandhi, which would be most likely were she living in Calcutta today, then she would be with the saffron robe and the red spot on her head. I don't see that. She seems more like a Hindu/American woman who has been liberated but who has returned to her roots in the form of Mahayana Buddhism. And that gives me a totally different impression. Picard treats her like she's a Buddhist, but the books in her library seem to lean the direction of Ramakrishna or Yogananda, who both taught their followers to study all the world's scriptures, not just the Vedas.

I think, regarding Choudhury, it is going to take more reading before I come down with an image, much less an actress who could play her.

She's not like a Bollywood woman at all. She's very Westernized. I can't even think of an Indian actress outside of Bollywood. Oh yeah, Padma Lakshmi, but she's more a cooking show host than an actress. And she already has a Trek role.

Last edited by snakespeare; December 30 2009 at 12:48 AM.
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Old December 30 2009, 12:49 AM   #1731
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Re: Cast the Characters of Trek Literature

Jasminder is basically a Hindu, but she's a student of all faiths. Hinduism tends to be a very inclusive religious tradition, and Jasminder is a curious and cosmopolitan sort of person. Also, she was born and raised on Deneva over 300 years in the future, so it's safe to assume she's not a traditionalist.

And aren't you mixing up your cultural references? Saffron robes are worn by Buddhist monks. The bindi forehead mark is a Hindu thing, sometimes just a decoration, sometimes a prerogative of married women. Mahatma Gandhi was a Hindu. And how does a Hindu woman return to her roots by embracing an entirely different religion?

As for casting, the best candidate I've seen so far is Janina Gavankar, though she's at least a dozen years too young. David Mack's choice is Rekha Sharma from Battlestar Galactica, but I don't like her much. My mental image of Jasminder is based on a real person, a counselor who helped me deal with a difficult problem once. She looked sort of like an Indian equivalent of Marjean Holden, tall, strong, and regal. Or at least that's how I remember her.
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Old December 30 2009, 04:02 PM   #1732
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Re: Cast the Characters of Trek Literature

Thanks. That's a lot of good info.

I immersed myself in most of that Hindu material for a few years while I was making a study of George Harrison's solo work. In the 19th century and through to the present day there was a movement to be inclusive, as you point out, among certain popular sects, but these people are actually the minority. We in the West see a lot of them (self-realization, for example, or the writings of Deepak Chopra) and naturally we take them to be the norm, but they are actually the exception. That whole Hare Krishna movement that Harrison was part of is actually traditional, not ecumenical.

In Autobiography of a Yogi, the saffron robes are discussed. It's not just Buddhists, Hindu monks wear saffron or ocher, depending on their order. The text of this entire book is online, though who knows what help it might be.

I was actually referring to the tilaka, not the bindi. I think she might wear it on occasion.

Anyway, no, I'm not mixing my semiotics. But I can see that the mental model for Jasminder Choudhury is sort of like Deepak Chopra, and that would be how she could discuss Buddhist ideas and Islam at the same time, while still being essentially Hindu.

In Star Trek, it is up to individuals to carry on their cultural traditions, and many do. Still, some colonies are built by people who have a desire to preserve their traditional cultures. It seems like she is of the first type, and is clearly of the ecumenical bent.

Thanks, again. Good stuff.
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Old December 30 2009, 04:52 PM   #1733
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Re: Cast the Characters of Trek Literature

I think if you go back far enough, Hinduism is a very inclusive tradition. India is a very geographically diverse and fragmented subcontinent, and so it's long been broken up into lots of different subcultures that diverge and meet up again, and that's led to a rich ferment of ideas over history, lots of syncretism and hybridization of belief. That's how they ended up with such a humongous pantheon -- thousands of local deities being merged together into one big syncretic mashup. That same diversity has also spawned new religions like Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism out of the mix. There are even Hindus (and Buddhists) who have no problem incorporating Judeo-Christian ideas into their faith, such as believing that Jesus studied under Krishna or Buddha during the period of his life not covered in the Bible, or even that he's an avatar of Vishnu (or of Krishna, who's himself an avatar of Vishnu). Naturally there have been periods of consolidation and conservatism, as is true in any religion, but there have been periods of great inclusiveness and philosophical ferment as well. Over the broad sweep of history, you can't really say that either is the norm or the exception.

And even if Hindu monks wear saffron robes, Jasminder Choudhury is hardly a monk. Most Christians don't wear priest's collars or nun's habits, so why would any given Hindu or Buddhist be expected to wear a monk's robes?
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Old December 30 2009, 06:15 PM   #1734
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Re: Cast the Characters of Trek Literature

^Agreed. That's why I said:

"If she's like Gandhi, which would be most likely were she living in Calcutta today, then she would be with the saffron robe and the red spot on her head. I don't see that."

I guess, on re-reading, that's kind of blurry thinking. My apologies. The robes of an initiate are only for those who have taken vows of renunciation and who have been sponsored by another renunciate, etc. It was a misleading image. I was only putting it there to say this is NOT an image of her, by way of contrast.

I liked when you said:

"My mental image of Jasminder is based on a real person, a counselor who helped me deal with a difficult problem once. She looked sort of like an Indian equivalent of Marjean Holden, tall, strong, and regal. Or at least that's how I remember her."

I really haven't warmed up to the character at all, but this person who you had in mind sounds great.

I just want you to know that, although the Hindu culture as we see it from the West seems to be inclusive, it is not. People like Chopra and Yogananda are that way, but the vast majority of the Hindi who still live in India are traditional and conservative and are very exclusive and are not in the least bit tolerant of Western cultural influences. They throw things at couples holding hands in the public park on Valentine's Day, for instance. And a woman I worked with was "called home" to basically be thrown into a marriage that was arranged by her father. The back streets of Calcutta in the 21st century are disturbing to contemplate.

It is the Roddenberry vision that we have solved these problems by the time Jasminder Choudhury is the Security Chief of the Enterprise-E, and I think it's wise to make her think more like Deepak Chopra than the current Hindu norm, because that may be part of the path between the current sad reality and the future Roddenberry envisioned.

So anyway, thanks for the input. GTTS is a good read, and maybe I will eventually warm up to Choudhury. I like T'Ryssa Chen a lot, so I'm glad I decided to read this before Destiny.
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Old December 30 2009, 06:46 PM   #1735
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Re: Cast the Characters of Trek Literature

^Like I said -- you're talking about the present and recent past, while I'm talking about a history that covers thousands of years. The way any culture is in the here and now is only a narrow cross-section of its development over millennia. Hindu culture in the present is understandably conservative and traditional as a reaction to centuries of colonial domination by the West; after all, it's only been 62 years since independence. But it would be a grave mistake to assume that it or any other culture has always been exactly like it is now.
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Old December 30 2009, 07:29 PM   #1736
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Re: Cast the Characters of Trek Literature

^Agreed. That would be erroneous. And you are projecting into the future, as well, so the whole question is, what might Hinduism be like in the future.

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Old January 3 2010, 03:59 PM   #1737
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Re: Cast the Characters of Trek Literature

Christopher wrote: View Post
As for casting, the best candidate I've seen so far is Janina Gavankar, though she's at least a dozen years too young. David Mack's choice is Rekha Sharma from Battlestar Galactica, but I don't like her much. My mental image of Jasminder is based on a real person, a counselor who helped me deal with a difficult problem once. She looked sort of like an Indian equivalent of Marjean Holden, tall, strong, and regal. Or at least that's how I remember her.
^I would go with either of these choices for Jasminder Choudhury. At any rate, they're much better than my original envisioning of Konnie Huq! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konnie_Huq
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Old January 3 2010, 04:11 PM   #1738
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Re: Cast the Characters of Trek Literature

Cybersnark wrote: View Post
Liza Lapira as T'Ryssa Chen
Liza plays "Ivy" (Topher's sidekick) on Dollhouse (and has played the much more serious Agent Lee on NCIS), so I think she has the right blend of youthfulness and maturity to play Tryss (considering that Tryss, despite her behaviour, is old enough to be an officer).
^As for Liza Lapira as T'Ryssa Chen, I wouldn't disagree with that either.
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Old January 9 2010, 01:12 AM   #1739
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Re: Cast the Characters of Trek Literature

I still haven't got a good image of Choudhury in my head. (And I don't recall, is that pronounced like "shoe tree"?) Janina Gavankar, Rekha Sharma ... they both seem too young and pretty. Too much like Ezri and not enough like Jadzia, if you catch my drift, or maybe the pictures are all too sultry where I can't see someone who meditates that much being much caught up in all that desire.

Here's Indira Varma, who was on Torchwood. She's the second from the left, with the oval face. Although she's only 37, the camera might put on a few more years.
http://www.torchwood-tv.com/images/t...oupimage01.jpg
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Old January 9 2010, 01:24 AM   #1740
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Re: Cast the Characters of Trek Literature

snakespeare wrote: View Post
I still haven't got a good image of Choudhury in my head. (And I don't recall, is that pronounced like "shoe tree"?)
More like "chowdery," but as two syllables ("chowd'ry").

Here's Indira Varma, who was on Torchwood. She's the second from the left, with the oval face. Although she's only 37, the camera might put on a few more years.
http://www.torchwood-tv.com/images/t...oupimage01.jpg
She's a possibility, though not too high on my list.

Speaking of actresses who are too young, I think that Anjli Mohindra of The Sarah Jane Adventures might make an excellent Jasminder Choudhury if she were 20 years older.
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