Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dummy Turns down Movie Role

An interesting story related to the world of ventriloquism appeared in the New York Times this weekend. The story, "The Kid Quits the Picture," has to do with a new movie called "The Ten." The movie is a comedic look at the Ten Commandments. One sequence features a woman, played by Winona Ryder, who has an affair with a ventriloquist's dummy. Not with the ventrilqouist...with the dummy!

Apparently the filmmakers contacted some good friends of mine, Tim and Amanda Cowles of the Dummyworks (pictured), to see about using one of the figures they construct for the film. After a review of the script, they turned down the role on behalf of their dummy. Sounds like they made a wise choice.

Tim and Amanda are great performers and figure builders. They have been a part of I-Fest for many years. They perform in schools and churches all over. I think the article actually does a very good job of portraying their decision and values in a positive way.

It's also interesting to see yet another movie that is approaching ventriloquism in this creepy sort of way. Way back even in the silent era of movies, ventriloquists and dummy's have been portrayed in a twisted way. The man of a thousand faces, Lon Cheney, played a creepy ventriloquist in "The Unholy Three" in 1925 and then remade that film with sound five years later. When I was a kid, I remember seeing the ads for the movie "Magic." They scared me to death! What kid wouldn't be freaked out by dummy that looks like Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins played the ventriloquist in the movie, so the dummy looked like him). Just what is it with this morbid view of ventriloquism that Hollywood has?

Anyhow, hats of to Tim and Amanda for taking a stand!

1 comment:

Andrew said...

I think that the explanation for the "creepy Ventriloquist/Dummy" phenomenon can be found in Masahiro Mori's Uncanny Valley theory. Most traditional Vent figures fall in to Mori's valley; they're very human-like, but not quite human. Hence the reason why most people find the Muppets cuddly and attractive and Vent dolls, well, creepy.