After reading my earlier blog post about the True Blood character Tara Thornton, a friend dug up this clip of the actress Brook Kerr, originally cast to play the role. It’s clear from the video below that Kerr took a slightly different approach to the part. As someone says in the comments section of the video, this actress doesn’t have enough “attitude.”
Hmm, yes, “attitude.” I fear the current Tara practically oozes “attitude,” and I fear that’s it’s what I like least about her and also makes me wonder if I was right in my earlier blog. Maybe Rutina Wesley’s being directed to be the way she is—especially considering that in the Sookie Stackhouse novels, the character Tara is a white woman.
Attitude is the one trait I actually DON’T need in those sistas I talked about loving so much earlier. “Attitude,” in fact, is one of the worst cliches ever you could ask a black actress to play, in my opinion. Partly because it’s so stereotypical and partly because it rarely ever plays on screen the way real, signifying, clever “black girl attitude” plays in real life. (As an aside: if you wanna see “black girl attitude” played with finesse, charm, and subtlety? Watch Regina King’s shaded, underrated performance in John Singleton’s Poetic Justice. Netflix it tonight.)
So how does the original Tara work for you? Watch below:
****And by the way, here’s a cute interview with Rutina Wesley, where she sorta addresses the casting change: click here.
Filed under True Blood, TV
First off, just let me say this. I love black women. There is nothing in this world, to me, as interesting, complex, beautiful or off-the-chart engaging as a black woman who knows what she wants and knows how to make it happen. Maybe it’s cause I’m a Mama’s Boy with one great Mama, who had a great Mama, has some great sisters, and also raised a great daughter.
Let’s just put that out there first.
Secondly, I love black women on TV. Maybe it’s because they have to make so much with—so often—so little, but it’s true: nothing gets me more excited pop culture-wise than a sista on TV commanding space, emoting well, turning a phrase and just doing the damn thing. Just some names, so you know where I’m coming from, cause I’m not just talking the Grand Diva, World-famous Diahann Carrolls of the world (though, anyone who knows me knows I worship the ground that Lady walks on, if ONLY because of a lil movie called Claudine, but I digress…) or my future wife Regina King; no I’m talking about sistas like Nicki Micheaux and Lorraine Toussaint and S. Epatha Merkerson and Aisha Hinds and Aunjanue Ellis and Adina Porter, just to name a few, these sistas who you might find as readily on the New York stage as you might guest-starring on a TV show. (Guest-starring being the operative word. Other than Regina King—who’s working it over on Southland—there are unfortunately only a handful of sistas playing leads or co-leads on TV shows: sadly Law & Order is no more but there’s Jada Pinkett Smith (Hawthorne), Chandra Wilson on Grey’s Anatomy, and JJ Abrams has cast a black couple at the center of Undercovers, his upcoming sexy new spy show, with British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw starring opposite Boris Kodjoe.)
But this isn’t so much about the numbers today. I’ll leave that to the NAACP and their racist greeting cards, it’s about how I can usually find something to love and vibe about a sista on TV. Well, except one: She’s a character on True Blood, and her name is Tara.
Filed under True Blood, TV