From 'faster than a speeding bullet' to the 'fastest game on two feet'

Superman Star Brandon Routh Cast in Native Lacrosse Film

ICTMN Staff
6/6/11

Brandon Routh, best known for his portrayal of Clark Kent and Superman in the 2006 film Superman Returns, has been cast as the lacrosse coach in Crooked Arrows, a planned film about an American Indian high school lacrosse team. Routh, who is of Kickapoo heritage, told Variety: "I was moved by the script. ... While it has all the ingredients of a classic underdog sports movie, it actually appealed to me on a deeper level. I think the father-son and brother-sister dynamics of the story are compelling, as is [the] more spiritual Native American aspect."

Crooked Arrows represents a very deliberate attempt to make the quintessential lacrosse film. "Every great sport has its movie," says a promotional video on the homepage at CrookedArrows.com, "except lacrosse." The video cites such memorable movies as Rudy, Hoosiers, Miracle and The Natural. The team of producers includes J. Todd Peck, who recently executive-produced the Oscar-nominated The Kids Are All Right, and Steve Rash (The Buddy Holly Story, Can't Buy Me Love, sequels to American Pie and Bring It On) will direct.

The film's plot, as described in an article at InsideLacrosse.com, may resonate with many American Indian communities. Routh's character is a former college star player who returns to the reservation after business school; out of touch with his spirituality, he pushes for expansion of the tribe's gaming business. His concerned father and the tribal council decide he must first "re-examine his spirit," and he's given the job of coaching the reservation team which, like squads in so many memorable sports films (The Bad News Bears, Slap Shot, Major League), doesn't exactly look like a championship contender.

Routh attended the recent NCAA lacrosse championships in Baltimore with the film's producers. An open casting for Crooked Arrows was also held during the weekend; according to the Baltimore Sun about 250 hopefuls showed up on the first of two days to demonstrate their stickwork and meet casting director Rene Haynes, whose long history casting American Indians includes Dances with Wolves, Skins, two Twilight films and the upcoming Winter in the Blood.

The next casting calls will take place June 10-12 in Hempstead, Long Island, Norwalk, Connecticut, and Summit, New Jersey—visit crookedarrows.com for more information.

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beaver's picture
beaver
Submitted by beaver on
Hollywood actors playing Indian roles always claim Indian heritage. This man is almost certainly not Kickapoo.

michelleshiningelk's picture
michelleshiningelk
Submitted by michelleshiningelk on
Great another perfect fail in casting, but I shouldn't be surprised. Although this casting director has a "long history" of casting American Indians in film; she has also been part of the problem in why non-Natives get cast in these pivotal role. And, the argument from this casting director and the producers is always the same - they couldn't find an American Indian to fill the role. My response to that repetitive and statement: that's a bunch of malarky, I have a whole truck load of bona-fide, grade A American Indian talent right here! But do they ever ask me, a tribally enrolled, commodity fed, rez raised experienced person American Indian working in this industry ? Nope!! They resort to their non-Native casting director who "is the authority on all Native casting," according to Summit Entertainment. That's what I was told when I contacted them about providing Native actors for the Twilight series. As for this casting decision...another travesty. Descendent is a term grossly misused and way too easily thrown around and out there when people are scrambling for a way to verify their claim of being American Indian. In Indian country when we talk about who we are and where we come from, we typically start with our tribe or rez, for example: "I'm Michelle, I'm Colville (Lakes and Okanogan bands) grew up on the Colville indian rez." And from there we'll usually state who our parents are. Whenever I hear descendent or "lineage" from someone, I think to myself that this person likely doesn't know what any of that which they are claiming to be...means. So with that said, while Mr. Routh "may be" Kickapoo, I would be willing to bet he has no idea what that means, where it comes from; and, moreover, that he and his family had to dig pretty deep down inside his proverbial cultural background hat to come up with that one (just like a rabbit! it's almost magic!). A finger prick bleed would likely result in Mr. Routh losing the Kickapoo in him. It is disappointing for our American Indian community to see that a film about a sport originated by us has blatently by-passed one of our own for this role. If the argument is that Routh is an A-lister, that is easily rebutted in that the remake of the Superman film he was in was a complete flop and hardly constitutes calling him an A-list actor. Chaske Spencer (Lakota) who plays Sam Uley in the Twilight Series as the leader of the wolf pack if probably far more recognizable than Mr. Routh, and would have been a much better choice. I'd be willing to bet, if you put Chaske's photo up against Brandon's ask asked the community-at-large who they recognize the most. Sam Uley (Chaske Spencer) would win by a land slide - the Wolf would trump Superman. And, Chaske...he is just one of many who should have been considered or given this role.
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