– Aloha

In Defence of Cameron Crowe and Aloha

IN A world of movie making where audiences are sprinting to the nearest theatre to watch the world get destroyed with gleeful abandon, Cameron Crowe is something of a rarity.

His recent film, Aloha, has been divisive, sure, but he’s part of a dying breed in Hollywood: an eternally optimistic and romantic filmmaker.

The 57-year-old journalist-turned-Oscar-winner is best known for Jerry Maguire, but throughout his lengthy career has carved out a memorable filmography.

Whether it’s Cusack classic Say Anything or science-fiction mind-boggler Vanilla Sky, nostalgia trip Almost Famous or the under-appreciated We Bought A Zoo, he’s someone who jumps from genre to genre with the energy of a three-year-old drinking red cordial.

And the reason for that is simple.

“It’s hard not to stay curious and wondrous about life and love,” Crowe says.

“It’s the greatest inspiration of all.

“I love to tell stories about the little things, the little moments that become so huge to us in everyday life: a look, an old photograph, a feeling that comes from hearing a song … all of these things can mean more than any explosion or vision of apocalyptic doom.

“I like those stories too, but I always find myself coming back to stories about people. Characters you might enjoy spending some time with … and then missing a little when the movie is over.”

One of those characters from his latest film Aloha has caused somewhat of a controversy: Allison Ng, a quarter-Hawaiian and quarter-Chinese fighter pilot played by Emma Stone.

Instead of lashing out at the criticisms surrounding her caucasian casting, Crowe wrote a thoughtful blog piece about it and the unintended harm it may have caused.

“Thank you so much for all the impassioned comments regarding the casting of the wonderful Emma Stone in the part of Allison Ng,” he wrote on his site The Uncoollast week.

“I have heard your words and your disappointment, and I offer you a heartfelt apology to all who felt this was an odd or misguided casting choice.

“I am grateful for the dialogue. And from the many voices, loud and small, I have learned something very inspiring.

“So many of us are hungry for stories with more racial diversity, more truth in representation, and I am anxious to help tell those stories in the future.”

For Crowe, he says a big part of the casting came down to the “chemistry” between his three leads — Stone, Bradley Cooper and Rachel McAdams.

“They (Brad and Emma) had immediate chemistry, both very much interested in each other, and every little bit of emotion they could get from the scenes,” he says.

“It was obvious from the first get-together that they had so much in common, both very instinctive and soulful actors, and like Rachel McAdams they had a real hunger to tell a human story on film.”

Crowe — a man noted for his skilful use and abundance of dialogue — tried something different with Aloha, attempting to use meaningful silences and impressions.

It’s something that has been jarring for Crowe loyalists to digest, but a move he says he has been wanting to make for a while.

“Sometimes silence can be the most eloquent dialogue of all,” he says.

“I love dialogue so much, it comes very naturally to me … it was fun to do more sequences that were less dependent on words, which we tried a little bit on Aloha.”

Whether it worked or not remains to be seen outside of the judge, jury and executioner that is opening weekend in the US — which wasn’t kind to Aloha, much like the critics.

Crowe argues on his blog: “From the very beginning of its appearance in the Sony Hack, Aloha has felt like a misunderstood movie.

“One that people felt they knew a lot about, but in fact they knew very little.

“It was a small movie, made by passionate actors who wanted to join me in making a film about Hawaii, and the lives of these characters who live and work in and around the island of Oahu.”

He’s not the first filmmaker critical of the hacks and some of the things they have revealed, including an unsurprisingly high amount of misogyny, something Crowe is also vocal about.

Aware of his position as both a white and male filmmaker within Hollywood, he’s still enraged at some of the blatantly sexist actions in the industry, which are being highlighted by filmmakers such as Lexi Alexander and Ava DuVernay.

“For every producer or facilitator or financier, there’s a goldmine in listening to the creative voices and feeling the inspiration of women in film,” he says.

Courtesy of – Maria Lewis – June 9, 2015