Friday, February 29, 2008

We Are The Holler People

They're filming an Appalachian horror movie in Pittsburgh, starting soon, David M. Brown of the Pitsburgh Tribune-Review notes: Film's casting call wants that 'inbred' look (February 26, 2008). I'm pleased Hillbilly Savants blog called this to my attention. Here on Droop Mountain, we believe it's always worthwhile to frighten the tourists.

A movie about to be filmed in Pittsburgh is casting Gothic characters -- including an albino-like girl and deformed people -- to depict West Virginia mountain people. "'Regular-looking" children need not apply. That's the gist of an open casting call for paid extras for "Shelter," a horror film starring Julianne Moore that will begin shooting in Pittsburgh in March.

The casting call scheduled for Sunday invites "men and women of all races, 18 or older," to try out as extras, according to the announcement from Downtown-based Donna Belajac Casting. But the extras wanted for the West Virginia scenes evoke images of "Deliverance" and "The Hills Have Eyes."

"It's the way it was described in the script," Belajac said Monday. "Some of these 'holler' people -- because they are insular and clannish, and they don't leave their area -- there is literally inbreeding, and the people there often have a different kind of look. That's what we're trying to get."

....Appalachia as a setting in a horror flick is an old motif, but such an open appeal for stereotypical mountain people is unusual...

The announcement -- which was sent out in a news release and posted on the casting company's Web site -- asked for people with the following attributes: "Extraordinarily tall or short. Unusual body shapes, even physical abnormalities as long as there is normal mobility. Unusual facial features, especially eyes." The announcement requests "a 9-12-year-old Caucasian girl with an other-worldly look to her....Could be an albino or something along those lines -- she's someone who is visually different and therefore has a closer contact to the gods and to magic. 'Regular-looking' children should not attend this open call.'"

Asked if she felt the characterization might be offensive to West Virginians, Belajac said: "We tried to word it in a way that's not offensive. I hope it's not an offensive thing. It's not meant to be a generalization about everyone in West Virginia. That's why we put that it's in a 'holler' in the mountains."

Here's where my head went with all the talk of "holler people." Mistah Kurtz--he dead. A penny for the Old Guy.

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us--if at all--not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men....

The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley....

T. S. Eliot, The Hollow Men, 1925


Anonymous said...

Hmm. Oddly enough for someone who's lived in a hollow almost all his life, I've never thought of reading Eliot's poem that way. Hee!

Rebecca Clayton said...

It's funny what things get juxtaposed in my head.

Home said...

Go Pocahantus