Sunday, July 25, 2010

A sign that Salt was butchered in post production? Andre Braugher is fifth-billed in nearly wordless cameo in a pointless role.

Andre Braugher is doing okay these days. He may not be a multi-millionaire, but he's been working quite steadily since his star-making role in Homicide: Life on the Street ended in May of 1999. He's been a lead in a handful of TV series (Gideon's Crossing, Hack, Thief, Men of a Certain Age, Miami Medical), and he's had supporting roles in several movies (Frequency, Poseidon, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, The Mist). He may not have an Oscar nomination like Melissa Leo, but he has several Emmys and a consistent flow of featured roles. Point being, he is not so desperate for work that he would intentionally sign on for nearly wordless cameo at the end of a random summer action picture. Yet that's Detective Frank Pembleton himself as the Secretary of Defense in the last reel of Salt.

Not only is he in the film right at the very end, but he gets fifth billing for his role that consists of two full sentences and a brief moment of heroism. There are other signs that Phillip Noyce's Salt was heavily tinkered with in the editing room. It barely runs 90 minutes, its PG-13 yet feels R-rated in content and intent, the seemingly key role of Salt's husband is nearly non-existent, third-billed Chiwetel Ejiofor pretty much disappears for the final third of the picture, and there are several moments (including bits of Jolie having sex with someone, possibly her husband) that are in the trailer but not in the final film. But the biggest sign of distress in the post-production phase is the shocking and shockingly brief appearance of Andre Braugher in a role that any extra could have filled.

Oh well, Andre Braugher still gets paid regardless, so here's hoping some of those missing scenes show up on the DVD. The only example that comes to mind off hand is the 2006 interracial romance Something New, which featured John Ratzenberger, as Simon Baker's father, in a wordless cameo at the very end of the picture. Does anyone else have instances of seemingly notable actors appearing in glorified cameos in meaningless roles?

Scott Mendelson

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Does anyone else have instances of seemingly notable actors appearing in glorified cameos in meaningless roles?"

Yes. Iain Glen as Richard the Lionheart in Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven... he's there in the very last scene, banters with Orlando Bloom's character and then rides off. An awesome role, yes, but an unnecessary one.


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