Young Josef vs. old Josef

Young Josef vs. old Josef

Postby Catmoon » Sat Sep 19, 2009 4:07 am

Over on the thread about "Vampire Diaries" (JosefLove pops up everywhere :snicker: ) there were a few comments about how wonderfully JD plays a vampire who's supposed to be centuries' old, and that originally a much older actor was supposed to play him. Lucky mentioned how much fanfic would never have gotten written. Well, I'd love to discuss this subject in greater detail but didn't want to get spanked for going way OT ;), so I thought I'd make another thread here.

First of all, the idea of someone else playing Josef gives me and my Josef-Muse the heebie-jeebies. :mdrama: Frankly, I might not still be there. Mick and Beth are the meat and potatoes, but Josef is the rich, decadent dessert and I must always have dessert with my meals. Or without the meal. ;) It can be a confusing line to draw between character and actor, but for me it's like this: As much as I like JD, it's the character that I'm interested in. I really don't follow any of the actors' other projects all that closely. However, it was Jason's portrayal of Josef that made him what he is to me. He made me like Josef when I originally hadn't very much. Although I did like the original Josef's accent. :teeth:

I don't think I would have the same strong Josef Muse if some other actor had played him, though I'm not sure how to explain why. It would have been a totally different ML anyway, so I'm not sure you can even compare. I just thought it would be fun to talk about the differences between having a young Josef and an older Josef. How do you think JD portrays Josef as being older in years despite his age at turning? I'd love to hear some thoughts on the subject. Let's talk about Josef!
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Re: Young Josef vs. old Josef

Postby moonlight_vixen » Sat Sep 19, 2009 4:33 am

Catmoon wrote: Josef is the rich, decadent dessert and I must always have dessert with my meals. Or without the meal. ;)
I absolutely agree with this comparison Cat! Josef is rich and decadent in so many ways ;) Without dessert, there is no point..

For me, I could never imagine someone else portraying the role of Josef. I'm sorry, it just wouldn't have worked. It wouldn't have been the same. For me, it was the emotion that JD brought to the character of Josef that brought it home for me. The emotion and relation that JD brings to each character he portrays is what makes me follow all of his work. And I confess, Josef is my favorite :rose:

Someone turned at such a fairly young age and surviving through centuries of turmoil and change has to learn how to adapt and survive. They witness everyone around them die, lives change, cultures change and the world in general change. I imagine anyone surviving that way would come to depend and trust on no one but themselves. After keeping those feelings inside one's self, it's almost like an armor of sorts. It takes very special people to see through the "cracks" so to speak, and with Josef that was Sarah, Mick and Beth. They were the chosen exposed to that core of emotion he did possess.

For me, a hard, mysterious and vulnerable core to crack is a fascination. A need. I think Josef is all three of these and more. Definitely more. There is so much I loved about Josef as a character. I could go on forever!

Who couldn't love Josef? I think our devotion is clear... :hearts:
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Re: Young Josef vs. old Josef

Postby MoonMad » Sat Sep 19, 2009 5:00 am

Well, I'm not a Josefite and so see it from a different perspective.

Personally, I loved the older Josef that we saw in the original script (and yes, the accent that we heard in the trailer was lovely to the ears). I think an older mentor for Mick would have worked really well, particularly at the end of the script when it was revealed he had secrets from Mick. I always felt they were going to go there too in the ML we eventually got, and have Josef keeping secrets from him, but they never developed those hints did they? I wish they had, or at least I wish they had had the opportunity to develop that idea.

But of course the original script was a very different show to the slick one we got, and in that context I think JD worked beautifully as Josef. A really great character so very different to the original one. JD was given the best lines in the show, but very little emotional depth. He developed what little Josef was given perfectly, and I certainly couldn't imagine any other young actor doing the role justice.

I don't read fanfic so I can't say about whether another actor would have inspired as much devoted fic writing, but I bet the 70 year old they cast originally wouldn't have. That's a safe bet :snicker: .
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Re: Young Josef vs. old Josef

Postby librarian_7 » Sat Sep 19, 2009 5:11 am

I have to argue (respectfully) about the "very little emotional depth." I think we didn't have enough opportunity to see the inner Josef, but think about these two scenes: the end of BC, when Mick tells Josef that Lola is dead, and the truly moving scene when Josef tells Mick and Beth about Sarah.

It is true that the impact of those scenes was greatly heightened by Jason's masterful performance, but I think even he could not have done it without some wonderful writing and direction to work with.

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Re: Young Josef vs. old Josef

Postby AussieJo » Sat Sep 19, 2009 5:27 am

Hi Cat :hug: :hug:
You know, it's through the fanfic that I really got to know and appreciate Josef.
He's a very old soul in a young man's body, with all the advantages and baggage it brings.
I watch Josef on the show really differently now.

The dynamic between Josef and Mick would have been very different if Josef had been older.
It just wouldn't have been "our" Moonlight
Mick was older, but younger.
Josef was younger, but older.
And I believe because of that each was able to contribute to their friendship/relationship in equal measure due to their different perspectives.
They (the writers) just got it so right!
I wonder if it was planned down to the enth degree or there was some fortunate happenstance as well?
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Re: Young Josef vs. old Josef

Postby nutmegger911 » Sat Sep 19, 2009 5:30 am

I think a young Josef made the show much more flexible. Old Josef provided a grounded credible voice right off the bat, because the visual matched the typical view of the wisdom of ages. However, it would be tough to sell folks on him being a partner in crime with Mick given the extreme physical difference in ages. Also, it is easy to forget just how old Josef is, which gives the writers all sorts of opportunities. (Mwahahahaha) Thank goodness the fanfic writers picked up where Hollywood left off.
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Re: Young Josef vs. old Josef

Postby Catmoon » Sat Sep 19, 2009 5:41 am

Well I can add the perspective of one who wasn't a Josefite from the beginning. I didn't care all that much for him and didn't give him much of a second glance until SB. That's when I fell for him. As Lucky said, that's when we saw the inner Josef and I started looking beneath his snarky exterior. Not everyone shows emotional depth outwardly, not even in RL. I probably show less emotion than Josef, but beneath the surface is a totally different story. Yes, SB and BC were very important in showing that there was more to Josef than met the eye. Without those, I might not be here today either.

MoonMad wrote: I think an older mentor for Mick would have worked really well, particularly at the end of the script when it was revealed he had secrets from Mick. I always felt they were going to go there too in the ML we eventually got, and have Josef keeping secrets from him, but they never developed those hints did they? I wish they had, or at least I wish they had had the opportunity to develop that idea.


Ah, but our Josef was an older mentor. It's only his outward appearance that looks younger than Mick. That's part of what makes it more fascinating IMHO. (I often compare this to the show "3rd Rock from the Sun" where a young boy portrayed a 'senior citizen' alien that was my favorite part of that series). AOL's performance here was stellar as well, because I really feel we saw that, Mick did look up to Josef as a mentor (despite his teasing). Again, it was highlighted in SB when he's telling Beth about how much history Josef had seen in his long life. And I don't think there's anyone here who doesn't believe Josef had plenty of secrets. Sadly, they were cancelled so soon they never got a chance to explore all these wonderful angles further.
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Re: Young Josef vs. old Josef

Postby Catmoon » Sat Sep 19, 2009 5:47 am

AussieJo wrote:The dynamic between Josef and Mick would have been very different if Josef had been older.
It just wouldn't have been "our" Moonlight
Mick was older, but younger.
Josef was younger, but older.
And I believe because of that each was able to contribute to their friendship/relationship in equal measure due to their different perspectives.
They (the writers) just got it so right!
I wonder if it was planned down to the enth degree or there was some fortunate happenstance as well?


Perfectly stated, Jo! They really complimented each other in their friendship and that's so important to the dynamic. Josef being younger looking does serve to highlight how the older looking Mick is just a baby, in vampire terms. Sadly, I don't know that they were so brilliant on purpose. :snicker: It was probably decided because TV is still hopelessly youth oriented and the network didn't want an "old man" playing the part. Then after they got started they realized it was actually perfect that way. But that's just my guess.

And yes, I know you were one who didn't much care for Josef until the fanfic. It's a great compliment to all us Josef writing slaves, that we were able to win you over to the dark side. :snicker: (and to Josef-Muse, as well).
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Re: Young Josef vs. old Josef

Postby librarian_7 » Sat Sep 19, 2009 5:51 am

As much as I hate the fact that ML was cancelled before its time, it certainly did leave us with plenty of wiggle room in exploring Josef's past.

I'd certainly like to think that JD might feel at least a little flattered that his portrayal of that character has inspired so much creativity.

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Re: Young Josef vs. old Josef

Postby nutmegger911 » Sat Sep 19, 2009 5:54 am

Josef being young is exactly what allowed the writers to toy with folks like that. You hear a lot of descriptions of old people, but shallow is not an adjetive that generally comes to mind.

At the outset Josef's character's role and appearance would lead you to believe he may have lacked depth, but pretty early on he was coming up with gems that contradicted that view (The two monks story comes to mind.). It was clear when Lola went on her rant that there was more to Josef. Also that last scene in B.C. showed more clearly both Josef's hidden side, and the fact that Mick both understands his friend is more than what he shows and cared enough about Josef to not push the matter. Mick's remarks about Lola being wrong were huge to the scene. Mick knows Lola was right, and he cares enough about Josef to play along.
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Re: Young Josef vs. old Josef

Postby Catmoon » Sat Sep 19, 2009 6:05 am

librarian_7 wrote:As much as I hate the fact that ML was cancelled before its time, it certainly did leave us with plenty of wiggle room in exploring Josef's past.

I'd certainly like to think that JD might feel at least a little flattered that his portrayal of that character has inspired so much creativity.

Lucky


Well of course, speaking as a watcher, I'd have loved to see more Josef stuff. As a writer/reader however... :mdrama: :eek2: :phew:

Still, there's a difference between giving glimpses of Josef's past in plotlines featuring him and outlining his actual origins to us. I would have loved to see more of the former. He could have easily had a bigger role in the eps without revealing too much info about his past.

nutmegger911 wrote:At the outset Josef's character's role and appearance would lead you to believe he may have lacked depth, but pretty early on he was coming up with gems that contradicted that view (The two monks story comes to mind.).


Another wonderful example of Josef's mentor role to Mick! Great scene. I loved how Mick was gazing at him, listening so intently even though as a "teenager" he doesn't often follow the wiser, adult's advice. :giggle:

Hmmm... perhaps casting an older man in that role would have emphasized the difference in age too much. Mick is supposed to be the hero of the show after all, intelligent and wise in his own right despite his vamp age, and having an older looking man playing Josef might have made Mick seem too immature by comparison.
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Re: Young Josef vs. old Josef

Postby francis » Sat Sep 19, 2009 9:26 am

As AussieJo stated so beautifully, having a young Josef gave the Mick-Josef-relationship a wonderful dynamic.
Josef appears young, and at first glance superficial (think rich, spoiled yuppie boy with scantily clad freshies and more power than is good for him), but from scene 1 you see that he also has this ruthless (my best to the family) and soft side (trying to coax Mick into eating better). You have his snark (vampire solidarity) and his genuine fear that the humans might discover vampires. You get a taste that he has even more power in the vamp world than he lets on. In B.C. you see him vulnerable (having to admit to Mick that Lola punked him), and later he mourns her. Through Lola you see that he has more of a moral code than she approves. The writers were very clever to give this to us in the foil of Mick talking about Lola.

Josef is eternally mid-twenties and thus eternally taken for someone inexperienced, bratty and not taken seriously. It must have worked towards him being snarky, sarcastic, always proving in a very classy way that people are mistaken about him. He has to appear strong, cultivated, professional. On the other hand from SB on you see that he has indeed an Achilles heel and more ties to the human world than he wanted Mick to have.

His concern for Mick's well-being is another Achilles heel. And that dynamic is so great, so complicated. It makes a big part of the show's attraction for me. Mick is older in human appearance, but way younger in vampire years. Later when Josef becomes his step-sire that's even more convoluted. While they can be great friends on just the every day level, Josef has a wealth of experience that he shares only in very small doses, knowing that Mick has to find his way on his own. Josef has a need for Mick in his life (I get lonely, man), but can't admit it. I think the fact that Mick took the cure without a thought for what it might do to Josef and his position is what must have hurt Josef the most.
He welcomes Mick back in that very emotional re-turning scene. See the angst and the tears when he starts turning Mick. See the glee on his face when it works.

It was the most brilliant move to make Josef younger. And Jason was extraordinary in portraying a character that was way older than he appears. I don't know how he did it, but I believed the 400+ years. Maybe it's because Jason seems more mature than he appears, too.

Anyway, I love Josef because there is so much to this character, and fanfic made me appreciate it even more. I didn't catch on the intricacies until B.C. and SB, and then needed another viewing of the first episodes to see it. Now, I have this full picture of him in my head that includes Catmoon's Josef, Lucky's Josef and Lilly's Vermin-Josef. They are like canon for me.
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Re: Young Josef vs. old Josef

Postby Tam » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:39 pm

Basically, I agree with Francis :)

I suppose that Josef has built up a lot of security walls around himself in 400 years- back when he was turned, he may have been viewed as an adult, but in the last cenury that must have turned more and more to "young adolescent playing with daddy's money", thus automatically lowering respect in many people's eyes. He would need to prove himself over and over to be taken seriously.

Luckily, probably not so much in the vamp community. As Mick says they can 'smell' a vampire's decay (and thus, age), and being the oldest vamp he knows, Josef would have 'automatic' seniority over most vamps he meets. (Interesting side topic : vampire hierachy. Do Moonlight vamps get stronger as they grow older? Obviously, survival of the fittest would make sure the older vamps are either strong, smart, or both. His age would get him a fair amount of respect in the vampire community, I think, possibly making him one of the 'elders' of the area)

I always like to think he looks out for Mick, defending his little 'human' mistakes / caring too mch about mortals towards the other vampires, smoothing over business, helping him get along...and that this relationship works both ways. I think Josef did a lot of string-pulling in the background when Mick was newly turned, even if he didn't think Cora's new toy 'was cut out to be a vampire'. I doubt Mick knows even half of that (like he doesn't know about the pictures Josef and Beth make disappear along with their photographer). But he needs Mick as much as Mick needs him; for company, for being 'the only one who doesn't care about him just for his money' ;) For being the one who keeps him grounded and stops him from ending up like Lola- detached, 'above it all'.

But this friendship- any friendship, or relationships that get too close- also scares him. In ep 1 he says he 'pretends' to respect Mick' (on occasion...), he insists he did not sire Mick and his 'not-girlfriend' Simone in ep 16 is 'just a freshie'. Humans with expiry dates (freshies) are easy company, no-strings-attached...all to keep him from hurting like he does over Sarah. Quips and morbid humour are also a good way to mask his feelings.

To get back on topic - These defence mechanisms give him something of a 'young' feel to me. Though he is fiercely independant and can look out for himself (who else is going to, apart from Mick?) he is also very vulnerable and hides behind arrogance and a violent image (even Mick says he 'probably murders people every day') like a boy would. How much of that is true is left to everyone's own interpretation.

At the same time, he does have a mature look, and not many people can have the presence to have people up and leave at a snap of their fingers...Though their banter often makes them appear equals, Josef is still the one Mick goes to for advice (like after seeing Coraline and meeting Lance) and he can calm his friend with a few well-chosen words, much like you expect a sire (parent / older brother / guardian / mentor) would.

I think Jason carried the role well. I've seen a couple of interviews with him and he said it wasn't easy, especially with Alex being slightly older, but I think especially his 'silent' moments, when he isn't being snarky or beaming us his little-boy-smile, he looks very natural. He's seen a lot, he has been through enough to guess at the outcome of things (especially when it comes to Cora and Mick) and yet he isn't completely bitter. It's a good mix.

I have so much left to say but I'd fall hopelessly out of topic here so I'll just save it for later ;)
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Re: Young Josef vs. old Josef

Postby tucutecats » Tue Dec 22, 2009 6:12 pm

If Joseph had been played by a different actor than JD he would have been a totally other person and not our beloved JK If we wern't cheated out of a 2nd season we would have had more of Joseph but thanks to our wonderful writers he lives on. He is the reason I read fanfic and will continue to do so until our writers decide to end it . I live in dread of that day We're blessed with all the talent we have on these boards.thank you for breathing life into our beloved charactors
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