Hillary Duff Does Something Weirdly Relevant

by Joshua Foust on 4/23/2008 · 16 comments

This is the trailer for the new John Cusack movie, War, Inc. It looks like a cross between Absurdistan and Gross Pointe Blank, in which John Cusak is the CEO of a private military corporation hired to assassinate the CEO of a rival PMC in the country of Turaqistan. Of particular interest is Hillary Duff as “Yonica Babyyeah,” a disturbingly realistic, bombastic and mildly slutty Central Asian pop star.

It looks all well and good, until you see this scene, in which Duff stuffs what looks like a non-venomous scorpion down her pants, only to have her manager or something fish it out.

Paging Craig Murray. The film hits U.S. theaters May 23.

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– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net. His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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Karl April 23, 2008 at 3:26 pm

When I saw the words “Hillary Duff” pop up in my Registan RSS feed I almost had a heart attack.

Interesting how the corporation the Cusak character works for is named Tamarlane.

John Cusak April 23, 2008 at 4:45 pm

She grew up, she’s not a little teen anymore.
she’s not a whore, it’s called acting …
she’s playing a character which isn’t her πŸ™‚
it’s not like she’s in a porno or something..

Joshua Foust April 23, 2008 at 5:34 pm

Karl, I saw that too, but was unsure what to make of it. Knowing Hollywood, it could easily be a coincidence. Or they set Turaqistan in the Middle East, in which case they just blew it. We’ll see.

And “John Cusack,” I was talking about her character. Sheesh. Her character is slutty. That’s the point!

rod April 23, 2008 at 10:26 pm

Weirdly relevant is just about right. Although Hillary Duff is too much of a North American pop singer/actress to really convince me that she’s Central Asian, character or not. But oh well, it’s just a movie.

I don’t think the use of ‘Tamarlane’ is a coincidence. I believe conflating elements like regions or countries with others is a device used in such genre movies (satire, comedy), so I don’t think Hollywood ‘blew it’. In any case, didn’t the real Tamerlane (Timur the Lame) have some influence in the history of the Middle East, beyond what is now Uzbekistan?

Anyway, it’s just a movie. I’ve always liked John Cusack’s acting, and having his sister in the same film is a bonus. Will watch it for a laugh when it hits my part of the world. And maybe I’ll blog about it.

And Marisa Tomei…yay!

Michael April 24, 2008 at 9:50 am

I thought you were kidding when you wrote “a cross between Absurdistan and Gross Pointe Blank.” This is most excellent compilation!

Can we expect that Nazarbayev will be producing and funding the sequel?

Michael Hancock April 24, 2008 at 12:55 pm

Ok, but why are they killing Omar Sharif? I mean, couldn’t they pick a Fake name? Best actor Saudi Arabia ever produced!

How about, “Your Mission: Terminate Nazar Karibedumov”

jonathan p April 24, 2008 at 4:27 pm

my favorite bit is that the company called “Tamerlane” seems to have some part in the manufacture of prosthetic legs. Nice one…

… and I second the Marisa Tomei shout-out. (!)

KZBlog April 25, 2008 at 3:42 am

A local newspaper here in KZ, reported on Rakhat Aliyev’s comment that the charges against him sound more like a Hollywood movie than reality. The paper called up Paramount Pictures and asked their opinion. Someone at the movie company agreed that it sounded like a great idea for a movie and they would consider making it. I forget which paper and the Internets aren’t helping find it. I wonder if they insert anything from Aliyev’s story into this.

Oldschool Boy April 25, 2008 at 1:35 pm

I guess that stupid looking guy with arabic head cloth would be Rakhat Aliyev. Why would someone dress lake that in Central Asia?

reinstate@freewill.com April 27, 2008 at 12:57 am

Incoherent ramblings deleted courtesy of your friendly, neighborhood editor.

Oldschool Boy April 28, 2008 at 3:44 pm

Oh, my…

Michael Hancock April 28, 2008 at 7:39 pm

Sorry I missed ’em! Could you email it to me?

Nathan April 28, 2008 at 9:23 pm

Sorry, I banished them to a dimension from which they cannot return. It was a hodgepodge of crazy. I would have left it if it didn’t piss me off so bad to have to scroll way down to read Oldschool Boy’s comment.

Uzbek April 29, 2008 at 8:09 am

It is the first picture people in the West make, when someone explains about Central Asia – Afghanistan included.

It is quite a good mixture of everything. Turkistan, Tamerlane, quasi-Kyrgyz flag, Afgani looking Omar Sharif, and I should admit what they did manage is the slutty role played by a Texan actress – in film she looks similar to those girls from the cheap Juliano disco in Tashkent, or those found at Alma-Aty discotheks πŸ™‚

Hmm…just like the Borat filmed in another EU Member State you say? πŸ™‚

Oldschool Boy May 1, 2008 at 12:31 pm

Actually, it is not the first time they were trying to. Fist was Air Forse One (1997) with Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman, although it did not show much of the region. In The World IS Not Enough they were trying to show Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, although how could someone take a one hour helicopter fligt from Baikonur to Baku and then to Istambul, I still don’t undestand. Then of course Siriana. I am not mentioning stupid films like Rollerball.
By the way, is it only myself who noticed the trend in the movies to show russians as more and more negative characters? Looks like after some movies with positive russians (Red Heat, Red Scorpion, Armageddon), now they tend to mention russian mostly as gangsters or prostitutes or scam plotters, or victims of human trafficking. I mean even TV series like Sopranos or 24 (I like them both), not mentioning movies like Birthday Girl or Eastern Promises. Even in the Golden Compass they show those bad brigands who speak russian (although called Tartars), which pissed my friends off:).
By the way, I agree that Hillary Duff looks very realistic, at least from what I see in the trailers

Brian May 1, 2008 at 7:18 pm

You forgot The Keeper: Legend of Omar Khayyam, which despite being filmed in Uzbekistan was one of the more unrealistic (and boring and poorly acted) movies I’ve seen in a while.

Rollerball, really?

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