Okay I am too through with this mess. It is one thing to make a film with only white characters, or where the only POC are stereotypical caricatures. That’s fucked up all on it’s own. But to take something where in the source material the character is a Person of Color and then whiten them up for the movie! No, just No!
There was the Sci-Fi channel adaptation of Earthsea, author Ursula K. LeGuin personally responded to what she called the Sci-Fi Channel “wrecking her book” with it’s whitened up casting.
Then there was Angelina in A Mighty Heartplaying cuban Mariane Pearl, where they actually darkened her skin which is brownface and not technically whitening up the character but come on! Brownface really! ‘Cause there aren’t any actually Latina actresses who could’ve played that part.
The there was the movie 21, a true life story where in actuality the real players were mostly Asian-American and actually played on that fact in their scam. The movie comes out and who’s playing all these real-life Asian characters? White folks!
Now it’s Angelina (again!) in the soon to be released Wanted playing The Fox! She’s quite obviously a WOC in the comic and also obviously based on Halle Berry so what the fuck?! In the link also find Angelina quoted when defending herself for A Mighty Heart, well what’s the defense here?
And Prince of Persia, the the four actors announced are Alfred Molina, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley and Jake Gyllenhal (who’s playing the Prince himself!). As one commenter said (somewhere I can’t recall) “I was expecting a Prince of Persia, not a Prince of Caucasia”
Let’s not forget Mena Suvari playing a character based on a black woman, Chante Mallard, in the movie Stuck!But they gave her cornrows so I guess that makes it all okay, right? Right?!?
You know I was going to type “I’m sorry but I’m angry.” but y’know what? I’m not sorry not even the least little bit. This is some bullshit. I’m done with it. I making a decree no one is allowed to say the words “But Halle & Denzel have won Oscars so there’s no racism in Hollywood ” (yeah for playing on the “criminal” and “welfare ho” stereotypes, but that’s another post) or any other of that pseudo-liberal bullshit until this kind of hot mess comes to a motherfucking end! There is simply no excuse for this, you can talk about prime billing and bottom line all you want but when I can’t see myself in films that are based on/around/with people/characters that look like me that’s some fucked up shit.
It contributes to the erasing of People of Color in the consciousness of Americans, it makes sure that most of the roles offered to Nia Long, Zoe Saldana, Angela Basset, Sanaa Lathan, Gabrielle Union, Bai Ling, Michelle Rodriguez, Rosario Dawson et. al. are the ones where they get to play demoralizing and harmful stereotypes. It’s one of the reasons you don’t see actresses like Cicely Tyson, Phylicia Rashad & Ruby Dee is many films anymore because they simply refuse to play that role anymore.
It’s not enough to have POC in movie roles, those roles have to be three-dimensional fully fleshed out characters, we have to be allowed to be people in our own rights not just century-old steretypes with a new twist.
Maybe that’s why this is happening, maybe these characters are being written as people that are more than stereotypes and so “they” feel that the characters cannot be played by actual People Of Color. I mean we can’t have People of Color in roles that actually show more than one side of them or allow them to really show us what being of Color in America is about, right?
Oh and how about Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys and what he was told when approached by numerous directors?
Neil Gaiman: …and there’s other stuff… books that I own completely, things like the Anansi Boys or American Gods, where I take enormous pleasure in saying no to people who (pursue the rights). When Anansi Boys first came out, we got a number of very big directors going after it and all of them basically ended up saying the same thing, which was they had real problems with a story as black people as leads in a fantasy movie. They just loved the story… could they just lose all the fantasy elements? They’d want a guy and his long lost brother and their shady father and… but you can’t. It’s one of those strange moments when you go “I don’t know if it’s racist or if it’s just stupid…” and probably more stupid than it is racist, but…
Quint: Probably both…
Neil Gaiman: Probably a little bit of both, but mainly just stupidness. Well there aren’t any movies out there which are fantasies which works with black people and therefore you can’t do them, but whatever. They sort of remember the Eddie Murphy BROOKLYN VAMPIRE movie and decide to leave it at that. I just think that was stupid. It’s like “Fine, I will keep Anansi Boys until the right person comes along…”
I would argue that it’s racism plain and simple. The idea that POC are not interested in, cannot possibly like, and shouldn’t star in F/SF movies is a load of racist hooey. But it goes beyond that, we’re simply not allowed to play ourselves or see ourselves on the screen.
Now they’re making the comic Runaways into a film and I wonder if somehow Nico will be allowed to remain Asian or if they’ll cast Christina Ricci and call it a day. As for Alex, well he’s a villain so I’m sure they’ll be allowed to cast a black actor.
I can’t wait for the remake of Roots, staring Jim Carrey as Kunte Kinte.