Thursday, March 31, 2011

Casting the wrong race

From Twitter: GeorgeTakei: Live action of anime classic Akira will use white actors. In related news, remake of Roots to star Mel Gibson. #ShameOnWB

I think this needs to be discussed. How do you feel about race changes in classic films, comics, novels, even video games when they come (again) to the big screen? Is it modernizing for a more multicultural world or desecrating something special? Do you applaud when a member of your race gets inserted and complain if one gets removed? If so, are your motives just?

Did you cheer or groan about a black Nick Fury? Should Akira have a Japanese cast? What if the sex of the character gets changed? Are there any rules we should be following here?


Aran said...

Depends really. As a rule I'm probably against it since it's part of the character but there's quite a few exceptions. From Classic Battlestar Galatica to revamped one the race and gender change of Boomer works out better with the change.

In Earthsea the shaman with all his focus on the balance of nature should have been aboriginal as depicted in the book, so that change in the movie was for the worse.

ShirazTheAuthor said...

But if there are quite a few exceptions, is it a rule?

kathleen duey said...

There can be artistic reasons to change things, of course. But all too often it seems to have little to do with that. When the change improves or alters the story possibilities...ok, maybe. But it is hard to see how making a brown-skinned crew member into a white-skinned one does anything but narrow the viewers' understanding that on a future earth, racism must be largely gone...which was the intent in casting a multinational/multinational crew.

I think what we see in entertainment matters. I think the black president on 24 and other roles of non-white, non-male intellectuals/leaders/heroes on TV and in film have helped many people begin to broaden their view of humanity. I hope so, anyway. Because if what people see and read slowly dissolves their preconception of others based on appearance/gender...maybe human beings have a shot at surviving into the future.

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