frannybello

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Race swapping in Hollywood

    Hollywood has a history of casting white men/women in minority roles from the blackface of Othello to the recent casting of Scarlett Johansson in the upcoming Ghost in the Shell. But what about the casting of minorities in white roles? On Flash we see an africian american Iris West and on Gotham an asian Hugo Strange. Does this race swapping help open the doors to more minorities being in cast in Hollywood or is it simply an easy way out for studios that don’t want to write original minority characters (like Finn in The Force Awakens)? Or is just a band aid on a more ingrained racism issue in our society? Discuss.

    • I didn't know that there were instances of racialized groups playing roles originally written for White actors. I would be interested in reading about this topic. Thanks for suggesting it. Sounds like it will be different take on an often written about topic. – Munjeera 4 years ago
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    • Fascinating question about studios not wanting to write new minority characters. I've often wondered about this topic myself, and the inconsistencies and nuances of it. For example, is casting a white actor for a traditionally black part any more or less problematic than casting a non-disabled actor to play a disabled character (Redmayne as Hawking)? Is it simply about the best actor for the part or must some roles be reserved for black actors and white actors, because of their source material, historical setting, etc? I change my view on these things all the time, so hopefully this article could help me make sense of them! – J.P. Shiel 4 years ago
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    • I do wonder if the last question you asked about whether or not the casting of minority groups for traditionally white roles is necessarily just a cop-out way to "diversify" Hollywood without having something intrinsically rooted in their respective race in their characterization. Sometimes I feel like this is done kind of well, but I do get that sense sometimes. I hope to read about it soon. – chekhovsraygun 4 years ago
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    • It would be interesting to see which forms of media are doing what kind of race bending too, since in your example the Hollywood movie is casting a white actor in an Asian role, and the tv shows are casting POCs as traditionally white characters. It may be that Hollywood is less willing to racebend to put POCs in starring roles, whereas television has more fluidity with character adaptations (especially when you consider that, in North American media, movies are often seen as the "official" version relative to television adaptations of the same material). – chrischan 4 years ago
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    Latest Comments

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