In a film adaption, of a novel by Philip Roth, The Human Stain has well-known actor Anthony Hopkins play an African American person on screen. Wentworth Miller is also in this film. How does this connect with Joseph Fiennes part as Michael Jackson, in an upcoming comedy Elizabeth, Michael, and Marlon?
The issue is complicated. I actually hate talking about such subjects. It is an issue of equality, race, and balancing these issues. I considered one example to highlight the problem. Two people purchase the game of Monopoly. One person buys it new and directly from the store. Another person affords a used version of the game. Circumstances establish this reality. People play both versions of the game.
The used version of the game has missing parts. The new version comes complete. If you take the winners, from both the new and used versions, and have them play, it would be an unfair advantage for the person with the complete game, initially. There will always be a point of catching up and getting back to balance.
If there is any advantage, and there is no attempt to create a balance, there will always be a disadvantage.
On all sides, there is a point to this issue. Joseph Fiennes playing Michael Jackson is not right. He may play the part extremely well, but it is still not right. It will not be right until there are some steps made, in between the making of such a decision, in order to produce a better, more competitive, fair market, in this case, in the entertainment industry in America.
The problem seems to be the need to establish equality while progress continues forward. Progress does not stop. Progress continues. People who benefit from that progress will continue to benefit and not look back. Ideally, it would be necessary to reach back and set the past issues right. Progress has to continue though. Life has to continue.
So how do you create equality while progress continues forward? You accept life has problems? Yes. The reality is so much can be done, in the here and now, to make all things, in this case, in entertainment, fairer.
Why, when Joseph Fiennes was cast, was there not a film project set in motion to cast a prominent African American actor in a film normally reserved for European actors?
I know it seems trivial, but this is a continued, major problem as this entertainment industry moves forward. My most recent experience with this issue came with the announcement of a program, The Cleveland Show. In my opinion, it is the perception and one person’s idea of a kind of person of color, even if it is meant for comedy. The prospect of the show-shocked people, set precedence, and established controversy. If an African American producer wanted to create the idea of a white family in the suburbs as a sitcom, on a major network, advertised and promoted heavily, it would be criticized. However, criticisms of works, and issues like Joseph Fiennes’ casting, are part of a series debates that never seem to be addressed.
Gods of Egypt, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Django Unchained, and other films, and entertainment establish progress, but also prevent equality. Gods of Egypt looks fun. However, each individual’s idea of just what makes Egypt diverse, and different, does not seem to show up in the film. Exodus: Gods and Kings is good. However, ideas of the nationalities of the people involved in that story differ. A film idea, from someone else, exists of a story in Egyptian lore, with computer graphics and a solid budget. Where is that story?
Django Unchained is a perspective, whether in this time line, or not, from a white person on slavery. There is no film, by a known African American director, company, etc., currently, with action that creates an action hero, during slavery, in the American South. Django Unchained has action figures. It could have had a video game, or could have concluded with a series of sequels. Mario Van Peebles, I thank you always for Posse. However, Posse ain’t got none of that. Different people need a chance to create different, bigger budget, stories, which highlight various issues, now, and going forward, and set new ways of thinking. Creed establishes an idea like this. However, it cannot be the sole story in a landscape with so few of these tales.
Where is the story of the African American space pilot who goes on an adventure? He discovers a violent, alien race that he must escape from and prevent from coming to Earth? What is the great space adventure of all nationalities?
Where are the horror tales of other nations that can scare everyone, after significant advertisement? It seems like there are so many other stories to tell, but so little done to promote those stories to the top of the pile. In this conflict of progress versus equality, progress will always win, until those in control of the process that moves progress look to change what comes to the public.
An African American version of a similar, action-oriented, spaghetti western? Can there be a movie about an Indian serial killer who comes to America, or in India? How do other nations view terrifying monsters in cinema? Someone of color has a concept of a film, like the Shining. Where is it? I recently saw an advertisement for Fifty Shades of Black. Much respect to the Wayans Brothers. I wondered if there is a film idea, high budgeted, that highlights a real story, and aspects of sexuality, through the African American experience.
Where is the spy film, with the hero, director, producer, of color, that abuses the same scope a solid James Bond adventure does?
I want to see some other idea of what an adventure in space, on the frontier, or in some fantastic world can be like through different eyes.
The industry needs to get the Casino Royal, the Daniel Craig version, treatment. Create a series of solid films, programs, and entertainment that get the details right, but raw, from the right directors, writers, producers, and actors, of color, to the market. These people will be prepared, but have to make mistakes. As a reality sets in, a more perfect version of a calloused, honed, film rebellion will climb to the top. At the end of it, a new perspective in film will entertain everyone. It does not have to be all films, but a more balanced account of a diverse group of others in film can do wonders. You cannot make everyone happy, but I promise, it will be the start of something huge. Everybody wants to make money.
You can only hope something changes soon, positively, and speedily.
Also check out this article, by Jessica Goldstein, at Think Progress, at http://thinkprogress.org/culture/2015/11/18/3723438/gods-of-egypt-trailer-all-white-actors/. This is also highlights a similar issue.