It’s an infuriating habit that Hollywood seems content with no matter how often it insults their audiences or crash at the box office. The film industry produces a film which calls for a person of color (POC) as the lead. Sometimes the film is based on actual events such as historical moments. Yet, Hollywood saw fit that the most appropriate actor or actress playing the part should be as white as snow, and they don’t seem to want to wise up anytime soon.
It happens so often that it’s predictable. So, when I heard they were doing a film based on the cult anime classic Ghost In the Shell, I felt a sickness in the pit of my stomach. I immediately knew what Hollywood would do. Ruin it. And I knew the avalanche will start with a white person playing the lead which is clearly Japanese.
So, why in the bloody hell would they cast Scarlett Johansson to play the main character Mokoto Kusanagi? Granted, she’s a great actress, but still, what the fuck, man?
On that note, prepare for other anime hits like Death Note and Akira to get beaten down by white casting. Anyone wanna bet they’ll end up being flops as well?
Ghost In the Shell, the Hollywood version, would be one of a long and evergrowing list of films that would end up being box office bombs. Speed Racer, Tropic Thunder, Aloha, The Last Airbender and Gods of Egypt are five of 18 films since 2000 alone that would feature race bending. Only six were considered ‘profitable’. Even though more and more people have grown sick and tired of this bullshit, Hollywood still insists that whiteness produce blockbusters.
Now, before white fragility rears its ugly head, let me be clear that we’re not saying that Hollywood should only cast POC in their films. We’re also not saying that movies with POC as the lead will be major hits critically or financially. But what we are saying is that if a film features a character of color, then guess what, CAST A PERSON OF COLOR AS A CHARACTER OR COLOR DAMMIT!
Let’s put some narrow minds as ease. The nonwhite community doesn’t want to take over tinsel town. We want to be treated with the same respect and dignity as it treats its white stars. Also, we’re fully aware there are tons of movies that star actors of color. Some of them are great and some are godawful. There will be hits and misses. And we know that even if Hollywood decides to start casting POC for nonwhite characters, it won’t solidify that it will be a good picture.
Still, if a script has a character of color, then cast an actor or actress of color. It just might be a hit. Maybe.