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Old 04-02-2021, 09:14 PM
Status: "Let's go Brandon!" (set 13 days ago)
 
Location: Howard County, Maryland
11,437 posts, read 6,288,910 times
Reputation: 25817

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lodestar View Post
When the kids were young I took them to our University's production of Bram Stoker's "Dracula" one October. It startled me when Dr. Van Helsing from the Netherlands spoke his first line with a thick Asian accent.

I can do the mental gymnastics. Holland, East Asia. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. Or deserving theater student with no good roles for his resume before graduation. But there was enough absurdity to the situation that I struggled to stifle a snort when his well-delivered and essential lines pulled me from the chilling ambiance.
I experienced something similar at my kids' school's production of a Dickens story, I think it was Les Miserables, but it might have been A Tale of Two Cities. In any case, the lead character was played by an Asian boy. And I must admit, this took me out of the story, because I don't think Dickens had any Asian characters in those stories. However, contrary to what I stated in an earlier post, I accepted this "mis-casting" because, hey, it's a school play. The typical school only mounts two productions per year, and it would hardly be fair for the Asian student to never get to perform if the school chooses to mount shows that were written with only white characters in mind.
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Old 04-02-2021, 09:21 PM
 
Location: New York Area
24,910 posts, read 10,235,082 times
Reputation: 19855
Quote:
Originally Posted by porterjack View Post
Please correct me if I am wrong on the historical accuracy but recently i have seen two historical dramas, one based on fact (Mary Queen of Scots) and the other fiction, Bridgerton.
In both there were Black and/or Asian actors cast in roles that surprised me. I am all for equal opportunities workwise for actors but to cast a black actor into a role from 16th century Scotland when surely there were no black people there seems strange to me. It might be a sign of an inherent racist side to my mindset, and I am laying myself wide open with this, to criticism on that subject. I dont see it as wrong only that it is historically incorrect. In the same way as casting a blonde in the role of Elizabeth I would be wrong as she was famous for her red hair. I am reminded of Downton Abbey and the painstaking research done by historians to make that 100% accurate and how impressed I was with that show
Why not just cast by acting skill? I thought integration and equal opportunity was about having a color-blind society.
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Old 04-02-2021, 09:23 PM
Status: "Let's go Brandon!" (set 13 days ago)
 
Location: Howard County, Maryland
11,437 posts, read 6,288,910 times
Reputation: 25817
Quote:
Originally Posted by reneeh63 View Post
And, if race is NOT central to the character and would not be completely distracting, then why not have a person of color in the role to bring them up to parity. Must every role be ASSUMED white unless there is something that rings the "minority bell" about the part? And when it does "ring the minority bell", it's something completely stereotypical and insulting.
Personally, I have no problem with that, and I really can't imagine why anyone would. If a fictional character is not specifically intended to be any particular race, then I'm fine with an actor of any race playing that character. I'm reminded of the movie Disturbia, a retelling of Rear Window starring Shia LeBeouf. His character's best friend was an Asian guy (played by Aaron Yoo), and he wasn't the "Asian friend," he was just the friend who happened to be Asian. I found it rather refreshing.
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Old 04-02-2021, 09:26 PM
Status: "Let's go Brandon!" (set 13 days ago)
 
Location: Howard County, Maryland
11,437 posts, read 6,288,910 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phetaroi View Post
But I'm curious how you feel about the vast majority of old Westerns where the Indians are played by whites, or Asians are portrayed by Whites? let's see...John Wayne as Ghengis Khan?
I feel that it's ridiculous that white actors played Native or Asian characters. And I also feel that it's ridiculous that black actors play white characters.
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Old 04-02-2021, 09:44 PM
 
Location: Southern MN
9,199 posts, read 5,460,343 times
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Well, people may be interested in knowing that when the Spanish version of the Dracula film was shot a Spanish actor played the part of Van Helsing.

And this brings up an important point that if you are under the age of fifty you may not know. When Hollywood was at its zenith the studios each had a "stable" of actors who were under contract to complete a certain number of films for the studio and were basically owned by that studio until they had completed their contract. If the studio was due another film and the actor guaranteed success he was expected to play the part and keep making that money.

The studios did fill in race correct staff as best they could but the array of choices was more limited in the earlier years. America was whiter and new immigrants to the country were mostly working hard to stay alive and take care of their families, not pursuing chancy careers in the arts.

We had "Jay Silverheels," a Canadian Mohawk Indian, playing Tonto with the Lone Ranger. But my guess is that few self-respecting Indians in those years would have had much interest in playing an Indian in Hollywood or participating in the requirements involved.

It may have been even more difficult to find a sturdy and English speaking Mongol transplant who wanted to be part of a Hollywood stable. Most of the accomplished actors of other countries stayed where being a star would be steady work. How many movies are we going to make starring Mongolians in the 1950s?

So complaining now about these careless conveniences of the time is judging from a totally different perspective than players involved would have had during those times.

Or - We weren't dumb. We all knew Joey Bishop was really a Jewish man with a braided wig on.
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Old 04-03-2021, 05:14 AM
 
Location: New York Area
24,910 posts, read 10,235,082 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bus man View Post
I feel that it's ridiculous that white actors played Native or Asian characters. And I also feel that it's ridiculous that black actors play white characters.
Usually I agree with your posts but here we part company. What about a color-blind society? I agree with not going out of the way to cast white actors in Native or Asian roles but what if that person is the best available? Would you make allowances for, say, summer-stock theater in Whitefish, Montana? Would they somehow have to find a appropriated "raced" person?
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Old 04-03-2021, 11:15 AM
 
Location: Central IL
19,116 posts, read 12,533,476 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katharsis View Post
Good first paragraph, but I take issue with the points you made in the second. If there is documented evidence that a historical person IS white, then why shouldn't they be portrayed as such. It is not ASSUMING someone to be white if history shows that this was the case.
I'm not specifically referring to historical characters but I still would say that unless it is somehow distracting, having persons of color in a role doesn't discredit the entire piece. There are very few "dramas" that are completely accurate and if some facts can be bent, this would seem to be one as well. Why not have a brief synopsis at the beginning to give "the facts" so that OMG people don't think that a person of color could possibly have actually done something amidst an otherwise white cast? "Don't worry folks, everyone was actually white 'in real life'!"

Sometimes we have to suspend disbelief and as far as things go, this is pretty minor.
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Old 04-03-2021, 12:00 PM
 
Location: Sun City West, Arizona
37,694 posts, read 16,030,046 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lodestar View Post
I'm hoping we're moving beyond mistakes of the past and not justifying future errors with a "tit for tat" attitude.

Let's see. You made John Wayne into Ghengis Khan so now we're going to make that kid from Beijing into Van Helsing. How do you like that?

I doubt it will accomplish much other than more dissonance.

Or, like I said, give us a reason why it's a valuable thing to do. I don't want to live in the Fifties anymore. And I no longer think it's necessary.
No, I didn't make John Wayne into Ghengis Khan. He and Hollywood did back in the 1956 film "The Conqueror".
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Old 04-03-2021, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Sun City West, Arizona
37,694 posts, read 16,030,046 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charlygal View Post
You need to read more history. Queen Charlotte is noted as being Black. That's the character represented by the Bridgerton characters. Did you know that Alexandre Dumas was Black (The Three Musketeers)?

I don't know the Asian character but it could be accurate if one researches it out.

So, it's not Hollywood forcing in diversity. It's Hollywood showing reality.
Ah...that's not what I'm reading about Queen Charlotte.
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Old 04-03-2021, 12:10 PM
 
Location: Sun City West, Arizona
37,694 posts, read 16,030,046 times
Reputation: 26457
Quote:
Originally Posted by katharsis View Post
Good first paragraph, but I take issue with the points you made in the second. If there is documented evidence that a historical person IS white, then why shouldn't they be portrayed as such. It is not ASSUMING someone to be white if history shows that this was the case.
When we sit down to watch a movie or television show, we make sort of a passive agreement to get into a story the way the writers and directors want to tell that story. They have the right to do that...unless it's a documentary. I watched "Bridgerton" BECUASE of the way they were telling the story. I knew that it wasn't an accurate portrayal of life at the time. But that was okay with me. On the other hand, last evening I watched the movie "The 24th", about an army race riot back in the WWI era. It was about the most depressing movie I ever watched. But it was relatively accurate, and that was the value of that particular film. If we don't like the way a movie or television show is telling a story, we get to take a walk.
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