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Old 04-01-2021, 08:39 AM
 
Location: ottawa, ontario, canada
1,281 posts, read 573,352 times
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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
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Old 04-01-2021, 11:24 AM
 
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Bridgerton addressed race very briefly, explaining that the white King fell in love with a black woman who became Queen, and it united the country and allowed black people to gain noble titles. And that was the last mention of race, if I remember correctly. With that one statement, they dismissed any necessity for "historical accuracy" with regard to race. They created an alternate history. And I'm okay with that.

The anachronism that bothered me more is the music ... that in the Regency era, they would be at a party dancing to "Thank U, Next". Uhhhh ... nope. Not gonna work for me.

But back on topic ... casting actors whose race is historically inaccurate has never bothered me. I guess I don't get tripped up by the race because I'm concentrating on the portrayal. Denzel in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing? Yes, please.
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Old 04-01-2021, 11:31 AM
 
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Adding a caveat ... the only time I think race should be accurate is when telling a story where race is central. For example, it wouldn't make sense for a white person to play Solomon in "12 Years a Slave".
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Old 04-01-2021, 01:01 PM
 
Location: ottawa, ontario, canada
1,281 posts, read 573,352 times
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great points thanks. The more I think about it the more it conflicted I feel. I am reminded of great white actors; Olivier perhaps? playing Othello in blackface - the whole question of race in drama is something that I tend to overthink
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Old 04-01-2021, 02:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by porterjack View Post
great points thanks. The more I think about it the more it conflicted I feel. I am reminded of great white actors; Olivier perhaps? playing Othello in blackface - the whole question of race in drama is something that I tend to overthink
Right or wrong, that was acceptable in Olivier's time. For one thing, there were very few (if any, other than Poitier and Ossie Davis?) black leading men in Hollywood. And it's probably important to differentiate because it's such a loaded term ... it wasn't "blackface" in the sense of the minstrel performances meant to mock black people. It was brown makeup so Olivier could play a serious role performing a Moor amongst white people. Definitely not something that is appropriate today, but accepted at the time.
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Old 04-01-2021, 02:19 PM
 
Location: on the wind
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IMHO what the performance is intended to be plays into it. If the performance is supposed to be a historical reenactment, seems most appropriate that the players are of the race the original historical figures were. If it is a fictional interpretation of historical events or times, that's different. Suspension of disbelief, artistic license, and all that.
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Old 04-01-2021, 02:22 PM
 
Location: SE UK
10,785 posts, read 8,838,564 times
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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
Although Britain wasn't as 'multi-cultural' in the past as it is now there has been black Britons since Roman times, in fact a recent program called 'Black & British A Forgotten History' about 'black Britons' has shown quite a high percentage of 'white Britons' have 'black' DNA without even knowing it.
It was an interesting program, perhaps you might find it interesting?
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Old 04-01-2021, 03:19 PM
 
Location: ottawa, ontario, canada
1,281 posts, read 573,352 times
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Thanks easthome....I shall look for that
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Old 04-01-2021, 04:14 PM
 
Location: Dessert
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It doesn't bother me except when they cast radically different races as close relatives. Like brothers played by Asian and Black actors, with a White mother and Hispanic father.
I seen to recall at least one movie that was nearly that bad. I am willing to suspend disbelief, but you gotta work with me.

I do get kind of annoyed at old tv shows and movies where White actors portray every race.
For instance, an episode of Bonanza featured Marlo Thomas as a Chinese woman.
Native Americans were often played by Italian and Hispanic actors.
Did West Side Story have any real Puerto Ricans?
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Old 04-01-2021, 04:22 PM
 
Location: ottawa, ontario, canada
1,281 posts, read 573,352 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steiconi View Post
Did West Side Story have any real Puerto Ricans?
Rita Moreno I think might be the only one
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