Stop Only Casting White People
by: Hillary Sussman
There is a VERY obvious lack of diversity among actors in mainstream movies… as well as independent movies. It’s overwhelming, and frankly baffling, how unaffected the film industry has been about the inefficient representation of people of color. Even if we forget about the meager amount of diverse roles available, what about the choice to simply cast main characters diversely? The only reason I can think of not to do this is for historical accuracy, and that means we're telling a white person's story. We have enough of those. Let's tell different stories. Stop calling it “colorblind” casting or “non-traditional” casting and just incorporate it into the normal casting process.
Dylan Marron, is an actor (and YouTuber) who has to face Hollywood racial inequality often, as it is part of his job. Equally fed up with this BS, he decided to comment on it in a way you CANNOT ignore. His channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnI-ECaJKEuE7QVDUb9zPKQ) features a segment called “Every Single Word Spoken” where he edits entire movies down to only the lines spoken by actors of color. The results are disturbing.
The Fault in Our Stars
The Fault in Our Stars has been condensed down to 40 seconds, with all of the lines spoken by Ana Dela Cruz as Dr. Maria. One character, two scenes. I guess white people are the only ones in America who get cancer!
Noah is the most shocking with literally ZERO, I REPEAT ZERO, actors of color. I don’t… How??? This is a biblical story that takes place in the Middle East.
Chao Li Chi, Rachel Sterling, and Ron Canada, are the three actors of color in this video. It sounds like things are getting better, yeah? That’s because you’re comparing it to Noah. EVERYTHING looks good in comparison to Noah.
Lisa Renee Pitts, Pramod Kumar, Claudia Choi, and Laura Kai Chen are the four actors of color in this video. OH WOW, FOUR. But wait, this clip is 46 seconds long and features four actors. The Fault in Our Stars clip was 40 seconds and featured one. So Hollywood can include more actors of color as long as they give them less lines to say???? WILD LOGIC!
This clip is 10 seconds. Andreas Sheikh says three lines. Because only white boys go to boy scout camp?? NOPE.
Only white boys went to boy scout camp in 1965??? NOPE.
They wanted to stay historically accurate and allude to segregation?? NOPE. The film takes place in 1965 during the civil rights movement so it’s highly likely this camp would be more diverse. Also, in this film a boy is struck by lightning and survives. IT'S NOT MEANT TO BE ROOTED IN REALITY.
If you watch more of Marron’s YouTube videos, you’ll see a pattern begin to form where the higher the budget for the film, the less people of color. But, independent films are NOT off the hook. This is a sad truth that I encourage beginner filmmakers to realize, digest and keep in mind when they begin casting. Marron chose to move past talking about it, because seeing it is so impactful. Tell stories we haven't heard yet.