Sunday, 12 June 2016

Opinion Piece: White Washing (or an other type of media washing for that matter)

Ho boy, the political views just keep on coming don't they? This one's gotten attention lately, so lets address it. For this particular one (well, actually every post I write on this site, it is an unspoken rule after all), this is my opinion on the matter. You can agree or disagree, and if you think I'm wrong, I'm happy to hear why, provided its longer then "You're wrong idiot".

So, the idea of White washing. In basic terms, its casting a white person in a role that is normally intended for another race. Now in a moral black and white world, I would agree with the masses. But, we don't live in that kind of world, we live in this one, where the colour grey exists. So allow me dear reader to go into my views on the matter not just for film, but for every visual medium I review.

For Live action films, my general rule is that whenever you can, cast an actor of as close to a background as you can for the role. So for a (in general terms) asian character, cast an asian actor. The only exceptions I can think of for this are if you need to change it for political reasons (like with Doctor Strange, which yes, is a racist reason, but not the one most people latched onto) or if an actor just fits the role so well, that no one else could do it better. To use a recent one, Director Fury. Unless you were really into comics before the MCU, most people would think that Nick Fury was always a black character. In reality, he was originally a white character. Marvel changed it to black in the comics while they were still working on the plan that would become the MCU, or to be more accurate, they changed it to look like who would eventually play him, Samuel Jackson. Now with the MCU in full effect. Can you sincerely tell me that you could see a white person playing Nick Fury? I personally can't because he fits the role perfectly. Its the same with a lot of the characters (this coming from someone who still hasn't seen Ant man or Civil War, don't kill me please). I don't see anyone playing Iron Man better then Robert Downy Jr. Chris Pratt as Starlord, Scarlet Johansson as Black Widdow (though she was also a controversial casting pick to the masses as she's the lead in Ghost in the Shell), Chris Evens as Captain America and more. It was intentional that I used the superhero names as a FYI.

The only other reason I would let it slide is if it is a re-imagining of the story, in a new situation. To use Ghost in the shell as an example. It would make no sense for the role to be for an asian actor, if the interpretation is set in Germany. You would logically get a german actor for that role. Now some would say that "That never happens idiot" Well, it does happen, quite a bit actually. For Live action, it mostly happens when a story is told in an asian situation, it rarely happens in reverse, but again, that's live action.

Animated on the other hand, that's called "dubbing", and that happens all the time. This is when I cop out and do all animated forms together along with Comics. In a space when you can create anything you want, then I honestly don't care so long as the performance is solid. Now that being said, I'd rather a push for fresh talent over tried and true voice actors when possible, as a mix of brand new voice actors and voice acting veterans never hurts. And while again, it would be better to have voices that match the race and age of the character, sometimes its not a good option especially for child characters, there's this whole thing called puberty, kinda hurts child actors while its happening and if you were a director, would you go with a pre puberty child actor who may have their voice drastically change, causing several potential re-castings, or an adult who can do a child's voice?

At the end of the day, it really depends on the situation, and if the actor can make me believe they are the character, because at the end of the day, that's what I look for above all else. Again, I love diversity if its an added bonus, not the central focus. Call me crazy if you want. I'll see you all for the opening impressions of Wolverine and the X-Men

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