you’re not helping: ‘Prince of Persia’ and ‘The Last Airbender’ not really whitewashes, Hollywood insists
The Los Angeles Times suddenly notices that two of Hollywood’s would-be blockbusters for Summer 2010 are full of white actors playing nonwhite characters:
So when Disney studios announced plans for a live-action adaptation of Prince, Dar held out hope it would be a "serious story that would dispel a lot of stereotypes and misconceptions." Then came the bad news regarding "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" (the movie which arrives in theaters on Friday). None of its principle cast members are of Iranian, Middle Eastern or Muslim descent. And playing Dastan, the hero and titular heir to the Persian throne in the $200-million tent-pole film, is none other than Hancock Park's own Swedish-Jewish-American prince, Jake Gyllenhaal.
“Swedish-Jewish-American prince”? That’s pretty funny.
In addition to Gyllenhaal and British actress Gemma Arterton's portrayal of Iranian characters in the swords-and-sandals action epic "Prince of Persia," Paramount has come under attack for its live-action adaptation of the Nickelodeon animated series " Avatar: The Last Airbender." Directed by "Sixth Sense" auteur M. Night Shyamalan, "The Last Airbender" (as the movie is called to distinguish it from a certain James Cameron-directed 3-D blockbuster) has enraged some of the show's aficionados by casting white actors in three of four principal roles — characters that fans of the original property insist are Asian and Native American.
But it’s not anything to get worked up about, unles you’re a fan of the source material, and then you’re only getting worked up because you’ve merely been interpreting characters as nonwhite all along -- maybe they’re just stylized white people, okay?
And then the Times goes on to detail all the adorable measures these wacky Airbender fans are taking:
And with just weeks until the movie's July 2 release — after a year-and-a-half-long letter-writing campaign to the film's producers and a correspondence with Paramount President Adam Goodman to underscore the importance of casting Asian actors in designated Asian roles — members of the Media Action Network for Asian Americans and an organization called http://www.racebending.com are urging fans to boycott "Airbender."
See? Hollywood’s whitewashing and racebending isn’t actually a problem: it’s just that a bunch of fans with nothing else better to do have set up a Facebook page and launched a petition and a boycott. They’re just like those people who dress up like Klingons at Star Trek conventions, really. Aren’t they cute, thinking they can change anything? Not that anything needs changing, mind:
Although the studios behind both "Prince of Persia" and "Airbender" have taken costly steps to not seem insensitive toward — or out of touch with — the minority constituencies represented in their respective films
What costly steps? Have you seen any ads for Prince of Persia featuring George W. Bush praising the movie as part of the Axis of Evilly Good Fun? Do you know how much Disney had to pay to get the former President out of that contractually obligated ad campaign?
Actually, Disney insists Prince of Persia isn’t really about “Persia,” anyway:
During "Prince of Persia's" scripting process, Disney hired BoomGen Studios, a consultation and niche marketing firm specializing in creative content about the Middle East, to help address issues of historical congruity and cultural contexts. Consultants advised the filmmakers to avoid specifically characterizing religion by setting "Prince" in a "mythological time" before the arrival of Islam. As well, the company worked to assure members of the Iranian American community that the film was the antithesis of a recent action-adventure movie felt to vilify the people of Persia.
Also: Look! Buff Jake Gyllenhaal! OMG!
Disqus commentsblog comments powered by Disqus
Tue May 25 10, 4:21PM
join the conversation:
59 pre-Disqus comments
by MaryAnn Johanson
George W Bush
Los Angeles Times
Prince of Persia The Sands of Time
you're not helping
· question of the day: How will the change represented by the incoming Obama administration be reflected in movies, TV, and other pop culture?
· 5 reasons I’m psyched for ‘W.’
· you’re not helping: M. Night Shyamalan la-la-la can’t hear you...
· you’re not helping: AV Club writer fabricates a review, and too many people defend him
· you’re not helping: Hollywood’s rediscovery of nonblond nonbimbos does not a revolution make
· you’re not helping: Casey Affleck admits ‘I’m Still Here’ is a put-on
· you’re not helping: MP Lynne Featherstone on women as physical “role models”
· you’re not helping: Armond White says, “Roger Ebert destroyed film criticism”
· you’re not helping: Amy Pascal on bad movies
· girls at Comic Con! yuck!
watch it: “Tenth Doctor: The Musical”
omg: Neil Gaiman turns in his ‘Doctor Who’ script