Unfortunately whitewashing in film isn’t unheard of. In fact, it happens quite a lot and we frequently find ourselves screaming in outrage at our screens. Lbr, there are a lot of talented people in the world, so why don’t we let those people of colour play their own goddamn people. Right? Right! It’s their story to tell after all.
However, it turns out that not everyone is as logical as us, because there are way too many instances in which different races, religions, disabilities, sexual orientations and so on are completely misrepresented.
1. Matt Damon in ‘The Great Wall’ (2016)
The recent uproar of whitewashing comes from Matt Damon taking the lead in the fantasy monster-adventure film ‘The Great Wall’. Based around the Great Wall of China, the white American actor looks about as far from a Chinese soldier as you could possibly get… Tbh, the film sounds naff anyway.
2. Rooney Mara in ‘Pan’ (2015)
The role of Tiger Lily, in one of the most recent adaptions of J. M. Barrie’s ‘Peter Pan’, wasn’t awarded to a Native American actress. Oh no, instead the role went to Rooney Mara — an actress whose skin is so white, we can see our actual disappointment reflected back at us.
3. Jennifer Lawrence in ‘The Hunger Games’ (2012-2015)
Don’t get us wrong, we love J-Law a lot and we’re pleased that she’s rocketed to stardom, because she honestly gives us life with her unfiltered comments and general clumsiness. But a lot of us picked up on the fact, in the books, Katniss was described as having black hair, olive skin and green eyes. In response to this backlash, Suzanne Collins said Gale and Katniss weren’t necessarily intended to be bi-racial, but that “It is a time period where hundreds of years have passed from now. There’s been a lot of ethnic mixing.” Katniss probably shouldn’t have been cast as a blonde haired, blue eyed white girl then, right?
4. Eddie Redmayne in ‘The Danish Girl’
We’re ngl to you, we loved ‘The Danish Girl’ and think Eddie Redmayne is one hell of a talented dude. But, much like with whitewashing, we definitely think there was an opportunity missed in the making of the movie. The director could have made a hugely progressive statement by representing a crucial part in transgender history and hiring a transgender actor.
5. Sam Claflin in ‘Me Before You’
And don’t get us wrong, we love Sam Claflin too — he actually makes our heart race faster than when we hear the ice cream van jingle. Once again, though, we feel filmmakers are missing a trick. Wouldn’t Will Traynor’s story have been more honestly portrayed by a disabled actor? In this instance, we can sort of see the issues with that considering ‘Me Before You’ includes some flashbacks to times when Will wasn’t confined to his wheelchair. Still, we’re sure artistic license could make it so such scenes weren’t necessary.
It’s infuriating to see a real lack in honest representation, particularly with white actors being hired left, right and centre and being paid the big bucks to tell a story they haven’t experienced the oppression of. We’re even more sad that few of these white actors are using their privilege to address the very real issue.
What do you think of all this? Tweet us @maximumpop and share your thoughts.