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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Kenneth Branagh is Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Apostle John may be black now, but I don't think Hollywood can truly claim to be colorblind until Branagh plays Martin Luther King, Jr., Jet Li plays Nelson Mandela, and an Esquimaux plays Othello.
From Idris Elba’s gritty portrayal of London detective John Luther, to Dennis Haysbert’s calm, cool and collected President Palmer in “24″ (oh, to have a black president like THAT!), to Denzell Washington and Morgan Freeman in just about any role, black actors have enriched the big and small screens, adding richness, humor, depth and, well, color to our entertainment experience.

So why did I cringe a little when I first saw Gambian actor Babou Ceesay as the Apostle John and Chinese/Zimbabwean actress Chipo Chung as Mary Magdalene standing beside the mother of Jesus during Sunday’s NBC broadcast of the first episode of “A.D. The Bible Continues”? Did my inherent, inborn “racism” as a Southern white dude (go ahead, insert your favorite toothless, ignorant redneck joke here) finally subconsciously kick in, robbing me of the rich, diverse, multicultural experience the filmmakers were obviously trying to bring me with their forward-thinking casting?

Why must every historical movie these days, particularly those that deal with biblical topics, be subjected to a diversity “litmus test”? With apologies to Afrocentrists everywhere (OK, not really), while it’s possible there were black people in the vicinity of Judea during the time of Christ, there is no way, absolutely no way, John the Apostle was black. No serious historian believes this.
Of course, by then, the SJWs will be demanding that Whoopi Goldberg play Romeo. Because transist.

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60 Comments:

Anonymous Feh April 12, 2015 11:55 AM  

I've seen plays with "colorblind" casting in which (say) one member of an Edwardian family in an Oscar Wilde comedy is black. I always find it incredibly distracting. (WTF are you trying to accomplish here besides give a role to a black actor or actress?)

Also, the fucking captchas have been very long and irritating lately...

Anonymous Rolf April 12, 2015 11:58 AM  

I'd love to see a director shoot the same scene, some sort of should-be-iconic scene with a half-dozen people in it, where in the original it's all one ethnicity, and in the remake it's reshot six times with six obviously different ethnicities, where roles rotated so that in one the Chinese dude it a bumbling flunky that gets rubbed out, and in another he's the tough leader and in another he's the loyal second in command and in another he's the executioner and in another he's the appalled observer, etc. Have the same part rotation with the white guy, the black guy, the Mexican guy, the Arab guy, etc.

Then show the different scenes to a bunch of SJWs and record the reactions they have to each one, and compare them to a more "normal man on the street" reaction. Be interesting to see who's more racist, and which version comes off as more believable.

Anonymous Rick April 12, 2015 12:07 PM  

"Wut light thoo yon mufuggin window break? Dis de eas', who bitch this is, yo?"

Anonymous p-dawg April 12, 2015 12:08 PM  

I can't wait to see Terry Crews as the lead in the remake of Catherine the Great. Come on, you know you'd watch that.

Anonymous Daniel April 12, 2015 12:13 PM  

black actors have enriched the big and small screens, adding richness, humor, depth and, well, color

Don't forget flavor. This is what happens when you add cracked pepper to plain rice.

I think Chris Rock has matured to the point that he is now the obvious choice for the lead in the George Wallace Story. Kevin Hart would be an awesome Hitler, by the way. Beyonce can sort of act. She could pass as Margaret Sanger. I can already see the eugenics speech getting tons of early Oscar buzz.

Blogger S1AL April 12, 2015 12:13 PM  

I finally gave up on the notion that there was a point to this when BBC cast a black guy as Friar Tuck in their (admittedly terrible) version of Robin Hood.

Anonymous Randy M April 12, 2015 12:18 PM  

I had the same reaction watching Merlin, with a black Guinivere. So much do cultural appropriation.

Anonymous Roundtine April 12, 2015 12:18 PM  

OT: Atheists of Ireland dump PZ! Atheist Ireland publicly dissociates itself from the harmful and hateful rhetoric of PZ Myers.

Anonymous Amigo April 12, 2015 12:26 PM  

For out of place actors, nothing could be as bad as the Finnish Broadcasting Company film on Mannerheim. Mannerheim was played by a Kenyan, Telley Savalas Otieno, and the film was done in Kenya with an all black cast. Sounds like something straight out of the Onion.

Anonymous Lulabelle April 12, 2015 12:48 PM  

"Wut light thoo yon mufuggin window break? Dis de eas', who bitch this is, yo?"

lol. And cringe.

Blogger Jim April 12, 2015 1:23 PM  

Used to be if you wanted to take a story from outside your culture and apply it to your own, you wrote an original piece with its own title. You did not give Steve McQueen a katana and have him work for rice.

That said, the Bible is probably the only place where this might be acceptable. Every Christian culture imagines Jesus to be like them: Europeans, Africans, and Asians do not, as a rule, depict a semitic Christ, and Christians are called explicitly to have a relationship with Christ, not a stand-in. So, both artistically and religiously, I have no problem with throwing an Australian aboriginal in there as long as it's well done, even if it's historically laughable. It's only grating because the general diversity fetish makes it come off as insincere.

Anonymous physphilmusic April 12, 2015 1:45 PM  

In the case of Biblical stories, I think this is actually acceptable. Otherwise, if we want to be really accurate, only Jews should be allowed to play Jesus and his disciples.

Anonymous patrick kelly April 12, 2015 2:01 PM  

@Roundtine re: Atheists of Ireland -

Even Mick Atheists have standards...who knew.....

BTW OT: "Christ is Risen" (Pascha (Orthodox Easter) one week later than the west this year)

For believers, please share our joy, for others enjoy the beautiful voices:

PaschalJoyAroundTheWorld

Anonymous TLM April 12, 2015 2:03 PM  

I liked it better when blacks made their own versions of white classics, such as The Wiz, instead of inserting black actors into white roles that everyone knows is BS. Ease on down, ease on down the road!

Anonymous WinstonWebb April 12, 2015 2:06 PM  

So, when Oprah does the made-for-TV movie "Obama", will she cast John Cusack in the title role?

Anonymous trk April 12, 2015 2:08 PM  

Let's balance it with Seth Rogan as Malcom X

Anonymous Will Best April 12, 2015 2:11 PM  

It cuts both ways. Like the little white boy that played the last airbender. And Ben Afleck played a Mexican in Argo. Johnny Depp Tonto in Lone Ranger. John Wayne played Genghis Khan. I guess that last one might be excused on a practicality standpoint since it was 1950's.

I can't say I tend to care all that much when whites are playing Asian, Hispanic, Native American roles. Even for works of historical fiction. But then I suppose in those instances Hollywood is bowing at the altar of money rather than political correctness.

I tend to not have an issue with POCs playing white roles either as long as it doesn't affect relationships. Lucy Liu as modern day Dr. Watson meh. Michael Clarke Duncan as Kingpin, I thought was solid casting, the movie sucked for other reasons.

White Sue with black Johnny, wtf? Black Gwen in medieval England that isn't there due to some back story, but instead everybody pretends she is just white, huh?

Anonymous Movie Guy April 12, 2015 2:14 PM  

Inappropriate multiracial/gender casting breaks the mood. I usually stop watching.

Blacks as neurosurgeons, physics professors or brilliant industrialist-inventors, for example, or skinny little girls as superwomen, who butt-kick dozens of male warriors.

My mind immediately shifts meta as I think about the lefties that are writing the scripts, doing the casting and discussing world racial marketshare and I just lose track.

Furthermore, black people, midgets, tats, homosexuals and aliens kissing each other leaves me cold, so I just drop out and stop watching.

Anonymous H2 April 12, 2015 2:38 PM  

@Will Best

Ricardo Montalban played a pretty good Indian, though.

Anonymous Daniel April 12, 2015 2:41 PM  

John Wayne played Ghengis Khan once.

Anonymous Clyde April 12, 2015 2:44 PM  

"if we want to be really accurate, only Jews should be allowed to play Jesus and his disciples." and "I can't say I tend to care all that much when whites are playing Asian, Hispanic, Native American roles. Even for works of historical fiction."

It's not the race of the actor, it's the race of the character. The Bible miniseries cast a Portuguese actor as Jesus, but this didn't change Jesus' ethnicity because a Portuguese actor can look Jewish. But casting sub-Saharan actors to play James, John, Phillip, and Mary Magdalene changes the characters into sub-Saharan Africans.

"I have no problem with throwing an Australian aboriginal in there as long as it's well done, even if it's historically laughable."

The problem is the producers of A.D. don't acknowledge that their casting is historically laughable, the goal is historical revision - there are statements from Downey, her husband, and several black Reverends that the casting is historically accurate and reflects the diversity of the region at the time.

The TV show is tied in with an Afrocentric "Christian" website about blacks in the Bible and the blacklivesmatter movement. The producers of A.D. have sacrificed truth for a political agenda.

Blogger Zimri April 12, 2015 2:45 PM  

They kind of already did screw up and cast the wrong actor for "Mandela". Mandela himself was Xhosa. Did you ever see a picture of him? Very, VERY distinctive look on the Xhosa. Not Bantu at all. South Africa does have Bantu; they're the Zulus.

Casting Morgan Freeman made about as much racial sense as casting an Australian Aborigine.

Anonymous Daniel April 12, 2015 2:45 PM  

Scot Sean Connery played a Spaniard, and Frenchman Christopher Lambert played a Scot in highlander. Still one of the more hilarious accent mangling movies I have seen. Makes Dick Van Dyke seem born and bred bow-bell cockney, guvnah.

Anonymous Daniel April 12, 2015 2:50 PM  

As for me, I have no problem with blacks playing whites as long as they use the cgi properly. If they can make Chris Evans look both scrawny and 140 pounds and hyperbuff supersoldier in the same movie, if they can make Joseph Gordon-Levitt look like Bruce Willis in Looper, surely they can bury Chipo Chung's chinese ancestry for the sake of the character.

It is all about the quality of the actor, after all. Not superficial ethnic markers.

Blogger Zimri April 12, 2015 2:52 PM  

In Africa, the Ethiopians sort-of portray Jesus as a Semite. But then, their Amharic ruling-caste was (is) selfconsciously Semitic.

Anonymous BigGaySteve April 12, 2015 2:57 PM  

"with a black Guinivere. So "

It wont stop getting worse until a black tranny Hitler is on the big screen. Good story telling can draw people in without special effects, but when they once worried about watches being noticeable on extras they play into the blacks had airplanes when whitey was living in caves crowd. When I reluctantly watched the Bucket List I couldn't help but say " all of Africa doesn't have as much black talent as that one family"

Blogger Danby April 12, 2015 2:57 PM  

John Wayne played Genghis Khan. I guess that last one might be excused on a practicality standpoint since it was 1950's.

No there was no excuse for that movie. Have you ever seen it? Wayne's portrayal is jarring EVERY DAMN TIME HE COMES ON SCREEN. Whoever thought of casting him as Genghis Khan should have been fired.

No, they should have been killed.

No, they should have been forced to watch that train wreck every day for the rest of their lives.

Anonymous Orville April 12, 2015 2:58 PM  

Robert Downey Jr. pulled off playing a black man in Tropic Thunder. James Whitmore in "Black Like Me" didn't.

And I don't believe that Jesus looks like Peter O'Toole.

Anonymous BigGaySteve April 12, 2015 3:03 PM  

"Like the little white boy that played the last airbender"

Blacks consider everyone that does better than them to be white even blacks as dark as Herman Caine. That's why pointing out George Zimmerman was a Hispanic had little effect. Of course telling people to watch Skittles Girlfriend's first day testimony where she said she was on the obamaphone with Skittles & that he thought GZ was gay checking him out making it a failed gay bashing wont work if they cant understand ebonics. Whites and Asians have the most k selection.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan April 12, 2015 3:08 PM  

My Spirit Other is a cool Vietnamese dude by the name of Bang Dat Ho, in this dimension I'm a pre-Rev War both sides of my family white man,but I can dream.

Blogger Markku April 12, 2015 3:08 PM  

For out of place actors, nothing could be as bad as the Finnish Broadcasting Company film on Mannerheim. Mannerheim was played by a Kenyan, Telley Savalas Otieno, and the film was done in Kenya with an all black cast. Sounds like something straight out of the Onion.

Well, yes, but the story was a re-imagining of the events in an African village. It wasn't like it was set in Finland, and everybody pretended to be Finns, only the actors were all Kenyans. Though that would have been much better entertainment.

Blogger Markku April 12, 2015 3:11 PM  

What they should have done is play it straight, only everybody is in chalkface.

Anonymous B Lewis April 12, 2015 3:11 PM  

Khan Noonien Singh was not an Indian (dot); he was a Sikh, as his surname makes plain.

There will never be a black trannie Hitler on the screen. Don't forget Hollywood Casting Rule #1: Hitler Is The Ultimate Evil. It wouldn't do have a POC or LBBT1IQLS/MFT! actor portraying the Ultimate Evil.

And then there's Hollywood Casting Rule #2: the Bad Guy is Always White (pref. with British accent). The Role of You-Know-Who will be safe in the hands of Whites for years to come.

Blogger Jim April 12, 2015 3:17 PM  

"It cuts both ways. Like the little white boy that played the last airbender."

What do you mean? Ang was white in the cartoon, as were most airbenders (occasionally you'd get a more Eastern-styled mustache, but that's about it). It's the white Katara and Sokka that were racially mis-cast.

"there are statements from Downey, her husband, and several black Reverends that the casting is historically accurate and reflects the diversity of the region at the time."

Okay, that's a problem.

Blogger Zimri April 12, 2015 3:19 PM  

Whoever thought of casting him as Genghis Khan should have been fired. No, they should have been killed.

Possible they were. The scenes were shot downwind of the nuclear test sites. Everyone on set got cancer and died horribly.

No, they should have been forced to watch that train wreck every day for the rest of their lives.

That wish also came true in the case of the producer, Howard Hughes.

... your posts kind of remind me of that bum in "Wishmaster". To which I can only say "wazz it worrrth eet?"

Anonymous Fred April 12, 2015 3:28 PM  

"Did my inherent, inborn “racism” as a Southern white dude (go ahead, insert your favorite toothless, ignorant redneck joke here) finally subconsciously kick in"

Yes it did kick in. The Pauline essence has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with grace and passion. The story of MLK, however, has everything to do with a race of people. And like the story of Paul has nothing to do with race, the story of Romeo and Juliet has little to do with gender and could easily be told with two men, two women, trans gendered or two cats.

Anonymous Clyde April 12, 2015 3:34 PM  

"Romeo and Juliet has little to do with gender and could easily be told with two men, two women, trans gendered or two cats"

Ro-meow, ro-meow..

Blogger Jim April 12, 2015 3:36 PM  

"And like the story of Paul has nothing to do with race, the story of Romeo and Juliet has little to do with gender and could easily be told with two men, two women, trans gendered or two cats."

The premise and structure can be used with those, but if you just cast two women to play Romeo and Juliet, the story is going to be nonsensical, especially when you have Friar John help hook them up. At that point, the story needs a re-write.

Anonymous Fred April 12, 2015 3:40 PM  

"but if you just cast two women to play Romeo and Juliet, the story is going to be nonsensical, especially when you have Friar John help hook them up. At that point, the story needs a re-write."

You only need a smidgen of imagination to make it work fine and tell the story of love and tragedy.

Blogger Jim April 12, 2015 3:48 PM  

"You only need a smidgen of imagination to make it work fine and tell the story of love and tragedy."

You're missing the point. There is a difference between using a smidgen of imagination to rework The Seven Samurai into The Magnificent Seven versus just giving Yul Brynner a ticket to Shizuoka.

Anonymous TroperA April 12, 2015 4:00 PM  

You only need a smidgen of imagination to make it work fine and tell the story of love and tragedy.

Nope you need a rewrite. Even in Romeo and Juliet stories set in the modern day they have to rewrite the story so the main characters only pledge to be married (or undergo an imaginary marriage ceremony) since teenagers marrying without parental permission is a thing no longer done.

And lets not talk about gay teens trying to get gay married even in a place that allows gay marriage...

I've often though an interesting way to portray the Martin Luther King story would be to have all of the whites portrayed by blacks and all of the blacks portrayed by whites. You'd still have the racial divide and you'd have a lot of people seeing things from a new perspective. Of course identity politicians wouldn't like it since White Men always equals EVIL in their eyes and they'd squeal RACISS like stuck pigs.



Anonymous Fred April 12, 2015 4:15 PM  

"Nope you need a rewrite. Even in Romeo and Juliet stories set in the modern day they have to rewrite the story so the main characters only pledge to be married (or undergo an imaginary marriage ceremony) since teenagers marrying without parental permission is a thing no longer done."

Think more deeply about Theme and Story, and less deeply about details.

OpenID cailcorishev April 12, 2015 4:16 PM  

Inappropriate multiracial/gender casting breaks the mood. I usually stop watching.

I was watching Transformers with the Rifftrax audio, and had to laugh: the only person who figures out that the "hacker" can't be any known Earth-based agent is a hot blond chick, and when she goes to the "finest hacker in the world" for help, it's Fat Albert. Good thing it's such a stupid movie, so that fits right in.

Blogger Markku April 12, 2015 5:48 PM  

Think more deeply about Theme and Story, and less deeply about details.

O nigga, nigga! Wherefore art thou nigga?

Blogger OldFan April 12, 2015 5:52 PM  

John Wayne was cast as Genghis Khan in "The Conqueror" and Pedro Armendariz played Jamuga. Not very authentic. A pretty good BBC production of "Genghis Khan" in 2005 cast actual Mongols in the leading roles, with considerable success. The battle scenes were superb.

Also, we must remember that the radioactive fallout that fell upon the cast and crew did have one redeeming feature: It proved that it took nothing less than Atomic Weapons to bring down the Duke!

Anonymous MendoScot April 12, 2015 7:53 PM  

Think more deeply about Theme and Story, and less deeply about details.

Ah yes, the whiny self-righteousness of the SJWs will certainly make as compelling a story as two great houses brought low by young love. Substituting sexual perversion for innocence will not be problematic at all for Theme and Story.

Moron.

Anonymous PA April 12, 2015 8:17 PM  

Inappropriate multiracial/gender casting breaks the mood

The black world-renowned oncologist almost ruined the early season of Breaking Bad for me by jarring my suspension of disbelief.

They could have AT LEAST cast an older black actor. This one was black, young, and looked like a cornerback/male model amidst a very natural-looking cast of characters.

Blogger Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus April 12, 2015 8:30 PM  

I remember having this type of discussion with some fruitcake back when they were casting Idris Elba as James Bond. The defence for it was that Bond is a fictional character, and therefore can be "reimagined" however they like. He didn't like my suggestion, however, that a red-haired Irishman could be cast as "Nigger Jim" the next time someone did a production of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

I didn't tell him that it wasn't that farfetched, since the Irish *were* known at one time as the niggers of Europe...

Anonymous Susan April 12, 2015 8:49 PM  

What I don't understand is why don't they take the creative ball and run with coming up with a Bond fellow agent? Idris Elba would be a great choice for the role of a fellow agent of the White Bond. They talk about other agents in the old Bond movies, how about resurrecting one of them for him to play?

Could very well breathe new life into the franchise. As to Wayne and most of the cast dying of cancer from doing the movie Genghis Khan, that movie should serve as an object lesson for why you don't mess with casting. filming in any kind of nuclear contaminated sand should have been a clue too.

Anonymous No Name April 12, 2015 9:01 PM  

If the fan theory of James Bond being a code name for the best MI6 agent is true/correct, then Idris Elba playing James Bond wouldn't be far-fetched.

Anonymous PA April 12, 2015 9:01 PM  

why don't they take the creative ball and run with coming up with a Bond fellow agent?

Because certain fictional or historic figures serve as an icon for a particular nation's idealized masculinity. Casting an obviously alien actor into such a role is, first and foremost, an insult to the men of that character's nation.

When they say "Idris Elba," they're fucking with you. And they know it. And they laugh when you impotently sputter lame secondary reasons for objecting to such casting decision, rather than straightforwardly providing the real, primary reason -- honor, assholes. James Bond is not a fucking black. Just like MLK is not a fucking white.

Anonymous Discard April 12, 2015 9:11 PM  

The movie makers are not colorblind, so there's no reason we should be colorblind either. They do this stuff to insult us. May all their daughters bear Mulattos.

Anonymous 0007 April 12, 2015 11:14 PM  

DIscard -
Many of their daughters are already adopting African babies, so the mulatto syndrome probably isn't much of a challenge.

Blogger Jim April 13, 2015 12:25 AM  

"Could very well breathe new life into the franchise."

What would breathe life into the franchise is banning every single writer that worked on the Daniel Craig Bonds from ever touching another movie again. Craig himself wasn't the problem.

Quantum of Solace is the only one that gets a pass for being done during the writer's strike.

Blogger Fusion April 13, 2015 1:56 AM  

The actor playing John did a wonderful job capturing John's gentle nature. Please give him a chance. The series, AD The Bible Continues, is powerful, gripping and faithful to scripture. I hope Christians especially will watch.

Blogger CarpeOro April 13, 2015 2:41 PM  

My biggest issue was it being a cliff notes version of the Gospel. It ran what, two hours? The same portion of the story of Jesus death and the subsequent events were better done in the old epic dramas in three hours than in the 4 hours (plus commercials) of this. And yes, it was jarring seeing the black actor and actress in those roles. Europeans playing the parts isn't nearly as jarring because there is a closer match in skin pigment and facial features. You'd be better served watching "The Greatest Story Every Told" or some other classic. Hearing about a comparison of it to "Game of Thrones" in the commercials was a bit cringe inducing also.

Blogger CarpeOro April 13, 2015 2:44 PM  

Oh, when I was in college 20+ years ago they had a visiting black professor playing Patrick Henry in a play. Because visiting actor. This is nothing new really.

Blogger CarpeOro April 13, 2015 2:46 PM  

"Quantum of Solace is the only one that gets a pass for being done during the writer's strike."

I thought that was the best one of the Craig movies. Not really a fan of Craig myself.

Anonymous Discard April 13, 2015 11:23 PM  

Strunk and White's "The Elements of Style" argues against using unconventional spellings on the grounds that they will distract the reader from your ideas. Even if the makers of this show were not trying to insult us with their universal Negroes, it would be a bad piece of casting if only because it obscures the story. You want fiction about a brilliant Black chemist saving the world, OK. No worse than unicorns or whores with hearts of gold. But going against the historic facts can only annoy the knowledgeable and delude the ignorant. That tells me that the movie men care more about annoying and deluding than they do about telling a good story.

CarpeOro: School plays are different. They are there to teach acting, and they cast whoever shows up. I'm a racist, but I had no problem with a Chinese woman playing Queen Victoria under those circumstances. Now, had it been a Chinese man, I would have walked out.

Blogger Man. Cla. April 14, 2015 2:26 AM  

James Bond was ruined when they got Daniel Craig to play him.

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