Should actors walk away from whitewashed roles? | The Tylt
Should actors walk away from whitewashed roles?
Ed Skrein explained why he stepped down in the open letter below. It comes down to recognizing that everyone is responsible to stop erasure, not just the producers and directors. It's not about doing better next time. It's about doing better now.
Read his letter for yourself. He destroys every excuse for whitewashing roles.
Directors and producers argue the best actor gets the job. It's not about race. Hollywood casts roles in a colorblind way. This means actors of any race can audition for roles of any race. What it ultimately comes down to however is whether the actor has the right skill set for the role and whether the actor can draw an audience for the movie. Here's how casting director Avy Kaufman puts it:
“The upsetting part to me was I found a bunch of Japanese actors I loved, but only a few meant something with foreign sales. [That department] determines who gets into big movies, if [the talent’s] numbers mean something,” Kaufman says. “It’s not just us doing our job [as casting directors]. We have to decide who means more [on the business side]. At the same time, I have respect for them doing their job…. I see it as a puzzle.”
In the past, actresses like Tilda Swinton and Scarlett Johannson insisted they were right for their roles. Despite the controversy over their casting, these actresses as well as the directors insist they were cast because they were the only people who fit the creative vision. It's not about race.
Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive. Also, having a franchise with a female protagonist driving it is such a rare opportunity.