The Whitest Actors You Know
By Chris Kavan - 05/27/10 at 10:26 AM CT
Although it's nothing new, people still find time to complain about questionable casting by Hollywood in ethnic roles.
The biggest debate now is Prince of Persia and The Last Airbender. Seems like the cast for both films is too white for some people. I can see why some people would be upset, especially the fan base for The Last Airbender, but sometimes I think people get mad just for the sake of having something to get mad about.
Look at Prince of Persia - it's best off a video game for one, so it's not like it's going for any historical epic feel here. Plus, it's a summer blockbuster. I would love to cast a true Iranian actor in the role, but do you think that that would be a bigger draw then "Chesty" Jake Gyllenhaal? Same for Gemma Arterton. Hollywood wants to make money, and by casting big name actors, they can make that money.
Airbender, on the other hand, may have a better cause. Since the show is based on many cultures including Chinese, Inuit and Japanese - one has to wonder why they didn't try to find a more or less Asian cast. This is because while Prince of Persia is based on a video game, Airbender is based on an animated program - one with a sizable base, and one that isn't happy with a more-or-less white cast.
It's not like Airbender is going with big names either, most of the young cast is relatively unknown, with only Dev Patel (of Slumdog Millionaire) standing out. The visuals look outstanding, but if there is enough uproar, it might effect the film.
People are quick to point out that nobody complained this much when Russell Crowe was cast as a Spaniard in Gladiator. And the complaints over how Persians were portrayed in 300 didn't seem to put a dent in ticket sales. So is Hollywood "whitewashing" their films? They are, but it's not like this is anything new or distressing.