what if ?

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neversayBOO

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Aug 19, 2017
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okay "Idris Elba" been cast has the gunslinger kicked off has many topics conversations on this, i was thinking what if ? .......... George Clooney was cast has Nelson Mandela, im sure the world would have been turned upside down on this even though he might have done a good job ... okay one is fiction the other is real,but they both mean so much to many people.
 

mal

content
Jun 23, 2007
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It's like when they cast Val Kilmer to play the role that Roger Moore made famous in "The Saint". Hmm...they were both white. Am I doing this right? You are doing the skin colour dance I think. That doesn't make you racist but it makes me think why we haven't universally acknowledged the fact that we all bleed red. Unless it's a media thing. I'm so screwed up on social engineering and big media that I wonder if anything we think belongs purely to ourselves. Wait...the Simpsons just came on...gotta run.
 

Robert Gray

Well-Known Member
The casting was annoying to me way back when it was first announced. This was, in part, because it was a harbinger of things to come. It told us that everything was on the table and that the story we got in the film would be related to the setting we knew only in name, i.e. the names of the characters (people, places, and things). I was never worried about the acting ability of Idris (or any of the actors released). To me it was all about the writing, and the casting choices they made all but ensured that we were going to get a reheated Hollywood slice of stale pizza.

But let's step away from the specific film and address the convention of changing ethnicity and/or gender in stories. It clearly can be done. The only question then is whether or not it should be done. By in large, characters (historical or fictional) have a designated ethnicity and gender. Those details are, in fact, almost always revealed early (if not immediately). A very common mistake in writing is to go too long in not describing a character in enough detail. When you describe them after too much time has passed the reader is often jarred from the story as they must now reconcile the image they created in their heads (filling in the blanks the writer didn't) with what is now given. Thus, most writers give details early and use "character defining" details. In short, they use description to further reveal character and make their antagonist unique. This is why translating a beloved book to the screen can be challenging. No actor selected is going to fit the ideal image millions of different people have imagined, but said actor MUST (at least in my opinion) have or pay lip service to those character defining details. People who have never read the book do not have this hurdle, naturally, but one must assume that the die hard fans of the book will be the first ones to see it (particularly when the studio does almost ZERO promotion). It is their word of mouth which is going to be heard most loudly. Thus, if you disorient them too much by not matching their expectations, the word of mouth is not going to be good.

So continuing on the "why" aspect of changes in the ethnicity and gender of characters, what are the reasons it sometimes happens?

1. Shock value. It is very commonly done for shock value, whether as a protest or simply publicity.
2. Name recognition. It is sometimes done because Hollywood has a hot property (or a Studio already as a contract they can leverage).
3. And rarely it is done because the Actor/Actress in question is deemed to be the best for the role.

That last one is almost always the STATED reason, when in reality it is almost some combination of the first two. Going back to the film in question, Idris is a great actor. That doesn't mean he was the right one for this role. Hollywood is full of amazing talents. They are dime a dozen. Idris was selected because he is a hot property. Was that a good reason? As it turned out, no. Name recognition did little for the film. But then again, I'm one of those people who thinks the writing has to be good or the film will still be garbage regardless of who is in it. A hot property can only add to a film if there is something to add to in the first place.
 

doowopgirl

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Aug 7, 2009
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The casting was annoying to me way back when it was first announced. This was, in part, because it was a harbinger of things to come. It told us that everything was on the table and that the story we got in the film would be related to the setting we knew only in name, i.e. the names of the characters (people, places, and things). I was never worried about the acting ability of Idris (or any of the actors released). To me it was all about the writing, and the casting choices they made all but ensured that we were going to get a reheated Hollywood slice of stale pizza.

But let's step away from the specific film and address the convention of changing ethnicity and/or gender in stories. It clearly can be done. The only question then is whether or not it should be done. By in large, characters (historical or fictional) have a designated ethnicity and gender. Those details are, in fact, almost always revealed early (if not immediately). A very common mistake in writing is to go too long in not describing a character in enough detail. When you describe them after too much time has passed the reader is often jarred from the story as they must now reconcile the image they created in their heads (filling in the blanks the writer didn't) with what is now given. Thus, most writers give details early and use "character defining" details. In short, they use description to further reveal character and make their antagonist unique. This is why translating a beloved book to the screen can be challenging. No actor selected is going to fit the ideal image millions of different people have imagined, but said actor MUST (at least in my opinion) have or pay lip service to those character defining details. People who have never read the book do not have this hurdle, naturally, but one must assume that the die hard fans of the book will be the first ones to see it (particularly when the studio does almost ZERO promotion). It is their word of mouth which is going to be heard most loudly. Thus, if you disorient them too much by not matching their expectations, the word of mouth is not going to be good.

So continuing on the "why" aspect of changes in the ethnicity and gender of characters, what are the reasons it sometimes happens?

1. Shock value. It is very commonly done for shock value, whether as a protest or simply publicity.
2. Name recognition. It is sometimes done because Hollywood has a hot property (or a Studio already as a contract they can leverage).
3. And rarely it is done because the Actor/Actress in question is deemed to be the best for the role.

That last one is almost always the STATED reason, when in reality it is almost some combination of the first two. Going back to the film in question, Idris is a great actor. That doesn't mean he was the right one for this role. Hollywood is full of amazing talents. They are dime a dozen. Idris was selected because he is a hot property. Was that a good reason? As it turned out, no. Name recognition did little for the film. But then again, I'm one of those people who thinks the writing has to be good or the film will still be garbage regardless of who is in it. A hot property can only add to a film if there is something to add to in the first place.
You got it.
 
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Rockym

Well-Known Member
Feb 11, 2012
76
231
The casting was annoying to me way back when it was first announced. This was, in part, because it was a harbinger of things to come. It told us that everything was on the table and that the story we got in the film would be related to the setting we knew only in name, i.e. the names of the characters (people, places, and things). I was never worried about the acting ability of Idris (or any of the actors released). To me it was all about the writing, and the casting choices they made all but ensured that we were going to get a reheated Hollywood slice of stale pizza.

But let's step away from the specific film and address the convention of changing ethnicity and/or gender in stories. It clearly can be done. The only question then is whether or not it should be done. By in large, characters (historical or fictional) have a designated ethnicity and gender. Those details are, in fact, almost always revealed early (if not immediately). A very common mistake in writing is to go too long in not describing a character in enough detail. When you describe them after too much time has passed the reader is often jarred from the story as they must now reconcile the image they created in their heads (filling in the blanks the writer didn't) with what is now given. Thus, most writers give details early and use "character defining" details. In short, they use description to further reveal character and make their antagonist unique. This is why translating a beloved book to the screen can be challenging. No actor selected is going to fit the ideal image millions of different people have imagined, but said actor MUST (at least in my opinion) have or pay lip service to those character defining details. People who have never read the book do not have this hurdle, naturally, but one must assume that the die hard fans of the book will be the first ones to see it (particularly when the studio does almost ZERO promotion). It is their word of mouth which is going to be heard most loudly. Thus, if you disorient them too much by not matching their expectations, the word of mouth is not going to be good.

So continuing on the "why" aspect of changes in the ethnicity and gender of characters, what are the reasons it sometimes happens?

1. Shock value. It is very commonly done for shock value, whether as a protest or simply publicity.
2. Name recognition. It is sometimes done because Hollywood has a hot property (or a Studio already as a contract they can leverage).
3. And rarely it is done because the Actor/Actress in question is deemed to be the best for the role.

That last one is almost always the STATED reason, when in reality it is almost some combination of the first two. Going back to the film in question, Idris is a great actor. That doesn't mean he was the right one for this role. Hollywood is full of amazing talents. They are dime a dozen. Idris was selected because he is a hot property. Was that a good reason? As it turned out, no. Name recognition did little for the film. But then again, I'm one of those people who thinks the writing has to be good or the film will still be garbage regardless of who is in it. A hot property can only add to a film if there is something to add to in the first place.
Hollywood has done too many ethnicity and gender changes in adaptations. They seem to feel the need to do it in every single book and comic book/superhero adaptation they make these days. It seems to be all in the name of "forced diversity".

I think a better "what if" question in relation to DT, is what if they had casted a white actress in the role of Odetta/Detta/Susanna? Would the movie still be defended on this board the way it is now? Would the changes still be applauded?
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
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Hollywood has done too many ethnicity and gender changes in adaptations. They seem to feel the need to do it in every single book and comic book/superhero adaptation they make these days. It seems to be all in the name of "forced diversity".

I think a better "what if" question in relation to DT, is what if they had casted a white actress in the role of Odetta/Detta/Susanna? Would the movie still be defended on this board the way it is now? Would the changes still be applauded?
....I, for one, never applauded the current changes and would be just as angry about an alteration in the ethnicity of Susanna.....this question smacks of racism, which for me it never was.....I didn't, and still don't like the liberties taken with the casting-but have accepted it as an adaptation, not a faithful re-telling....
 

Rockym

Well-Known Member
Feb 11, 2012
76
231
....I, for one, never applauded the current changes and would be just as angry about an alteration in the ethnicity of Susanna.....this question smacks of racism, which for me it never was.....I didn't, and still don't like the liberties taken with the casting-but have accepted it as an adaptation, not a faithful re-telling....
It's not racism. At least, I don't feel it is. I'm just tired of characters being changed in adaptations for the sake of "forced diversity". And why is a question about changing Susanna's ethnicity racist, but changing Roland's is not?
 

Robert Gray

Well-Known Member
It's not racism. At least, I don't feel it is. I'm just tired of characters being changed in adaptations for the sake of "forced diversity". And why is a question about changing Susanna's ethnicity racist, but changing Roland's is not?
While I would not presume to answer for GNTLGNT, I'm going to address your first question. Nobody is FORCING anyone to change the ethnicity of characters as part of some master plan. That is where your statement comes off a bit bigoted (rather than racist). You are parroting this notion of white victimhood, as if this vast politically correct conspiracy is trying to reorder society. I'm going to be blunt; it is a stupid notion. While I do not favor changing the ethnicity or genders of historical or fictional characters either, it is for entirely different reasons. I also understand WHY it happens and it has nothing to do with "forced diversity."

Nobody is forcing Hollywood to do anything. They do what they do based on what they think will make money, save money, or is easiest. Sometimes they do it simply because they know it will get them free publicity. Your statement implies there are a bunch of fascist Lefties out there forcing their agenda down your throat, and a big part of that implied agenda is "forced diversity." All I can say to that is apply some CRITICAL THINKING and you will quickly realize how silly that sounds. Hollywood is neither a culture crusader for diversity nor a tool of the government. It is mostly an amoral blob. In short, if you are going to dislike ethnic/gender changes to characters... base it on something REAL or meaningful. Let's leave the culture war jargon out of it.
 
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Robert Gray

Well-Known Member
I think a better "what if" question in relation to DT, is what if they had casted a white actress in the role of Odetta/Detta/Susanna? Would the movie still be defended on this board the way it is now? Would the changes still be applauded?
Now I'm going to address this statement, speaking for myself of course as GNTLGNT can certainly speak for himself. This second question is also loaded with implications which reveal your stance. It drips with victimhood. For the record, this movie has been equally lambasted on this board as much as defended. I've certainly not been kind to it. :) Your perception of events based on your personal beliefs has clouded your vision. Your accuracy is poor. Most people on this particular site either 1) disliked the casting choice, 2) were neutral about it, or 3) said that they thought a good actor could pull it off regardless of the color of skin. There were NOT very many posts "applauding" it as some sort of political stance. Your statement implies the opposite, something that is demonstrably not true. In fact, I suspect that if we were to tally up the posts, the majority were not supportive before, and certainly not afterwards. My question to you is why you perceive things one way in defiance of facts? Or are you only counting the posts of a few people with whom you disagree and thus are blind to all the others?

The fact is that there would be people defending the film regardless of whose ethnicity or gender is changed. Likewise, there would be people attacking the film for the same reason (or a 1000 others). You are reading motives in where there are none. Most Forums are like Lothlorien from Middle Earth; the only evil you will find there is what you bring in yourself. You are also very behind the times. We discussed the implications of changing Suse's ethnicity and/or giving her legs back well over a year ago. Nobody wanted to see that then either, but NOT for the reasons you are implying. Don't project your own hangups onto the rest of us. If you want to talk about why such changes are bad for reasons of character and context in the story, then let's have at it. If you want to try and stealth political jargon and culture war into the conversation, take it to Hot Topics and be honest about it. You don't want to talk about this particular film; you have another ax to grind.
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
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Cambridge, Ohio
It's not racism. At least, I don't feel it is. I'm just tired of characters being changed in adaptations for the sake of "forced diversity". And why is a question about changing Susanna's ethnicity racist, but changing Roland's is not?
.....the same underlying tones of racism were felt by some when the original casting was announced......
 
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Rockym

Well-Known Member
Feb 11, 2012
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231
While I would not presume to answer for GNTLGNT, I'm going to address your first question. Nobody is FORCING anyone to change the ethnicity of characters as part of some master plan. That is where your statement comes off a bit bigoted (rather than racist). You are parroting this notion of white victimhood, as if this vast politically correct conspiracy is trying to reorder society. I'm going to be blunt; it is a stupid notion. While I do not favor changing the ethnicity or genders of historical or fictional characters either, it is for entirely different reasons. I also understand WHY it happens and it has nothing to do with "forced diversity."

Nobody is forcing Hollywood to do anything. They do what they do based on what they think will make money, save money, or is easiest. Sometimes they do it simply because they know it will get them free publicity. Your statement implies there are a bunch of fascist Lefties out there forcing their agenda down your throat, and a big part of that implied agenda is "forced diversity." All I can say to that is apply some CRITICAL THINKING and you will quickly realize how silly that sounds. Hollywood is neither a culture crusader for diversity nor a tool of the government. It is mostly an amoral blob. In short, if you are going to dislike ethnic/gender changes to characters... base it on something REAL or meaningful. Let's leave the culture war jargon out of it.
Sorry, but it seems like forced diversity to me when the fictional works and even comic books and superhero stuff already have good ethnic characters in them to begin with. Why change long time existing and well known characters in order to add more diversity? Why not create new ones? In the last 10-15 years almost every adaptation I have seen of a book or comic book, has some ethnic or gender change in it. And there's no need for it.

As for your second reply, I didn't read that far back to see the discussions about Susanna. I have only read more recent posts here and elsewhere and that's what I was commenting on. And I admit I may have over-exaggerated the applause and praise stuff.
 

recitador

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Sorry, but it seems like forced diversity to me when the fictional works and even comic books and superhero stuff already have good ethnic characters in them to begin with. Why change long time existing and well known characters in order to add more diversity? Why not create new ones? In the last 10-15 years almost every adaptation I have seen of a book or comic book, has some ethnic or gender change in it. And there's no need for it.

As for your second reply, I didn't read that far back to see the discussions about Susanna. I have only read more recent posts here and elsewhere and that's what I was commenting on. And I admit I may have over-exaggerated the applause and praise stuff.

just because they're taking on the mantle of a previous character, does not make them not new. there's always been multiple iterations of characters in comics. not every last character, but it happens a lot. some of those different versions are even another white person. miles morales is not the same character as peter parker, just because he's wearing the spider suit. if they have a different name, they are a different character. there were two hobgoblins. pretty sure they were both white. there were two green goblins. father and son - white. multiple venoms, all white. multiple robins - white. multiple flashes and green lanterns, with maybe one of them being black, i'd have to double check on that. multiple captain americas, again, one black, 2 white i believe. i could go on. it's not even close to 100% of them always being changed into ethnic versions to "force diversity". so your argument doesn't hold water. it has more to do with recycling favorite heroes because it's harder to get people to fall in love with new ones, because people get stuck in their nostalgia, and playing on nostalgia is always a safe bet.

ETA: i looked it up and apparently we're up to 4 green goblins.
 
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Rockym

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Feb 11, 2012
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just because they're taking on the mantle of a previous character, does not make them not new. there's always been multiple iterations of characters in comics. not every last character, but it happens a lot. some of those different versions are even another white person. miles morales is not the same character as peter parker, just because he's wearing the spider suit. if they have a different name, they are a different character. there were two hobgoblins. pretty sure they were both white. there were two green goblins. father and son - white. multiple venoms, all white. multiple robins - white. multiple flashes and green lanterns, with maybe one of them being black, i'd have to double check on that. multiple captain americas, again, one black, 2 white i believe. i could go on. it's not even close to 100% of them always being changed into ethnic versions to "force diversity". so your argument doesn't hold water. it has more to do with recycling favorite heroes because it's harder to get people to fall in love with new ones, because people get stuck in their nostalgia, and playing on nostalgia is always a safe bet.

ETA: i looked it up and apparently we're up to 4 green goblins.
I'm not talking about another character taking up the mantle of a hero or villain. That's a completely different concept. And there's nothing wrong with that. And I know all about the multiple Green Goblins, Hobgoblins and Robins (there was even a female Robin). In those cases, it was a different character becoming that hero or villain. And in many cases I own the comics where someone new took up those mantles.

I'm talking about things like making Jimmy Olsen black in the Supergirl TV show, or Perry White black in the newer Superman movies or even changing Josie and the Pussycats to an all black group in that new Riverdale TV series. These are the actual characters that have been around for almost 50 years or longer. And they all have existing ethnic characters they can portray in these adaptations without changing the existing characters.

Look, I don't want to cause any trouble or anything. So I'll just stop talking about this and move on.
 

recitador

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I'm not talking about another character taking up the mantle of a hero or villain. That's a completely different concept. And there's nothing wrong with that. And I know all about the multiple Green Goblins, Hobgoblins and Robins (there was even a female Robin). In those cases, it was a different character becoming that hero or villain. And in many cases I own the comics where someone new took up those mantles.

I'm talking about things like making Jimmy Olsen black in the Supergirl TV show, or Perry White black in the newer Superman movies or even changing Josie and the Pussycats to an all black group in that new Riverdale TV series. These are the actual characters that have been around for almost 50 years or longer. And they all have existing ethnic characters they can portray in these adaptations without changing the existing characters.

Look, I don't want to cause any trouble or anything. So I'll just stop talking about this and move on.

all i'll say about that is the color of their skin has no bearing on their character. is jimmy olsen still a photographer? is perry white still an editor? do josie and the pussycats still sing? they do? then there isn't a problem, other than the possible impression you're giving by focusing solely on that as a negative. but that's your choice. people didn't love them because they were white, or if they did, they were loving them for all the wrong reasons. attitude. character. personality. i guess it's time to trot out the cliche "it's what's on the inside that counts" . . . but it's a cliche because it's true.
 
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Robert Gray

Well-Known Member
Sorry, but it seems like forced diversity to me when the fictional works and even comic books and superhero stuff already have good ethnic characters in them to begin with. Why change long time existing and well known characters in order to add more diversity? Why not create new ones? In the last 10-15 years almost every adaptation I have seen of a book or comic book, has some ethnic or gender change in it. And there's no need for it.
Ok. So who is doing the forcing? :) Is there a government law or regulation that is requiring Studios or Independents to do it? If so, point me to it? :) Force implies that we have no choice. Those who make movies, as shown by their MANY bad choices, are all on their own. They are beholden only to the almighty dollar and often abject stupidity. However, I'm going to try to answer the second part of your question. I've stated already that changing demographics in actors and characters is driven by monetary forces. It stands to reason that changing demographics in the country are affecting who is going out to the theater. Who is and isn't a minority is steadily changing. It stands to reason that people who are not white might want to see heroes that look more like themselves. If there enough of such people, the Studios will market to them. That is simple, American capitalism at work. It isn't force, per say, but pragmatism. Who is going to the movies? Who is reading comic books? I assure you that Studios pay attention to who goes and takes those seats. If I were a betting man.... well you get the idea. The same logic applies to daytime television. Why did Soap Operas dominate for so long? Who was their target audience? Do you see where I'm going with this? Theaters and Studios are facing a seismic shock. How people go to the movies is changing rapidly. Who still goes to the movies is much more pitched. The only force going on is the steady change in population. You better buck up and get used to it, or move to a less diverse country. :)

As for your second reply, I didn't read that far back to see the discussions about Susanna. I have only read more recent posts here and elsewhere and that's what I was commenting on. And I admit I may have over-exaggerated the applause and praise stuff.
This is fair enough. When we first heard that Idris had been cast as Roland, we discussed how/why I hated the idea. It was my opinion that we were going to lose the racial tension and character-defining interactions between Detta, Roland, and Eddie. I still feel that way. Some people suggested that she could be changed to a bigoted, crazy white woman personality. In short, if Roland became black, then Suze could become white and keep it. Nobody much liked the idea. Imagine that. My issue with changing Roland's ethnicity is that it alters the character interactions and is a detail that is important to the story. If it wasn't important to the story, in my humble opinion, I could care less what color or gender the Gunslinger is.... but that is the rub... it IS important.
 
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