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aruna
07-29-2014, 08:37 PM
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/olivia-cole/lucy-why-im-tired-of-seei_b_5627318.html

Quite a brilliant HuffPo article. I haven't seen or even heard of this new Lucy movie but the idea of it totally sticks in my throat.

So I guess what's sticking in my craw is the assertion that while human life originated in Africa -- a detail the film neatly skims over, placing the ape-like Lucy that Johansson sees in North America -- somehow the way we imagine the most evolved human being is blonde and white. Even more, when Lucy gets surges of knowledge in the film, her eyes flash brightly blue. Because blue eyes, we all know, are the universal symbol of superiority, right?

How is it that in a film whose premise rests on the idea of reimagining the past, present and future, we still end up with a blonde white woman with flashing blue eyes as the stand-in for what personifies evolution and supremely fulfilled human potential?

Xelebes
07-29-2014, 09:28 PM
I saw the previews for Lucy. Knew it wasn't a movie for me. I might not have the same qualms, but it did scream "tired."

aruna
07-29-2014, 09:39 PM
It's not only the white people thing that bugs me about this premise.

asroc
07-29-2014, 09:44 PM
Is this the movie perpetuating that dumbass idea that humans only use 10% of their brains? Ugh.

Lillith1991
07-29-2014, 09:53 PM
Yup. Agree with the article completely. Between that and the brain thing.... oh lord. No. Just. No. I'm certainly not going to see it.

Roxxsmom
07-30-2014, 12:45 AM
Is this the movie perpetuating that dumbass idea that humans only use 10% of their brains? Ugh.

Oh god, when will this myth die? And the misconception that evolution has a goal and that a given species has an evolutionary destiny. If there's seismic activity being registered in London right now, it's because Darwin is spinning in his grave.

And then the blonde-haired, blue eyed thing on top of it all?

Sounds like a film to miss.

Greene_Hesperide1990
07-30-2014, 05:07 AM
I just saw a facebook friend post this, and I couldn't help but agree with it as well. My sister recently saw the movie, though she said I should wait until it comes out on Redbox.

Wilde_at_heart
07-30-2014, 05:17 AM
Whenever this issue comes up, filmmakers, etc. seem to try to justify it by claiming it's what audiences want to see. And yet there are films with no white leads (Harold and Kumar, Rush Hour) that were hugely popular.

And yes, I never did 'get' the whole fetish about blue-eyed blondes.


Is this the movie perpetuating that dumbass idea that humans only use 10% of their brains? Ugh.

But ... so many seem to ...

J.S.F.
07-30-2014, 10:51 AM
The "humans using only 10% of their brain" argument is an old and tired argument. Dumb, but there it is.

As for the lead being white, well, Hollywood goes with what sells. Scarlet happens to be a good actress, is very recognizable due to the Ironman and Avengers movies, and she's a bankable commodity. I'm not going to get into a debate about the 'white people and African origins' thing. That's for another thread, really.

The real issue is that there is, to Hollywood's way of thinking, no black or Asian leading lady types who could do this kind of role. That is something that needs changing, most definitely, but again, it all goes back to who can carry the movie.

I saw Lucy. It wasn't great, but not as terrible as others have made it out to be. It raised some good questions, didn't answer a whole lot of them, but within the space of ninety or so minutes, gave me pause for thought, mainly on the idea of what consciousness is, how we view time, and so on. And Scarlet J played her role well. Could a PoC have done just as well? Maybe. That's all I'll say. But would Hollywood have bankrolled such a flick if a black or Asian actress was in the lead role...that's the multi-million dollar question.

Xelebes
07-30-2014, 06:23 PM
Then there is also this:

http://bitterandcurt.tumblr.com/post/82160920765

mirandashell
07-30-2014, 06:29 PM
And yes, I never did 'get' the whole fetish about blue-eyed blondes

I think it's because it's quite rare in Nature unless you go to a small area of Northern Europe. And even there it's not as common as you think.

Of course these days there are lot of blondes around.

mirandashell
07-30-2014, 06:32 PM
“Keep Clean. Apple, scallop & ginger, orange, tomato, grape”

Oh my lor..... the lazyass, can't be bothered to think about it, offense just doesn't stop, does it? They must have got the Chinese off a menu......

Larry M
07-30-2014, 07:11 PM
… As for the lead being white, well, Hollywood goes with what sells. Scarlet happens to be a good actress, is very recognizable due to the Ironman and Avengers movies, and she's a bankable commodity. I'm not going to get into a debate about the 'white people and African origins' thing. That's for another thread, really.

The real issue is that there is, to Hollywood's way of thinking, no black or Asian leading lady types who could do this kind of role. That is something that needs changing, most definitely, but again, it all goes back to who can carry the movie.

I saw Lucy. It wasn't great, but not as terrible as others have made it out to be. It raised some good questions, didn't answer a whole lot of them, but within the space of ninety or so minutes, gave me pause for thought, mainly on the idea of what consciousness is, how we view time, and so on. And Scarlet J played her role well. Could a PoC have done just as well? Maybe. That's all I'll say. But would Hollywood have bankrolled such a flick if a black or Asian actress was in the lead role...that's the multi-million dollar question.

There seems to be no shortage of women that could have convincingly played such a role: Halle Berry, Viola Davis, Angela Bassett.

There was a time when Hollywood seemed more interested in being as authentic as possible. I guess filmmakers are reverting back to the '30's and '40's era when most if not all film 'stars' were white.

On a side note, how many people grew up thinking that historical figures such as Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Marc Antony, etc., spoke with British accents, simply because that was how they were portrayed in film?

I recall having an 'aha' moment back in the '80's while reading Donald Johanson's book 'Lucy', discussing early humans - 'wow, they would NOT have been white.' Seems like a no-brainer now, but I am a product of American schools of the '60's and '70's (and apparently, guilty of not questioning enough of what I was taught.)

I haven't seen 'Lucy', but no matter how good the actress is, if she doesn't look the part, such a film would take a serious hit for lack of authenticity.

Cyia
07-30-2014, 07:16 PM
Then there is also this:

http://bitterandcurt.tumblr.com/post/82160920765



“Keep Clean. Apple, scallop & ginger, orange, tomato, grape”

Obviously, the last dude kept in that cell was planning what he wanted to eat after he got out.

First, he'd turn his life around (keep clean), and then he'd make a scallop and apple soup with a hint of ginger. The only question left was whether he wanted orange, tomato, or grape juice on the side.

Too bad the poor fellow wrote his menu in blood, and thus died before he could follow through with his plans.

:(

:D

J.S.F.
07-30-2014, 07:29 PM
There seems to be no shortage of women that could have convincingly played such a role: Halle Berry, Viola Davis, Angela Bassett.


I haven't seen 'Lucy', but no matter how good the actress is, if she doesn't look the part, such a film would take a serious hit for lack of authenticity.

--
I happen to agree with you on the actresses listed above. I was saying that Hollywood probably didn't want to take a chance on a PoC as perhaps not being bankable enough. I'm not familiar with Ms. Davis, but Angela Bassett is a fine actress. Halle Berry is hit and miss acting-wise, really, although I happen to like her.

Again, if the part of Lucy had originally called for a black actress and Luc Besson/Hollywood producers decided that a black woman wasn't bankable enough, then that's a shit decision on their part and totally wrong. IF. But I have the feeling, right or wrong, that Hollywood went with the person they though could sell the movie best. The only color Hollywood thinks of is green, anyway. So they chose Scarlett J who is, as I said before, a hot commodity right now.

kaitie
07-30-2014, 07:43 PM
But part of the reason the white actors are more bankable is because they're giving bigger parts, right? I mean, I guess I could see an argument being made that these guys are famous so they're the ones Hollywood wants in movies because they'll sell more, but they're also the ones being given the breaks. Scarlett wasn't as hugely famous before some of her more recent movies, was she? (I'm not good with famous people, so I could be wrong).

What if, instead of her, a Hispanic woman, or Indian, or African-American had been cast as Black Widow? Would that person be a big name now? Hollywood is notorious for only casting white people as leads (or as any character ever for that matter. Not just Hollywood, either. I always think it's ridiculous to watch a TV show that takes place in New York, for instance, where 90% of the cast is white).

Not only that, Hollywood is notorious for casting white folks in place of roles that should belong to minorities. So even when there is a role that should inherently go to a minority, and thus give said minority a chance to make it big, they cast white people.

I get tired of seeing it myself, honestly. Not just white people. I'm tired of seeing super skinny, beautiful white people in movies and TV. When I go outside, that's not what I see, and it's gotten to the point that when I see these casts, I can't help but roll my eyes and think that it's unrealistic and stupid.

Larry M
07-30-2014, 08:35 PM
... I was saying that Hollywood probably didn't want to take a chance on a PoC as perhaps not being bankable enough.

I understand - I was agreeing with the point you made about the Hollywood attitude:


… The real issue is that there is, to Hollywood's way of thinking, no black or Asian leading lady types who could do this kind of role...

And the 'Hollywood attitude' (or maybe just this film's producers's attitude) that the white actress is more bankable backfires with me, as they're not likely to get my money simply because of how they cast the lead role.

J.S.F.
07-31-2014, 02:03 AM
But part of the reason the white actors are more bankable is because they're giving bigger parts, right? I mean, I guess I could see an argument being made that these guys are famous so they're the ones Hollywood wants in movies because they'll sell more, but they're also the ones being given the breaks. Scarlett wasn't as hugely famous before some of her more recent movies, was she? (I'm not good with famous people, so I could be wrong).
---ME. Generally speaking, white people traditionally got bigger parts in lily-white Hollywood yonks back. That's because of the inherent racism of society. No argument. And the majority of whites happened to be Christian, so there's another point to consider.

However, then, as now, bankability is one of the main factors...and yes, that may lead to more breaks. As for Scarlett, she worked her way up in the industry and had won a number of theater and other awards before being given the role of Black Widow.

What if, instead of her, a Hispanic woman, or Indian, or African-American had been cast as Black Widow? Would that person be a big name now? Hollywood is notorious for only casting white people as leads (or as any character ever for that matter. Not just Hollywood, either. I always think it's ridiculous to watch a TV show that takes place in New York, for instance, where 90% of the cast is white).
---ME. Samuel Jackson was cast as Nick Fury in Ironman and the Avengers. Laurence Fishburne as Perry White in Man of Steel.

Not only that, Hollywood is notorious for casting white folks in place of roles that should belong to minorities. So even when there is a role that should inherently go to a minority, and thus give said minority a chance to make it big, they cast white people.
---ME. Yup, unfortunately, true.

I get tired of seeing it myself, honestly. Not just white people. I'm tired of seeing super skinny, beautiful white people in movies and TV. When I go outside, that's not what I see, and it's gotten to the point that when I see these casts, I can't help but roll my eyes and think that it's unrealistic and stupid.
---

See above, please.

As for the image of super skinny beautiful white people, it's been part of the mainstream thinking for a long time. No question. However, not everyone on TV is blond, super skinny or white or beautiful. Still, I see your point, and there should be way more diversity...but try convincing the powers that be of that.

Xelebes
07-31-2014, 02:23 AM
--
I happen to agree with you on the actresses listed above. I was saying that Hollywood probably didn't want to take a chance on a PoC as perhaps not being bankable enough. I'm not familiar with Ms. Davis, but Angela Bassett is a fine actress. Halle Berry is hit and miss acting-wise, really, although I happen to like her.

Again, if the part of Lucy had originally called for a black actress and Luc Besson/Hollywood producers decided that a black woman wasn't bankable enough, then that's a shit decision on their part and totally wrong. IF. But I have the feeling, right or wrong, that Hollywood went with the person they though could sell the movie best. The only color Hollywood thinks of is green, anyway. So they chose Scarlett J who is, as I said before, a hot commodity right now.

Personally, I don't think they could salvage this film with someone who was not white (and blue eyes.) It is a trainwreck.

nighttimer
07-31-2014, 05:58 AM
I haven't seen Lucy, but nothing about Olivia Cole's hatchet job of an essay makes me not want to see Lucy.

Ms. Cole is described as an "poet, author, and activist." Perhaps she should try and work upon adding "screenwriter" to her titles and when and if she becomes one she can start writing scripts that feature the actresses she wants to see in the films she wants to watch.

In 2014, I've really had quite enough of people of color pissing and moaning about how The Man won't give us a break and put us in his movies. Ever hear of Kickstarter? Don't depend on someone else to tell your stories. Create, own and tell your own stories and then you can tell them the way you want them to be told.

Self-sufficiency is the key to self-expression. Depending on White filmmakers to tell Black stories is a waste on time. We watched Get On Up the James Brown biopic that Spike Lee was fired from and replaced by Tate Taylor, director of the sentimental slop that was The Help. Taylor made a standard, paint-by-numbers biopic that drains all the soul from The Godfather of Soul. I'm not saying Lee would have made a better film, but it's hard to believe he would have made a worse one.

The best thing about this essay appearing in The Huffington Post is at least Cole wasn't paid for it. :rolleyes

aruna
07-31-2014, 07:07 PM
I haven't seen Lucy, but nothing about Olivia Cole's hatchet job of an essay makes me not want to see Lucy.

Ms. Cole is described as an "poet, author, and activist." Perhaps she should try and work upon adding "screenwriter" to her titles and when and if she becomes one she can start writing scripts that feature the actresses she wants to see in the films she wants to watch.


Aw, spoilsport! ;)

Nothing like a good old rant about the lack of PoC in movies and books -- but as a PoC oneself one has to be careful (and silent), because otherwise you will be accused of having a HUGE chip on your shoulder. Maybe that's why I've actually not heard it complained about often. In fact, this is the first time I've read such an article.

Actually, my issue is more about the lack of PoC characters in books. Not one of the last 20 books or so I've read has even one non-Caucasian character -- not even in a cameo role (excluding one book set in India). And I've never read even one article about this imbalance as pertaining to adult books.

The UK Childrens' Laureate, Mallory Blackman, who is black, did bring it up as pertaining to children's books, and she was subjected to a storm of abuse, called racist herself. And there was a few months ago that twitter campaign about diversity in kids' books. But nobody speaks about adult books.

I only ever complain on AW. And I am certainly doing something about it, with all those books I've written over the past 14 years. Fortunately, they are now all going to be published!

Medievalist
08-01-2014, 12:44 AM
Sounds like a film to miss.

Yep. Starts stupid, and get stupider.

Not interested. Not giving this trash my time or money.

Medievalist
08-01-2014, 12:45 AM
I only ever complain on AW. And I am certainly doing something about it, with all those books I've written over the past 14 years. Fortunately, they are now all going to be published!

This is good, but also, as they're published let people know.

Medievalist
08-01-2014, 12:47 AM
I guess filmmakers are reverting back to the '30's and '40's era when most if not all film 'stars' were white.

When there were super films being made by, for, and with, non-whites, but they weren't widely distributed.

LJD
08-01-2014, 01:31 AM
Actually, my issue is more about the lack of PoC characters in books. Not one of the last 20 books or so I've read has even one non-Caucasian character -- not even in a cameo role (excluding one book set in India). And I've never read even one article about this imbalance as pertaining to adult books.

I've seen a bunch of discussion about this on romance blogs.

nighttimer
08-01-2014, 03:18 AM
Aw, spoilsport! ;)

Nothing like a good old rant about the lack of PoC in movies and books -- but as a PoC oneself one has to be careful (and silent), because otherwise you will be accused of having a HUGE chip on your shoulder.

What's wrong about having a HUGE chip on your shoulder?

I look at the b.s. token gestures and the insincere hand waves at inclusion like allowing a Black guy to dress up and be Captain America and giving the power of Thor to a woman while the artists, writers, editors and talent putting together the funny books remain monochormatically as pale as even and that huge chip on my shoulder gets even bigger.

I'm not interested in bussing in Black or Asian or Latino or any other group into a scenario to reflect "diversity" when it is meaningless and griping about Scarlett Johansson for being too blonde for the part is meaningless.

aruna
08-01-2014, 09:28 PM
When there were super films being made by, for, and with, non-whites, but they weren't widely distributed.

Yep. I never even knew there was a film to Harry Belafonte's Island in the Sun -- and then I ran into it on YouTube. Made in 1957, about racial politics in the 50's; a story set on a fictional Caribbean Island, which feels so true to life I felt I was back in the Caribbean -- the whole "feeling" is there; white society and black, Harry Belafonte, Dorothy Dandridge, Joan Collins. It's here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aqpCjPGero), (the whole movie) and well worth watching! The whole drama of whites flipping out because of "a touch of the tarbrush"...

The island scenes are very authentic -- they remind me of Guyana in colonial days.



What's wrong about having a HUGE chip on your shoulder?

.

It's not for me. I grew up with one and it's not a good feeling. I worked hard to grow out of it, and now when I draw attention to issues like the one in the OP it's not from a position of chip-on-shoulder but from a position of this-is-just-not-right; an emotionally neutral position.

kuwisdelu
08-16-2014, 07:36 AM
It's not for me. I grew up with one and it's not a good feeling. I worked hard to grow out of it, and now when I draw attention to issues like the one in the OP it's not from a position of chip-on-shoulder but from a position of this-is-just-not-right; an emotionally neutral position.

I didn't know I had a chip until one day I stood up and almost fell over.

Lillith1991
08-16-2014, 08:48 AM
I didn't know I had a chip until one day I stood up and almost fell over.

Same here. But to be fair, it isn't exactly there without due cause. I still complain about them casting Bennedict Cumberbatch for the role of Khan in In To Darkness, because they damn well could have found an Indian actor to play the part. There's plenty of male actors of Indian decent around, so there was no excuse to not even attempt to do the work if they were going to use that plotline from Wrath of Kahn. At least when they original was being filmed they had a POC playing Khan, which considering it was a Latino man instead of someone of Indian decent isn't a huge step up. But at least they tried in the original instead of having some white guy in makeup play someone from India or just slapping an Indian sounding name on a white guy.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love the movie, and Ben is an awesome actor. In fact I love his role in the movie, but that doesn't change that a role which went to a Person of Color originally was given to a decidedly white guy. That they could not even bother to try casting someone who is a POC for the role.

Yes, this chip is very heavy. *falls over*

That said, they damn well could of found a black actress to play the lead in Lucy if they really wanted to.

calieber
08-16-2014, 08:55 AM
Oh my lor..... the lazyass, can't be bothered to think about it, offense just doesn't stop, does it? They must have got the Chinese off a menu......

That offends me as, among other things, a writer who loves Easter eggs.

tashas
08-23-2014, 12:26 AM
Same here. But to be fair, it isn't exactly there without due cause. I still complain about them casting Bennedict Cumberbatch for the role of Khan in In To Darkness, because they damn well could have found an Indian actor to play the part. There's plenty of male actors of Indian decent around, so there was no excuse to not even attempt to do the work if they were going to use that plotline from Wrath of Kahn.

I still complain about that too (although I also think Ben is a brilliant actor - but he could have played anyone! Why Khan?). And about the Prince of Persia, and Avatar the Last Airbender, and 21, and that awful Dragon Ball film.

Tasha, who is pretty much all chip.

shaldna
09-06-2014, 12:45 PM
I didn't see this thread until today, so apologies.

I agree that there is too much white emphasis on screen. And I say this as someone who is genetically the whitest of the white (irish, see through skin, freckles, red hair green eyes)

Incidently I was watching Ben Hur with my folks last weekend and my 7 year old daughter commented on 'all the white people' - she's smart enough to know racial geography/

Whitewashing and white casting are defininately a problem in the grand scheme of things, but at the same time I do have to be the voice of objectivity and say that casting and racial casting in particular is very much dependant on location, setting, character social groups etc.

Lillith1991
09-06-2014, 01:03 PM
Whitewashing and white casting are defininately a problem in the grand scheme of things, but at the same time I do have to be the voice of objectivity and say that casting and racial casting in particular is very much dependant on location, setting, character social groups etc.

This is true, but when it comes to characters like Khan or Lucy the people playing them if we're going for realism wouldn't have been white. My bugbear with such things is that it doesn't make sense, and takes a away from the story most of the time. As I said upthread, I love Ben's acting, but they had plenty of Indian actors to choose from for the role. And whitewashing a character in a remake of an original is in my mind at least disrepctful of the effort the original creators put in. If they could cast a POC and not some white person painted to look like they're from india in 1981 , they could have done so 30 years after the original hit theaters. To not make the effort to do so is regression, not progression.

shaldna
09-06-2014, 01:28 PM
This is true, but when it comes to characters like Khan or Lucy the people playing them if we're going for realism wouldn't have been white. My bugbear with such things is that it doesn't make sense, and takes a away from the story most of the time. As I said upthread, I love Ben's acting, but they had plenty of Indian actors to choose from for the role. And whitewashing a character in a remake of an original is in my mind at least disrepctful of the effort the original creators put in. If they could cast a POC and not some white person painted to look like they're from india in 1981 , they could have done so 30 years after the original hit theaters. To not make the effort to do so is regression, not progression.

I totally agree.

Cyia
09-07-2014, 09:21 PM
This is true, but when it comes to characters like Khan or Lucy the people playing them if we're going for realism wouldn't have been white.

Not to mention it would have made the story-telling simpler.

If you use a location like Taipei, and a story-catalyst like an innocent woman being forced to work as a drug mule, it's much simpler to set-up the idea of a local young woman pulled in off the street - or even lured in by a promise of hefty payment. It's real; it makes sense, and she'd have a much easier time wandering from place-to-place, without notice locally than a foreigner. That's what you want if you're trafficking illegal goods - especially if you plan to kill the mule after the fact.

What you don't want is to pick the single (or one of the few) light-haired Caucasians in the area. Someone studying abroad who has friends and family with the ability and right to call embassies if said blondie goes missing.

That's supposedly the set-up for Lucy (I've not seen it, yet). The set-up in the first paragraph could be done in less than a minute at the beginning of the film. It doesn't take complicated back story or story-contortion. The set-up in the second requires the audience to know who the girl is, why she's half-way across the world, what country she's from, if she's got friends there, etc.

In fact, if you need a scene in a movie where your blondie "wills" herself to change appearance and blend with the local population so she can move easier (shown in the preview), then you've probably cast the wrong actress.