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Old 19th March 2017, 03:14 PM   #41
Captain_Swoop
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Plenty of opportunity fir Scottish actors on Scottish TV surely?
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Old 19th March 2017, 03:20 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Plenty of opportunity fir Scottish actors on Scottish TV surely?
Certainly you couldn't have James Bond be Scottish. Or Irish, or Australian. That would be crazy.
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Old 19th March 2017, 03:22 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by Archie Gemmill Goal View Post
Way to miss the point Batman.
So what is your point? You said, "...Scottish actors make the same complaint about not having opportunities unless they can fake an upper class English accent"

Why would a person complain about an aspect of their job that is not only expected, but integral to its performance?
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Old 19th March 2017, 03:26 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
Why would a person complain about an aspect of their job that is not only expected, but integral to its performance?
Does "having a particular skin color" fall into that definition, though? An accent might. Having a sense of taste if you're a winetaster would. Not being tone deaf if you're a musician. Lactating if you're a wetnurse. Speaking Russian if you're a Russian translator or spying on Trump's contacts. But is "actor's skin must be between this and this shade in order to play the role of X" actually integral to the performance?
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Old 19th March 2017, 03:31 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Plenty of opportunity fir Scottish actors on Scottish TV surely?
Not sure if this is tongue in cheek...

BBC Scotland didn't even have a drama commissioner role until recently and STV makes almost nothing but Taggart.

It was James McAvoy I'm sure that brought this up recently. Maybe on the Scroobius Pip podcast.
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Old 19th March 2017, 03:33 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Does "having a particular skin color" fall into that definition, though? An accent might. Having a sense of taste if you're a winetaster would. Not being tone deaf if you're a musician. Lactating if you're a wetnurse. Speaking Russian if you're a Russian translator or spying on Trump's contacts. But is "actor's skin must be between this and this shade in order to play the role of X" actually integral to the performance?
If it would detract from the authenticity as perceived by the audience, yes (a Swede playing Muhammad Ali, or an African playing Winston Churchill). Or, if would in itself suggest a narrative not to be found in the plot (a South Korean lord of the manor in 19th century England, or whatever). Otherwise, no.

That's what's daft about the whole thing. All producers and most directors want, first and foremost, to make money. Everything else is secondary. If replacing the entire cast of Downton Abbey with Samoans would bring in a bigger audience, they'd do it. The idea that any racism or discrimination is involved is unfounded.
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Old 19th March 2017, 03:34 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
So what is your point? You said, "...Scottish actors make the same complaint about not having opportunities unless they can fake an upper class English accent"

Why would a person complain about an aspect of their job that is not only expected, but integral to its performance?
Well presumably people who didn't have to fake it would be preferred over those that do and the point being made by me was that other actors agree with the point made by Newton - that the roles available in the UK are predominantly within a fairly narrow range.
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Old 19th March 2017, 03:35 PM   #48
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I notice that Black Mirror seems to offer a lot of opportunities for non-white actors and actresses.

Hey, did anyone see the Justin Bieber Atlanta episode?
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Old 19th March 2017, 03:35 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
If it would detract from the authenticity as perceived by the audience, yes (a Swede playing Muhammad Ali, or an African playing Winston Churchill). Or, if would in itself suggest a narrative not to be found in the plot (a South Korean lord of the manor in 19th century England, or whatever). Otherwise, no.

That's what's daft about the whole thing. All producers and most directors want, first and foremost, to make money. Everything else is secondary. If replacing the entire cast of Downton Abbey with Samoans would bring in a bigger audience, they'd do it. The idea that any racism or discrimination is involved is unfounded.
and who is claiming racism?
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Old 19th March 2017, 03:39 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Archie Gemmill Goal View Post
Well presumably people who didn't have to fake it would be preferred over those that do
Why would you say that? It clearly isn't the case, you only have to look at the number of English actors working in the US, all faking US accents.

Originally Posted by Archie Gemmill Goal View Post
and the point being made by me was that other actors agree with the point made by Newton - that the roles available in the UK are predominantly within a fairly narrow range.
Then it's not a good point. It's an actor's job to fake an accent but it's a challenge for any actor to change their skin colour, even Rebecca Romijn.
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Old 19th March 2017, 03:43 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
If it would detract from the authenticity as perceived by the audience, yes (a Swede playing Muhammad Ali, or an African playing Winston Churchill). Or, if would in itself suggest a narrative not to be found in the plot (a South Korean lord of the manor in 19th century England, or whatever). Otherwise, no.
Do you have similar objections if an actor of Korean descent plays a Japanese character? Do Greeks count as white people? How about Jews?
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Old 19th March 2017, 03:45 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
If it would detract from the authenticity as perceived by the audience, yes (a Swede playing Muhammad Ali, or an African playing Winston Churchill). Or, if would in itself suggest a narrative not to be found in the plot (a South Korean lord of the manor in 19th century England, or whatever). Otherwise, no.

That's what's daft about the whole thing. All producers and most directors want, first and foremost, to make money. Everything else is secondary. If replacing the entire cast of Downton Abbey with Samoans would bring in a bigger audience, they'd do it. The idea that any racism or discrimination is involved is unfounded.
I'm not sure if making money is the main motivation on the BBC, which is ostensibly not a commercial broadcaster. I don't actually see evidence that Thandie Newton was making the accusation. That's my main problem with the replies inthis thread. That and your contention that she is a mediocre talent.

I pretty much agree that "colour blind casting" is silly or utopian at best and quite often not desirable anyway.

The accent thing is demonstrably another issue as the complaints by Samuel L Jackson confirm that talented actors from the U.K. have been extremely successful in America.
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Old 19th March 2017, 03:46 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
I can't read the original interview because being in the Sunday Times I presume it is paywalled, but from the BBC link I cannot find any examples of her blaming racism. Instead she is merely saying that there are few roles she is interested in and explaining why she doesn't work much in the UK. Why are people from the OP on down losing their **** about this and hurling their toys from the pram?
I guess some of us suffer from "race-card fatigue"... we're basically sick to death of hearing race used as an excuse for anything and everything.

In this case, a production company that prides itself on historical accuracy, producing historical & period dramas need to cast their actors to show an accurate reflection of the times. The reason there are very few if any black actors cast in these productions is simply because they were demographically almost non existent in those times, and those that were there certainly did not appear in the social circles of most of the people being written about.

Additionally, an awful lot of these dramas are based on the writings characters of writers such as Charles Dickens, Ann Radcliff, WM Thackeray, Jane Austen, Walter Scott, Ben Disraeli, George Meredith, George Eliot, RL Stevenson, Thomas Hardy, Oscar Wilde, H.G. Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle and the Bronte Sisters. Messing with their characterizations isn't good form.
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Old 19th March 2017, 03:47 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Do you have similar objections if an actor of Korean descent plays a Japanese character? Do Greeks count as white people? How about Jews?
Er, no; I think so; they're fine.

That was a great debate, let's do it again soon.
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Old 19th March 2017, 03:51 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Do you have similar objections if an actor of Korean descent plays a Japanese character? Do Greeks count as white people? How about Jews?
Let's cut to the real discrimination in Hollywood: the disproportionate number of villains with an English accent!
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Old 19th March 2017, 03:51 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
Er, no; I think so; they're fine.
Which is it? Are you for authenticity in racial casting or not?
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Old 19th March 2017, 03:53 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
I'm not sure if making money is the main motivation on the BBC, which is ostensibly not a commercial broadcaster.
Oh, the BBC is all about making money, don't get me started. Domestic policy aside, it sells shows to about 200 countries. Also, the producers and directors don't usually work for the BBC.

Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
I don't actually see evidence that Thandie Newton was making the accusation. That's my main problem with the replies inthis thread.
She's making excuses, that's for sure. As for accusations, maybe not directly. But I'd be interested in hearing why she thinks directors are deliberately not casting actors of non-white ethnicity if it's not a case of discrimination or racism. Surely someone who feels strongly enough about something to, presumably, pursue it at a financial cost has some ulterior motive.

Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
That and your contention that she is a mediocre talent.
Be fair, I retracted that.

I was being too generous.

Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
I pretty much agree that "colour blind casting" is silly or utopian at best and quite often not desirable anyway.

The accent thing is demonstrably another issue as the complaints by Samuel L Jackson confirm that talented actors from the U.K. have been extremely successful in America.
I recall US fans didn't believe Damian Lewis was English when they were first told.
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Old 19th March 2017, 03:58 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Which is it? Are you for authenticity in racial casting or not?
You asked me three questions, I gave you three answers.

As for your fourth question; I maintain that if an actor cannot be DNA matched to the character to an accuracy of at least 97.9% it is a travesty and an outrage I will protest outside the cinema at the premier. I imagine you already gleaned this from my previous posts but I thought I'd restate it, since you asked.
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Old 19th March 2017, 03:58 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Do you have similar objections if an actor of Korean descent plays a Japanese character? Do Greeks count as white people? How about Jews?
For me it really depends. In Memoirs of a Geisha a few Japanese roles were played by Chinese actresses. If the dialogue had been in English it would have been fine but there were a lot of mangled Japanese lines thrown into the script which ended up sounding stupid. But they could have passed as Japanese if they had been able to deliver their lines properly. IMHO.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 19th March 2017, 04:00 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by Archie Gemmill Goal View Post
Not sure if this is tongue in cheek...

BBC Scotland didn't even have a drama commissioner role until recently and STV makes almost nothing but Taggart.

It was James McAvoy I'm sure that brought this up recently. Maybe on the Scroobius Pip podcast.
Don't forget Still Game, and there used to be Take the Highroad
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Old 19th March 2017, 04:01 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
For me it really depends. In Memoirs of a Geisha a few Japanese roles were played by Chinese actresses. If the dialogue had been in English it would have been fine but there were a lot of mangled Japanese lines thrown into the script which ended up sounding stupid. But they could have passed as Japanese if they had been able to deliver their lines properly. IMHO.
The irony here (not from your post, I hasten to add) is that if you say, "Oh, I don't mind if a Japanese plays a Chinese or vice versa," you'd be accused of racism, as in, What? You're saying they both look the same? Re another episode of Extras...
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Old 19th March 2017, 04:02 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by Archie Gemmill Goal View Post
A convenient strawman there.

She is rightly pointing out that the commercial choices being made to produce such material are limiting the roles available.
Its not a strawman at all

The commercial choices are made because it is what the market demands... if there was no market, then the productions would not be made.

I was, and still am, a great fan of the Conan Doyle's original Sherlock Holmes. I consider this modern version in a contemporary setting and a female Watson to be an absolute travesty.
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Old 19th March 2017, 04:03 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
You asked me three questions, I gave you three answers.

As for your fourth question; I maintain that if an actor cannot be DNA matched to the character to an accuracy of at least 97.9% it is a travesty and an outrage I will protest outside the cinema at the premier. I imagine you already gleaned this from my previous posts but I thought I'd restate it, since you asked.
Try to avoid highlander.

And star trek.
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Old 19th March 2017, 04:03 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
Oh, the BBC is all about making money, don't get me started. Domestic policy aside, it sells shows to about 200 countries. Also, the producers and directors don't usually work for the BBC.



She's making excuses, that's for sure. As for accusations, maybe not directly. But I'd be interested in hearing why she thinks directors are deliberately not casting actors of non-white ethnicity if it's not a case of discrimination or racism. Surely someone who feels strongly enough about something to, presumably, pursue it at a financial cost has some ulterior motive.



Be fair, I retracted that.

I was being too generous.



I recall US fans didn't believe Damian Lewis was English when they were first told.
One reason why I would like to see the actual interview instead of casting aspersions is to see the context in which this came up.

For example, was she asked "how come you don't make more TV shows in the U.K.? You're always doing American stuff."

It wouldn't be "making excuses" if she was simply saying that she prefers the roles in America because they are more varied and more interesting. She would be completely correct.

Or if she had been told, "that Samuel L Jackson is complaining that you people are going over there and tekkin thur jerbs" then her response may be defensive but perfectly reasonable.

And yes, I saw the retraction and was going to give you a pass on that one until you admit your error and repent!
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Old 19th March 2017, 04:06 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
As for your fourth question; I maintain that if an actor cannot be DNA matched to the character to an accuracy of at least 97.9% it is a travesty and an outrage I will protest outside the cinema at the premier.
Um, 97.9% DNA match encompasses every human. And depending on who you ask, also the chimpanzees.

Personally, I think every historical drama would be improved by casting chimpanzees in the human roles.
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Old 19th March 2017, 04:08 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
The irony here (not from your post, I hasten to add) is that if you say, "Oh, I don't mind if a Japanese plays a Chinese or vice versa," you'd be accused of racism, as in, What? You're saying they both look the same? Re another episode of Extras...
Well, isn't it racist? To say you're fine with a Berber playing King Arthur, but would object to a British actress who happens to be black playing Guenevere because it "would detract from the authenticity as perceived by the audience"?
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Old 19th March 2017, 04:10 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by baron View Post


She's making excuses, that's for sure. As for accusations, maybe not directly. But I'd be interested in hearing why she thinks directors are deliberately not casting actors of non-white ethnicity if it's not a case of discrimination or racism. Surely someone who feels strongly enough about something to, presumably, pursue it at a financial cost has some ulterior motive.
Third time lucky...

The point is not about racism it's about the narrow boundaries of original drama produced in the UK which has the unwelcome effect of minimising opportunities for those that don't fit neatly in them.

Nobody is saying they should put a Chinese family in Downtown Abbey they are saying that it would be good if there was also some drama that had Chinese families in it. Preferably as something other than a token stereotype. Something that reflected the modern face of the UK rather than playing to imagined airbrushed pasts or mythical country idylls.
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Old 19th March 2017, 04:13 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Its not a strawman at all

The commercial choices are made because it is what the market demands... if there was no market, then the productions would not be made.

I was, and still am, a great fan of the Conan Doyle's original Sherlock Holmes. I consider this modern version in a contemporary setting and a female Watson to be an absolute travesty.
We fund the BBC to be a public service and go beyond what the market demands. Its currently being driven by a desire to feed an overseas demand a for twee British stereotypes Seriously this makes no more sense than a retailer saying they don't want to hire black people because they frighten their customers.
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Old 19th March 2017, 04:16 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Well, isn't it racist? To say you're fine with a Berber playing King Arthur, but would object to a British actress who happens to be black playing Guenevere because it "would detract from the authenticity as perceived by the audience"?
Mmmm?

A non lily white actor playing Guinevere. Inconceivable.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel_Coulby

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merlin_(2008_TV_series)
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Old 19th March 2017, 04:21 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by fagin View Post
Mmmm?

A non lily white actor playing Guinevere. Inconceivable.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel_Coulby

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merlin_(2008_TV_series)
That was my point, I was referring to Merlin with the example. People objected to the casting because Guenevere "shouldn't be black". There were fewer objections about Arthur and Merlin being ho yay twinks for some reason, but I chalk that up to duh, hot.
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Old 19th March 2017, 04:21 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by Archie Gemmill Goal View Post
We fund the BBC to be a public service and go beyond what the market demands. Its currently being driven by a desire to feed an overseas demand a for twee British stereotypes Seriously this makes no more sense than a retailer saying they don't want to hire black people because they frighten their customers.
Not quite the same. Your example would be pandering to an irrational fear. What they are doing is simply catering to a demand.
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Old 19th March 2017, 04:24 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
Not quite the same. Your example would be pandering to an irrational fear. What they are doing is simply catering to a demand.
In that case, the American demand is for a Downton Abbey crossover with Shameless. Because it would be "twee" to see the Dowager Countess Grantham having tea with Mimi Maguire. Well, maybe not "twee". But it would certainly be something.
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Old 19th March 2017, 04:26 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
You're going to have to explain the logic of that to me. Why should the ratio of white to non-white in the 21st century be reflected in the casting of a film set say 200 years ago when the ratios in Britain were very different indeed? Are you really suggesting that if Far from the Madding Crowd were to be remade, 1 in 7 of the be-smocked west-country farm labourers should be black, when it is highly likely that not a single Devon/ Dorset/ Somerset farm labourer in the 19th century was black?
Xactly. And are they really going to cast a black actress as Margaret of Anjou?
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Old 19th March 2017, 04:35 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
Not quite the same. Your example would be pandering to an irrational fear. What they are doing is simply catering to a demand.
It would be catering to a demand in both cases but the point is that perhaps TV creators should be doing more than just catering to demands. It is supposed to be art after all.

In any case pointing out the results of that demand is a perfectly legitimate thing to do

Plenty of people lament the demise of the small corner shop without being labelled anti capitalist rabble rousers for example.

The usual suspects are quick to latch onto this here though and make sure the black woman is put back in her place however. How dare she speak up about something that affects her.
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Old 19th March 2017, 04:39 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by Archie Gemmill Goal View Post
It would be catering to a demand in both cases but the point is that perhaps TV creators should be doing more than just catering to demands. It is supposed to be art after all.

.
But you are suggesting it be politically correct art.
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Old 19th March 2017, 04:40 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Did I say anything about instituting rules? No, I didn't. I just said who gives a damn if the actor's skin is "the wrong color" if we're already making allowances for everything else about the actor. Hell, people these days are considerably taller than ancient people, but I don't see anyone complaining about how I, Claudius should have cast only short actors. I'm saying ignore skin color, it shouldn't be difficult for a modern audience. It's not like we're actually from 1200 AD and haven't seen anyone with more melanin before!



I don't know why you're aiming that at me, I'm arguing in favor of color blind casting, not color specific casting which is the exact opposite.

You have a point. Shakespeare considered himself 'brown'. In his day, only upper-class ladies were 'white'. Ladies roles were played by boys or men.

When the Globe allowed ladies to be cast for ladies parts, I expect there was a similar furious argument then, as we are having now.

IOW the concept of whiteness is a modern racist development, probably to do with colonialism slavery, bondage and serfdom, and the bringing in of laws to prevent the masters marrying the slaves. Next stage in history, were Jim Crow laws and apartheid.

Watching Downton Abbey: it is ridiculous the costumes they wear, as though they wore something brand spanking new every day, fresh from the BBC designer's sewing machines and John Lewis' haberdashery department.

The UK of course is a class-ridden society, and the explanation of the Midsomer Murder producers for never having a single black face was, oh there aren't any in middle-class Midsomer.
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Old 19th March 2017, 04:44 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by Noztradamus View Post
But you are suggesting it be politically correct art.
No I'm suggesting it be diverse art.

There's nothing politically incorrect about downtown abbey. It's just dull fodder churned out for a demographic that laps it up.

Is Westworld or Game of Thrones particularly politically correct in your book?
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Old 19th March 2017, 04:46 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
19th century white people did not typically retain all their teeth, but at the time it was common to have all your teeth removed and replaced by false teeth by your early 20s. Hence, a perfect set of teeth. Certainly the aristocracy didn't normally go around with missing or rotten teeth, although they do now.



Because whilst the exact positioning of the line is debatable, its removal is not. There is suspension of disbelief and then there is silliness. What you are advocating is silliness. The character doesn't have to accord completely with historical evidence, it has, at minimum and depending on the nature of the film, only to resemble the concept a typical audience member has in their head. Therefore, a 5'5" Queen Victoria with freckled skin and a snub nose may not cause undue conflict between expectation and perception, but a bald 6'5" Samoan Queen Victoria might detract somewhat from the viewing experience.

Funny too that people who advocate white historical figures be played by ethnically non-white actors tend not to propose that a white man play Muhammad Ali, say, or a Swede play Ghandi.
What about the Black and White Minstrels? So 'blackface is all right', but we can't have a 6'5" Samoan play Queen Victoria. In any case, Queen Victoria is a stereotype, but it doesn't mean other roles can't be played by 'ethnics'.
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Old 19th March 2017, 04:49 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
FFTMC may be fiction, but Victorian Britain wasn't fiction, and specifically, west country peasants weren't fiction. Are you really suggesting that one should try for authenticity in everything except the colour of the actor's skin?

And I ask again............why weren't half of the slaves in Twelve Years a Slave Hispanic, and most of the rest white?
The West Country peasants would have been quite heavily suntanned, from being outdoors all day, so why not cast an ethnic actor to play them?
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Old 19th March 2017, 04:56 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
The UK of course is a class-ridden society, and the explanation of the Midsomer Murder producers for never having a single black face was, oh there aren't any in middle-class Midsomer.
Given the amazing death toll in Midsomer ("England's Cabot Cove"), it's not surprising that every single wave of immigration over three millennia would avoid the place. What's amazing is that the white people aren't permanently stained red from all the splashing rivers of blood.
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