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Old 8th March 2019, 03:04 PM   #1
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Will Smith - not black enough to play Williams Sisters' father?

BBC News: Is Will Smith too light for this role and why does it matter?

"Earlier this week, it was reported that Will Smith could be starring in a new project called King Richard, telling the story of Richard Williams, the father of tennis icons Venus and Serena Williams.

While Smith has yet to confirm the news, it didn't stop fans from tweeting their excitement about the idea of the star portraying such an accomplished man.

But there were a few who weren't so pleased with the choice, and not because they were questioning the star's talent, but because his skin tone isn't considered dark enough.

In recent years, Hollywood has made progress in representing minorities on screen, yet we still find ourselves circling around the issue of colourism."
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Old 8th March 2019, 03:07 PM   #2
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Hollywood makeup artists can do almost anything including darkening the skin of Smith. But is that then considered blackface?
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Old 8th March 2019, 03:31 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Hollywood makeup artists can do almost anything including darkening the skin of Smith. But is that then considered blackface?
I'm betting it almost certainly is.

I recently read through a bunch of Walter Moseley's crime fiction. One of his longest-running series is about Easy Rawlins, a private eye in 40s Los Angeles (the first book, Devil in a Blue Dress, was adapted as a movie starring a very young Denzel Washington).

Moseley is black, and his main character is black. The Easy Rawlins stories have given me a lot of food for thought, and a whole different perspective on what it might be like to be black in America, both then and now. I don't pretend to know how accurate my new perspective is, but it's definitely made me re-examine a lot of my assumptions, and a lot of my easy dismissal of some topics and concerns.

Anyway, one thing that struck me about the Easy Rawlins stories is that every time Rawlins encounters another black person, he describes not only how they're dressed - code for their class and social status, among other things - but also how they're colored. No two people in the black communities of Los Angeles appear to have the same skin tone, in Rawlins' world. Some are light enough to pass as white, and do. Others are so black they're almost blue. I have no idea what that's code for. I assume it's something that matters between black people, and that as an outsider it's probably none of my business. I figure Moseley has more to say to his black readers than to me, and that's okay.

But now it looks like somebody, somewhere, has decided that whatever opinions black people might have about skin color between themselves, those opinions are now everybody's business.
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Old 8th March 2019, 08:24 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Hollywood makeup artists can do almost anything including darkening the skin of Smith. But is that then considered blackface?
I don't think they are the same.

"Blackface" is, was, and always will be a racist caricature. Darkening to make Will Smith's face make him look more accurately like Richard Williams is no more "blackface" than making up Helena Bonham Carter to look like Ari is "monkeyface"

Bruno Ganz was made up to look more pallid for his portrayal of Adolph Hitler, especially in the last few scenes; does that mean it was an example of "whiteface"?
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Old 8th March 2019, 08:46 PM   #5
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What are you all talking about, they're practically twins
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Old 9th March 2019, 01:00 AM   #6
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Seems to be what is now quite typical, an opinion piece disgused as a news article. The "great" thing for journalists wanting to opine rather than report these days is that they can find anything they want on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram etc as a leaping off point so they "report" it as "news", so, that they can wax lyrical about any topic they want.
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Old 9th March 2019, 02:10 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Information Analyst View Post
BBC News: Is Will Smith too light for this role and why does it matter?

"Earlier this week, it was reported that Will Smith could be starring in a new project called King Richard, telling the story of Richard Williams, the father of tennis icons Venus and Serena Williams.

While Smith has yet to confirm the news, it didn't stop fans from tweeting their excitement about the idea of the star portraying such an accomplished man.

But there were a few who weren't so pleased with the choice, and not because they were questioning the star's talent, but because his skin tone isn't considered dark enough.

In recent years, Hollywood has made progress in representing minorities on screen, yet we still find ourselves circling around the issue of colourism."
Geezes Twitter has to be one of the worst of inventions

It can make one or two nobody's from who knows where "tweets" turn into international news.
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Old 9th March 2019, 02:44 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Anyway, one thing that struck me about the Easy Rawlins stories is that every time Rawlins encounters another black person, he describes not only how they're dressed - code for their class and social status, among other things - but also how they're colored. No two people in the black communities of Los Angeles appear to have the same skin tone, in Rawlins' world. Some are light enough to pass as white, and do. Others are so black they're almost blue. I have no idea what that's code for. I assume it's something that matters between black people, and that as an outsider it's probably none of my business. I figure Moseley has more to say to his black readers than to me, and that's okay.
This seems to hark back to the internal hierarchy amongst blacks referenced in Roots, in that some slaves were differentiated on account of just how "black" they were. If sections of the black community now want to reintroduce it, that appears somewhat retrogressive.
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Old 9th March 2019, 02:53 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
I don't think they are the same.

"Blackface" is, was, and always will be a racist caricature. Darkening to make Will Smith's face make him look more accurately like Richard Williams is no more "blackface" than making up Helena Bonham Carter to look like Ari is "monkeyface"

Bruno Ganz was made up to look more pallid for his portrayal of Adolph Hitler, especially in the last few scenes; does that mean it was an example of "whiteface"?
Yes, this, exactly. Actors use all sorts of techniques to become the character they portray, and make-up has long been one of them. It’s equivocation to dismiss any use of darkening make-up as “blackface”, which, to my mind, as to yours, is a very specific thing. If it’s done badly, then the make-up may well look like blackface (not too surprising, since blackface is a very crude attempt at portraying someone with dark skin), and should be rightly ridiculed (but not necessarily for being racist, though these days people should know better).
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Old 9th March 2019, 03:59 AM   #10
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It is utter ***** from some idiot tweeters

Period dramas in the UK have white make-up to make the actors look whiter, as during the early periods, people actually wore white make up* because it is period and they did.

(Containing lead funny enough, so they kept dying)

Next we will have a "English program set 250 years ago is white face as they hate black people" from 2 nobodys.
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Old 9th March 2019, 12:28 PM   #11
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Lead? That's the least of problems. Whitening your skin during renaissance involved getting chronic poisoning levels of ARSENIC.

That said the article still seems stupid to me. Equality doesn't apply when there is a substantive difference, i.e., relevant to the job. E.g., does anyone think it's "colourism" (whatever that means) if we don't cast Leonardo Di Caprio as Martin Luther King or Samuel Jackson as Churchill?

Mind you, IF make up can make up for it, sure, go for it, but the pretense that any mention of skin colour in a casting choice is racism is just stonking stupid.
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Old 9th March 2019, 01:43 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'm betting it almost certainly is.

I recently read through a bunch of Walter Moseley's crime fiction. One of his longest-running series is about Easy Rawlins, a private eye in 40s Los Angeles (the first book, Devil in a Blue Dress, was adapted as a movie starring a very young Denzel Washington).

Moseley is black, and his main character is black. The Easy Rawlins stories have given me a lot of food for thought, and a whole different perspective on what it might be like to be black in America, both then and now. I don't pretend to know how accurate my new perspective is, but it's definitely made me re-examine a lot of my assumptions, and a lot of my easy dismissal of some topics and concerns.

Anyway, one thing that struck me about the Easy Rawlins stories is that every time Rawlins encounters another black person, he describes not only how they're dressed - code for their class and social status, among other things - but also how they're colored. No two people in the black communities of Los Angeles appear to have the same skin tone, in Rawlins' world. Some are light enough to pass as white, and do. Others are so black they're almost blue. I have no idea what that's code for. I assume it's something that matters between black people, and that as an outsider it's probably none of my business. I figure Moseley has more to say to his black readers than to me, and that's okay.

But now it looks like somebody, somewhere, has decided that whatever opinions black people might have about skin color between themselves, those opinions are now everybody's business.
Yes, Mosley educated me when I didn't think I needed help. Coming of age I had Baldwin to reference. Mosely both educated and entertained me. A favorite.
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Old 9th March 2019, 02:45 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'm betting it almost certainly is.

I recently read through a bunch of Walter Moseley's crime fiction. One of his longest-running series is about Easy Rawlins, a private eye in 40s Los Angeles (the first book, Devil in a Blue Dress, was adapted as a movie starring a very young Denzel Washington).

Moseley is black, and his main character is black. The Easy Rawlins stories have given me a lot of food for thought, and a whole different perspective on what it might be like to be black in America, both then and now. I don't pretend to know how accurate my new perspective is, but it's definitely made me re-examine a lot of my assumptions, and a lot of my easy dismissal of some topics and concerns.

Anyway, one thing that struck me about the Easy Rawlins stories is that every time Rawlins encounters another black person, he describes not only how they're dressed - code for their class and social status, among other things - but also how they're colored. No two people in the black communities of Los Angeles appear to have the same skin tone, in Rawlins' world. Some are light enough to pass as white, and do. Others are so black they're almost blue. I have no idea what that's code for. I assume it's something that matters between black people, and that as an outsider it's probably none of my business. I figure Moseley has more to say to his black readers than to me, and that's okay.

But now it looks like somebody, somewhere, has decided that whatever opinions black people might have about skin color between themselves, those opinions are now everybody's business.
" don't call out bigotry if it isn't white people " is what I got out of that. With a side of " not that I'm saying I know anything. .. " if even you are not confident you know anything ,kind of hard to make a case for listening to you.
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Old 9th March 2019, 05:07 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by sadhatter View Post
" don't call out bigotry if it isn't white people " is what I got out of that. With a side of " not that I'm saying I know anything. .. " if even you are not confident you know anything ,kind of hard to make a case for listening to you.
Callings out bigotry is easy. I can do that in my sleep. Harder is trying to understand where people are coming from and what's actually going on.

It's probably bigotry. My belief is that everyone is a bigot in at least a couple of ways. You and me included. But humans are complicated and conflicted. Bigotry alone doesn't explain anything very well.
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Old 9th March 2019, 06:41 PM   #15
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Quote:
Some girls experimented by putting bleach crème on their skin hoping to make their skin lighter. Some were even told not to marry a dark skinned male because they wouldn’t want to have his blood in their gene pool. Many of these girls said they grew up wanting to be like “Barbie” with long blond hair they could comb. Kiri concluded her study by stating how these images of whiteness as the norm is affecting the Black children and how little have changed since the original doll experiment. Young African Americans are still facing constant demeaning images of themselves while trying to find their identity through these challenging circumstances.
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Old 10th March 2019, 02:18 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Callings out bigotry is easy. I can do that in my sleep. Harder is trying to understand where people are coming from and what's actually going on.

It's probably bigotry. My belief is that everyone is a bigot in at least a couple of ways. You and me included. But humans are complicated and conflicted. Bigotry alone doesn't explain anything very well.
Oh, I'm bigotted against robots, for example. They ain't human and they're taking our jobs. Just think of how many secretary jobs were lost to answering machines alone. Well I ain't talking to them. They should go back where they came from
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Old 11th March 2019, 12:49 PM   #17
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Gary Oldman is probably the only actor who could truly pull that role off.
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Old 11th March 2019, 05:24 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Drewbot View Post
Gary Oldman is probably the only actor who could truly pull that role off.
Hah... I know why you said that?
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Old 12th March 2019, 04:18 AM   #19
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Without reading the article... let me guess. A couple silly people on twitter questioned Smith's skin tone for a role, and someone decided to write a story about it as if it's a serious issue.
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Old 12th March 2019, 10:45 AM   #20
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TBH I'm just surprised that it's the BBC. I would have expected it to be more like one of the alt-right "OMFG, reverse racism" sources. As in, "OMFG, guy discriminated for being too white, we're oppressed, bla, bla, bla." You know the shtick. Seems right up their alley. But then I suppose some of those must have never gotten past the "problem" that they'd be defending a black guy, even if not the blackest
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Old 12th March 2019, 11:20 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Hah... I know why you said that?
Tell me. I was just saying he is a great actor.
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Old 12th March 2019, 11:50 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Drewbot View Post
Tell me. I was just saying he is a great actor.
Have you seen "Darkest Hour"?
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Old 12th March 2019, 11:55 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Hollywood makeup artists can do almost anything including darkening the skin of Smith.
Hell, they can even make him blue. That's an insult to smurf actors.
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Old 12th March 2019, 12:08 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Have you seen "Darkest Hour"?
Only a few parts, why?
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Old 12th March 2019, 04:11 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Drewbot View Post
Only a few parts, why?
Gary Oldman plays Churchill... he's almost unrecognisable as Gary Oldman.



I knew that Oldman was in the movie, I watched quite a bit of it, before it occurred to be that I hadn't seen Oldman's character.... but I had, I just didn't realize it was him.
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Old 13th March 2019, 02:23 AM   #26
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Gary Oldman, that bastard.
Stealing parts from old fat blokes...
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Old 13th March 2019, 03:45 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
I don't think they are the same.

"Blackface" is, was, and always will be a racist caricature. Darkening to make Will Smith's face make him look more accurately like Richard Williams is no more "blackface" than making up Helena Bonham Carter to look like Ari is "monkeyface"
They tried this when Zoe Soldana played Nina Simone. It was not well received by many, black women in particular.
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Old 13th March 2019, 05:07 AM   #28
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I'm torn. Part of me thinks that, in a reasonable world, exactly matching skin tones shouldn't matter.

In a world where, for years and years, it has mattered if one is too black, I think it probably does.
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Old 13th March 2019, 05:09 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Gary Oldman plays Churchill... he's almost unrecognisable as Gary Oldman.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/solw4posqr...hour.jpg?raw=1

I knew that Oldman was in the movie, I watched quite a bit of it, before it occurred to be that I hadn't seen Oldman's character.... but I had, I just didn't realize it was him.
Yes now I get it.

It's OK to wear overweight old man-face, but not ok for Wil Smith to wear slightly-darker-black-face.
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Old 13th March 2019, 05:10 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Hell, they can even make him blue. That's an insult to smurf actors.
I've heard he plays a decent version of Robin Williams' cartoon character.
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Old 13th March 2019, 05:41 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Gary Oldman plays Churchill... he's almost unrecognisable as Gary Oldman.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/solw4posqr...hour.jpg?raw=1

I knew that Oldman was in the movie, I watched quite a bit of it, before it occurred to be that I hadn't seen Oldman's character.... but I had, I just didn't realize it was him.
That's what Oldman is known for. He's played so many roles and been unrecognized that a meme started about him a year or so back.
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Old 13th March 2019, 06:31 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Lead? That's the least of problems. Whitening your skin during renaissance involved getting chronic poisoning levels of ARSENIC.

That said the article still seems stupid to me. Equality doesn't apply when there is a substantive difference, i.e., relevant to the job. E.g., does anyone think it's "colourism" (whatever that means) if we don't cast Leonardo Di Caprio as Martin Luther King or Samuel Jackson as Churchill?

Mind you, IF make up can make up for it, sure, go for it, but the pretense that any mention of skin colour in a casting choice is racism is just stonking stupid.
I don't see why Jackson couldn't be Churchill. Ossie Davis made a fine Kennedy.
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Old 13th March 2019, 06:43 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
I don't see why Jackson couldn't be Churchill. Ossie Davis made a fine Kennedy.
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Old 13th March 2019, 06:44 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Drewbot View Post
Gary Oldman is probably the only actor who could truly pull that role off.
Not my first choice, but sadly Johnny Winter is no longer with us, so he'll have to do.
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Old 14th March 2019, 08:39 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Mumbles View Post
They tried this when Zoe Soldana played Nina Simone. It was not well received by many, black women in particular.
Without delving too deep, it seems that the complaints were solely based on the fact that Saldana needed make-up and prosthetics to "look more like" (obviously this is subjective) Simone. Meanwhile, as already mentioned in this thread, Gary Oldman under make-up and prosthetics is lauded for his performance of Churchill. It's actually pretty much a rock-solid fact that the vast majority of real people depicted in films and TV are played by actors who bear only a passing resemblance to them, at best. Why the desire to micromanage the depiction of one particular demographic?

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Old 14th March 2019, 02:24 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Drewbot View Post
Yes now I get it.

It's OK to wear overweight old man-face, but not ok for Wil Smith to wear slightly-darker-black-face.

You got it!

If looks weren't important then why go through so much trouble for Churchill? People get nominated for Oscars for this stuff don't they?

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Old 14th March 2019, 05:53 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
That's what Oldman is known for. He's played so many roles and been unrecognized that a meme started about him a year or so back.
He's even played a black guy. Or maybe a white guy who thinks he's a black guy in this NSFW clip...

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Old 14th March 2019, 07:56 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Drewbot View Post
Yes now I get it.

It's OK to wear overweight old man-face, but not ok for Wil Smith to wear slightly-darker-black-face.
Well, that isn't what I was implying, but there are some for whom that would be the take-away.

I think its important to distinguish between a director striving for authenticity and one who taking the racial piss. If a director wants his characters and props to faithfully and accurately represent who and what they are representing, then where's the harm in that?

Skin tone is part of how people look, as is height and weight and hair style, and clothing. If he wants to have his actor's skin tone closely match that of the subject he is portraying, how is it any different from wanting to have Wermacht and SS soldiers wearing authentic looking uniforms in a war movie, of having REAL Mitsubishi A5M (Zero) aircraft representing them in a movie about the attack on Pearl Harbor, rather than painting up some T6 Harvards in IJAAS drag, or having
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Old 14th March 2019, 08:06 PM   #39
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Does it have to be Will Smith?
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Old 15th March 2019, 07:20 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Venom View Post
Does it have to be Will Smith?
Robert Downey Jr. is in the running I hear.
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