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Old 2010-05-28, 01:35   Link #21
Kafriel
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I dunno, I wasn't feeling Kingpin being black in Daredevil when i had this big, white guy in my head all through out my childhood
Lost the relation and reference, so it didn't feel authentic.
I always focused Kingpin's identity on the suit; I also remember huge white bald dude, but when I watched DD I think that they made a good choice, he acted well and got under the skin of his role.
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how much can they change a mythos when they adapt it into a movie, and still be able to call it that? What if you replace female characters with male characters?
In ancient Greece, acting was forbidden to women, so the men made all sorts of masks to act as any character
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What if they renamed Aang to Jerry, and instead of an airbender, he was a kid frozen by science before the apocalypse and is awakened in the future, where he's the only one who knows how to build and shoot guns. Oh, and Katara is renamed to Katana and is a young boy, but still develops a romantic relationship with Aang.
Changing the plot has nothing to do with character selection, and yes, it should be avoided whenever possible.
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In Avatar's case, there are plenty of good asian actors, so you could have at least made a good effort to find someone close. As it stands, these actors will have to be damn good to have any chance of shaking off the stigma. If they are just average, it's going to look even worse for Shamalan or whatever his name is.

I'm a logical guy, and race tiffs don't make logical sense to me. But neither does changing things like this. Even with my logic, it's damn hard to not see how they made the heroes into white people, and the bad guys into other races, when the series made Zuko more white than the the Gaang. Probably because they thought the audience was too dumb to be able to handle bad white people and heroic colored people. Oh sure, some can, but not enough to make it a blockbuster.
Well, they could have picked better actors, but I'm no director so I can't really say what's going on in their minds...
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And, as for The Last Airbender, SUCK at martial arts?
People can get personal trainers and everything, we've already watched 300, the Matrix, etc. where the actors did many things (or gained many abs :P) that they developed over time.
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Old 2010-05-28, 02:34   Link #22
Poetic Justice
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Americans like to see Americans in their films, News at 11.
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Old 2010-05-28, 05:23   Link #23
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Originally Posted by Poetic Justice View Post
Americans like to see Americans in their films, News at 11.
Last I checked... not all Americans were "white", I believe they come in just about every color. Therefore, asking that a character be played by someone who remotely looks the part isn't really out of line.

But, of course, we'd miss such magnificent disasters as John Wayne playing Genghis Khan in "asian" makeup.
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Old 2010-05-28, 07:15   Link #24
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Originally Posted by Spectacular_Insanity View Post
Really? I thought they made the right choice. Better than some scrawny white guy, that's for sure.
Why would the white guy have to be scrawny, it's America after all.
(figure i will get bit for stating a simple fact as that.)
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Last I checked... not all Americans were "white", I believe they come in just about every color. Therefore, asking that a character be played by someone who remotely looks the part isn't really out of line.

But, of course, we'd miss such magnificent disasters as John Wayne playing Genghis Khan in "asian" makeup.
As Vexx mentions, there's a fair amount of diversity going about, so to find a decent actor who fits kingpin as he was drawn, created and animated for years, I don't particulary see the need of his race being changed.
Hai hai, to most it probably 'doesn't matter', I'm only as bugged as why the decision was made but nah, couldn't relate to him.
It'd be like seeing Superman being black or Spiderman being Indian with an pure NY accent, somehow it'd just feel off.
Wonder how that go down if race really doesn't matter when casting actors for movies that are based off published written drawn material.
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Old 2010-05-28, 07:27   Link #25
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"lets make the hulk black in the next movie, that f*** some people in the head for sure"

and the guys who play the MC in Persia and Avatar look alot like their cartoon/game counter parts, thats all i care.
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Old 2010-05-28, 11:45   Link #26
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Originally Posted by Raiga View Post
Yeah there are plenty of other, plausible, non-racist reasons for the casting choice, and it'd be great if we could all ignore race altogether and only cast for acting ability. I just think some people are going too far by implying that everyone who has an issue with the casting is some oversensitive whiny bitch with a persecution complex.
It's a matter of a history of similar issues. I agree with you that it's not that people go out looking for things to take offense to, but it is a fairly easy reaction to just fall into when the possibility for it emerges, and if you get a few vocal parties raising a fuss about it--as it happened here--many will be swept along by the current, because people like to join one another in protest.

It's not so much the initial reaction that bothers me as it is the insistence with which people hold to it. Once someone has decided to make a race issue out of something, the feelings that get evoked by that are strong enough that it becomes nigh impossible to talk rationally about it.
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Old 2010-05-28, 13:01   Link #27
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It all started with Birth of a Nation.
I am Greek and I occationally see Geeks in Hollywood movies. Most of the times the accent is way off or others they are not even doing it right. That is far more irritating than not really being Greeks in origin.
Same goes for when they depict Greece as it never was. Xena for example, lol, that was not Greece. But it wasn't really a historical series so no big deal.
But showing Greeks in an anime like Gigantic Formula having Turkish names and wearing Turkish hats, well, then I am indeed offended.
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Old 2010-05-28, 13:46   Link #28
Ricky Controversy
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I'll take up devil's advocacy here.

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Originally Posted by roriconfan View Post
But showing Greeks in an anime like Gigantic Formula having Turkish names and wearing Turkish hats, well, then I am indeed offended.
Why? Why is that offensive instead of just laughably ill-informed?

Short of outright slander or stereotyping, why does race portrayal really matter? I hear people complain that inaccurate portrayals are damaging because they spread misinformation about a given race and its attached culture, but let's be real here. Anyone that cares enough to actually learn anything about a culture will not rely on the media for their information, and will see through the disparities, and most likely get some humor from it.

I've noticed that this response tends to occur most frequently with race issues, while something like a misrepresentation of a subculture is largely ignored. Neither I nor any other remotely tech-savvy person I know have ever considered the generally abysmally inaccurate portrayal of electronics and their associated culture offensive. Instead, we find it amusing, and we realistically acknowledge that anyone who actually cares will look into things themselves and come to know better.

So, really, people are complaining largely about the way they are perceived by people who do not actually think about these issues at all, and will have what minimal impression they do of this group or that regardless of what the media shows or doesn't show.
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Old 2010-05-28, 13:50   Link #29
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Honestly, I'm not even all that happy that The Last Airbender is going to be shot as a live-action movie, but eh, you win some you lose some. Race of the characters doesn't matter to me so long as they know how to act and potray the characters the way they were in the original series, at least a littie bit, and as long as the main plot and heart of the story is still intact, then I don't care what race the actors are.
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Old 2010-05-28, 14:21   Link #30
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For certain, people feel the need to make an issue out of everything.

The actor is not the portrayed race as in the original,
The actor isn't following the same storyline as in the original,
The actor isn't performing well enough - they should be following the original.

The original isn't at fault but rather what people come to expect from it. If a movie adaption happens then of course they would compare it to the original in some aspects or as a whole.

Racial complaints doesn't help anyone. I think so long a person is efficient enough to act, then good. The role may require a certain race sometimes but it isn't necessary unless proven necessary.

That's about it on my part.
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Old 2010-05-29, 02:42   Link #31
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They have a hard enough time finding the right available actor that can portray the character the way the creators envision them. What Persian actor is right for the role of the prince in Prince of Persia? If an actor works for a role, hire them. Simple as that.

Ben Kinsley, a man from England, played Gandhi in the move Gandhi. He did a great job. A Chinese actress played a Japanese woman in the Memoirs of a Geisha. So? She did the role well. She was the right person for the job.
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Old 2010-05-29, 03:19   Link #32
Poetic Justice
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Therefore, asking that a character be played by someone who remotely looks the part isn't really out of line.
Oh i never said it was out of line, Just bad business from the film studios perspective.

Take a look at prince of persia, Casting Jake Gyllenhall was a financially motivated decision, It had nothing to do with race.
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Old 2010-05-29, 10:47   Link #33
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Originally Posted by Poetic Justice View Post
Oh i never said it was out of line, Just bad business from the film studios perspective.

Take a look at prince of persia, Casting Jake Gyllenhall was a financially motivated decision, It had nothing to do with race.
yet he does a good job and looks a lot like his game counterpart. (maybe Prince of persia#1) because the newer ones he's more scared and etc.
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Old 2010-05-30, 18:29   Link #34
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I actually am 100% fine with the casting, as far as race goes.
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Old 2010-05-31, 17:50   Link #35
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Aang didn't even look very asian in the show and the actor palying him looks enough like him to make it believable. All you people should stop being racists. God forbid a white kid gets a part in a movie over an asian kid. Maybe I should go protest the new karate kid movie because the main character isn't white, or would people call that racism.
*is frustrated by the fact that only white people aren't allowed to judge people by race*
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Old 2010-05-31, 18:58   Link #36
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Aang didn't even look very asian in the show and the actor palying him looks enough like him to make it believable.
Enough like him is an understatement. They look the same. From a purely visual perspective, the casting choice was perfect.

On the Prince of Persia story, Gyllenhaal passes fine for Persian going by the shots I've seen. As for the rest of it - well, that's called acting.

As for Avatar, I don't really understand the controversy for a fantasy show starring fantasy characters of indeterminate race. The world of the show might have various cultural influences, but so does Naruto's world. And Naruto doesn't look Japanese. This is called fantasy.

In extreme cases of historical accuracy, for example, if Martin Luther King were played by a Caucasian male in a biopic, I think that would be a problem. But these two examples above just seem like a making a huge controversy over something minor. And it's even more unfortunate when it involves kids.
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Last edited by Theowne; 2010-05-31 at 21:25.
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Old 2010-06-01, 03:45   Link #37
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Originally Posted by Theowne View Post
As for Avatar, I don't really understand the controversy for a fantasy show starring fantasy characters of indeterminate race. The world of the show might have various cultural influences, but so does Naruto's world. And Naruto doesn't look Japanese.
He doesn't look Japanese because most anime and manga artists work under the assumption that a Japanese audience will assume a character is Japanese unless given reason to believe otherwise. The artist probably assumed there was no need to give him defined racial traits.

I'm really not sure what you're supposed to use when a character is racially ambiguous other than whatever cultural influences appear in the story.
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Old 2010-06-01, 04:08   Link #38
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Originally Posted by 0utf0xZer0
He doesn't look Japanese because most anime and manga artists work under the assumption that a Japanese audience will assume a character is Japanese unless given reason to believe otherwise.
Wasn't the point.

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Originally Posted by 0utf0xZer0 View Post
I'm really not sure what you're supposed to use when a character is racially ambiguous other than whatever cultural influences appear in the story.
I suppose it depends on how obsessed one is with analyzing the races of fantasy characters. Maybe, perhaps, a guy who looks exactly like the main character wouldn't be excluded from a role because rabid fans predetermined what race a fantasy character in an imaginary world was and considered this the most important aspect of the character?
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Old 2010-06-01, 04:39   Link #39
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Originally Posted by Theowne View Post
I suppose it depends on how obsessed one is with analyzing the races of fantasy characters. Maybe, perhaps, a guy who looks exactly like the main character wouldn't be excluded from a role because rabid fans predetermined what race a fantasy character in an imaginary world was and considered this the most important aspect of the character?
I'm not weighing in on whether the actor looks the part as I'm not particularly familiar with Avatar. I'm just saying that to me, judging a characters race based on other cultural cues is pretty much a natural process. I don't even think about it much, let alone obsess over it.

I guess I also don't see Hollywood as being that good at actually searching for ethnically diverse talent either. I fully expect to be going "uh... isn't she supposed to be from Singapore?" if and when I hear the casting announcement for Faye in the Cowboy Bebop movie that Hollywoord occassionally talks about.
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Old 2010-06-01, 05:09   Link #40
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Anyways, in the interest of fairness I should probably link to one of the more convincing counterarguments against the "whitewashing" of Avatar. I find it a bit harder to disagree with the broader and more sensible way that this site frames the "issue", compared to the generic race-obsessed discussions thrown around on the net.

Honestly I find myself arguing against both sides frequently.

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I didn't hear anyone complaining about Morgan Freeman playing 'Red' in Shawshank Redemtion.
That's because he was so damn good at it
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