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For discussing any racial, gender, and orientation misdoings happening across various movies and the film industry today.
This week, producer Ross Putnam started a Twitter account called "femscriptintros", where he puts up examples of how women are introduced in the screenplays he's read. And nearly all of sound like terrible porn or are too concerned with emphasizing said lady is beautiful despite whatever traits she may have. Here's a Take Two podcast made today where he talks about it.
edited 12th Feb '16 5:52:00 PM by Tuckerscreator
That twitter is hilarious.
And quite telling of how sexism in Hollywood is still a thing.
Can you rephrase this as 'For discussing any racial, gender and orientation issues and situations happening in the film industry today as well as across various movies', please? That way, this thread becomes more clear and precise, in terms of what to post and discuss here.
edited 12th Feb '16 4:43:13 PM by Quag15
"Issues and situations" sounds more vague to me, but sure.
I'm laughing my ass off at that Twitter.
I'll admit when I was typing up a pitch for a hypothetical James Bond movie I initially had "manages to put a stop to them after convincing a sexy agent" but then I realized I had no idea what a man like Bond would consider sexy, so I hit backspace and typed "an agent".
Now assuming a script writer is a middle aged white playboy, they might very well know what Bond would find sexy and not feel compelled to hit the back key. But now that I'm thinking of it again, Bond is a seducer, so maybe it's less him finding someone sexy but making people think he's so? I've never been any good at seduction so I don't know about that either. The idea would be that he used recovered enemy data to convince her to pick a side, his side, but you know, James Bond movie. He's got to have sexual tension with at least two people or you might as well throw out his Cool Car and gadgets too.
That's the kind of context you can't convey with Twitter. If I'm casting some stuffy senator whose main role in the film is to use her seniority to yell at people, an irritable guard whose meant to make all but the most elite combatants of the cast weak in the knees when she comes calling, a powerful drug dealer operating out of an all woman's prison or an egomaniac mercenary who has few concerns for safety and the first thing I type about is her beauty or sex appeal, maybe I am doing it wrong. But if her role is spending most of her screen time next to James Bond, I don't know.
Now if there are too many movies like James Bond where this kind of thing is expected, then maybe it's time to write a script for a different kind of movie and try to distinguish yourself from the pack, like, say, a movie about a female senator, female guard, female imprisoned drug dealer and female egomaniac mercenary with few concerns for safety who are each primarily defined by something other than how physically attractive or desirable they may or may not be.
It is true that context is missing for most of these, though I think the sheer amount of them more than covers for that. Some of them might have a reasonable excuse for why these women are described appearance first, but it's still likely that 90 percent of them don't.
Casting Call Woes and Terrible Casting.
That chrome key boob one is the most bizarre thing I've seen all week.
Well one thing to realize is that everything is a collaborative effort. No one person has the only say in the matter. The script can talk about how the character looks in extreme detail, that doesn't mean it will be followed to the letter. Same thing with action scenes, locations, etc. When you have so many opinions going around, the tendency is to go with safe choices, whatever that means.
I attended the Sundance Film Festival a few weeks ago and went to a forum headlined by casting directors for some significant Hollywood films (Gravity, The Fast and the Furious, etc). The #Oscars So White controversy was brought up and they were asked about diversity in Hollywood. Their response was they are always looking for the best actor for the role, regardless of race. It's not a matter of overt racism, but general trends. It's really difficult to change trends. Even more so if Token Minority, no matter how popular the character(s) may be, is utilized as being "good enough" for diversity.
There's a rather infamous episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation "Code of Honor" where the crew has to interact with a planet that seems to be made up entirely of black Human Aliens with Dark Africa accents. The script for the episode said nothing of either, excepting a suggestion of a Scary Black Man as a bodyguard, but was a decision made largely by the director (who was fired mid-way for that and other bad behavior).
Well, it's not like they would ever say anything else.
But yeah, it is true that the scripts are only part of the problem. For instance, Alphonso Cuaron and Alejandro Iñárritu are both some of the most highest acclaimed directors of these past few years, pushing forward diversity in directing. But both their breakout masterpieces have been about white people, and we don't know how much control they had regarding that.
Ugh. Those casting calls are horrible. I couldn't read all of them unless I wanted to be filled with complete and utter rage.
edited 14th Feb '16 6:32:40 AM by LongTallShorty64
As long as we're talking representation and diversity in movies, I thought this was great.
Star Wars Episode VIII has just cast a Vietnamese-American actress, Kelly Marie Tran, as a new character and her resume says that she's a lead, so that means that she has a pretty substantial part in the movie. Which is awesome.
edited 15th Feb '16 12:08:32 PM by higherbrainpattern
It's pretty interesting that the new Star Wars has chosen to lead the way in progression. You can't really get much bigger than it to make all the other studios and franchises take notice.
Disney has been very smart about realizing there are groups other than white males who spend money to go to the movies.
It doesn't seem to have impacted their bottom line at all either, so hopefully that will make other executives realize that this is an ok thing to do.
I'm very happy about Kelly Marie Tran being cast in Episode VIII (with a few caveats, which I'll touch on in a second). Asian people are massively underrepresented in media, and even when they're there they tend to be villains, wise old mystics, or, most cringe-inducing of all, bumbling Engrish-speaking comic relief characters.
I still remember how happy I was when I saw TFA, and there were not one, not two, not three, but four Asian characters in the film. (Note to self: learn the names of the two gangster guys who showed up in that one scene, because then I'll know the names of every single Asian character who's ever been in Star Wars. All five of them.)note Eight, come Rogue One and Episode VIII
I do have a handful of...reservations, though, about the future handling of Asian characters in SW. Largely just fears and speculation on my part, so hopefully none of them will be problems once the films in question are out.
To give voice to my current one, Kelly Marie Tran is mainly known for her comedic work. Until someone suggested it to me, though, it didn't even occur to me that she might be given a purely comic relief role.
I really hope this doesn't happen. To clarify, I would have nothing against Tran being given the opportunity to showcase her comedic talents, but to relegate her entirely to the role of comic relief would be a massive disappointment.
I'm probably being paranoid here. The diversity in TFA was exceptionally well handled, and there's no evidence that this will change in VIII. I've just been disappointed so many times, I've started expecting it.
And, while I'm here...Disney, please don't make both of the Asian guys in Rogue One martial artists. One is okay.
I figure she'll be fine. Star Wars has already learned the consequences of racial comic relief with Jar-Jar Binks. If anything, any humor included with her will probably be her own, seeing as how her comedy videos were what got her noticed.
edited 21st Feb '16 8:34:48 PM by Tuckerscreator
That's what I'm hoping for, and honestly, what I'm expecting. Like I said, TFA set a great precedent in the diversity department, so I have nothing concrete on which to base my fears. It's just my usual pessimism that means it's even a concern for me at all.
Also, given what I know of Kelly Marie Tran, I'm inclined to doubt that she would agree to do she considered too offensive or demeaning to Asian people. Maybe that's a rare moment of optimism on my part.
I wouldn't be too worried because current actioners tend to avoid the Plucky Comic Relief. Some characters might be funnier than others, it's normal, but it has become rare to be in a movie for no other reason than to ease tension.
The twitter wasn't all bad, i noticed. When writing anything that has a visual depiction, "hot or not" definitely goes into it, and i think would be the case for men or women; gruff, plain, musclebound, handsome, sexy, etc. Some of those go way over the top, but some are quite in line.
LWT asks "Why is this still a thing?"
I don't know if male roles are described using a visual depiction of the character though. Or at least, I doubt "beauty evaluation" is commonly used, it would probably be more matter-of-fact (tall, lean, twitchy, whatever) than "hot dude" or "guy any girl wants to bed".
That video...makes me very happy. Not because whitewashing is still such an endemic problem in Hollywood, but because it's hilarious.
"This guy is the last samurai? This guy? This guy is the last samurai? Fuck you."
And with Gods of Egypt...who looked at Exodus: Gods and Kings and thought "Yeah, that worked out great, let's imitate that?"
I know these things typically spend years in the planning stages, so they may be unrelated, but the timing is both unfortunate and somehow darkly amusing.
edited 23rd Feb '16 4:12:31 PM by RBluefish
On the Last Samurai's defense, the guy Tom Cruise plays is A) Not the Last Samurai (that'd be Katsumoto and his men, as per Word of God), B) Basically a retooled version of an actual historical figure (with a side of another one) who was, in fact, a white guy Samurai.
All in all, it's not a terrible example, specially since the movie has the decency to make clear Algren (Tom Cruise's character) is never superior to the Samurai in any way, shape, or form, regarding their skills. The only thing that gives him an actual edge regarding them is his profound knowledge of Western tactics, which makes sense (given he's, well. a western colonel and all, and they're...not.).
edited 23rd Feb '16 4:31:14 PM by Gaon
Good video. It was helpful of it to point out the other side of the problem, that when casting minority actors in typically-white roles happens, it's met with far more controversy than it deserves.
Shame about the Last Samurai slipup, but it's still true that we don't see many western Samurai films with non-white leads anyway.
edited 23rd Feb '16 4:44:17 PM by Tuckerscreator
I know The Last Samurai isn't the most egregious example out there when it's taken in the proper context, but it still continues a long tradition of having a story set in East Asia (or one that draws heavily on East Asian culture), where the protagonist is still just another white guy. They want the cool, exotic imagery and culture and martial arts...they just don't want to have to make it about anyone other than the same White Male Lead they always do. As a movie, it's still perpetuating the same tired tropes.
And they always have an excuse ready. Whether it's Firefly ("There were no good Asian actors"), Aloha (the character is supposed to look white, which is why we cast Emma Stone instead one of the many actresses who actually do have Asian heritage and still look white), or Breakfast at Tiffany's (yellowface is funny). Okay, maybe disregard that last one.
Full disclosure: I am Asian-American, so things like this tend to hit a little too close to home, which is why I can have a bit of a chip on my shoulder when it comes to these matters.
I also dislike Tom Cruise, so I may be doubly biased.
edited 23rd Feb '16 4:54:08 PM by RBluefish
As part of a larger trend, yeah, I'd say it's a problem on the specific case of the Last Samurai, but on its own, I wouldn't say anything wrong with it per see. Also on the movie's defense, the entire concept of the film centers on the Culture Clash of Western and Eastern cultures (and the Samurai facing the ceaseless onslaught of modernity), so the white protagonist serves a stronger puporse in that regard (like the fabled scene Algren and Katsumoto discuss Custer's tactics, but Algren's western perspective was that he was an idiot who doomed his men, while Katsumoto admires his willigness to face unbeatable odds, or the scene Katsumoto compares Bushido to the western warrior philosophy with Algren). And also on its defense, it has a very strong deuteragonist in the form of Katsumoto, with his own character arc and desires, and nearly equal screentime to Algren (markedly, the movie opens with him, not Algren).
In a curious case as well, Ken Watanabe (that is, Katsumoto) was nominated for best supporting actor, while Tom Cruise (Algren) didn't recieve any nominations.
Granted, I'm just as biased as you are (if not more so) because I'm a big fan of the Last Samurai.
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