#FPQ 183: “Diversity Casting”

Interesting question from Fandango this week:

Does diversity casting in TV shows or movies, where fictional characters who were presumed to be white in the source material are portrayed by non-white actors, concern or bother you? Why do you feel that way?

It doesn’t bother me, mostly because I don’t watch that much TV and never go to the movies. My thoughts anyway…

I remember when Eartha Kitt replaced Julie Newmar as Catwoman in the TV series Batman. Some of us were disappointed, not because we had any objection to Ms. Kitt, but because we liked Ms. Newmar in the show. We missed the rapport Ms. Newmar’s Catwoman had with the Caped Crusader, where half the time she wanted to kill him and the other half of the time she wanted him to be her boyfriend…

You couldn’t do that with Eartha Kitt when half the country had and enforced anti-miscegenation laws (by the way, not all the states that had those laws were in the Deep South). White Batman and Black Catwoman wasn’t gonna happen. Personally, I’d’ve liked to have seen that… Eartha Kitt was very attractive…

Let’s try something else: Pride And Prejudice. It was writen at the end of the 18th Century by Jane Austen, when few English people had seen a Black person, and I can say with almost complete certainly that there were no Black families among the landed gentry. Casting Idris Elba as Mr. Darcy would have fans of the book totally up in arms. After all, the only appropriate person to play Mr. Darcy is Colin Firth (this according to Mary, who for the last several months has been reading almost nothing but P&P fanfic). In order for Elba-as-Darcy to work, you’d have to modernize P&P to where Black men could be officers in the British Army and landed gentry. At that point, it all falls apart. Me? I think Idris Elba would be a great Mr. Darcy. But then, I read P&P almost 50 years ago, and didn’t actually read it…

I got a C in the class. I was happy.

As for the comic book stuff, I couldn’t care less. Black Superman? Fine. Gay Spiderman? Bring it on. Wonder Woman With Something Extra? I’m hip. One-legged Flash? I don’t know how you’d make it work, but OK.

11 thoughts on “#FPQ 183: “Diversity Casting”

  1. Great post! People Suck! Some are racist slobs, but most just hate change of any kind. In pop culture, the same “wars” are fought over the original Star Trek characters and even story lines and cannon (as your readers have pointed out in Dr. Who as well). Zulu Delta

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  2. I have no issue with casting anyone to play any role because it’s all made-up stuff to begin with. Reality is one thing, but books, movies, TV shows are pretend so we’ll just pretend differently.

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  3. When it is forced…no I don’t like it. They do it just to do it…not because it fits the story.

    Doctor Who is an example… they turned Doctor Who into a woman…to me that would be like turning Wonder Woman into a man. I don’t think many people would like that.

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    1. Now, I had expected a female Doctor Who since Tom Baker left.He had said in the press conference where he announced his departure that he wanted to wish the new Doctor, “whoever he or she is,” lots of luck. I haven’t seen Ms. Doctor Who, and I take it I’m not missing much, but then my interest in the show was waning by the time they went on hiatus after Sylvester McCoy. Anyway, it was conceivable that there would be a female Doctor at some point, and it really doesn’t change the character that much. None of the previous actors was an action figure….

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      1. I don’t know…I just thought of him as a skinny British guy. The BBC really pressured them to do it more than the showrunner.
        I love the old series…Baker was my favorite…I liked the first three Doctors of the new series.

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