There’s a movie that seems to be in the early stages of causing an uproar over a racial issue. Apparently in this movie, someone of one race will be wearing realistic makeup to make the character seem like he is of a completely different race.
Besides the obvious outcry that this is demeaning, is the accusation that work has been taken away from someone of the target race who could just as easily have been hired to play the part in the film.
If you’re curious about what I’m talking about, see below.
The African American Wayans Brothers play two white woman in White Chicks
I can totally see the outrage over this, I mean with all the white, young blonde actresses trying to get a break in Hollywood, how could these guys possibly be so racist as to take work away from who could be the next two big starlets of Tinseltown? I mean… um, what?… You mean this isn’t all about White Chicks? There was no outcry over the race reversal in that movie?
Oh… sorry. My bad.
I guess the worry is about a different movie. This summer another comedy movie using the cross-race gag will be coming out: Tropic Thunder. In this movie Robert Downey Jr will play a white man playing a black man in a movie within the movie (got that?).
Robert Downey Jr. plays a black man in Tropic Thunder
From what I’ve read, the comedic part of Downey Jr.’s role depends upon the fact that he is a white guy playing a black man, much as the humor in White Chicks was supposed to come from a couple of black men playing white blonde women.
According to Entertainment Weekly:
“Robert Downey Jr. plays Kirk Lazarus, a very serious Oscar-winning actor cast in the most expensive Vietnam War film ever. Problem is, Lazarus’s character, Sgt. Osiris, was originally written as black. So Lazarus decides to dye his skin and play Osiris, um, authentically.”
Here’s the picture that started the whole thing:
The movie has nothing to do with finding humor in racial stereotypes, rather the goal (which I’m 100% behind) was to poke fun at pampered Hollywood stars by having the director of the film within the film drop them into a live war zone in Vietnam so they could get a taste of real hardship.
I’ll fess up right here and tell you that before I knew that this was the plot of the film, I had been offended by the trailer. I thought that it was portraying a band of actual soldiers as “wacky guys” in the middle of the conflict. But now that I know the context, it does indeed look like it may be pretty damned funny.
If you want to see the “red band” trailer (for language), you’ll need to provide age verification information over at the official website.
Personally I think any racist accusations raised against this film in the media will be from the usual bunch of attention-hungry talking heads that pop up at every opportunity.
Tropic Thunder opens on August 15th and stars Ben Stiller, Jack Black & Robert Downey Jr.