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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Tell me if this sounds familiar: a studio casts a white person and the internet loses its mind. Yeah, it’s a tale as old as time, and we’re starting to grow weary of it as well. That being said, the pattern is unmistakable, and we can’t help but also bring attention to a problem when we see it.

Studios have a terrible history of whitewashing roles, or leaving roles open to minorities only when it has relevance to the story. For example, if Mexicans often get drug-related roles, black actors tend to get roles when their identity as an African-American is central to the story, etc. Most other roles are reserved for white actors, in general.

However, to push things even further, Hollywood also has a tendency to skew existing properties so that they can have a white cast (see Ghost in the Shell).

For the longest time, audiences were worried this would be the same fate to befall Disney’s live-action fare like Mulan and Aladdin. Mulan even had a script where it had a white lead at one point. Disney has since refuted that they had any intention of actually continuing in that direction, but it does seem to point towards a trend.

Then, when casting for Aladdin seemed to hit a stalemate, with the studio having trouble casting Indian or Middle-Eastern actors who could sing or dance, it seemed like they may throw in the towel and cast white anyways.

Luckily, they did not, but it sounds like they may have gone around that. According to a release from Disney, Aladdin has officially finished up casting and started production, as shown via a press release and cast photo

CHECK OUT THE CAST PHOTO HERE

This is great news for Aladdin fans, but there was one noteworthy aspect: the inclusion of a new character. This new character is named Prince Anders (played by Billy Magnusson), and he would be a suitor from Skanland and potential husband of Princess Jasmine.

Now that in itself is relatively harmless, but here is the thought from a certain perspective. Despite having a cast with people of color, it still seemed they didn’t have the confidence to actually allow this movie exist with brown people in it.

Of course, the flip side here is that we haven’t read the script. Perhaps it’s a great character, and I’ll eat my own words, but as it stands, it seems like the latest in an annoying trend.

We’ll have to wait and see how the advertising plays out. If Prince Anders ends up getting plastered all over the banners and posters, we’ll know the real reason he was cast.

But we would never wish the worst. We love us some Disney and hope this to be another home run for their live-action fare, and we also hope the studio gives people of color the confidence they deserve.

Of course, a lot of that is just my own opinion and perspective as a Mexican-American, but that doesn’t mean it should be yours. What do you think about all this. Do you think I’m overreacting? Let us know down below!

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SOURCE: Disney

  • Victor Roa

    so wait, no one has answered me this before they went who is today’s Al Hirschfeld for this film? A huge reason why that film holds up is it’s strong line work in building characters…. and Guy Richie is in charge…. wow, nostalgia goggles isn’t going to save this mess.

  • SeanDon

    Jesus…

  • Weresmurf

    Im ok with this. Hes positioned as a nemesis. A competitor not a hero or main. Its fine.

    • TAPIT DRIvER

      Does this mean what I think you’re saying? You’re cool with a white guy being a baddie?

      • Weresmurf

        Sure why not? It’s just a role in a movie? Nothing to go all berserk over dude? They’re not whitewashing the main character, they’re leaving Jasmine as appropriately cast too. They’ve created a side character and cast appropriately given the characters background, so what’s the issue?

        Stop overthinking it, you’re trying to literally create problems.

        • TAPIT DRIvER

          I’m not creating anything. Society has. Would you be cool if the main villain were black or Asian? If you are,then there is no need for this discussion. If you have a problem with the villain being black or Asian or “other”,but not white,then maybe you should have some introspection.

          Not trying to create discord,just fed up with my race being the go to bad guy.

          • Weresmurf

            I’m fine with anyone being any colour? I’m white myself. I’m simply saying that the fact people are pissing and whining about a white guy being in the movie is fucking stupid. In this case, Aladdin should be cast appropriately, as should Jasmine. The prince role here is going to be a suitor, possibly a ‘nemesis’ or ‘minor nemesis’ to Aladdin, so he won’t overshadow the primary role, which isn’t an issue there, no whitewashing etc.

            I had zero issues with the villain being black, asian, white, a dog or whatever. Shit, cast a walrus for all I care as long as the movie turns out good.

            Wait, that’s how we got TUSK. Fuck.

          • TAPIT DRIvER

            Dont know what TUSK is.,but Ive seen your previous posts. So, I respect your opinion.

  • Kindofabigdeal

    This is pretty much the only movie site I go to, but articles like this try my patience.

    • Joseph Jammer Medina

      Sorry…

    • Drew Carlton

      Whitewashing. Sick of hearing about it. There are valid points on both sides of the argument. Let’s say in 13 Years A Slave, that white people complained that they were more qualified for a role than a black person that was a slave. This seems ridiculous, but is it? Kinda. I think that now that the African American has found his/her place in big hollywood, the PC Police focus has shifted towards whites being cast as Asians. The tragedy behind all of this is that now the legal system is being tied up in civil courts with white people suing for racism. Back to the film industry, American movies are still 90% white, and this is the other side of the argument — even though we have seen major comic characters cast as opposite races. Take Deadshot in Suicide Squad for example. So what is the solution? There is none. I look to the movie, The Time Machine where in the future all races are the same skin color, and that is about the time when we will stop talking and getting upset about it. On a side note, I LOVED Netflix’ Death Note. I have read the manga, seen the animated series, and all 4 Japanese movies. While nobody could replace “L” from the Japanese movies, as he did the role perfectly, I loved Adam Wingards interpretation, and Americanized, version of the film — not a popular opinion I know, but I stick by it.

  • TAPIT DRIvER

    “However, to push things even further, Hollywood also has a tendency to
    skew existing properties so that they can have a white cast (see Ghost in the Shell).”

    Here’s what I don’t understand: All Japanese anime look like white westerners anyway,even with Jap names. So what is the problem with casting whites? I mean, if you don’t want white people portraying your animated character,then don’t make them look like a white character.

    • Joseph Jammer Medina

      That’s a warped perspectives. To Japanese people, a lot of anime characters look Asian.

      • TAPIT DRIvER

        So you know this for a fact? You speak for most Japanese people? I’ve seen(rarely), Asian characters that have slanted eyes.

        • Joseph Jammer Medina

          Obviously I can’t speak for them, but in a previous life i worked in the anime industry, so I’ve done a lot of research and have had many a discussion on the topic. Here’s an interesting video on that. https://youtu.be/q_Xd2xLAjDM

          • TAPIT DRIvER

            I don’t have time to listen,but I will take your word on it.

          • TAPIT DRIvER

            After just watching less than 2 minutes of this video, the people seemed confused,but I have to wonder how much of this is “cultural conditioning”? I mean,after all the people they are asking are millennials and not people my age(47)

    • Drew Carlton

      Don’t forget every Final Fantasy game ever made.

  • TAPIT DRIvER

    “Then, when casting for Aladdin seemed to hit a stalemate, with the studio having trouble casting Indian or Middle-Eastern actors who could sing or dance”

    Bollywood has plenty of those.

  • TAPIT DRIvER

    “Despite having a cast with people of color”….lol,backwards,that’s colored people. And yes,that sentence is ironic.

  • TAPIT DRIvER

    “the inclusion of a new character. This new character is named Prince
    Anders (played by Billy Magnusson), and he would be a suitor from
    Skanland and potential husband of Princess Jasmine.”

    In other words, your token white villain. SMH. I’m talking straight up Aryan race villain. Probably will wear a turban that says Make America Great Again.

  • Moby85

    I think some overreaction. I think “caution” would be the reasonable limit of speculation. The question I would pose is what would the intent be? Is it that a single supporting white character would somehow earn the film an extra $100 million? Realistically I think it has a negligible effect on the film.

  • CoolHandJuke

    not sure what i hate more: the fact they are remaking this or the pc police’s involvement…

  • chaburchak

    So one white actor in an otherwise diverse cast is one white too many? Really?

  • suckit15694

    You want people to argue about this so you can tell people how racist they are. Not me sir I will not be baited.

  • Behemothrex

    I am all for casting whomever is best for the role, but seriously, people are called minorities for a reason. Why would 13 percent of the population expect to be represented in 100 percent of movies. How many white actors are staring in movies made in Uganda? And again with the Ghost in the Shell! Look at the manga if those people are Japanese I will eat my hat. Yes more diversity, god did I just say that, would be welcome in film, but if the public can’t handle the cast they won’t see the movie.

  • Fallout Boy!

    If you wanna make a movie, pay for all the shit, the cameras, crew, cast, locations, post, marketing you should be able to make it ANY FUCKING WAY YOU WANT TO!! With ANYONE you want to for whatever fucking reason YOU wanna make it that way! Shut these fucking PC SJW bitches DOWN!

  • Michael Pizarro

    IT’S CALLED ACTING PEOPLE!!! Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in her carreer defining role. Charlton Heston as Moses or Judah Ben Her, both not Egyption or Hebrew. Yet those performances will live in perpetuity. It’s called acting people. If Hollywood cast acording to race we would have been denied infinite performances by amazing actors. A Canadian playing an Iowa farm boy who explores the galaxy? A fine Mexican actor playing a bloodthirsty Sikh warrior? Would all have been denied by SJW’s. It’s called acting for God’s sake.

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.