– by Emmanuel Gomez

Now a days the term “white-washing” has been heard more and more in the film industry. For example, recently we had Ed Skrein leave his role in the upcoming Hellboy reboot because the original version of his character was originally Japanese-American. There was also an uproar over the casting of Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One in Marvel’s Dr. Strange. In 2016 Gerard Butler starred in Lionsgate’s Gods Of Egypt which included cast members Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Brenton Thwaites and Geoffrey Rush. The criticism got so bad that Lionsgate ended up apologizing for their casting.


During an interview with Yahoo! Movies for the film Geostorm, Butler praised the diversity of the cast and said he though that the backlash for Gods Of Egypt was unfair, and that he had no regrets about playing his Egyptian character:

“No, because I think that was, it was, you know, I understand the movement generally, but you consider our movie, one of our leads was based on an Egyptian God [who] was not black. We had Ethiopians [in the film], we had Egyptians [in the film], we had all different actors from all over the place that was never really, they were from everywhere. So, I thought that was a little too much to try and damage a movie like that, I disagree.”

Although maintaining a firm stance on his thoughts on the casting Butler understands the backlash connecting it with the diverse cast in Geostorm saying, “We live in a very diverse world, and by the way, actually, that was one of the main points of the movie — diverse attitudes.”

Unfortunately for Butler, Gods Of Egypt was a disaster in the box office and by the looks of the opening weekend, Warner Bros’s Pictures Geostorm is going to be no different making only $66.8 million worldwide, which included $14.7 million domestically against a $120 million budget. For now it seems like the Scottish actor may want to focus on better films altogether. White-washing seems to be a topic of discussion more and more these days, especially with so many films being made using well known stories.

What are your feelings on “white-washing” characters? Are audiences over-reacting or is there a legitimate problem? Let us know below!

Warner Bros’s Picturs Geostorm is in theaters now.

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SOURCE: Yahoo! Movies

  • Saranac

    How do I know Geostorm was a really bad movie (I knew, but….): When my wife, who has the wuuurst taste in movies said – That looks horrible, is this a spoof movie?

  • Victor Roa

    trying to tip toe around an issue just how bad this movie is. I saw the film…. and it’s bad, let me put it this way, Xena Warrior Princess looks classy compared to this. And blaming that twitter rants the “cultural white washing” doesn’t save just how bad it was.

  • Cast

    White Washing has to stop. To say there is no person of color who can do the job is a joke. While I’m on that side if the discussion, seriously has there been a movie where white washing worked? Honest question.

    • Nattown

      Batman Begins, Argo, Hunger Games, Noah, Exodus, and Prince of Persia come to top of my head.

      • Marquis de Sade

        Noah, Exodus, and Prince of Persia underperformed big time too.

        • Nattown

          Financially they weren’t failures. Didn’t break the bank but did okay.

      • Mad Barchetta

        I’m trying to remember and can’t – Which character in Batman Begins is an example of white-washing?

        • Nattown

          The Asian Ra’s Al Ghul who was played by a white man.

          • Mad Barchetta

            According to the established Post-Crisis origin, Ra’s is not Asian, but Arabic, coming from a Bedouin tribe. Most arabs of that type are considered to be of either semitic or hamiticin background, both of which are classified under the heading of caucasian. So, in that sense, having Liam Neeson play him isn’t white-washing in the sense that someone of a different “race” played the character AND is means Asian is not a correct classification of the character.

            However, if we stick to the outdated terminology I used above, Neeson falling under the term “aryan” would make it case of someone with significantly different heritage from that established by canon playing the character, or “white washing.” But then, it would almost be totally about his complexion.

            Arrow did it again with an Australian playing the character. Gotham seems to be doing it more accurately with Alexander Siddig playing him.

            Still, i think using the term “white washing” to talk about a Caucasian playing a Caucasian character is a stretch. (Especially when you realize Ra’s isn’t Asian.)

          • Nattown

            Arabs come from Asia.

          • Mad Barchetta

            SOME Arabs might be considered to come from the Asian continent. As Ra’s is described as coming from a Bedouin tribe, that most likely would indicate North African heritage, but could include Mid-East Heritage. In Arab states, Asian would mean people originating from South or Southeast Asia. Typical US usage of the term Asian usually denotes those of Chinese, Indian, Korean, Filipino, Japanese, Vietnamese, Sri Lankan, Cambodian and Thai ancestries. But the term Asian can mean a lot of things in a lot of different countries. For example: in Norway and Sweden, Asian is used for ALL people originating on the Asian continent, which would include many Arabs, Russians, Chinese, Indians, Turks, etc. In that case, an actor of just about any “race” could legitimately play an Asian character because all “races” are represented.

            To simply say “Ra’s Al Ghul is Asian, so a white actor shouldn’t play him” is a gross over-simplification.

          • Nattown

            Ra’s father in almost every version of him has the same father. A father from Hong Kong. His arabic roots are explored more so in name and his geographical location but he’s 100% Asian. Despite what lingo people like to use, an Asian is an Asian. How the hell would it look had they had his father in there? Now I don’t care much for the white washing in this case since I enjoyed the movie and aren’t a fan of the Ghul characters, but it is definitely the same gripe people had with Last Airbender and Dragonball. It’s just the first thing I thought of when I was watching the movie when they had the Asian fella as Ra’s and I’m like “well obviously” then when it turned out to be Liam…made no sense to me. Talia then also proceeds to be a white lady was ALSO a bit odd to me. Their names for the love of God should prevent said white washing. However my theory is that whitewashing is cool when its attached to good movies. Nobody questioned this random white man with an Arabic name…

  • secretAGENTman

    The Scottish guy who played an Egyptian God doesn’t understand…

    Okay, Gerard we listened, thanks.


    • Nattown

      We had no problems with him playing a Greek legend.

      • secretAGENTman


  • TheOct8pus

    Yes….because if more people had gone out to see Gods of Egypt, it would have won an Oscar for Amazing Picture….

  • It’s OK to be White.