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Old April 13 2010, 07:59 PM   #1
Dusty Ayres
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How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

And the multiracial casting boom continues....

How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard
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Old April 13 2010, 08:19 PM   #2
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

It shouldn't really surprise anyone familiar with Kenneth Branagh's film work; he's a devotee of casting anyone, regardless of race/period considerations. His versions of Hamlet (set in 19th century Denmark) and Much Ado About Nothing (set in 18th century Italy) have all kinds of minorities, in the latter case with Denzel Washington as a nobleman.
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Old April 13 2010, 08:40 PM   #3
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

^Seems to be in the tradition of theatrical casting, which is often based more on availability in the troupe and skill as a performer rather than other considerations. I remember in high school our class attended a production of Hamlet where Claudius, Hamlet's biological uncle to all indications, was played by a black actor although Hamlet himself was white.
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Old April 13 2010, 08:46 PM   #4
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

He's playing a god. They can look like whatever you want them to look like. This isn't like casting John Cho and Chris Rock to play JFK and RFK.
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Old April 13 2010, 08:49 PM   #5
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

And the point of humor in this is?
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Old April 13 2010, 09:53 PM   #6
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

Wait? I thought one of the Gods' in the Warriors Three was Mongolian?
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Old April 13 2010, 10:00 PM   #7
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

CaptainCanada wrote: View Post
It shouldn't really surprise anyone familiar with Kenneth Branagh's film work; he's a devotee of casting anyone, regardless of race/period considerations. His versions of Hamlet (set in 19th century Denmark) and Much Ado About Nothing (set in 18th century Italy) have all kinds of minorities, in the latter case with Denzel Washington as a nobleman.
On the other hand, that would've really messed up Othello, where casting Iago as (well, firstly someone other than himself) someone also descended from sub-Saharan Africans (not technically correct in Othello's case, iirc, but probably more relevant) would have made the film completely dissonant.

It's not to the same level as that example, but it's an odd choice here too. Would you cast a white guy as Kokou, a Yoruba warrior god?
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Old April 13 2010, 10:12 PM   #8
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

Myasishchev wrote: View Post
CaptainCanada wrote: View Post
It shouldn't really surprise anyone familiar with Kenneth Branagh's film work; he's a devotee of casting anyone, regardless of race/period considerations. His versions of Hamlet (set in 19th century Denmark) and Much Ado About Nothing (set in 18th century Italy) have all kinds of minorities, in the latter case with Denzel Washington as a nobleman.
On the other hand, that would've really messed up Othello, where casting Iago as (well, firstly someone other than himself) someone also descended from sub-Saharan Africans (not technically correct in Othello's case, iirc, but probably more relevant) would have made the film completely dissonant.
It's one thing to not pay attention to race if the story is explicitly about race, and another to not pay attention to race when it's entirely immaterial to the story.

It's not to the same level as that example, but it's an odd choice here too. Would you cast a white guy as Kokou, a Yoruba warrior god?
Depends on the story, doesn't it? If it's something as wildly fantastical that plays completely fast and loose with Yoruba mythology the way that Thor plays fast and loose with Nordic mythology - then who cares? Thor exists in a complete fantasy world filled with impossible creatures. The filmmakers are supposed to worry about real-world racial conventions in that case?

Personally, I'm much more worried by the vividly red fur Heimdall is wearing in that drawing than the idea of someone with brown skin playing him. What the hell kind of creature did he supposedly skin to get that? Something that is complete fantasy, I'm guessing - pointing up how little reality matters in this fictional world.
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Old April 13 2010, 10:36 PM   #9
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

These same people had no objection to an Italian Red Skull and we all know how that turned out. Political correctness I say thee nay!!

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Old April 13 2010, 10:53 PM   #10
Myasishchev
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

Lapis Exilis wrote: View Post
Myasishchev wrote: View Post
CaptainCanada wrote: View Post
It shouldn't really surprise anyone familiar with Kenneth Branagh's film work; he's a devotee of casting anyone, regardless of race/period considerations. His versions of Hamlet (set in 19th century Denmark) and Much Ado About Nothing (set in 18th century Italy) have all kinds of minorities, in the latter case with Denzel Washington as a nobleman.
On the other hand, that would've really messed up Othello, where casting Iago as (well, firstly someone other than himself) someone also descended from sub-Saharan Africans (not technically correct in Othello's case, iirc, but probably more relevant) would have made the film completely dissonant.
It's one thing to not pay attention to race if the story is explicitly about race, and another to not pay attention to race when it's entirely immaterial to the story.
Yeah, exactly. That's why I didn't mind it.

But let's take another modern Shakespearean production, where race didn't matter (but family was paramount)--Luhrman's Romeo and Juliet. It would have been a problem if the Prince and Mercutio weren't the same race, or at least plausibly related, and it sucked that Paris was this lily white, Paul Rudd-looking dork. Now, I'll grant that Luhrman didn't care that the three were all related, but it sort of bothered me. Paris should've been a black guy, and they should have been related, because the innocent family's body count from the idiocy of the feud should be the same as the Capulets and Montagues (2 for each).

Thinking on it, does Romeo actually even kill Paris in Luhrman's version? I remember something important being left out, and it might've been that.

It's not to the same level as that example, but it's an odd choice here too. Would you cast a white guy as Kokou, a Yoruba warrior god?
Depends on the story, doesn't it? If it's something as wildly fantastical that plays completely fast and loose with Yoruba mythology the way that Thor plays fast and loose with Nordic mythology - then who cares? Thor exists in a complete fantasy world filled with impossible creatures. The filmmakers are supposed to worry about real-world racial conventions in that case?
Well, in full frankness, even though I've generally liked the character and his series(es), the Marvel Thor mythology nevertheless kinda bugs me with its retcons of the source material (Loki, adopted son of Odin? huh?, Thor as a blond, Thor as a doctor, alien Thors like the hammer was a Green Lantern ring, etc.). So I guess it probably is immaterial, given the other issues, if Heimdall's black.
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Old April 13 2010, 11:17 PM   #11
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

Why not? It worked in Blazing Saddles.
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Old April 13 2010, 11:20 PM   #12
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

Myasishchev wrote: View Post
Thinking on it, does Romeo actually even kill Paris in Luhrman's version? I remember something important being left out, and it might've been that.
I'm pretty sure he doesn't.
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Old April 13 2010, 11:45 PM   #13
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

Myasishchev wrote: View Post
It's not to the same level as that example, but it's an odd choice here too. Would you cast a white guy as Kokou, a Yoruba warrior god?
Isn't this the version of the character which runs around making silly Shakespeare quotations? Honestly, from what little I understand of the Marvel adaption they've sort of run roughshod over the Norse mythology anyway; so what of it? It's just another comic book movie where once was white, there now is black, nothing more.
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Old April 14 2010, 12:24 AM   #14
Trent Roman
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

I'm actually against this. Not strenuously, but I would prefer that Asgard not look like modern society. Would have preferred a LOTR-type casting for those sequences (the portions set in the real world, obviously, should reflect real world diversity).

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Old April 14 2010, 12:32 AM   #15
Lapis Exilis
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

Myasishchev wrote: View Post

Yeah, exactly. That's why I didn't mind it.

But let's take another modern Shakespearean production, where race didn't matter (but family was paramount)--Luhrman's Romeo and Juliet. It would have been a problem if the Prince and Mercutio weren't the same race, or at least plausibly related, and it sucked that Paris was this lily white, Paul Rudd-looking dork. Now, I'll grant that Luhrman didn't care that the three were all related, but it sort of bothered me. Paris should've been a black guy, and they should have been related, because the innocent family's body count from the idiocy of the feud should be the same as the Capulets and Montagues (2 for each).

Thinking on it, does Romeo actually even kill Paris in Luhrman's version? I remember something important being left out, and it might've been that.
No, I believe Romeo did kill Paris - at least I remember "I am Fortune's fool!" was a big moment in the film and that comes after he knocks off Paris doesn't it?

What is left out is any mention of family relations between the Prince, Paris and Mercutio. Not that that really matters in a Shakespeare production where it has become commonplace not to worry about matching related characters up racially in many productions.

Well, in full frankness, even though I've generally liked the character and his series(es), the Marvel Thor mythology nevertheless kinda bugs me with its retcons of the source material (Loki, adopted son of Odin? huh?, Thor as a blond, Thor as a doctor, alien Thors like the hammer was a Green Lantern ring, etc.). So I guess it probably is immaterial, given the other issues, if Heimdall's black.
Exactly. Their Thor is so far removed from anything actually Norse how could it possibly matter that not everyone looks Nordic? Though, I do find the blatant tokenism of a lot of this sort of casting to be fairly obnoxious. Then again, considering how difficult it is for anyone of color to pull a role, I'm sure they're happy just to be working.
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