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Old April 15 2010, 07:27 PM   #61
Hermiod
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Hermiod wrote: View Post

In the meantime, carry on arguing for casting actors who are wrong for the parts you're suggesting for no reason other than stunt casting.

How do you know he's wrong for the part before we've even seen the movie?

I once saw James Earl Jones play King Lear on stage. Trust me, he was great.

Don't tell me Heimdall is more iconic is Lear!
I'm not bothered about Heimdall. Personally, I'm just going to complain that all of the Asgard characters are played by humans.

What bothers me is why people want to see Will Smith as Superman. What purpose does it serve other than saying "look at us, we're not racist, we cast a black man" and generally making people think that they've done something good ? Let's all give ourselves a pat on the back because we're soooooo progressive.

Directors don't cast Will Smith in a role because it's some progressive move, directors cast Will Smith because they want to make money. You're not doing anything clever by casting him.

If, on the other hand, you cast some black unknown then why are you doing it ? It's just casting a black guy to stir up controversy and create publicity. You'd be exploiting whatever poor sod you ended up casting. For the rest of his career he'd be known as "the black guy who played Superman".

Like it or not, the visual depiction of a comic book character is as important to that character as how he is written. He is not a character in a play or a book, he's a character from a visual art form.

In this thread I've read one argument against doing the reverse, casting a white man as T'Challa for instance, is that being black is part of their character - and that is the problem. Until you stop making black heroes for black people and start making black heroes that everyone can identify with you will always limit the potential popularity of that character.

All you do with this kind of casting is temporarily manage a symptom, not cure the underlying cause.
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Old April 15 2010, 07:34 PM   #62
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

I saw Anthony Hopkins playing Othello. Maybe it was his "prequel" to The Human Stain.
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Old April 15 2010, 07:40 PM   #63
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

Hermiod wrote: View Post
In this thread I've read one argument against doing the reverse, casting a white man as T'Challa for instance, is that being black is part of their character - and that is the problem. Until you stop making black heroes for black people and start making black heroes that everyone can identify with you will always limit the potential popularity of that character.
That's not really it. T'Challa's backstory clearly requires that he be a black African; comparatively, nothing in Superman's backstory (or Peter Parker's) requires him to white, just American (Kryptonian-American, in the former case). There are plenty of white characters where being white is essential.
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Old April 15 2010, 07:49 PM   #64
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

^
Exactly. Superman's not even human; the fact he's a white Cary Grant-type is simply a matter of obscene conveinence on his part.

Hermiod wrote: View Post
What bothers me is why people want to see Will Smith as Superman. What purpose does it serve other than saying "look at us, we're not racist, we cast a black man" and generally making people think that they've done something good ? Let's all give ourselves a pat on the back because we're soooooo progressive.
I just think Will Smith's star power has the right persona for Superman. He can be cool, but not unwholesomely so; decent but likeable and charming. So yes, he's not 'too bad a Superman' at all.
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Old April 15 2010, 08:02 PM   #65
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

CaptainCanada wrote: View Post
Hermiod wrote: View Post
In this thread I've read one argument against doing the reverse, casting a white man as T'Challa for instance, is that being black is part of their character - and that is the problem. Until you stop making black heroes for black people and start making black heroes that everyone can identify with you will always limit the potential popularity of that character.
That's not really it. T'Challa's backstory clearly requires that he be a black African; comparatively, nothing in Superman's backstory (or Peter Parker's) requires him to white, just American (Kryptonian-American, in the former case). There are plenty of white characters where being white is essential.
There is something in Superman and Spider-Man's backstories that makes them being white essential - their visual depiction in their first comic book appearances. People arguing otherwise don't seem to really understand what differentiates comic books from other media.

There's a reason why a comic book character is always said to have been created the writer and the artist. To dismiss the role of the artist is extremely disrespectful.

Casting a black man as Superman or Spider-Man is just patronising them. We'll make ourselves feel better by throwing the black man a bone instead of actually doing something that might make a real difference.

Kegg wrote: View Post
I just think Will Smith's star power has the right persona for Superman. He can be cool, but not unwholesomely so; decent but likeable and charming. So yes, he's not 'too bad a Superman' at all.
Apart from anything else, I just don't see him playing Clark Kent. You have to be able to play both.
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Old April 15 2010, 08:05 PM   #66
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Aragorn wrote: View Post
Was the confederate poster on here back when Michael Clark Duncan was cast as Kingpin? THIS ISN'T A BIG DEAL!!!!
.

Believe me, people complained about Duncan, too. Sometimes vehemently.

Which was silly. The essence of the Kingpin is that he is massive, manipulative, and menacing.

Duncan fit the bill, perfectly
Well except that Wilson Fisk is usually a little chunckier than Duncan was in that film, but that's something that is fixable.

Kegg wrote: View Post
^
Exactly. Superman's not even human; the fact he's a white Cary Grant-type is simply a matter of obscene conveinence on his part.

Hermiod wrote: View Post
What bothers me is why people want to see Will Smith as Superman. What purpose does it serve other than saying "look at us, we're not racist, we cast a black man" and generally making people think that they've done something good ? Let's all give ourselves a pat on the back because we're soooooo progressive.
I just think Will Smith's star power has the right persona for Superman. He can be cool, but not unwholesomely so; decent but likeable and charming. So yes, he's not 'too bad a Superman' at all.
Didn't Smith already kind of play a Supermanish character in Hancock?
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Old April 15 2010, 08:09 PM   #67
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

Hartzilla2007 wrote: View Post
Well except that Wilson Fisk is usually a little chunckier than Duncan was in that film, but that's something that is fixable.
I could accept Duncan in the role mainly as Kingpin isn't nearly as huge a part of our culture as someone like Superman or Spider-Man. From the interviews etc nearer the time it was clear that they didn't cast him to make any kind of statement. There is, after all, nothing imaginative about casting a black man as a criminal no matter how powerful and well connected that criminal might be.

Kegg wrote: View Post
^
I just think Will Smith's star power has the right persona for Superman. He can be cool, but not unwholesomely so; decent but likeable and charming. So yes, he's not 'too bad a Superman' at all.
Didn't Smith already kind of play a Supermanish character in Hancock?
Well, once he'd sobered up, yeah.
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Old April 15 2010, 08:11 PM   #68
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

There have been cases of characters which were originally black being played by white actors, also - Tigh was black on the original Battlestar Galactica, and the remake replaced the black male Boomer with an Asian female Boomer. But then race was - obstensibly - not important to the backgrounds of any of these characters, however it affected casting decisions (on the original the two white male leads each had their black male friend, but one disgresses...)

Hermiod wrote: View Post
There's a reason why a comic book character is always said to have been created the writer and the artist. To dismiss the role of the artist is extremely disrespectful.
Who's doing that? Chances are even a non-white Superman is going to wear the blue tights and red underpants. He's not going to look exactly like the chiselled face and muscular body, but then not every Superman actor has lived up to that anyway.

Apart from anything else, I just don't see him playing Clark Kent. You have to be able to play both.
I think I can see him as pretty nebbish, really.

Hartzilla2007 wrote: View Post
Didn't Smith already kind of play a Supermanish character in Hancock?
Indeed he did.
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Old April 15 2010, 08:23 PM   #69
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

Kegg wrote: View Post
There have been cases of characters which were originally black being played by white actors, also - Tigh was black on the original Battlestar Galactica, and the remake replaced the black male Boomer with an Asian female Boomer. But then race was - obstensibly - not important to the backgrounds of any of these characters, however it affected casting decisions (on the original the two white male leads each had their black male friend, but one disgresses...)
The key difference here is, though, that these characters are just the same people in name only. I don't remember the original show's Tigh being a hard drinking hateful bastard or Boomer being a Cylon.

Hermiod wrote: View Post
Who's doing that? Chances are even a non-white Superman is going to wear the blue tights and red underpants. He's not going to look exactly like the chiselled face and muscular body, but then not every Superman actor has lived up to that anyway.
You're all doing it by ignoring the difference between comic books and ordinary books. You can't apply the same rules to King Lear as you do Superman because they're not from the same art form.
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Old April 15 2010, 08:24 PM   #70
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

Hermiod wrote: View Post

There is something in Superman and Spider-Man's backstories that makes them being white essential - their visual depiction in their first comic book appearances. People arguing otherwise don't seem to really understand what differentiates comic books from other media.

There's a reason why a comic book character is always said to have been created the writer and the artist. To dismiss the role of the artist is extremely disrespectful..
But if we feel compelled to stick with the original drawings, simply for continuity's sake, then we're going to be stuck with all-white casts whenever we adapt a comic book created before, say, 1975--which applies to pretty much every classic comic book series.

Just because, say, Curt Swan felt obliged to draw the Legion of Super-Heroes as white teens way back in 1958 doesn't mean any new movie version has to follow suit, out of some misguided sense of "respect" to the original artist. Who is to say that Swan wouldn't have made Cosmic Kid a Eurasian if he had been allowed to do so back in the fifties?

Times change. What was mandatory fifty or seventy years ago shouldn't constrain contemporary versions of the same material.

Granted, recasting a truly iconic figure like James Bond or Superman carries certain risks. But characters like Heimdell or Alicia Masters or the Kingpin?

Let's be honest. Nobody but a handful of hardcore fans are going to notice, and even less are going to mind.

Audiences have changed, too.
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Old April 15 2010, 08:29 PM   #71
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

^As I have said, I am only arguing for truly iconic characters. Not Alicia Masters or the Kingpin or Heimdall. I had no problem with Michael Clarke Duncan especially.

The clinic patient in House's "Humpty Dumpty" is a good example of how I feel about this. We white folks can sit here thinking we're helping and we're doing good, but all we're really doing is patronising people.
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Old April 15 2010, 08:32 PM   #72
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

Hermiod wrote: View Post

There is something in Superman and Spider-Man's backstories that makes them being white essential - their visual depiction in their first comic book appearances. People arguing otherwise don't seem to really understand what differentiates comic books from other media.
No, characters' visual appearances get changed around all the time in adaptations, so it's not the same. There backstories are their on-page histories; Superman's an alien, there's nothing in there that requires that he be a white alien; Peter Parker's an ordinary American teenager, again, nothing specifically requiring that he be white; T'Challa is the ruler of a mysterious African tribal nation.

Conversely, there's nothing especially important in the backgrounds of, say, Luke Cage or Bishop that require them to be black either - but there are so few black superheroes that it's not really the same thing to change them to another race.
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Old April 15 2010, 08:36 PM   #73
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

^Again, you disrespect the artist. Superman is drawn white therefore he is. That's all there is to it.

You can't make double standards here. You have to support casting Steve Austin as Luke Cage too if you think the artist doesn't matter.
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Old April 15 2010, 08:48 PM   #74
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

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You can't make double standards here. You have to support casting Steve Austin as Luke Cage too if you think the artist doesn't matter.
No, I don't. You miss the point - while Luke's backstory is for the most part race-non-specific (the cultural genesis of the character, much less so; he's clearly a product of the 1970s blaxploitation cinema), there are other reasons why casting a white (or other race) in that part would be a bad idea. As I already stated, there aren't many black superheroes, and you can't close your eyes and pretend that there aren't longstanding cultural reasons why turning a black hero white sends a bad message.

Once again, characters' visuals are changed all the time in adaptations. I generally prefer if they resemble the version I'm familiar with from the comics, but it's not impossible for it to be changed and to work very well.

The comics themselves gave Nick Fury a race-swap in the Ultimate Universe, for instance, which is now making its way into all the other-media adaptations.
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Old April 15 2010, 08:51 PM   #75
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Re: How Thor breaks down racial barriers in Asgard

Bishop, no, but Luke Cage? Cage finds his origins in Blaxploitation, and his background draws strongly on the racial dynamics of New York. I suppose there's nothing there plot-wise that demands that he's black, but thematically a white Luke Cage would be like trying to have a white Shaft. Yes, any prisoner can be experimented on, but changing Cage to white obliviates the echoes of Tuskeegee and so forth which have always resonated about the character.

Oh, and I still don't think this is a good idea. Asgard should look like a racial relic, because it is. It's the pantheon of a limited ethnic group, and should reflect that visually, just as non-European pantheons should be allowed to retained their cultural uniqueness (explicit exceptions like Quetzacoatl notwithstanding, of course).

Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman

EDIT: Came in a little late, it seems.
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