Dear angry white “Hunger Games” fans,
I have to preface this letter by saying that I have never read any of the books nor seen the movie based on them. I do know the premise of the series, have seen many copies of the books around the office, and think the film and franchise at large looks pretty damn interesting. In fact, I may find some time to review the source material besides the back of book jackets and light Googling.
However, that is not what I write you to discuss today, as I don’t have to know all that much about it to raise this issue. I was recently combing the internet seeking murder weapons for time when I came across an article about the recent film adaptation, or more specifically, the casting therein. Apparently, the casted actors did not match many of your mental images of your favorite characters.
This is not normally too much of an issue in cinema. I mean, who the hell pictured Ben Affleck as Daredevil or Mr. Mom as the early 90’s Dark Knight? However, what brought this particular incident to my attention was the fact that many of you were upset that 2 main characters, described in the books as having features like “dark skin” and “black hair”, were depicted in the movie using African-American actors.
Some of you were not only upset, but fully enraged about the casting choices. The article featured a few of your Twitter reactions to them, and you said some pretty ugly things. Many of you expressed vehement anger that they would dare to put brown-tinted people in roles that called for…exactly that. A few of you said that the events which unfolded with one “newly” black character were not as meaningful now that you put a black face to her name. (Trying hard to dance around spoilers here, work with me.)
Some of you even threatened to boycott the movie entirely as a result of having to unexpectedly see African-Americans in roles you didn’t see as quite so…dark. This concerns me for reasons that are pretty obvious if you scroll down the right side of the page a bit. (I put it so far down so people like you would possibly read a few of my words before you saw me, realized I could both read and write, and recoiled in horror before wiping your internet history, and uninstalling and reinstalling your browser.)
As a person casted in real life with dark skin and black hair, I feel I have a responsibility to say something to you…and that’s that you should pull your head out your pee pipe and calm your dumb asses down. You see, it happens to people like me all the time, and we don’t get all bent into our true shapes about it. Even if the character descriptions hadn’t pretty much demanded black people, it’s about time we got one back anyway.
Take, for instance, the recent film adaptation of comic book “Green Lantern”. While it’s true that the series centered around a white guy for its first 40 years, many modern fans had become familiar with his African-American successor, as most popular depictions of the superhero for about a decade leading up to the film involved a black man. However, when it came time for the Hollywood blockbuster adaptation, those who made the film decided to go with the white Lantern, choosing that one white guy from all those romantic comedies to portray an intergalactic guardian. I got right over that and in line for tickets in one smooth motion, as did many others like me, simply because I'm a huge fan of GL.
Not a comic book guy? Not the worst thing ever...I can still make my point. Ever seen "The Matrix"? I don't think you would have if the original lead stuck around. Sure, Will Smith can make more facial expressions than Keanu Reeves...Easter Island heads do too...but could he have dodged bullets? We'll never know...but I love the movie anyway. I don't sit around crying that they picked a white guy when the casting likely didn't call for one (well, the entire script being stolen from an unfortunate black lady was pretty uncalled for too, but that's a separate discussion)...I just enjoyed a supremely awesome flick again and again and still every time it comes on cable.
Hell, let's go to the most often miscast person of all time...how many straight haired lily-white folk do you figure were walking around the deserts just north of Africa a couple thousand years ago? Not too many? Likely none? Yet, when I mention the name Jesus, the image you likely come up with likely resembles a Starbucks barista. Would he still be your homeboy if you found out he was a little (or a lottle) darker than most imagine? Think about it.
Hopefully you see by now that a little unexpected casting does not completely taint a work, and can begin your healing process by getting the fuck over it. In closing, I'd just like to say that I'm not angry at you. Quite the contrary, I'm proud of you if you made it this far. You said some stupid shit and I'm just rubbing your nose in it a little. I really don't think you dislike people like me that much. That is, unless you actually do believe the shit that comes out of your mouth and mouse...in that case, may the odds never be in your favor, bitch.