To put the story into a nutshell, Daughter of God was conceived as indie flick about a Latina woman living with a Dominican family focusing on social issues that affect women. Keanu Reeves was attached to the project in a supporting role of a cop investigating the death of his partner, the real star was supposed to be Ana de Armas. Some of the funding for the film fell through and Lionsgate became involved. Once that happened, the film was re-edited so that the star in now Reeves, de Armes is now a bit part, the title was changed to Exposed, and the genre is now “cop thriller.” The changes were so drastic that Gee Malik Linton, the director, has removed his name from the credits.
The reason was of course, money. Keanu Reeves is a big name, and the studio, being a Hollywood studio, just can’t see actors of color bringing in the big bucks like white boys can. (Yes I know Reeves is part Asian, but movie audiences perceive him to be white, so the studio does as well.)
If you have the intestinal fortitude, head over and the article linked above. If you don’t I won’t blame you because who needs another story about whitewashing?
Daughter of God um, Exposed will drop in January, if anyone cares. No word on if we will ever see the director’s original cut. Here’s the trailer, looks like pretty standard cop stuff:
In case you have not been following the controversy, the movie Gods of Egypt is the latest example of whitewashing. They cast all white guys in a period piece set in ancient North Africa. Let that sink in for a minute.
As you can imagine this did not sit well with the masses.
Even the Divine Miss M, Bette Midler herself, had something to say:
Lionsgate, sensing that they had the next Exodus: Gods and Kings on their hands (i.e. an expensive flop) groveled.
“We recognize that it is our responsibility to help ensure that casting decisions reflect the diversity and culture of the time periods portrayed. In this instance we failed to live up to our own standards of sensitivity and diversity, for which we sincerely apologize. Lionsgate is deeply committed to making films that reflect the diversity of our audiences. We have, can and will continue to do better.”
I’ll believe it when I see receipts. Someone buy them a ticket to see Hamilton on Broadway.
The fans of the Ghost in the Shell anime have been waiting a long time for a big screen live action adaption of their favorite, so you would have thought that they would have been happy to hear that Scarlett Johansson was signed to star and production was moving forward.
Not so fast!
Ghost in the Shell is a series whose roots go back to post WWII Japan; exploring themes of identity, who we are, and that makes this white washing rather painful for fans. The central character is Major Motoko Kusanagi, member of anti-terrorism task force and a human whose suffered a traumatic injury as a child that forces her to use an android body, leaving her vulnerable to hackers who can bend her to their will. Sounds intriguing, but somehow I just see can’t Scarlett playing a Japanese character, and Ghost in the Shell is VERY Japanese.
The fans decided not to take this laying down, so they started a petition to get Scarlett replaced with someone truer to the material. Unfortunately the odds of them succeeding are pretty low, apparently it was the fact the Scarlett was willing to sign on that got this project out of production hell in the first place. Regular readers of this page already know how studio bosses fell about movies starring POC.
Good Magazine has a very well written article on the controversy and the history of white washing in Hollywood. I highly recommend it. While it’s probably too late for Ghost in the Shell, they point out that as long we raise a stink over casting white actors in POC roles, eventually Hollywood will catch a clue and maybe the next project that comes along won’t suffer the same fate.