Fandango’s Provocative Question #183

FPQ

Welcome once again to Fandango’s Provocative Question. Each week I will pose what I think is a provocative question for your consideration.

By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest.

What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.

This week’s provocative question stems from some articles I’ve recently read about two new adaptations, one of The Lord of the Rings and the other of The Little Mermaid, which seem to be prompting deep outrage and indignation among fans who are arguing that the projects’ increased diversity has weakened their faithfulness to the original stories.

Amazon Prime’s new The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power series first drew widespread anger from some fans because it casts black and Asian actors as characters across the spectrum of fictional Middle Earth races. Their chief complaint was that the decision to include non-white characters had ruined the authenticity of Tolkien’s world.

When Disney released the first trailer for its live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, featuring Halle Bailey as Ariel (above), thousands of YouTube users went nuts, leaving more than 2 million dislikes and countless derogatory comments on the trailer, and creating memes ridiculing the film for casting Bailey and mocking all of its supporters.

But wait. Hobbits, elves, orcs, and mermaids aren’t real, so should it matter what race they are? Is casting non-white actors in movies made from books or stories where the characters were presumed to be white disrespectful to the source material? Or is this backlash transparently racist.

So, with that as the background, here’s today’s provocative question for you.

Does diversity casting in TV shows or movies, where fictional characters who were presumed to be white in the source material are portrayed by non-white actors, concern or bother you? Why do you feel that way?

If you choose to participate, write a post with your response to the question. Once you are done, tag your post with #FPQ and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments. But remember to check to confirm that your pingback or your link shows up in the comments.

30 thoughts on “Fandango’s Provocative Question #183

  1. Sadje September 21, 2022 / 3:20 am

    I’ve just started watching Rings of power and I think this diversity of casting makes the series more real and believable. What’s not to like?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Paula Light September 21, 2022 / 3:34 am

    No. I enjoy diversity, especially because I know it bothers racists…

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Nortina S. September 21, 2022 / 3:42 am

    Growing up, my favorite Disney movies were Aladdin and Hunchback of Notre Dame, movies that featured Brown characters. Representation truly matters, and I choose to acknowledge the reactions of little Brown and Black girls watching the trailer for the first time and seeing that Ariel is Black and the sheer excitement and jubilation they have. Halle Bailey is gorgeous, she has an amazing singing voice, and she’s the perfect casting. This presumption that White is the norm does feel racist—if anything ethnocentric. Our world is diverse, so our movies, especially those that portray FICTIONAL characters (at least those whose identity isn’t centered on their race), should reflect that. Let’s take for example Disney’s live-action Cinderella from 1997 starring Brandy and Whitney Houston. That movie had a White king, a Black queen, an Asian prince, a Black Cinderella, a Black fairy godmother, a White stepmom with a Black and White daughter, and I don’t know what adults were thinking at that time, but little me asked no questions. I accepted that as normal and loved the movie.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango September 21, 2022 / 7:01 am

      And if that Cinderella movie came out in 2022 instead of 1997, there would be loud, racist outrage. America has changed a lot over the past 25 years…and not for the better.

      Like

  4. Nope, Not Pam September 21, 2022 / 4:37 am

    I don’t care, I don’t watch them

    Liked by 1 person

  5. E. that's me September 21, 2022 / 5:45 am

    My issue was that when the casting for the Little Mermaid was announced, I thought it was Halle Berry playing Ariel. My brain went: What? She is too old to be playing a 16 year old anything!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango September 21, 2022 / 7:06 am

      Now that is a valid consideration! 😂

      Like

    • Marleen September 21, 2022 / 10:18 am

      I heard the same thing (while I assumed it was a voice role); I didn’t look into it. Anyway, on the topic of the opening question, I see no reason it should bother me. And a plus, obviously, is a larger pool of actors who can address portraying the characters well (such as in Rings of Power). But… Tolkien is in our body of history (he and Lewis having contributed mightily to our psyches). Maybe some want that to calcify. Yet, Shakespeare is an aspect of our history as well. He had to use men to play women…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. rugby843 September 21, 2022 / 6:16 am

    It’s about time is my reaction and my only dislike of the Rings is the lack of story I find interesting. It has some beautiful sequences to look at but the story lacks, imo. My love of the original Disney animation and then Pixar are delightful but the new live action films are something I would never be interested in watching. One thing I like about films from other than US made is the “realness” of characters and only now just developing here in US. The days of all races of women wanting to be like Marilyn Monroe are over, thank heavens.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Marleen September 21, 2022 / 10:34 am

    The joy I’ve seen in little girls, as was seen with children over the movie The Black Panther, is amazing and instructive. Not instructive because someone wants to tell us it is, but illuminating per how we all are subliminally affected by exclusions and how the tender young can be embraced or, alternatively, injured.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The Autistic Composter September 21, 2022 / 12:52 pm

    Orcs are green, trolls are blue,
    Skin colour shouldn’t matter,
    To me or you.

    Doesn’t bother me either way. It’s the way of the world and the world changes everyday in every way – tis the beauty of diversity.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Marilyn Armstrong September 21, 2022 / 7:12 pm

    Forget diversity. How about paying some slight attention to the BOOK it’s supposed to be about? It’s an absolute, disgusting, appalling travesty. It is NOT “Lord of the Rings.” It’s some bizarre mishmash of other miscellaneous writings by Tolkien. It is AWFUL and it has NOTHING to do with diversity and everything to do with terrible script-writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango September 21, 2022 / 8:19 pm

      I haven’t watched it, so I don’t yet have an opinion about the writing or the quality of the show.

      Like

  10. Marlapaige September 21, 2022 / 8:46 pm

    Honestly, it annoys me endlessly. Not because the source material should be white washed or because actors shouldn’t be given a chance; because this is even a question for consideration. If an Orc walked up to you in a bar, you wouldn’t be shocked he’s a black or brown orc, you’d be shocked he’s a bar-hopping orc! Priorities! No need to blurt “you can’t be an orc, you’re too dark!” Instead, I’ll be hard-pressed not to say “but, uh…. You’re an orc. Do you want a Budweiser? Tell me about the Eye!!” Like, really.

    If you don’t want to see diverse casting, don’t watch anything not created by your kids’ 2nd grade theater class- as long as only your kids is in it. Pfft

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango September 21, 2022 / 11:09 pm

      I agree that it shouldn’t be a consideration, but it is, and it seems that a lot of people are angry or upset. And that’s crazy. There are a lot more important things to be legitimately angry or upset about.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marlapaige September 22, 2022 / 3:57 am

        I just don’t understand it. It’s like the whole world woke up one day full of hatred and they just aim it any old nonsensical place. Ignore global warming, but have a conniption because Ariel is not white – or a cartoon. WHAT? Ignore a going to pot, but flip out because an elf’s ears are not pointy enough and the wrong shade of hate. WHAT? Didn’t Star Trek already go through this ages ago? Pale Klingons and dark Vulcans and Romulans – why is it suddenly en vogue to be trapped again in an era we clawed our way out of?

        Liked by 1 person

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