It’s as old as cinema itself: if you want to drive home a bad guy’s nefarious nature, give them a big facial scar. From Darth Vader to The Lion King’s imaginatively named Scar, for as long as films have existed, film-makers have conflated disfigurement with mental instability or malevolence. The trope is still going strong in Avengers: Infinity War and Solo: A Star Wars Story – physical otherness equals evil.Read More
The share holders of Disney (the parent company of Marvel Studios) would not be happy taking that level of risk, irrespective of the excellent story and design that makes up, along with its cast surely the best superhero film of 2018. No, Black Panther (2018) is part of a larger strategy that Disney has devised to make itself and its catalogues more reflective of the USA (and by extension) increasingly demand for multiracial and multicultural content whilst at the same time not alienation it more conservative (read white) base that it has build up over the companies history.Read More
Another interesting discussion on Diversity in American media - and I emphasis the American. Host Mike Rugetta talks to GQ contributor Kevin Nguyen about this topic that is trending at the moment.
As the image illustrates they talk about representation I nGhost in the Shell along with Hollywood recent history of whitewashing. It's a good video and well worth a watch in summaries the gripes that many Asian Americans have.
And it is Asian Americans, they address the controversy not just in GITS but it's reception in Japan were Scarlett Johansson casting was welcomed, from this and articles online only Asian American only seem to have this problem, believe that all media they consume (or at the very least produced in their country) must validate their existence.
The Japanese youth in a YouTube video welcoming who are welcoming this cultural exchange (after all through out Japans history has been mimicking the west and selling back it's culture,) It is true as Kevin Nguyen acknowledges that Asian markets produce content representing their own intended market but he suggests that a movie, for example when attempting to sell Asian as a global brand, of course any large and multi national entity such as Hollywood could be more sensitive to local diversity.
But..this is course problematic with films costing upwards of $200 million dollars cannot depend on a small audience for it return on investment even with failures like The Great Wall starring Matt Damon a Chinese production it must market itself out to a global market which is generally more conservative and less adventurous (not to mention complying with local censorship laws) the Chinese financiers are not going to ask every Chinese- American if the film mis okay with them - no they are going to ask the People Republic of China Communist Government.
Kevin Nguyen is correct it saying that a product must be focused on it's core audience but I fear that the accountants and shareholders will demand bigger and bigger success at the boxoffice and therefore more generic and clichéd representation (including white people of course) in the short and medium term (applicable to a web of local laws and norms) and that diversity (racial, gender and sexuality) will be relegated to premium VoD and streaming services in the West.