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Is changing an iconic character's race or gender a good or bad thing?

 
 
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 01:59 pm
It's not unheard of when a studio changes the gender and/or race of a well known character in their attempt to remake or reboot a movie or adapt a published work.

SO? Is changing an iconic character's race or gender a good or bad thing? Or is it a nonissue?

EXAMPLE:
Captain Kara 'Starbuck' Thrace from the rebooted Battlestar Galactica (2004) series. They changed the character from male (the original series) to female.

Fish Mooney from Gotham (2014), the same thing. Fish Mooney was an overweight black male in the comic books. The TV adaptation has Jada Pinkett Smith cast as the wickedly shrewd and intelligent head of a powerful organized crime family.
http://i61.tinypic.com/35akaqa.png

Controversy came in on this issue a couple of years ago in how Lions Gate Entertainment and Gary Ross cast some of the characters from the Hunger Games books to the big screen.
http://jezebel.com/5896515/a-character-by-character-guide-to-race-in-the-hunger-games

CURRENT CONTEXT:
‘Ghost in the Shell’ has a Japanese heroine. Is it okay for Scarlett Johansson to play her?
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2015/01/16/ghost-in-the-shell-has-a-japanese-heroine-is-it-okay-for-scarlett-johansson-to-play-her
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Type: Discussion • Score: 24 • Views: 17,629 • Replies: 101

 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 02:06 pm
@tsarstepan,
Probably not in Japan or to hard core fans, but I suspect most people will be none the wiser. I knew about Starbuck, back from when he was in Moby Dick, but I didn't know about Fish. Up until now I thought Fish was a character created for Gotham.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 02:34 pm
@izzythepush,
I may have misremembererd the Mooney character.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 02:36 pm
@tsarstepan,
Misremembering is better than not remembering.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 02:45 pm
@izzythepush,
I have a mental image of a monstrously overweight black male in a bespoke tailored suit. Similar to the Kingpin in terms of character design.

I guess Kingpin was also relevant to the subject. In the comic book, he's a white male. In the Ben Affleck adaptation, Michael Clarke Duncan, a black male, was cast as the part.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 03:11 pm
@tsarstepan,
He was drawn with features that could be black or white. If they'd just used darker colouring but didn't change the drawing at all he wouldn't have looked odd. I know Marvel slightly better than DC.
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Baldimo
 
  3  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 03:19 pm
@tsarstepan,
As a fan of nerd-dom, It doesn't really bother me when they make changes to characters whether it be race or sex. Kingpin in the comics was an overweight white guy. In the movie he was muscular tall black man. It really didn't do anything to the overall story line.

Fish Mooney wasn't in the comic books, she was created solely for the TV show Gotham.

Marvel recently re-created Thor as a woman for the comics and DC in the last few years rebooted EVERY comic they have ever created for mainstream comics, The New 52.

When it really comes down to it, as long as it works with the story they are trying to tell, then it shouldn't really matter.
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Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 03:24 pm
@tsarstepan,
How about the "new"Annie movie?

Maybe it is just to make the movie updated? I wonder who they changed in the Hunger Games? I read the books and really have not seen anyone that did not fit character.
boomerang
 
  3  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 03:35 pm
@Linkat,
Quote:
I wonder who they changed in the Hunger Games? I read the books and really have not seen anyone that did not fit character.


I remember thinking Finnick was black when reading the book.

So did a lot of other people -- there was quite a stir when they cast a white guy for the role.
djjd62
 
  2  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 03:54 pm
most christian religions have built their whole story around white jesus
Baldimo
 
  2  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 03:59 pm
@djjd62,
Doesn't the bible reference "hair like wool"? I could be wrong.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 04:03 pm
@Baldimo,
I suspect that's the point.
0 Replies
 
Germlat
 
  2  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 04:07 pm
@Linkat,
I haven't seen the new one. But--I'm a fan of the original and I'm having difficulty imagining an improvement. I'm thinking it's a different take....so in a sense a different movie with a similar story line...
0 Replies
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  4  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 04:26 pm
@tsarstepan,
There's nothing new about any of this. Back in 1940, Howard Hawks had Ben Hecht and Charlie MacArthur (along with Charles Lederer) rewrite their script for The Front Page and change the gender of Hildy Johnson to female. And thus was born an iconic role for Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/1/1a/His_Girl_Friday_poster.jpg/220px-His_Girl_Friday_poster.jpg

In the original Front Page stage play, Hildy is definitely male.
0 Replies
 
MontereyJack
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 04:38 pm
I haven't seen Hobbit 2 "The Desolation of Smaug" yet, tho I have the DVD sitting in the unwatched stack, but in the trailers I've seen, the dragon definitely has Benedict Cumberbatch's facial structure and expressions--I think they used motion capture to model the dragon--which is goiing a step beyond just changing race or gender, it's changing species and cryptozoology.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 04:54 pm
@MontereyJack,
Unnatural! They're all going to hell! That cryptozoology will put them in the crypt!
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 04:56 pm
@Linkat,
There was a fair bit of stinkaroo around the casting of Katniss as a lot of readers were pretty sure she wasn't white.
Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 05:11 pm
@MontereyJack,
Is this based on the assumption that Dragons are real?

On a side notes, there are certain actors/actresses that I have a dislike for, and Mr. Cumberbatch is quickly approaching that group. The dislike? Acting in way to many scifi realms. He's done Star Trek, Middle Earth, Star Wars and now is being slated to play Dr. Strange. That's Marvel for those that don't know. He is a good actor for sure, but I don't want to see the same face in all of my realms.
0 Replies
 
Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 05:14 pm
@ehBeth,
I think the biggest stink with JLaw playing Katniss had to deal with her being to well feed. She was to plump to play a girl who had survived in that food situation and with those odds.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 05:20 pm
@Baldimo,
Katniss had dark hair and olive skin in the book

this person is white

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/5b/Katniss_Everdeen.jpg


pink at a push, but not olive-skinned
 

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