Filmmakers’ Intentions – Doctor Strange

I made a comment from my Twitter page (@AdrienneAiken) to film director Scott Derrickson (Twitter:@scottderrickson) regarding the current controversy of “Whitewashing in Hollywood”.

@scottderrickson said: Raw anger/hurt from Asian-Americans over Hollywood whitewashing, stereotyping & erasure of Asians in cInema. I am listening and learning.

To which I replied: I’ve said it bfre, whilst deliberate discrimination is wrong, using actors of choice should be just that. is key

My reply seemed to upset some people, and a fairly long dialogue followed, essentially with one individual, who’s comments were then liked and retweeted by others. I did not wish to upset anyone, nor disrespect any nation, creed, group, minority or individual, and if I did, I apologise. My point here, perhaps not conveyed through the limited characters allowed on Twitter, for which I also apologise, is this:

I don’t believe any discrimination, judgement, and certainly any acts of violence against anyone (whether nationality, colour, gender, disability – or species!) is justified. People are people, animals are animals, whatever ‘type’ they are. They/we are here to live our lives in the best way possible, and no one has the right to take that away from us.

When people don’t live their lives very respectfully to others, they are generally reprimanded, and sometimes that may be a necessary action to make them think again.

However, in art – and indeed in the business of art (and this is where the areas get blurred,) decisions are sometimes made, rightly or wrongly, for the good of the project/art/creation itself. My point about intention, is that I am sure, and certainly in the case of the CREATORS, Scott Derrickson, and the writer, C. Robert Cargill, (@Massawyrm) who has also come under attack regarding this, (among others) the creative decisions made regarding casting were with good intention, and NOT to insult, nor deliberately – WITH INTENT – upset any of the aforementioned list of peoples.

I realise too, that Chinese box office receipts and the political situation regarding Tibet were brought into discussions following the accusations, however, I don’t believe, personally, (and this is my personal empathy with creativity and creative souls) that the creatives involved really had that in mind when they set out to make their film wonderful.

A slight aside here:

Taking what’s right or wrong when casting a stage further; the original Marvel character this argument revolves around, The Ancient One – WASN’T FEMALE! In some of the drawings of the original character, from what I’ve seen, HE doesn’t even look Asian! Benedict Cumberbatch, (Dr. Strange) isn’t American. Doctor Watson isn’t female (TV’s Elementary), and Dr. Who transforms into a whole host of different people. I think you get my drift. Films and TV shows are make-believe! Must it be accurate? This is a film about a comic for God’s sake!

And back to the discussion:

Giving all actors, black, white, male, female, straight, gay, Asian, American, Scottish etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. a fair crack of the whip for roles should always be a consideration, but sometimes, someone fits the bill to a director, a casting agent, a producer or whoever, for whatever reason, and that, for the sake of being politically correct, or any other social reasons, conditioning or opinion, shouldn’t be compromised. And that is where my point on  INTENT comes in.

If the INTENTION is to discriminate – or to deliberately leave out ‘types’ of persons (see earlier for what I mean by ‘type’ – I can’t keep typing the list) then that IS discriminating, and that isn’t fair. But if the INTENTION is to cast someone who excites the filmmakers for who they are as an actor – by definition of that actor, NOT by definition of who is left out – then the intention is good, and surely that decision shouldn’t be criticised?

A lot has been said, (on my discussion and indeed by the filmmakers’ statements, interviews etc. themselves) regarding this decision on Doctor Strange (and I know variations on this have been raised on other films/events/awards do etc.), but I defend my point, which itself was made with GOOD INTENTION, that whilst, of course, I am prepared to listen, digest, learn from any information that comes my way, I cannot help but feel in my gut, heart and sensibilities that certainly in this case, the casting was made, without INTENDING to upset, but INTENDING to make a great film, with great actors (who were also perhaps (pure speculation here) ones they knew more about, and who they believed would bring something special to the characters!).

To finish, the Twitter conversation thread I had going on from my comment was resolved with respect on both sides, and with love and care for the future and humanity:

@theLupeXperienc I hear you. We will get it right. We and our children are in this together whether we like it or not lol

@AdrienneAiken Yes, we all need to learn from mistakes & strive to be better human/humane beings. I wish you all the best

All views here are my own – I am not in any way associated with Doctor Strange, Marvel, the studios, the filmmakers or anyone involved in this production. I am just passionate about the art of creativity and make-believe…. plus, I believe unicorns do really exist! So there!

Advertisements

Please leave a comment/feedback :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s