J.J Abrams of Star Trek and Star Wars fame is stepping up his diversity game . Inspired by the second year in a row of controversy surrounding the lack of melanin in the Oscars nominees, Abrams is moving towards a more inclusive casting experience.
This year, roles like Idris Elba’s in Beasts of No Nation and Michael B Jordan’s turn as Creed went unacknowledged, prompting the resurgence of the old hashtag. Prominent actors began to speak out against the problem and formed a boycott. Chris Rock completely rewrote his Oscars monologue. And amidst all of this turmoil the question at the top of the list was “how do we fix this.”
Now certainly these snubs which have come from an academy that is overwhelmingly white, male, and old have to be addressed. However another major point brought to light has been the lack of Oscar Award worthy roles for actors of color. You can’t win for roles that don’t exist. If you’re always playing a stereotype you’ll definitely be ignored for the big league awards.
So J.J Abrams and his team have a plan. The want to make their films look like America looks, in front of AND behind the screen.
Abrams, who also produced the latest Star Trek movies, isn’t just talking about finding a few token actors: he’s directed the casting agency that works with his production agency, Bad Robot, to send him lists of people — writers, producers, directors — who are proportionally representative to the U.S. population.
“Any list that we have for projects, it needs to be representative of this country.”
Not only is this a big development in the fight for equal representation in Hollywood, Abrams will likely see more money at the box office for his effort as diverse films make more money.
This move hits all the right notes that many people may slip up on. It’s not just the “casting of the show” as fool Matt Damon would tell us. In front of the screen is only part of the issue, getting a diverse writing and production staff is another huge fight as those positions have been whitewashed since the beginning of film. Most of the time that’s forgotten but Abrams is going out of his way to be decent in a Hollywood that’s extremely racist. Kudos and fist bump to you sir.
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