That means no more Peter Ustinov's,
Yul Brynner's (left photo in "The King and I"),
(Best actress Oscar in 1984 for playing an Asian man, - shown above),
Peter Sellers, or many others who have done what actors are suppose to do...suspend disbelief in an audience and tell a story...
Has modern Political Correctness ended the tradition of actors creating roles and replaced it with actors reflecting roles and limited to type?
Actors have played across race and gender going back as far as history can recall.
Masks and elaborate costumes have covered the true appearance of performers in pageants and plays. Shakespeare's Juliet was played by a young boy, Othello in black make-up, The spirit of the dead in ghostly white face...
Time for change? Yes, but do not reverse the bias and ignore the very nature of being an actor or who we are as actors (a term that is both male and female).
Has the real need for fair representation of talented and equally qualified actors of varying races, groups and beliefs, ruined one of the most artistically challenging and rewarding aspect of acting and the craft of acting?
The trend toward looking the part down to the skin color and age, height and build has made its way from the most unimaginative and uncreative of Hollywood's worst to most films, television shows, videos and even on stage in the theater.
And while black, asian, Hispanic (not a race by the way or even a single ethnic group) can take roles that were written for or might have been given to a white actor and do it with little notice. But if it is a white actor it is a "stereotype." or "racist" or "insensitive to a culture."
How about equal consideration to play the role, including what is appropriate for the production's creative team, along with actors talent, marketing (a real part of our industry), and the ability to bring the story to life, suspending disbelief and capturing the audience's imagination?
While some roles are suitable for different genders, race, ethnic or age groups, others are obviously coming from a specific perspective. For example Shaft, played by Richard Rountree, or the story of a Tree Grows in Brooklyn, a young girl growing up.
How about writing more scripts that need authenticity of race, belief, ethnicity and culture?
How about encouraging writers and producers, directors and other creatives from those cultures to create works that cry for certain actors or groups to play the roles and reflect reality through their experience and lens?
And let actors do what we do best.
Art Lynch, Ph.D.
Below is Johnny Depp in "The Lone Ranger".