Inclusive Casting Scandal. Brendan Fraser Is Under Attack

3 mins read
Brendan Fraser at The 95th Academy Awards ceremony
Brendan Fraser's speech at The 95th Academy Awards ceremony.

HOLLYWOOD – The modern world is moving towards tolerance, where there is no injustice towards any of the people, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, gender, sexual preferences, and so on. Each of us – the personality and characteristics of each of us should be respected, but not ridiculed.

In Hollywood, a scandal recently erupted on the subject of “authentic casting”. The Dream Factory is always at the forefront of fashion trends, often setting them, popularizing them with the help of its products, that is, the films it shoots. In addition to entertainment, the industry has a huge impact on the formation of certain beliefs. One of the latest trends in Hollywood is “inclusive casting”, which can significantly affect the product and its quality.

Inclusive casting

Inclusive casting or authentic casting is a process of selecting actors or project participants based on the principle of diversity and including people with different ethnic, cultural, physical and social characteristics.

This approach to casting aims to create more realistic and believable characters and situations, as well as to increase the representation of different groups in society in different types of media production. For example, in an inclusive casting for a character, actors with different body types, ages, backgrounds, etc. can be cast to create a more diverse and realistic portrayal.

One of the goals of inclusive casting is to combat stereotypes and prejudices against various groups of people, as well as to create equal opportunities for all project participants. Thus, actors are hired for roles based on what character traits they can genuinely bring to life. This approach allows you to create more diverse and believable images on the screen and expand the idea of what kind of people can play which roles.

However, a good idea does not mean a good implementation of the idea. Of course, no one is saying that representativeness and diversity in casting should be ignored. But the excesses in this matter only undermine the idea of creating more truthful images and characters on the screen. After all, when an actor is hired only because he fits a certain stereotype, it is no longer a choice based on skill and talent.

Play who you are

Recently, actor Brendan Fraser, who won an Oscar for best male performance in The Whale, came under fire from body positivists and advocates of the “Play who you are” trend. Proponents of this trend insist that only actors who share the same social and cultural characteristics with their characters should play these roles. So fat people should only be played by fat people. Gays should play gays, and transgender people should play transgender characters. Of course, history knows cases when Asians were played by whites in the middle of the 20th century, for example in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Yes, it looks like an inflection, but it seems that such things are far in the past.

Transformation of Brandan Fraser  for The Whale movie.
Brendan Fraser transformation for The Whale movie.

So, Dove recently posted a tweet in which they are outraged that the obese character from the film was not embodied by an equally obese actor.

Screenshot of original tweet.

That’s right, Dove (head company is Unilever), which faced a child labor scandal that led to lawsuits, is now preaching about “fat appropriation.” Such a statement caused a lot of controversy. In the comments to the post there were those who supported the idea and those who criticized the company and offered to do what they do. Some of the comments:

“And where is the skill of reincarnation, which is the essence of the work of an actor?”

“Remember when Charlize Theron won best actress for Monster? Was the monster supposed to play the monster?“

The office building with Unilever logo on top.
Office building with Unilever logo on top.


Critics of this trend point out that such an initiative can lead to restrictions on creative freedom and the choice of actors for roles. They argue that the main criterion for hiring an actor should be their talent, not their suitability for the character’s social and cultural characteristics. After all, if we take this logic further, then inclusive casting can lead to new forms of discrimination. For example, if a gay can only play a gay, and a transgender can only play a transgender, then this already puts restrictions on the creative freedom and choice of the actor. I wonder if you have to be a plumber to be a plumber? Such ridiculous demands only make us think not even about discrimination, but about elementary stupidity. Moreover, we should not forget that some advocates of inclusive casting can use authenticity casting as a weapon against other people. For example, if a member of a minority does not get a role, then this can be brought forward as a charge of discrimination.

And most importantly, acting is a profession that consists in reincarnation and creating images. The ability of an actor to get used to the role, to display its features and emotions – this is what is the main criterion for assessing their professional skills, and not their compliance with social and cultural characteristics.

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