Skip To Content
Get Our Newsletter
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
The Schmooze

Director Of Natalie Portman’s New Film Accused Of Whitewashing Out Actors Of Color

Alex Garland is the latest director being accused of taking roles from people of color and giving them to white actors.

The film in question is the upcoming “Annihilation.” Based on a book of the same name written by author Jeff Vandermeer, Garland has been called out by several organizations for replacing two of the characters who are described as Asian and American Indian, respectively, with the white actresses Natalie Portman and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, the organization Media Action Network for Asian Americans and American Indians in Film and Television said, “Writer/director Alex Garland is not being true and honest to the characters in the book. He exploits the story but fails to take advantage of the true identities of each character. Hollywood rarely writes prominent parts for Asian American and American Indian characters, and those roles could’ve bolstered the careers of women from those communities.”

Garland told the Nerdist in December that he hadn’t read the second or third novel in the series, which is where the description of the characters’ respective races are.

Sonny Skyhawk, founder of American Indians in Film and Television, agreed that Garland had whitewashed the film. He told the Hollywood Reporter, “We are not surprised by the Whack-a-Mole diversity replacement that goes on; just when you finish objecting to one white-washed casting, another one pops ups.”

The film is slated to premiere on February 23 and Natalie Portman is currently mired in press for it, although she has yet to comment on the accusations of whitewashing.

Becky Scott is the editor of The Schmooze. Follow her on Twitter, @arr_scott

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    50th meeting of the Yiddish Open Mic Cafe

    Hybrid event in London and online.

    Aug 14, 2022

    1:30 pm ET · 

    Join audiences and participants from across the globe for this live celebration of Yiddish songs, poems, jokes, stories, games, serious and funny - all performed in Yiddish with English translation.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons license as long as you follow our republishing guidelines, which require that you credit the Foward and retain our pixel. See our full guidelines for more information.

To republish, copy the HTML, which includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline, images, and credit to the Foward. Have questions? Please email us at editorial@forward.com.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.