1. Ethnic Actors Aren’t Stealing Your Roles. Deadline ran an article about how the influx of minority-driven shows was taking away roles from white actors. It was stupid and racist. Salon’s Sonia Saraiya explains why:
Most alarming is Andreeva’s reductive implication that more roles for “ethnic” actors isn’t “fair” to white actors. Agents and casting directors that have long benefited from the incredible, overwhelming whiteness of Hollywood casting insert sly comments in her piece lamenting unfairness—if roles can’t be designated white (which they usually are, still, despite the existence of “Empire” and “Black-ish” and “Scandal,” because there is a lot of television in Hollywood) then shouldn’t we be “fair” and make them colorblind? I mean, if we’re going to be fair, and promote diversity, then shouldn’t we not ask about race at all? Read more.
2. TV Pilot Season’s Big Get. For a similar story on the uptick in diversity on television, sans idiocy, here’s The Hollywood Reporter’s Michael O’Connell:
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“On top of just wanting to reflect how the world looks, diversity is good business. And I think that’s finally started to sink in during the last two years,” says NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke. “A show like ‘Empire’ is a turbo boost to the change. It’s a wake-up call that there’s a gigantic audience that doesn’t want to see themselves reflected in token casting. They want authenticity.” Read more.
3. Sorry for Avoiding Tyler Perry. Noah Gittell of Movie Mezzanine writes that he believes white critics (himself included) have made a mistake ignoring Tyler Perry’s work for reasons that have little to do with the quality of the films:
If we don’t include black cinema in the public discourse, we are essentially trying to solve a problem—the underrepresentation of the black experience in film—with the same system that created it: a cinema made for mainstream, white audiences. Yes, I want more movies like “12 Years a Slave” and “Fruitvale Station” (both of which were made by black filmmakers, but seem designed to speak to everyone) that document the systemic racism eating away at our society. But I also want to know the experience of black America in ways that are independent of whiteness. Read more.
4. Screenshot Culture. Screenshots have become the most important and powerful tools on the internet, writes Clive Thompson of Wired:
Screenshots can also be almost forensic, a way to prove to others that you’re really seeing the crazy stuff you’re seeing. The first viral hit of the screenshot age was the often-filthy autocorrect errors in SMS. Now screenshots hold people accountable for their terrible online words. When Australian videogame reviewer Alanah Pearce was getting harassed online, she discovered that many of her trolls were young boys. She tracked down their mothers and sent a screenshot to one (who then demanded her son handwrite a letter of apology). DC writers eagerly pounce on politicians’ social media faux pas, preserving them before they can vanish down the memory hole—part justice, part gotcha. Read more.
5. Abel Ferrara and Censorship. Abel Ferrara is very upset about what Wild Bunch has done to his Dominique Strauss-Kahn-inspired “Welcome to New York.” He spoke with The Dissolve’s Simon Abrams and Flavorwire’s Alison Nastasi:
The Dissolve: There are two behind-the-scenes narratives about the making of this film: One is about working against censorship and interference…
Ferrara: It’s just one narrative, and that’s making the film. Don’t you understand that? I make films. I’ve made five films with Vincent, and we’ve never had a problem. IFC, for years, has put out my films—never had a problem. Then this happens. I’ve got final cut. I don’t even get involved, bro! I haven’t had to deal with that bullshit since 1985, or ’91—some time so long ago I can barely remember it. IFC has nothing to do with me. This film, the way we went at it, we went at it, okay? We just did a film about this event the way we did it, ya dig? I’m an artist: I react to the fuckin’ world. When something comes out of me, it’s a work of art. They can say what they wanna say. I have one right, and it’s my right of expression. No one’s going to give it to me. Read more.
Flavorwire: You chose to shoot your sex scenes (including the scenes of violation and rape) in an unflinching single take. What was the importance of that approach for you? How did you balance making these scenes sexually palatable and revolting at the same time?…
Ferrara: Women know what’s going on. We’re grown-ups. We’re big boys. That’s why this idea of an R-rating is a joke. I’ve never made an R-rated film. I wouldn’t even accept the term “R-rating.” A long time ago when I used to work with these guys [speaking of film studio execs in general] and make the cuts… I was there when the MPAA was invented, I was there when the whole thing came about. It came to a moment in my life where I realized I was thinking in those terms, and then I stopped. Because I cannot do what I do, worrying about that. I wouldn’t even accept the concept of an R-rated film — and I live in and work in Europe, so that doesn’t exist [here]. These people, IFC, put out unrated films. That’s their fucking thing. And Wild Bunch as a European-fucking distributor . . . c’mon man. “Blue is the Warmest Color,” “Nymphomaniac,” all these films, ya dig? And they [IFC and Wild Bunch] know who I am. We’ve made five films together. They [IFC and Wild Bunch] grew up watching my films. They know I don’t make R-rated films. And this subject matter, this story, the way I shot it, you cannot. I wouldn’t have made it, I wouldn’t have done it. They’re tyrants. They act with impunity. It’s not going to fly with me, or people who have any sense of the truth. Read more.
As tragic as Paul Walker’s death was, it did enable the Fast & Furious series to fully embrace its inner softie. From the very first installment, these have been surprisingly sentimental movies; for all the macho posturing, they’re ultimate about a bunch of dudes who genuinely love each other, and Walker’s sad passing gave Diesel and the rest license to express that affection in ways they never have before. It’s still not the best “Fast & Furious” movie — one other movie remains a more perfect synthesis of all its various elements and interests, and this one’s plot is just a little too goofy for its own good — but it might be the most Fast & Furious” — the most over-the-top, the most exciting, and the most tear-jerkingly poignant. Read more.