Seth Rogen has issued a statement apologizing for the use of blackface on the set of the upcoming comedy “Good Boys.” The film, produced by Rogen and Evan Goldberg, received backlash after photos from the set showed a stand-in for 11-year-old actor Keith L. Williams wearing makeup to darken his face.
“I should start by saying this shouldn’t have happened, and I’m terribly sorry it did,” Rogen said. “I won’t give excuses for why it happened. I’ll just say that as soon I was made aware of it, I ensured we put an end to it – and I give my word that on any project my team and I are involved in, we will take every precaution to make sure something similar does not take place again. I’m engaging in conversations to make sure I find the best way to do that. It’s on me to be proactive. Reacting isn’t enough.”
Sources close to production told TMZ a complaint was filed to the producers after the stand-in appeared on set in blackface makeup. Both the stand-in and Williams are African-American, but makeup was used to match the stand-in’s lighter skin tone with the main actor’s darker skin tone.
While sources close to the production company Good Universe told TMZ it’s “not uncommon for lighting purposes to match actors’ skin tones,” three established cinematographers told IndieWire the use of makeup for this practice is unorthodox. One DP, who asked for anonymity, said in most cases the crew would rely on lighting and other methods to make the necessary adjustments if a stand-in didn’t resemble his or her main actor.
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“It is important for me to cast a person with similar complexion and physical stature to the actors they are standing in for,” the cinematographer said. “In regards to makeup, I’ve seen wigs used and powder to take down shine, but maybe not as extreme as what is being suggested here. I personally would never ask for someone to be made up in a darker tone. You would just compensate for what you understand to be lighter or darker while lighting.”
“Good Boy” marks the feature directional debut of Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, best known for writing episodes of “The Office.” The plot centers around four 12-year-olds who skip school set out on a mission to fix a broken toy. Williams co-stars opposite Jacob Tremblay, Molly Gordon, and Brady Noon.
“Good Boy” is set for release in 2019.