ali_wildgoose: (Default)
[personal profile] ali_wildgoose
I finished Cloud Atlas (the novel) a few days ago, and I enjoyed it quite a bit! I then went back and did a little reading about the upcoming film adaptation, and man, there are some pretty serious red flags going up all over the place.

Here is the thing about the Cloud Atlas movie, in particular its casting.

As you may have heard, the directors of the Cloud Atlas adaption decided to put several of their actors in make up to alter their racial appearance. In particular, several white male actors appear in "Yellowface" as Korean characters.

The idea, obviously, is that in order to accent the themes of historical cycles and reincarnation, the directors wanted to use the same cast members over and over again.

Which...okay, first of all, no. Cast Korean actors who look similar to your white characters, or don't worry so much about appearances and trust your audience to Get It without being lead by the hand.

But the thing is, putting aside the inherent shittiness of yellowface, this decision doesn't actually make any SENSE from a storytelling perspective.

In the story of Cloud Atlas, there are six perspective characters who range from the 19th century up through a post-apocalyptic wasteland in the distant-ish future. These characters -- an American white man, a British white man, an American woman who is probably a light-skinned hispanic, another white British man, a Korean woman, and a Hawaiian man who's probably mixed-race -- are all supposed to be the same "soul" reincarnated into different bodies.

Now, if the directors had decided that all six of these main characters should be played by the same actor/actress, and decided to put that actor/actress in makeup to allow them to play a variety of races and genders....well, that would still be a pretty bad idea, but at least it would be a DEFENSIBLE one, especially if they decided to have, say, a Korean actress play all of those roles instead of the vaguely androgynous white man we'd all expect.

But that's not what they did AT ALL!

The main character of the film is played by....four different actors and actresses, I think? The actors are shuffled around between various main and secondary characters, and the result is more like a student's project than professional filmmaking -- it feels like we're watching a movie by someone who could only use the people in his group in class and had more characters than people.

I'm sad, because I would love to be able to be excited about this film, but these thoughtless casting decisions don't bode particularly well. And even if the rest of the film is excellent, it's going to have a large number of actors in yellowface, and I'm going to feel gross watching it.

Basically I'm just really irritated about this whole situation.


...The book was great, though!


ali_wildgoose: (Default)
Go make some new disaster.

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