Another white person has been cast in the lead role in a movie that is supposed to be about people of color. It was recently announced that Johnny Depp would be starring in the movie Labyrinth, a film about the murders of Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac. Depp will be playing Russell Poole, the detective who tried to solve the murders. The problem with this is clear: Hollywood has taken a story of two black men and has turned it into a story about a white man instead. Tim Wise said that white people don’t have to think about how we fit into society, and this Hollywood framing of the Notorious B.I.G/Tupac story demonstrates that; white people don’t have to think about how we fit into society because the media tells us that we are always at the center of society. In almost every (if not all) major film that is released, a white person is in the forefront. This is an interesting article that discusses what goes on in the behind-the-scenes casting processes of Hollywood.
This is not the first time a white actor has been inserted inappropriately into a film. In fact, it happens quite a lot. For instance, Scarlett Johansson was recently cast as the main character of the upcoming film Ghosts in the Shell, which is based on a manga. The character in the manga is an Asian woman, but that didn’t stop the casting directors from hiring Johansson. Additionally, Jospeh Fiennes, a white man, was recently cast to play Michael Jackson in the film Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon. These casting decisions make it even harder for people of color to see themselves represented in media. There are very few mainstream movies that tell POC stories, and even in movies that supposedly are centered around POC narratives, white people are cast as the main characters.