Stories of political intrigue have existed since the dawn of human history. The question is, is the story unique or done to death?
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time hit theaters in 2010. Based on the video game of the same name, the movie tells the story of Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal), a prince who must save the world from the evil lord Nizam (Ben Kingsley). Assisting Dastan is Tamina, (Gemma Arterton), a princess in her own right. Together they must prevent Nizam from getting his hands on a dagger that will allow him to rule the world.
In an essence, this movie is a low rent Aladdin. It tries, but whatever elements Aladdin had that made it successful, this movie has none of it. In addition, this film reinforces the idea that only Caucasian actors can play ethnic roles. Among the three lead actors, the two actors playing the heroes are definitely not of Middle Eastern descent. Of course, the villain is a person of color, additionally reinforcing the idea about first and second class citizenship in this world.
The critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave this movie a 37% rating and frankly, I can’t disagree with that.
Hollywood is full of dreamers. It is also full of racists, homophones, misogynists and bullshitters.
The new Netflix series, Hollywood, is set, in well, Hollywood. Then, as is now, seeing one’s name in lights is the dream of many. But that does not always mean that those dreams will become reality.
Jack Costello (David Corenswet) is tall glass of water from the Midwest with optimism and no acting experience. Needing to support his pregnant wife, Jack takes a job working for Ernie (Dylan McDermott). Ernie runs a gas station that “services” their client’s needs. Jack’s first client is Avis Amberg (Patti LuPone), a former actress and the wife of a studio head who is looking for “company”.
Raymond Ainsley (Darren Criss) and Camille Washington (Laura Harrier) are both looking for their big breaks. Raymond is a director and Camille is a contract player. Though their relationship is perfect from inside, both are aware of the racial pressures the moment they walk out the door.
Archie Coleman (Jeremy Pope) has two strikes against him: he is black and gay. He is also a screenwriter with a completed biopic of Peg Entwistle. Hired by Ernie on Jack’s recommendation, one of his customers is Roy Fitzgerald (Jake Picking) aka the future Rock Hudson. Their relationship quickly expands beyond the professional realm.
Roy, newly christened Rock has been taken under the wing of powerful agent Henry Willson (an unrecognizable Jim Parsons). Before Henry can introduce his client to the power players, he requires a down payment via his own version of the casting couch.
Claire Wood (Samara Weaving) is another young actress who under contract. Though she has extremely close connections to those who can make her career, she wants to do it on her own terms.
I loved this series. I loved that it showed what could be in terms of representation without hitting the audience over the head. I also loved it it righted the wrongs of the past. Anna May Wong (Michelle Krusiec) and Hattie McDaniel (Queen Latifah) are finally given their due, if only on film.
Created and produced by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, this series is what fans expect from this particular film making duo. But while it stays with the frame of their particular style of film making, it stands out because of the subtle and not so subtle message of equality and loving yourself.
I absolutely recommend it.
P.S. If anyone deserves any nominations or awards from this cast, it is Jim Parsons. He is creepy and disgusting in the most fantastic way possible.
Hollywood whitewashing is nothing new. Audiences have become accustomed to seeing a character of color played by a Caucasian actor. Thankfully, both audiences and members of the Hollywood community have started to speak up and ensure that characters of color are played by actors of color.
Recently, actor Ed Skrein stepped away from the upcoming Hellboy reboot. Mr. Skrein, a white actor from England was to play a character who is Asian.
I say good for him. The reality of our world is that there are people of every color and creed whose stories deserve to be told. The problem is that these people and their stories are not being told or if they are being told, they are not being told as they should. For Mr. Skrein to step away from a role instead of blindly taking it, knowing that the character is Asian, represents a very public first step that will not only change the way Hollywood operates, but the way the world operates.