Still fired up about Tilda Swinton's casting as the Ancient One in Doctor Strange
? We get it. We also know that glossing over or changing a character's racial background is nothing new.
Old Hollywood gave us Laurence Olivier in blackface as Othello and the American-as-apple-pie John Wayne playing Mongol chief Genghis Kahn. Today, we have Scarlett Johansson in The Ghost and the Shell
, Matt Damon as the "white hero" of The Great Wall
, and the stench that still lingers over Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings
It's called whitewashing, and it's pretty freaking ridiculous. Directors throw up their hands and say they can't find Asian-American or Indian-American performers who can carry the film. They say it's all fictional, so it doesn't really matter. They say it's close enough.
And yes, many of these performances have fetched Oscars and achieved cinematic immortality. That doesn't mean that we don't still struggle with Ava Gardner being cast over Lena Horne as a mixed-race woman, or Rooney Mara and Johnny Depp playing Native Americans. Accuse us of being politically correct all you want. When Emma Stone is playing a half-Asian woman, something's wrong with the system.
Read on to see some of Hollywood's most egregious examples.