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Author Topic: Assholes whine about black guy cast in Thor movie  (Read 2700 times)
Ashton
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« on: December 21, 2010, 05:23:12 AM »

Reasonable people of the world call them racist.

Let's not forget that people had no problem with a white guy being a Persian prince in Prince of Persia, a predominantly white cast playing characters in an Asian setting in The Last Airbender, a white guy playing an Asian superhero in Dragonball Evolution, a bunch of white kids playing in lieu of the true group of Asians in 21, a white guy being the last samurai to rekindle their honor in The Last Samurai, and more I probably haven't even thought of yet.

Thoughts?
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FlamingR1ft
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« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2010, 06:07:21 AM »

They really have enough free time to complain about something like that?
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Tomara
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« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2010, 06:16:36 AM »

Yeah, they should use that spare time to play Valkyrie Profile. Loki was awesome.
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dalucifer0
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« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2010, 07:22:19 AM »

I'm not complaining, because I have the same complaints as whites playing an Asian character...
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Hathen
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« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2010, 07:30:22 AM »

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Let's not forget that people had no problem

Really? There was actually backlash with few/no Asian kids being cast in TLA, DB, 21, and especially The Last Samurai because in that case it was also a central part of the story, and I do recall some people did point out the same thing about Prince of Persia.

The people complaining in this case are a bunch of assholes, which makes people attack the argument using ad hominem. That doesn't discredit the argument itself, which is that if a character is historically or plot-wise supposed to be of a certain appearance, changing that doesn't make any sense to me. Saying "Well, maybe he's just the perfect actor for the job" makes no sense to me either- are you telling me with the thousands of actors in Hollywood, they can't find one guy who's a good actor that looks the part? Isn't that, you know, part of the casting process?

Accepting differences in races, especially physical appearance, is something I feel people need to get more comfortable with, because that is a very basic part of our individuality. The funny thing is that cultural homogenizing is one of the things people criticize China's minority policy for doing- is that what we're going for in our society too, except it's alright for us to do it?
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Azrael
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« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2010, 11:13:54 AM »

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Let's not forget that people had no problem

Really? There was actually backlash with few/no Asian kids being cast in TLA, DB, 21, and especially The Last Samurai because in that case it was also a central part of the story, and I do recall some people did point out the same thing about Prince of Persia.

The people complaining in this case are a bunch of assholes, which makes people attack the argument using ad hominem. That doesn't discredit the argument itself, which is that if a character is historically or plot-wise supposed to be of a certain appearance, changing that doesn't make any sense to me. Saying "Well, maybe he's just the perfect actor for the job" makes no sense to me either- are you telling me with the thousands of actors in Hollywood, they can't find one guy who's a good actor that looks the part? Isn't that, you know, part of the casting process?

Accepting differences in races, especially physical appearance, is something I feel people need to get more comfortable with, because that is a very basic part of our individuality. The funny thing is that cultural homogenizing is one of the things people criticize China's minority policy for doing- is that what we're going for in our society too, except it's alright for us to do it?

Yes, but here is where the problem lies with this.  If people do get vocal enough and if the director does change the role to make him white, then they are making a VERY big statement about what they are and are not willing to change.  They are saying that Hollywood is completely willing to change to a white character, but in all the cases previously mentioned, the directors were pretty steadfast in not budging.  The only one that did make a change (and a controversial one anyway) was in The Last Airbender when casting Dev Patel as Zuko.  Time and time again a movie based on a minority character is cast as a white person, and time and time again they use bullshit excuses like "he's the best for the role" or, and this is my favorite, we want to have a character that the audience can relate to.  The issue of color in Hollywood is a big one and needs some SERIOUS addressing.

Now then, what really matters, is that Heimdall in THE COMICS/MOVIES is NOT the Heimdall of Norse Mythology.  Heimdall in the comics/movies is LOOSELY based on Norse Mythology.  So loose in fact, that he HAS been drawn as a Black character in the comics.  Furthermore, what Marvel has shown time and again, is that the movies are set in their own universe, a universe where it is perfectly plausible for Heimdall to be black.
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Vanguard
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« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2010, 12:27:45 PM »

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2010/12/20/
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Alexander
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« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2010, 12:32:48 PM »

Heimdall in the comics/movies is LOOSELY based on Norse Mythology.  So loose in fact, that he HAS been drawn as a Black character in the comics.
Not a Marvel follower in the least, so that's news to me.  If more people were aware of that, it'd probably calm some of the flames.

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Furthermore, what Marvel has shown time and again, is that the movies are set in their own universe, a universe where it is perfectly plausible for Heimdall to be black.

We can say that the Marvel film universe is simply a different beast altogether, but at what point do we stop?  Perhaps Justin Timberlake could play Thor and maybe the Hulk could be played by RuPaul (though the Hulk form would need an afro and be colored a fabulous purple).  Maybe DC could get on board, and replace Christian Bale with Paula Abdul. Teehee. :) (If I was a scandalously rich film executive, I'd totally fund that project.)

I think the casting decision simply came down to what people (the greatest number of them possible and MAYBE please some fans at the same time) can believe on screen.  Personally, it kinda bothers me.  Maybe I'm what you would call a purist.  Or a racist.  But the majority will probably believe it and make Marvel  a truckload of cash.

Something the actor said did kinda irk me:

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"There has been a big debate about it: can a black man play a Nordic character?" he told TV Times. "Hang about, Thor's mythical, right? Thor has a hammer that flies to him when he clicks his fingers. That's OK, but the colour of my skin is wrong? "I was cast in Thor and I'm cast as a Nordic god," he said. "If you know anything about the Nords, they don't look like me but there you go. I think that's a sign of the times for the future. I think we will see multi-level casting. I think we will see that, and I think that's good."

In fantasy, the story is carried by magic used in logical ways.  No one is claiming (even the butthole boycotters) that this type of magic exists in the real world.  However, there is a claim that in *that* universe, there are certain things like hammers that give you powers because that universe's gods empowered them to do so.  Completely fictional, but believable in that world.  What gets tricky is when there's no explanation given (or even possible to give) for certain elements in the story.  This exists even outside of fantasy and we call them plot holes.  We look down upon them.  Unless we're a bunch of postmodern son of a guns.  Then we like it because it's "subversive."

Now it is certainly possible to play with the formula.  One of the most common tropes is to use British accents even when the characters are not British.  The fact it is consistently used across all the actors means that in that universe, people speak that way.  There may be some characters that don't speak in British accents to show they're different in some way.  I haven't seen the Thor trailer, but I can imagine they probably use British accents to make them seem kingly and refined even though they're Nordic.  They may even have mortal characters in the movie and, if so, they probably don't speak in British accents as to show they are normal and mundane.

Of course I haven't seen the movie (and none of the butthole protestors have) but the argument against is built on the idea that there will be no explanation for why Heimdall is black when all his peers are white.  I will admit this is simply built on what a certain audience notices first and not later or never.  Upon closer inspection, we'll see that Anthony Hopkins and Chris Hemsworth are supposed to be playing father and son and they don't look as such.  The possible plot hole never gets brought up... because it's not as apparent as the case of Heimdall.  The people on the "against" camp simply find it as such.  Those that don't care don't notice it as sharply.  Little kids are like this in that they might not recognize race at all until a certain age.
At least that's how I'm understanding the issue. :)
« Last Edit: December 21, 2010, 12:56:56 PM by Alexander » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2010, 01:12:49 PM »

We can say that the Marvel film universe is simply a different beast altogether, but at what point do we stop?  Perhaps Justin Timberlake could play Thor and maybe the Hulk could be played by RuPaul (though the Hulk form would need an afro and be colored a fabulous purple).  Maybe DC could get on board, and replace Christian Bale with Paula Abdul. Teehee. :) (If I was a scandalously rich film executive, I'd totally fund that project.)

This is a very silly argument.  You're assuming that because they cast an actor as a role, the role has to fit the actor, which is ridiculous.  They are called actors for a reason. They play a role.  The role doesn't play them.

Furthermore, their argument is based on the assumption that Marvel's Thor is taking place in the same world that the Norse gods come from, which is false.  It takes place in Marvel's fictional Norse world which resembles the true Norse world in name only.  From the start they've taken liberties in their portrayal of that world and no one has ever complained.  They cast a Black man and now all of a sudden let's start a shit storm.  Why?  You can't at all deny that racism lies at the center of the argument.  If they wanted to make it true to the mythology, then they would have to do a lot more than change the color of one character's skin.  That is HARDLY a big deal when it comes to believability and it really says a lot about race relations.
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Alexander
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« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2010, 02:09:15 PM »

This is a very silly argument.  You're assuming that because they cast an actor as a role, the role has to fit the actor, which is ridiculous.  They are called actors for a reason. They play a role.  The role doesn't play them.
Yes, it was intended to be silly. :)

Quote
Furthermore, their argument is based on the assumption that Marvel's Thor is taking place in the same world that the Norse gods come from, which is false.  It takes place in Marvel's fictional Norse world which resembles the true Norse world in name only. From the start they've taken liberties in their portrayal of that world and no one has ever complained.  They cast a Black man and now all of a sudden let's start a shit storm.  Why?  You can't at all deny that racism lies at the center of the argument.  If they wanted to make it true to the mythology, then they would have to do a lot more than change the color of one character's skin.  That is HARDLY a big deal when it comes to believability and it really says a lot about race relations.

Perhaps I grouped the CCC and the boycott-thor.com community too closely with any well mannered discussion against the casting decision.  Yes I agree they're racists in that they "oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind."  That's a textbook indicator right there.

I ask this out of ignorance, but how well can a black Heimdall fit into Marvel's Norse world?  Talking purely in terms of believability with regards to the established standards and "rules" of that universe.  I realize that is somewhat subjective.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2010, 02:11:54 PM by Alexander » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2010, 02:14:20 PM »

It's just an RGB value people, get over it.

(been wanting to post this all day looking at this silly topic =P)
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Sagacious-T
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« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2010, 02:18:36 PM »

Thor shouldn't be black. He should be tall, blonde haired, blue eyed, with an accent. This isn't sarcasm.

I am an ethnic colored person and I love Marvel.
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Azrael
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« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2010, 02:19:03 PM »

When I say Norse world within the Marvel Universe, I'm not talking specifically about Asgard.  There is no doubt that Asgard will be present in the movie, but I imagine, much like in the comics, much of the action will take place on Earth.  Even in the comics the appearances of the gods have changed before.  Heimdall has appeared as a Black man.  See there is no Marvel "Universe".  Their are tons of different Universes where all the characters look, act, are different.  Marvel doesn't have to explain Heimdall being black, he just fits.  
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« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2010, 02:20:29 PM »

Thoren is a 16-year-old Filipino girl, obviously.

Additionally if Ru Paul played Batman in the next Batman movie that would be incredible. I'm not even being sarcastic when I say that.
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« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2010, 02:35:25 PM »

This may not be the best example, since it's likely to ruffle feathers, but: how does a white Jesus fit into our world? Everything we know indicates he would look Middle Eastern, not European. The answer is simple: we want our deities to resemble us.

Now, we can pretty much agree that Heimdall is not black in Norse mythology, but we're not talking about Norse mythology. We're talking about a comic book character that was created in 1962 based loosely on Norse mythology. Furthermore, we're talking about a universe where being bit by a radioactive spider leads to superpowers instead of cancer. Until the Thor comics become part of the Norse canon of literature, I can safely say that Marvel is free to do whatever they want with the universe they created.
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