Oh-ho-ho-ho-ho! This! This is just absolute gold:
Seriously--brownface coming from a well known Hollywood A-lister? Come on, it just doesn't get any better! Up until yesterday I thought I had coined the term "tanface" in my script, but apparently, it's a common phenomenon. Which means...well...god help us, frankly. The internet response to this ridiculously racist ad means that many people out there are aware of what just happened--not just me and my compadres at those Spanish-speaking auditions when they've asked us to put on darker foundation (see earlier blogs for full story).
This kind of brings to mind the responsibility an actor has to not participate in this shit. Quick short story: last summer I went out to support a friend's film that was lucky enough to secure distribution at a decent indie theater. I was excited for my friend as I settled into the seat to watch his big debut. About 3/4 of the way through the movie (yes, it took that long for the horrifically clumsy plot to unravel), I realized that the movie I was watching was about rape. But it was more specifically about a rapist and how hard the world has been on him. Friends, I'm not making this up. I realized this was the case when my friend had a monologue about how bad he feels about raping his sister and how he just wishes he could have a second shot. Um...
You know what, you get it, I don't even have to elaborate. Sometimes the imaginary rant of what I might say to something like this speaks louder than the actual rant.
I left that theater so angry, I was howling on the subway. And the whole sordid long trip uptown was filled with my shouting out loud, "Whyyyyy would he dooooo this?!" The situation really wasn't helped with the drunk German tourists that kept trying to sit in my lap--I swear to god this really happened, when I walked into my apartment, my husband was like, "what the hell happened to you?"
I was obviously angry at these filmmakers for making such a morally reprehensible film. But I was possibly even more angry at my friend for making it with them. I think there's a tendency for actors to get away with saying, "well, I'm just an actor," when faced with their participation in something that is offensive to many groups of people. I'm sure Ashton said the same thing. Well I say, no darling, you're an artist and with that comes responsibility.
So, I'm logging onto the website today to announce the greatest thing ever: We wrapped our first week of shooting last Saturday! It was so fantastic! Every scene is its own gem, and the feeling on the set was so exciting--we all know that this movie will not only make people laugh until they cry, but that it will assuredly change the world. Which is why we're all making movies, isn't it? Well, I am.
So I walk into my (only for now) day job this morning. There is no almond milk in the kitchen, which pisses me off because I was in the mood for a cappuccino. And when I walk outside to go buy one instead of make it myself, it has started to rain. Hard.
Nothing sucks more than NYC in the rain. Why? Because not only do I have to carry my purse, gym bag and whatever paperwork I'm working on (+ whatever library book I'm reading cause I don't have a kindle yet and I have a masochistic tendency to read 1000-page biographies), I also have to get my shoes and jeans wet as I walk from subway to work and back, AND carry an umbrella with the free hand I so don't have.
So I'm feeling glum and I just turn around and go back to my desk and settle for soy milk (ugh). I go to cracked.com cause I just need a laugh. And I read the funniest article about the most disturbing sexual encounters in comic book history:
Which cheers me up, but I just can't help noticing something horrific. And it's not that Robin sleeps with his sister (though that in itself is quite a gem). It's this Tarantula chick. And the fact that she rapes Robin's later alter ego, Nightwing? What the deuce?! But wait, there's more: she tries to force him to marry her! Now this is the first time I've ever seen a minority comic book hero, though there are quite a few, according to Wikipedia (my complete source of all knowledge in general).
My first reaction to reading this superhero blog was, "Hey cool, I think she's a black character." Then later down the line when I see she's having her way with Nightwing, I think, "Jesus, they had to go there? So friggin' typical that a minority character would pull some shit like this in the minds of the writers." But when I see that she's at City Hall trying to force Nightwing to marry her, and then I see that she speaks Spanish ("mi tesoro")--for fuck's sake, people!! Christ, Tarantula, please do us all a favor, first shed that red outfit that's a stereotype all on its own. And if Nightwing doesn't want you to have his baby, man up and move the fuck on! You're a superhero, woman, why don't you go act like one?!
Luckily, I had a cappuccino in hand. Otherwise, I might have been very upset indeed.
Viviana Leo is the writer and star of White Alligator.