Remember that time Jake Gyllenhaal played the titular Prince of Persia? Remember that time Christian Bale played Moses in Exodus: Gods and Kings? Remember that (very recent) time Gerard Butler and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau landed the lead roles in Gods of Egypt? John Oliver remembers, and John Oliver is done keeping it to John Oliver’s self.
The host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight featured the controversy surrounding Hollywood whitewashing in his recent segment of “How Is This Still a Thing?” As we approach this coming weekend’s Oscars ceremony, the comedian and media personality contemplates why Hollywood is still “whiter than a yeti in a snowstorm fighting Tilda Swinton.”
Check it out below (or if HBO takes it down again, click here to watch the segment on YouTube):
While the conversation around this topic has reached new heights, given recent glaring examples, the feature points out examples throughout the history of film, including Marlon Brandon in The Teahouse of the August Moon, John Wayne in The Conquerer, and Natalie Wood in West Side Story. Of course, the segment is also not without its humor; soon it touches upon the whitewashing of porn parodies and how audiences were supposed to believe Tom Cruise (the guy who slid across the floor in his underwear and a button-down for Risky Business) is The Last Samurai. Laughs aside, it’s an issue still worth discussing, especially since a recent study (to be released Monday) claims Hollywood is still very much a straight, white man’s club.
Then there are those, like John Boyega, who was cast as a lead character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and suffered a racist-driven backlash from commenters. Michael B. Jordan faced the same fate in landing the role of Johnny Storm/Human Torch in the recent Fantastic Four reboot.
Meanwhile, the Academy is implementing a new set of rules for its members in an effort to make the Oscar nominees more diverse in the future.