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incidents and accidents, hints and allegations

wood cat
Kate kate_nepveu
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signal boost: Avatar casting fail

So if you haven't heard about the whitewashing of the live-action movie of Avatar: The Last Airbender, well, I have two images and one video:

The images (from racebending.com, where they used to be on the front page, now no longer hotlinked):

characters in original

characters in movie

And a video:

For more, see racebending or racebending.com.

I've been hearing about this for a while from a lot of my fannish friends, but since I don't know Avatar: The Last Airbender, I hadn't seen the visual. Until now. And somehow, seeing the visual brings it home in a whole new way.

OMFG what is the matter with people? !@#%$%$&^%&^%$#@%

I'd seen the image a while ago--long enough ago that I had to dig, it was no longer on the front page of racebending.com--but the video is recent and reminded me I'd never actually made a post about it.

Seriously, that image just took my breath away, and I'd been following it from early on.

(no subject) - tavella, 2009-07-30 04:51 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - kate_nepveu, 2009-07-30 05:16 pm (UTC)(Expand)
I think the actress playing Katara may well be the whitest person I have ever seen. I agree with kassrachel --- the visual really makes an impact. Thank you, and eyugh. :/

I know. And you're welcome.

Since trying to compress three seasons of the show, which spanned a year of time, is going to be impossible to do without completely destroying the story anyway, I really don't care what Shyamalan does to it since I have no intention of ever seeing it. No matter how much The Boy begs. He can Netflix it for his own disappointment when it's out on DVD.

I wouldn't be excited about it anyway, but it breaks my heart to hear people tell stories about their brown-skinned kids who love the show asking why people who look like them can't be in the movie.

(Screened comment)
(no subject) - kate_nepveu, 2009-08-01 03:17 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - (Anonymous), 2009-08-14 11:39 pm (UTC)(Expand)
God, the "Villain" stamp really drives it home in a way just side-by-side cast pictures sometimes don't. This movie is such fail I can't even wrap my mind around it.


OMFG I knew about the white washing of the heros, but not the ... Brownwashing? of Zuko...

To be slightly fair, at least in the TV show, Zuko is portrayed more and more sympathetically (You know this because you're a fan of the show, but not everyone is). But I don't know how much of that will be in the movie. and still, how dumb and tone-deaf can they BE?

I know you're a fan, are you planning on seeing the movie? or boycotting it because of some combination of racefail and the almost guaranteed suckage?

ETA: after watching the vid, Wow, even worse. Very amusing though that the "The group goes to a play" episode was quite so... fortelling...

Edited at 2009-07-30 01:53 pm (UTC)

Not going to see it, no. At this point I hope for an ignominious death a la the _Dark Is Rising_ adaptation.

(no subject) - desdenova, 2009-07-30 07:24 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - kate_nepveu, 2009-08-01 03:20 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - publius1, 2009-07-30 09:42 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - kate_nepveu, 2009-08-01 03:20 pm (UTC)(Expand)
I'll stick with the original, thanks. If they can screw this up what else will they do badly?

I know nothing about the kid they cast as Aang expect that he's white and his martial arts in the teaser trailer are not anywhere near as impressive as I'd expect.

(no subject) - fidelioscabinet, 2009-07-30 03:48 pm (UTC)(Expand)


I think you mean "sadly all too explicable."

See also: http://justinelarbalestier.com/blog/2009/07/23/aint-that-a-shame/

(no subject) - lbmango, 2009-07-30 02:39 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - kate_nepveu, 2009-07-30 02:40 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - skwidly, 2009-07-30 02:43 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - kate_nepveu, 2009-07-30 02:52 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - skwidly, 2009-07-30 03:06 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - kate_nepveu, 2009-07-30 03:16 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - publius1, 2009-07-30 09:43 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - publius1, 2009-07-30 09:43 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - skwidly, 2009-07-30 09:53 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - publius1, 2009-07-30 09:56 pm (UTC)(Expand)
I'm profoundly boggled by the "Caucasian or any other ethnicity" lines in the casting guidelines... what a gigantic W-T-F.

It's like an offensive version of "Up to 30% off OR MORE!"

But yeah, it shows that they had decided to do the whitewashing before seeing any potential actors... WTF.

(no subject) - kate_nepveu, 2009-07-30 02:42 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - scott_lynch, 2009-07-30 02:51 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - kate_nepveu, 2009-07-30 02:55 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - scott_lynch, 2009-07-30 03:16 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - desdenova, 2009-07-30 02:56 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - kate_nepveu, 2009-07-30 02:57 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - corruptedjasper, 2009-08-01 11:29 am (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - kate_nepveu, 2009-08-01 04:49 pm (UTC)(Expand)
I had already heard about the general casting fail of Avatar, but those images just bring it to a whole new level of WTFery. I hope you don't mind that I pointed folks to this in my LJ.

Signal boost! Not at all!

A quick look at IMDB makes it look like this movie in only doing the 1st season, as there doesn't seem to be any casting for Zuko's sister or her friends. This means that Zuko and Asif Mandvi are likely to be the real badguys...

So, forget what I said about Zuko being more sympathetic. This is the villian zuko of 1st season. I'm sure they'll recast him for the 3rd movie (if there is one) when he becomes sympathetic...


Asif Mandvi is Commander Zhao? Uh, okay. (If I were going to see the movie, that would be some massive cognitive dissonance . . . )

And yeah, you're right, if they were doing the whole series then they would really need to cast Azula, so it must be only season one and no redemption for Zuko!


I've been fuming about this one since December. I'm generally cold towards cartoon-to-live action adaptations, but I thought this one would actually be something important: finally an epic fantasy movie for children that was a) cast with non-white leads, and b) set in a fantasy world inspired by Asian rather than European cultures. Even if it had sucked, that'd still be a worthy reason for doing this.

Way to fail, fuckers.

I particularly like the bit where they imported ASIAN TREES to their sets. Because trees are fine, culture, martial arts and costumes are fine, but people? Gotta be white.

Maybe the trees are for the Fire Nation, to further reinforce their furriner status?

*rolls eyes* It's nice to know that they managed to make sure that I'll never want to see this. Way to go, Hollywood!

Also, have you also heard about the new remake of V that they were shilling at ComicCon? My friend (broken_klaive) went to the screening, and she says that in NYC - NEW YORK CITY - the whole city was white, except for the alien & family who was black.

According to her, the mostly white audience gave the panel a lot of pain over their casting choices.

I hadn't, but somehow I am not surprised . . . Thanks for passing it on.

This reminds me of the white-washing of Earthsea. Ugh :(.

Ugh indeed.

They're losing the Chinese calligraphy?!?!?!??!?!?!??!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!

It's a good thing I'm not going to go see this anyway, because I'd have to wade through armpit-deep stupid just to get in the theater, and I hear that stuff spreads disease.

You know, if you find yourself changing all the text from your source from something that people can read and thus adds depth to the worldbuilding, to meaningless squiggles, perhaps you are doing something wrong.

But really, that's too subtle for the filmmakers.

(no subject) - fidelioscabinet, 2009-07-30 05:36 pm (UTC)(Expand)
Gah. I was already on board with this whole WTF, but the picture really slams the point home...

Doesn't it just?

(no subject) - scifantasy, 2009-07-30 05:31 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - kate_nepveu, 2009-07-30 05:41 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - scifantasy, 2009-07-30 05:48 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - kate_nepveu, 2009-07-30 06:46 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - scifantasy, 2009-07-30 06:48 pm (UTC)(Expand)
Here from sartorias -- would very much like to link to my big blog, or simply steal and re-post with a few words of my own, please?

Open linking to anything here. (The images are originally from racebending.com, as I say.)

(no subject) - a_d_medievalist, 2009-07-30 05:16 pm (UTC)(Expand)

What everyone else said, especially the parts about kids.

Linking from my LJ.

Arrgh back, and thanks.

I've known about, and been furious about, the casting fail in the movie for months. But wow, this image just brings it right home.

I say fail not just because it's the common internet term, but because I really do think this is a fundamental failure to grasp one of the vital, and coolest, elements of the show. Which is a crying shame, and an outrage.

Awesome icon.

Picture = thousand words.

Many of them with exclamation marks at the end.

That is sick. How do the people involved not see how SICK that is???

((kicks Hollywood))

*kicks also*

Found this post via theweaselking's post's comments. I linked in my facebook to spread the word. The major thing I like here is that I can show it to my 11 yr old (blond, blue eyed) son to explain why I won't be taking him to the live action movie.

Same here. My kids were all excited about the movie until they found out it was live-action and whitewashed.

(no subject) - kate_nepveu, 2009-08-01 04:50 pm (UTC)(Expand)
The "characters in movie" picture doesn't seem to be showing up for me -- is that just me or did something go wrong with it?

LJ is being weird lately. I moved them to my own space. Thanks for letting me know.


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