Thursday, 16 September 2010
It's Time For More Diversity In The Movies
I'm a white guy, and I tend to write movies about white people, who are about my age, who have names like Darren and Amy. And their problems are love and work and not loving work. And that's fine. But the problem is, often - all the other films are like this too.
It's not that I'm in to all this equality stuff in the sense that every film should have every ethnicity and gender and sexual orientation represented in equal measure (although that would be a fascinating experience!) but I am just aware that life is such a rich and complex experience and we all delve into the depths of our differences and culture every single day. Even if you live in an area lacking in diversity, that's still an experience relating to diversity. So there is so much to delve into!
But it's also time to move beyond mere diversity issues and stereotypes. As much as I love a good movie about black and white people hating each other before learning life lessons, and as much as I enjoy that every gay character in the movies has a high pitched voice and funny walk - I really think it's time to move beyond that. And before anyone says "but we have moved beyond that, I have five examples," that's exactly my point! You have five examples. But if I asked for examples of white rich Americans falling in love in New York, your examples would be unlimited. It's time to burst through whatever invisible strange barrier it is that keeps us writing the same shit over and over.
How about a disabled character whose story is about a challenge in life other than his or her disability? How about a character who is gay but that isn't part of their story, just like being straight isn't always the key part of a story? How about more films with women; films where being beautiful isn't a pre-requisite, films where women get cast in roles that aren't sexy or 'playing the guy's role' but are instead, like life - just struggles and events and ideas and emotions and action.
I dream of a world where we aren't able to 'give examples' of diversity in movies or able to make a list of films where disabled people aren't stereotyped, because instead I'd like it to be the norm. I am as guilty of this as anyone. But I am starting to see the bigger picture, and feel inspired by how different we are; we're all different colors, we have different ideas, we're fucked up in different ways, we're the same in many ways, some of our bodies work and some of them don't, some of us are good and some of us are oppressors and some of us haven't got a clue what's going on -- but how exciting! Surely exploring these differences is going to be more rewarding and fascinating and exciting and original than another Ryan Reynolds rom-com or a medium-budget drama with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner.
When you approach writing your next project, or begin casting your next movie -- have a think, what could you do differently? Might it be more interesting? Might it be more truthful? Just a thought!