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Tuesday, 4 January 2011

1.19am On A Wednesday

I got some 'notes' on the screenplay of my new movie which I'm shooting this year, and the guy didn't get it at all. He missed the subtlety and the humour. And three days before that I read the coverage for a screenplay I'm rewriting for someone in LA, and that reader didn't grasp that screenplay either. And today I was part of a reading and was excited by a young Asian actress and a young black actor. And Pete Postlethwaite is dead.

I would never say 'I was excited by a white actor,' and therein we see the problems that still face our industry, and our world; this stuff isn't equal. As much as I loved these two actors, am I going to cast them as my leads? Is anyone? And if they do will their characters be stereotypical? You still can't put a young Indian girl in a lead role without people thinking it's some kind of statement. And nobody will do it until someone does it so who is it to be? If you look at the demographics of America, or England, or any country you're in.. The ethnicity and gender of the movie characters are nowhere near that of its people. I'm not starting a big drive for equality, but don't you find it interesting?

And Pete Postlethwaite is dead. Actors worry about their looks and their relevance and their weight but then Pete Postlethwaite dies and you realise: all that matters is the acting. And those beautiful but vulnerable actresses we know who struggle with anorexia and those male actors we know who are barely comfortable with their own personalities... you want them to really look at Pete Postlethwaite, or Emily Watson, or Stockard Channing or Morgan Freeman-- because what matters is the acting. And some actress somewhere misses another meal and it's all because she thinks it'll make us cast her; and it's just heartbreaking.

We're in a world where nobody understands our scripts, our art. And it's a world where actors disappear further from themselves as they try to morph into something just to fit in. And Pete Postlethwaite dies and Gerry Rafferty dies and Heath Ledger dies and all we care about is their beautiful art. We want more of it. We crave it. We live for it. Somehow we keep forgetting it.

Care to share?


  1. Pete Postlethwaite was one of those actors-if he was in it, it was probably good. Can't say that about many actors. RIP Pete.

  2. My husband is half Asian, and the thing about diversity in film is a popular topic of conversation among he and his Asian friends. It's slowly getting better, but the idea of an Asian male in a romantic lead in a movie that has nothing to do with the fact that he's Asian still hasn't come around. It's odd, to say the least.

    I'm sorry if this isn't all that coherent. I'm on cold medicine and things are looking a big wobbly now.

    I hope things turn out well for you. I'd probably very much enjoy your screenplay--I love subtle humor. :)

  3. I've never been much of an "artsy" film watcher...however, I would like to see normal, everyday stories on the screen. I come from India and the movie industry scenario is even worse, sometimes. Its not just the lead actors that we can't relate to, but even the whole story, the places we see, the lifestyle...everything! Yes, I just want to be entertained, but I dont want them to insult my intelligence. And the reed thin women? Are they even real?

  4. Good post.

    Harold and Kumar Goes to White Castle could have been skinny white stoner and chubby white stoner get the munchies but it would have been a much lesser movie.

    And Kumar has the best damn timing I've seen in a long while.