Fabrice Fabrice (pikapika217) wrote,
Fabrice Fabrice
pikapika217

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Avatar-gate 08 part 2: my letter

In response to this post: http://pikapika217.livejournal.com/211180.html

Here is my letter as is right now. fell free to give me any tips/pointers you want asap before I print out this version and mail it.



1st edition

To Ms. Kennedy and Mr. Marshall:

I'm writing today in regards to the cast of the upcoming Nickelodeon Film, "The Last Airbender." On December 9th, Entertainment Weekly published an article revealing director M. Night Shyamalan's hoped-for cast for the film, and I am offended by the decisions he and Paramount Pictures have made.

When I first heard about the project, I was actually quite excited. Avatar is a series that is not only intelligent, but deeply rooted in a non american culture that's very accurately portrayed. It featured characters of different nationalities in such a beautiful way. the culture helped really shaped the tone of the series, setting it apart in the vast fantasy series: The characters fight with East Asian martial arts, have Asian or Inuit features, dress in Asian or Inuit clothing, and write with Chinese characters. The cast and setting were a refreshing departure from predominantly white American media, and were a large part of the show's appeal as well as an inspiration to many children of color.

So, to find out that with your casting was such a disappointment. The message sent by casting these roles with white americans tells all the people of color who enjoy the series that they are not as suited as their white counterparts, and is truly a disgrace and an insult, not only to the audience, but to the child actors of different races & the show's creator. There is no way that you can tell me you were unable to find suitable actors for these parts that more closely resembled their animated counterparts, and by doing so, you've shut the door for those very actors who the series connected with most. How will great actors of color get the chance to star in lead roles featuring characters their own ethnicity if they'll just be re-cast as white!?! It points to this: how big is race really? Kids are not stupid, nor as color conscious as Hollywood thinks. They want a good story with good characters, regardless of color, a fact shown by the show's large popularity.

It also makes me worry about the movie itself. If it is nothing to re-cast ethic characters as white, what other facets of the story will you change in order for it to conform to this new casting? Just how much of the story will be changed? Will this even resemble the Avatar series, or just carry its name? The very culture surrounding this story is in danger, and that is distressing to me.

But mostly, the casting of white actors shows just how much you seem to care about accurately portraying the series, and how well you know the audience, because if you truly cared, then you'd know just how wrong it is to change something as fundamental as their heritage which is in many ways deeply rooted in their skin tones, and I hope you take to heart just how disappointing your casting choices are before making a final decision.

Sincerly

[name]

Revised edition (thanks tanz_fanatika!)

To Ms. Kennedy and Mr. Marshall:

I'm writing today in regards to the cast of the upcoming Nickelodeon Film, "The Last Airbender." On December 9th, Entertainment Weekly published an article revealing director M. Night Shyamalan's hoped-for cast for the film, and I am offended by the decisions he and Paramount Pictures have made.

When I first heard about the project, I was actually quite excited. Avatar is a series that is not only intelligent, but deeply rooted in a non-american culture that's very accurately portrayed. It featured characters of different nationalities in such a beautiful way. The culture helped was an intergral part in creating the tone of the series, setting it apart from other shows in the vast array of fantasy series: The characters fight with East Asian martial arts, have Asian or Inuit features, dress in Asian or Inuit clothing, and write with Chinese characters. The cast and setting were a refreshing departure from predominantly white American media, and were a large part of the show's appeal as well as an inspiration to many children of color.

So, to find out that with your casting was such a disappointment. The message sent by casting these roles with white americans tells all the people of color who enjoy the series that they are not as suited as their white counterparts, and is truly a disgrace and an insult, not only to the audience, but to the child actors of different races and the show's creator. There is no way that you can tell me you were unable to find suitable actors for these parts that more closely resembled their animated counterparts, and by doing so, you've shut the door for those very actors who the series connected with most. How will great actors of color get the chance to star in lead roles featuring characters their own ethnicity if they'll just be re-cast as white? It points to this: how big is race really? White American children love and can relate to the show regardless of its cast's racial aspects. As such, they could do the same with a live action movie. Kids can relate to likeable, well-developed characters, no matter what color their skin is, so there is no good reason to recast the characters as white. That's not going to make them more appealing. They already are, so they don't need the change.

It also makes me worry about the movie itself. If it is nothing to re-cast ethnic characters as white, what other facets of the story will you change in order for it to conform to this new casting? Just how much of the story will be changed? Will this even resemble the Avatar series, or just carry its name? The very culture surrounding this story is in danger, and that is distressing to me.

But mostly, the casting of white actors shows just how much you seem to care about accurately portraying the series, and how well you know the audience, because if you truly cared, then you'd know just how wrong it is to change something as fundamental as their heritage which is in many ways deeply rooted in their skin tones, and I hope you take to heart just how disappointing your casting choices are before making a final decision.

Sincerely

[written signature]

[typed name]
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