Tuesday, 23 January, 2018

Disney Accused Of "Browning Up" White Extras For Live-Action Aladdin Movie

Melba Vasquez | 12 January, 2018, 20:23

One of their latest live-action productions, Aladdin, which is set in the fictional Middle Eastern kingdom of Agrabah, made great strides with its diverse casting, but when it comes to their extras, it sounds like the studio has fallen back on some old habits.

Disney confessed "tanning" white actors for the roles that required "skills" - including stunt men, dancers and camel handlers.

Disney said 400 of the 500 background performers are said to be of Indian, Middle Eastern, African, Mediterranean and Asian heritage, however by "browning up" white actors to blend in Odedra said he believes the company is "out of touch" when it comes to taking a step in the right direction of diversity.

Odedra noted that he saw around 20 "very fair-skinned" actors waiting in line to have their skin tanned, including a white actor he had recognized who was tanned to play a palace guard.

"Also, if I'd wanted to discuss it, speaking to the nearly entirely white crew seemed somewhat intimidating", Odedra added.

"This is the most diverse cast ever assembled for a Disney live-action production". Coming back now and suggesting that even the extras are too hard to cast is ... truly something else. Before tapping Naomi Scott (Jasmine) and Mena Massoud (Aladdin) to star alongside Will Smith (who's playing the Genie), Disney had expressed its determination to cast a wide net in an effort to land actors of Middle Eastern descent. But when a PR person says they chose to put 100 people in Brownface in 2018 because not enough of us are qualified, that's bs, someone just didn't want to spend the $ to do it right. Meer said, "The talent exists and is accessible and there's no way that Asian extras could not have been hired to meet the needs of the film".

Production is still underway on Aladdin, now filming just outside of London. "We expect better from all filmmakers", he told the media.

Ritchie has declined to comment on the situation.

Disney is wading through another controversy, this time courtesy of Aladdin.

Director Guy Ritchie is already under fire for adding a white character to the film, Prince Anders, who will be played by Billy Magnussen, did not appear in the 1992 original.

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