Not Quite Black Or White: Actors Who’ve Played Race-Bending Roles

28 comments
February 5, 2013 ‐ By Meghan Williams

Race-bending is the common Hollywood practice of changing the race or ethnicity of a character to produce a movie. This can be done to give a leading role to an A-list actor or even to make a movie more “acceptable” to audiences – and yes, sometimes blackface is a part of this ya’ll. Thankfully, we can take comfort in knowing that race-bending isn’t always offensive. Click through to see what we mean.

 

"The Last Airbender "

Everyone In The Last Airbender

“Racebending” became an actual term following outrage over casting choices for the 2010 film The Last Airbender. Instead of hiring Asian actors to play the lead roles, as the source material called for, producers cast four white actors as leads, and just one Indian actor as – you guessed it, the villain.

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  • Blaquesmyth

    In the comics, Nick Fury’s character was given a reboot/make-over. They changed his race because the new version was actually based on Samuel L. Jackson and the reason HE was offered the part in the 1st place.

  • Lisa Bedford Carter

    ouch!

  • Logan_nagol

    The one with Samuel L Jackson doesn’t count. when they created the Ultimate Universe. Their Nick Fury was based on Samuel L Jackson. it was after that that Jackson had made a del with Marvel to play Nick Fury in the movies.

  • Ty Doane

    Nick Fury has been black since about 2002. In fact Marvel personally asked Samuel L Jackson way back then if they could model the character after him, and he agreed. So naturally, he plays him in the movies.

    Also Cleopatra wasn’t Egyptian, she was a Greek woman who became Pharaoh. So technically she was white. Or at least had white-ish skin.

    I understand the object of this post but lets do our research and get our facts together before making articles alright?

    • logan_nagol

      Actually Jackson wasn’t happy with it at first.

  • M E

    Whites in black face is ALWAYS racist. Whites invented BF for the sole purpose of demonizing African-Americans.

  • Bea

    I’m surprised Hunger Games didn’t make the list. Jennifer Lawrence playing the part of a girl with a more native appearance, the people were fine with that. The real hell broke loose when some viewers realized that two character who were black in the book were black in the film. That’s still on of the funniest oversights of readers I have ever heard of.

  • gallantgesture

    When it comes to racial bigotry it is the Japanese who try to out white white people. They made a King Kong movie with the hair on King Kong’s head looking like a natural but can’t see the resemblance that the snow monkeys of Japan have with them.

  • NVAdamzz

    They forgot about one of the most famous cases, Natalie Wood as Maria in Westside Story as well as everyone else in the movie.

  • NVAdamzz

    They forgot about one of the most famous cases, Natalie Wood as Maria in Westside Story as well as everyone else in the movie.

  • kai

    but..cleopatra was of Greek ancestry. ijs.

  • Ms_Sunshine9898

    So basically, the majority of these characters were changed to make white people feel more comfortable with the movie. . .

  • Dee

    IDC Robert D. was HILARIOUS in tropic thunder. Still one of my fave movies to date

    • Ms_Sunshine9898

      I agree, he was hysterical in that movie!

    • Guest360

      I was just about to write the same thing. I don’t care. He was HILARIOUS and the best part of that movie. Loved him!!

    • NVAdamzz

      Co-sign!

    • NVAdamzz

      Co-sign!

  • JustSaying_IMFO

    Someone needs to look up the definition of “race-bending”. Hiring a black actor to play a role that was originally written as a white character but turned into a a black character upon the employment of said actor is not race-bending. e.g, no one claimed Morgan Freeman in Shawshank was white.

    • RAVENS GANG!

      I was thinking the same thing!

    • NVAdamzz

      I thought the same thing! Some of them were good examples (Angelina Jolie, all the actors for the Cloud Atlas movie) but the rest were just recastings…

    • NVAdamzz

      I thought the same thing! Some of them were good examples (Angelina Jolie, all the actors for the Cloud Atlas movie) but the rest were just recastings…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JAI4SRENU2A5WKRTELXXYJPDSI Kayla

    Interesting when you can’t get the right race you just get a white person by default

  • blahblahblah

    you got all of them right but one….Nick fury is indeed white in the comic books…but there is an alternate Marvel Universe where Nick Fury is BLACK…..so there was no “racebending” involved….

    • hollyw

      That’s what I was thinking, Nick Fury, when introduced in the Marvel movie series, was never upheld as a White-turned-Black actor, but an actual Black character… o.O

      Please get yo comic weight up? ijs

  • khissha

    Fred Armisen isn’t white.. hes Venezuelan,Japanese,German.. but i guess on this site if your not black then your automatically considered white

    • korbermeister

      visually (which is what race is based on in the states) he’s white.

  • pfeiffer87

    Let’s not forget the thousands of white actors who have played native americans over the years. The entertainment world always thinks it’s so progressive…

  • IllyPhilly

    Shocking? Not at all.

No thanks