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Character Race Changes in Film/Television


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#1 Righty007

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 10:43 PM

The title may sound a little odd but I'm asking which cinematic/television character do you think was improved by casting an actor of a different race? Below are a few examples off the top of my head but please feel free to add more to the thread. This isn't intended to be a discussion about race but a discussion about which characters have been improved by the casting of an actor/actress of a different race. As all Bond fans know, every actor brings something new to an established character. :tup:

Race Changes in Film/Television

Bernie Casey as Felix Leiter - Never Say Never Again (1983)

Will Smith as James West - Wild Wild West (1999)

Bernie Mac as Bosley - Charlies Angels: Full Throttle (2003)

Halle Berry as Catwoman - Catwoman (2004)

Ving Rhames as Theo Kojak - Kojak (2005)

Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter - Casino Royale (2006)

I'm going to have to go with Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter. :tup:

#2 Righty007

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 03:00 AM

I wanna bump this up because I think Jeffrey Wright is the best thing to happen to the character EVER.

#3 Bondian

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 03:11 AM

I agree, mate. But I hate to sound pedantic, but is a black man who was born in the Washington USA a different race? :(

#4 trs007

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 01:49 PM

Any thread that even solicts an opinion that WWW was improved by Will Smith over Robert Conrad, or Halle Berry over ANYONE does not deserve a bump of any kind.

I do concur JW's Felix has been the best to date.

#5 marktmurphy

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 01:55 PM

Not convinced any of those have been improved by casting someone of a different race- they've just had someone of a different race cast. Some of the actors have been better than others, but I struggle to see what their race has added/detracted on its own.
If you want another example, there's that big chap who played the comic character Kingpin in a superhero film- I think it was Daredevil but he might have been in something else.

Or that bloke who played Anakin Skywalker- clearly Darth Vader is black. He's James Earl Jones!

I agree, mate. But I hate to sound pedantic, but is a black man who was born in the Washington USA a different race? :(


Some impenetrable grammar there, but I think you're trying to ask if an American black man is a different race to an American white man. The answer's yes, if that's what you're asking. Race and nationality are two different things.

#6 MkB

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 02:04 PM

I wanna bump this up because I think Jeffrey Wright is the best thing to happen to the character EVER.


I do agree with this, but don't you think it's because he's a great/cool actor, and not because he's black?
IMO, characters are improved by casting an actor, not a race.

#7 Righty007

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 04:06 PM

Any thread that even solicts an opinion that WWW was improved by Will Smith over Robert Conrad, or Halle Berry over ANYONE does not deserve a bump of any kind.

I do concur JW's Felix has been the best to date.

I was just listing examples for race changes. I never said those actors were better than the original. I only gave my opinion about Jeffrey Wright.

I wanna bump this up because I think Jeffrey Wright is the best thing to happen to the character EVER.


I do agree with this, but don't you think it's because he's a great/cool actor, and not because he's black?
IMO, characters are improved by casting an actor, not a race.

It's because Jeffrey Wright is a great actor not because he's black. But had they not changed the characters's race, we wouldn't have had Wright. That's what I'm saying.

#8 DR76

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 01:32 AM

Any thread that even solicts an opinion that WWW was improved by Will Smith over Robert Conrad, or Halle Berry over ANYONE does not deserve a bump of any kind.



I did not care for Will Smith as James West. In fact, I disliked the 1999 film intensely.

However, I had no problem with Halle Berry as Catwoman. For me, the problem was not Berry. The problem was the movie's screenwriter.

#9 Bondian

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 02:23 AM

Not convinced any of those have been improved by casting someone of a different race- they've just had someone of a different race cast. Some of the actors have been better than others, but I struggle to see what their race has added/detracted on its own.
If you want another example, there's that big chap who played the comic character Kingpin in a superhero film- I think it was Daredevil but he might have been in something else.

Or that bloke who played Anakin Skywalker- clearly Darth Vader is black. He's James Earl Jones!

Blimey. What's got into you. James Earl Jones provided the voice, so your answer is rather silly.

I agree, mate. But I hate to sound pedantic, but is a black man who was born in the Washington USA a different race? :(


Some impenetrable grammar there, but I think you're trying to ask if an American black man is a different race to an American white man. The answer's yes, if that's what you're asking. Race and nationality are two different things.

Well. Thank you for the grammar lesson. Maybe you could provide an example of where I went wrong?. :)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm lead to believe that an native American is of a darker skin?, so why would a black man be a problem?. It's only until the Irish etc became citizens there that the place changed to white. :)

Can we at least be friends, considering we're from the same goddam place?

#10 Bondian

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 02:57 AM

Not convinced any of those have been improved by casting someone of a different race- they've just had someone of a different race cast. Some of the actors have been better than others, but I struggle to see what their race has added/detracted on its own.
If you want another example, there's that big chap who played the comic character Kingpin in a superhero film- I think it was Daredevil but he might have been in something else.

Or that bloke who played Anakin Skywalker- clearly Darth Vader is black. He's James Earl Jones!

Blimey. What's got into you. James Earl Jones provided the voice, so your answer is rather silly.

I agree, mate. But I hate to sound pedantic, but is a black man who was born in the Washington USA a different race? :(


Some impenetrable grammar there, but I think you're trying to ask if an American black man is a different race to an American white man. The answer's yes, if that's what you're asking. Race and nationality are two different things.

Well. Thank you for the grammar lesson. Maybe you could provide an example of where I went wrong?. :)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm lead to believe that an native American is of a darker skin?, so why would a black man be a problem?. It's only until the Irish etc became citizens there that the place changed to white. :)

Sorry. But "race" and "nationality" are the same. (If you said this at my sons school you would probably be frog marched out).

#11 Safari Suit

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 10:27 AM

Sorry. But "race" and "nationality" are the same. (If you said this at my sons school you would probably be frog marched out).


They really aren't though. One of my pet hates is people saying "racist" or "racism" when they really mean "xenophobic" or "xenophobia".

#12 marktmurphy

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 01:14 PM


Or that bloke who played Anakin Skywalker- clearly Darth Vader is black. He's James Earl Jones!

Blimey. What's got into you. James Earl Jones provided the voice, so your answer is rather silly.


I can't understand what you're writing most of the time, so in case you're not jesting I feel it might be worth pointing out that that was a joke.

I agree, mate. But I hate to sound pedantic, but is a black man who was born in the Washington USA a different race? :(


Some impenetrable grammar there, but I think you're trying to ask if an American black man is a different race to an American white man. The answer's yes, if that's what you're asking. Race and nationality are two different things.

Well. Thank you for the grammar lesson. Maybe you could provide an example of where I went wrong?. :)


You don't have to use the definite article with Washington- it's simply 'Washington', not 'the Washington'. There's usually a comma between city name and country. And when you are asking if something is different, you usually have to ask what you want to know it is different from i.e. 'is a black man who was born in the USA a different race to a white man also born in the USA?'.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm lead to believe that an native American is of a darker skin?, so why would a black man be a problem?. It's only until the Irish etc became citizens there that the place changed to white. :)


I have no idea what you're talking about. Who mentioned Native Americans?

Sorry. But "race" and "nationality" are the same. (If you said this at my sons school you would probably be frog marched out).


I think your son might be needing a new school! ;)
If they have different names, they're generally different things. Your race is white/caucasian; your nationality is British. Hence if I called you a name denigrating the colour of your skin I would be being racist, if I was being prejudicial against you because you come from Britain I would be being xenophobic. If I wanted to continue my prejudice against another Briton who happens to be a black man (but without mentioning the colour of his skin) I would still be using nationalist prejudice: I would not be a racist.

#13 Bondian

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 03:53 PM

You don't have to use the definite article with Washington- it's simply 'Washington', not 'the Washington'. There's usually a comma between city name and country.

Fair enough. Must have added the "the" accidentally.

I have no idea what you're talking about. Who mentioned Native Americans?

I did. I was stating that Native Americans have dark skin.

I think your son might be needing a new school! :)

:(




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