steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

A Stranger Ranger

I hadn't heard of the remake of The Lone Ranger until about an hour ago, when it was reviewed (positively) on Radio 4. They mentioned that it had bombed in the States, though, and were at a loss to explain why.

I've not seen the film, but I'm curious as to whether one factor was that Tonto was being played by a white actor (a move even the 1950s serialization didn't make). A quick glance at the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes doesn't show this leaping out as an issue, but while Depp is famously versatile I imagine there would be outrage if he were to play a well-known African American character - shall we say, Jim from Huckleberry Finn? (There might well be outrage if there were to be a remake of Huckleberry Finn at all, of course.) Then it occurred to me to wonder whether the actor who plays Jacob in the Twilight series is Native American (he's not). I guess that giving Native American roles to white actors is just not seen as problematic - but I'm puzzled as to why. I'd have thought that a history of genocide (as of slavery) would make a crucial difference in these cases, these days.

By contrast, I sigh a little when I see that the villain in The Lone Ranger is yet again played by an Englishman, but while there is no doubt an element of racism involved it's mostly just a creakingly unimaginative cliché.
Tags: maunderings
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