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Time Soft Pitches M. Night the Casting Controversy Question 
2nd-Jul-2010 03:27 pm
jedi
A couple weeks ago, Time Magazine asked for user-submitted questions for M. Night Shyamalan. Hundreds of readers, some from Racebending.com and others from elsewhere, asked M. Night exactly what was up with the casting of The Last Airbender.

The
interview is up today and here is the soft-pitched answer Time Magazine lobbed at M. Night.

Do you think the criticism about casting Caucasians in Asian roles in the film is a fair one? —Andrew Chang, EDISON, N.J.

MNS: Anime is intended to have ambiguous features. That's part of the art form. It's not meant to have a specific ethnicity behind it. I could have cast anybody I wanted to. You're talking to one of the only Asian filmmakers in the world who has complete control. And I'm not straying far from the truth when I say that this is the most culturally diverse tent-pole movie ever made. The criticism that I didn't cast the right Asians? That is small-minded.


Shyamalan uses many of the same coached talking points he used in other interviews this week. "Anime is ambiguous." (It's not.) "Culturally diverse tentpole." (It's not.) The accusation that his detractors don't think Indians are "the right Asians." (What the eff?)

Most tellingly, Shyamalan takes his scripted talking point a step further: He says, "You're talking to one of the only Asian filmmakers in the world who has complete control," acknowledging--perhaps unintentionally--that directors of color face discrimination ("one of the only") and that directors of color are not given freedom in their work in Hollywood.


ehhhhhh
Comments 
(Deleted comment)
2nd-Jul-2010 10:40 pm (UTC)
It's getting kinda creepy, seeing him running around saying the same things over and over again. Frank Marshall had the luxury of saying (about the racist casting) that he was 'done talking about it'. And that was that.

But the media - and media consumers - seem almost gleeful to watch and read a Indian-American man continually spout strawman rhetoric that upholds systemic racism and white supremacy. As if he created The Last Airbender in a vacuum.
2nd-Jul-2010 10:33 pm (UTC)
Has anyone ever starting questioning him about the "race issue" by asking, "Can you explain to me why people are so upset?"? Bcz that, I'd like to see. It's obvious he either doesn't understand or is intentionally acting so with his strawman argument.
2nd-Jul-2010 10:36 pm (UTC)
I don't really think anyone has been ballsy enough to ask. Even if they did, his ego is so damn massive, I don't even think it's possible for him to register anyone else's POV on the subject matter on racefail (apparently the only POV that matters is MNight's because he's the 'only Asian filmmakers in the world who has complete control'). That or y'know, he's purposefully shifting the blame to himself to avoid the studio taking blame.
2nd-Jul-2010 10:34 pm (UTC)
Ai-yi-yi.

Shyamlan couldn't be more of a scapegoat fall-guy for Paramount Pics to foist all the racefail and production blame, even if they hired a guy named Scapegoat Fallguy. He's so...eager and invested in diverting all the blame solely onto himself, as if he did this all without any approval from the producers or the studio.

It's just all so convenient.

3rd-Jul-2010 12:03 am (UTC)
SCAPEGOAT FALLGUY. I feel like I've met him on the Simpsons!
2nd-Jul-2010 10:34 pm (UTC)
Shyamalan is a robot, that's the only explanation.
3rd-Jul-2010 01:00 am (UTC)
THIS
2nd-Jul-2010 10:40 pm (UTC)
You're talking to one of the only Asian filmmakers in the world who has complete control.

I haven't kept up with how HK movies have been since the 90's, but I remember for at least 20 years there, HK directors would get a budget, a basic pitch, and be left completely to their own devices to film or change the movie as they saw fit. Entire movies were filmed in 1-6 months, without studio interference.

I'm quite sure that between movies being shot in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, etc. there has to be many cases of asian directors who have complete control.

(Then there's the many, many short films which are produced every year by asian directors around the world...)
2nd-Jul-2010 10:50 pm (UTC)
He thinks he's the only one. He's like Tigger or something.
2nd-Jul-2010 10:40 pm (UTC)
He always says the same old "argument". Boring.
2nd-Jul-2010 10:57 pm (UTC)
You're talking to one of the only Asian filmmakers in the world who has complete control.

I think that MNS takes a lot of pride in this. Guy is a total control freak. I know his wording doesn't actually say this, but I wouldn't be surprised if he thinks of himself as THE most prominent Asian director out there today. ANG LEE AND HIS OSCAR WOULD LIKE TO HAVE A WORD WITH YOU.

2nd-Jul-2010 11:02 pm (UTC)
Funny, Ang Lee was the first person I thought of when I read MNight's statement.
2nd-Jul-2010 11:05 pm (UTC)
I'm so tired of hearing him and his recycled arguments. I'm not reading anything else he says unless he changes gears completely.
2nd-Jul-2010 11:31 pm (UTC)
Frankly, he's beginning to sound like a broken CD that was playing in Repeat-Mode one too many times.

Whether he was paid to say that or not, every interview that we have read him in, he's been spewing out the same excuses, assumptions and lack of understanding in why everyone here is up in arms on this. Even his state of emotional being is almost a dead giveaway into the insides of his psychology.


3rd-Jul-2010 12:24 am (UTC)
...

Yup, pulling out the sharpie when I get the TIME issue with this interview. :|

I just want to go up to the man and tell him to stop talking already. Ugh. DX
3rd-Jul-2010 12:54 am (UTC)
JFC

SOMEONE TELL HIM THAT THIS IS NOT FUCKING ANIME

AND THERE IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "WHITEWHITEWHITE" AND "BROWN".

I mean, if you cast Toph as a dark-haired Caucasian, I wouldn't agree with it, but I would somewhat understand. Same with Suki. But Katara and Sokka? WHAT.

THIS MAN IS A MORON.
(Deleted comment)
3rd-Jul-2010 01:26 am (UTC)
THIS. x1million

I hope this movie really does spell the end of his career. It's been a long time coming.
3rd-Jul-2010 01:46 am (UTC)
GUYS. You don't understand how anime is ambiguous.

Really, it is so ambiguous.

Don't you know that anime is so ambiguous?

God anime is ambiguous.
3rd-Jul-2010 02:44 am (UTC)
The big eyes, blonde and brown and any other color besides black hair, the any color but black eyes says so!
3rd-Jul-2010 03:35 am (UTC)
so disappointing. everything i've read so far that M. Night has said about the casting has made me want to smash my head against a brick wall, repeatedly.
3rd-Jul-2010 04:47 am (UTC) - smh
You know what we need? A bingo board with all his talking points.
3rd-Jul-2010 06:24 am (UTC) - Re: smh
YESS!
3rd-Jul-2010 05:27 am (UTC)
In -our- interviews, can we please start making some sort of additional debunking, or response, or something to point out the flaws in his logic here?
3rd-Jul-2010 07:14 am (UTC)
oh Time, you fail. Newsweek wouldn't have soft pitched an underhand nerf ball at him. Seriously.

THe only bright lining is that there's another article on the site, "Five Reasons This Will Be the Worst Fourth of July Ever" and they're traffic, fireworks displays getting cut back, the hot dog eating champion retiring, a flag with 61 stars, and the opening of the Last Airbender movie XD

Dudes! Okay I forgive you. Mostly.
3rd-Jul-2010 09:35 am (UTC)
really now. The first page was filled with really good questions on Hollywood discrimination on minorities and whitewashing and the one question he gets asked about racebending is "do you think the criticism is fair?" really now? it's almost backhanded.


What happened Time? You use to be cool.
3rd-Jul-2010 08:32 am (UTC)
Can someone, please, PLEASE sit him down and show him this video?

3rd-Jul-2010 12:52 pm (UTC)
That is an awesome video. Thank you so much. Favoriting this.
(Deleted comment)
4th-Jul-2010 06:45 pm (UTC)
RRRRRRAAAAAVVVVVVVEEEEEEENNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!! <3
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
3rd-Jul-2010 08:24 pm (UTC)
Shyamalan's ego is so huge that he doesn't even realize how much easier he's making it for Paramount to set most/all of the blame on him for the failure of the movie when they're more responsible in the bigger picture of racist casting practices and have as much responsibility over how bad the movie itself is.

He really needs to shut up.

Edited at 2010-07-03 08:25 pm (UTC)
4th-Jul-2010 07:36 pm (UTC)
LOL @ this:

"The anime show on which the movie is based has lots of fans. How can you live up to their expectations? —Josh Coppenbarger, NORMAL, ILL.
It wasn't like I had to guess what the fans loved about the show. I was one of the fans. This is just where one of the fans got to direct the movie."


STOP YOUR LIES.
4th-Jul-2010 07:48 pm (UTC)
Also:

"Have there been times when you felt as if you were going to fail with a movie? —Rebecca Weaver, HANOVER, PA.
Lady in the Water. That was really the only movie I've made that lost money for the studio. I take that superseriously. They give me all this leeway to make these movies artistically, and it's my job to make sure they get their money back. That movie bothered me. I never got a chance to get it to the audience because I didn't know how to sell it."


Maybe he'll feel the same for this movie? And, ew, Rebecca Weaver. Maybe she won that dream date with Manoj because her question was picked.
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