All my life I have heard left-wing film scholars and media liberals rail against the studio-run Hollywood of old for frequently casting white stars in the roles of racial minorities. Although, for the most part, these characterizations were quite dignified — that didn’t matter; this practice proves that the old white Republicans who ran Hollywood were racists.
And yet, here we are in 2013, and the whiter than white Johnny Depp is headlining a $250 million summer tentpole portraying Tonto, a Comanche Indian.
What? There are no Comanche who can act, racist Hollywood?
The Depp casting is obviously a commercial decision on Disney’s part, just like casting Paul Muni was in “The Good Earth” and Marlon Brando in “Viva Zapata.”
But if I understand left-wing film scholars and media liberals, the greedy studio decisions behind the respectful characterizations created by Muni and Brando were racist. The casting of Depp, however is, uhm….
Yeah, Hollywood’s come a long way.