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Actors of Color Who Played Roles Written as White

Actors of Color Who Played Roles Written as White

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It’s no secret whitewashing is an issue in Hollywood. Even in 2018, administrators are nonetheless casting white actors to play characters who have been presupposed to be individuals of colour. And although whitewashing isn’t the one drawback in Hollywood in relation to variety and inclusivity, there have been current strikes by actors and audiences to painting extra numerous tales on display, beginning with casting actors of shade in roles initially written as white.

From Marvel films to trendy reboots, increasingly administrators are utilizing their energy to race-bend roles and forged numerous faces in recognizable franchises. Virtually none of these roles are tied to race, so why can’t somebody who’s Black, Asian, Latinx or another individual of shade play them? Having actors of colour play characters initially written as white gained’t finish whitewashing, nevertheless it’s a begin. Forward, examine 10 characters who have been initially written as white however later performed by actors of shade.

Quvenzhané Wallis: Annie (2014)

STYLECASTER | Actors of Color Who've Played White Characters | "Annie"

Columbia Footage.

In 2014, Wallis starred as Annie Bennett within the modern remake of 1977’s Broadway musical Annie. The position, as soon as performed by Sarah Jessica Parker, has been traditionally carried out by white actresses with pink curly hair. In a 2014 interview with Elle, the movie’s director, Will Gluck, talked about casting Wallis within the position and why the themes of the story, which follows an orphan taken in by a billionaire, have been common, regardless of race. “We just wanted a modern girl,” Gluck stated. “And when you see the movie, it’s not about her race. It’s just about a headstrong girl who cares about everyone around her. And that’s Quvenzhané.” The movie additionally race-bent the position of Will Stacks, performed by Jamie Foxx, the billionaire who takes Annie in.

Camila Mendes: Riverdale (2017)

STYLECASTER | Actors of Color Who've Played White Characters | "Riverdale"

The CW.

Within the Archie Comics, Veronica Lodge is white with pale pores and skin and darkish hair. However in its TV adaptation, Riverdale, the character is performed by Mendes, who’s Brazilian. Given Veronica’s breakdown, Mendes anticipated the character to be performed by a white actress (assume Krysten Ritter), which is why she virtually didn’t hassle auditioning. “When I got the audition, the thing I was most excited about was that they were making Veronica Latina,” she informed Coveteur in 2017. “In the beginning, my agent and I saw the breakdown and before they had even announced that they were looking for someone multicultural, my agent said, ‘Oh, you know they are probably going to cast a Krysten Ritter type.’ A white pin-up-looking girl. I was like, ‘Yeah, you’re right!’ So I disregarded it.”

It wasn’t till later that Mendes discovered the Riverdale creators have been planning for Veronica to be Latina, which is when she referred to as her agent instantly to get her an audition. “I was like, ‘Ugh! I wish I could audition for that.’ And then I meet with one of my girlfriends and she is super Latina and she is, like, going out for Veronica and she was like, ‘They’re making her Latina!’” Mendes stated. “I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh!’ So I call my agent immediately and I was like, ‘You need to get me in that room!’ She told me, ‘Don’t worry, we’re on it.’”

Melonie Diaz, Madeleine Mantock, Sarah Jeffery: Charmed (2018)

STYLECASTER | Actors of Color Who've Played White Characters | "Charmed"

The CW:

The unique Charmed, which ran on the WB from 1998 to 2006, centered on three white sisters who have been witches. In 2018, the present was remade with three actresses of shade within the lead position. Diaz, who performs Mel (based mostly on Holly Marie Combs’s Piper), is Latina. Mantock, who performs Macy (based mostly on Shannen Doherty’s Prue), is Afro-Caribbean. Jeffery, who performs Maggie (based mostly on Alyssa Milano’s Phoebe), is African-American.

Michael B. Jordan: Unbelievable 4 (2015)

STYLECASTER | Actors of Color Who've Played White Characters | "Fantastic Four"

20th Century Fox.

Within the Unbelievable 4 comics, Johnny Storm (the Human Torch) is a white man. The character was additionally performed by a white actor, Chris Evans, in 2005’s Incredible 4 and its 2007 sequel. However when it got here for the franchise to be remade in 2015, the director checked out Jordan to fill the superhero’s fiery footwear. In a 2015 essay for Leisure Weekly, Jordan responded to criticism over his casting, explaining that the world—and Hollywood—is extra numerous than it as soon as was.

“The world is a little more diverse in 2015 than when the Fantastic Four comic first came out in 1961. Plus, if Stan Lee writes an email to my director saying, ‘You’re good. I’m OK with this,’ who am I to go against that?” he wrote.

Priyanka Chopra: Quantico (2016)

STYLECASTER | Actors of Color Who've Played White Characters | "Quantico"


Quantico‘s Alex Parrish was Chopra’s first starring position on TV in america. However earlier than the Indian actress was forged, the administrators initially noticed the character being performed by a white actress. In an interview with Fader, Chopra talked concerning the position initially being written as a white lady and why it made sense, story-wise, for her character to be half-Indian and nonetheless be half-white.

“You see her relationship with her father. The story hinges on her relationship with her dad. At that time, when Alex’s father was in the FBI, it was important to be born in America. That was the case 20 years ago. The story would’ve altered a lot if Alex were completely Indian. So we changed it to Alex’s mom being Indian,” Chopra advised Fader in 2015. “That explained my ethnicity and as for my accent… that’s why we adjusted the story so Alex lived in India for 10 years. It helps with the story. They had to conform a little to explain me. But I was clear that I didn’t want to change Alex’s character too much. I wanted to be able to fit into it. So, we didn’t change the name.”

Sandra Oh: Killing Eve (2018)

STYLECASTER | Actors of Color Who've Played White Characters | "Killing Eve"

BBC America.

In Codename Villanelle, the ebook by which BBC America’s Killing Eve is predicated on, the character of Eve was written as white. The position was race-bent when Oh, who’s Korean-Canadian, was forged. In a 2018 interview with Elle, Oh talked concerning the character’s origins and why she was “pleased” that the creators of the present have been desirous about taking a look at different races for the position. “As I interpreted the novella, Eve was white,” Oh stated. “I am not white. I am Asian. And I was extremely pleased that that was taken into consideration in the casting, and also wasn’t taken into consideration in the casting, if you know what I’m saying.”

Shay Mitchell: Fairly Little Liars (2010)

STYLECASTER | Actors of Color Who've Played White Characters | "Pretty Little Liars"


Mitchell’s character in Freeform’s Fairly Little Liars, Emily Fields, was written as a red-haired, fair-skinned woman subsequent door within the books the collection was based mostly on. However when the creators have been trying to forged the character for the present, they checked out extra numerous actresses, ultimately deciding on Mitchell, who’s half-Filipina. In a 2017 interview with Ocean Drive, Mitchell talked concerning the backlash she confronted for her casting and the way she’s the “new version of the girl next door.”

“The criticism started when I first went into the PLL role and [the critics said], ‘Oh, she doesn’t look anything like the character,’” she stated.  “‘The character is supposed to have red hair, fair complexion, and freckles; she looks nothing like that.’ I thought, ‘All right, that was the girl next door, and I’m the new version of the girl next door.’ The world is a melting pot now. It’s no longer the typical American girl with blonde hair and blue eyes.”

Tessa Thompson: Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

STYLECASTER | Actors of Color Who've Played White Characters | "Thor: Ragnarok"


In Marvel’s Thor comics, Thompson’s character, Valkyrie, is meant to be fair-skinned and blonde-haired. The position was race-bent when Thompson, who’s Afro-Panamanian, was forged in 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok. In a 2017 interview with Bustle, Thompson talked concerning the criticism for her casting and why it doesn’t hassle her.

“There’s definitely an element of it where you go, OK, that’s just racism. Not cool.” she stated. “We just do what we do and we hope that people respond to it and we ignore the ones that don’t. Idris Elba [who plays Heimdall in the Thor movies] needs company. He can’t be the only Black person in the neighborhood.”

Zendaya: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

STYLECASTER | Actors of Color Who've Played White Characters | "Spider-Man: Homecoming"


Although it’s unclear if Zendaya’s position in 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming is definitely Mary Jane Watson, a fair-skinned redhead within the Spider-Man comics, we do know that the position was initially written for a white actress. In a 2018 interview with Marie Claire, Zendaya, who’s half-Black, revealed that her character, Michelle Jones, was imagined to be performed by a white actress—till she walked within the room.

“At first I thought I would have to because you’re kind of used to the notion that, OK, even though the character is fictional and could be anybody, they probably are going to go with the standard of what they want and what they’ve always had,” Zendaya stated. “I definitely went into it like, ‘Hopefully they’ll—as they call it in the industry—go ethnic.’”

Lucy Liu: Charlie’s Angels (2000)

STYLECASTER | Actors of Color Who've Played White Characters | "Charlie's Angels"

Columbia Footage.

The unique Charlie’s Angels, which ran on TV from 1976 to 1981, featured three white actresses within the lead roles. When the TV collection was made into a movie in 2000, the characters have been rebooted with two actors of shade—Cameron Diaz, who’s half-Cuban, and Liu, who’s Taiwanese-American.

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