Annihilation director Alex Garland criticised for alleged white-washing – and here's his response
Director Alex Garland has been accused of white-washing his latest film Annihilation starring Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez and Oscar Isaac.
White-washing is a regular bone of contention with film industry professionals and movie audiences – Ancient civilisations have been portrayed by beautiful caucasian blondes and some Animé adaptations have sported entirely white casts.
Director Alex Garland (Ex Machina, 28 Days Later) is the latest to come under attack for allegedly casting white people in roles meant for Asian and American Indian performers.
A member of MANAA (Media ActionNetwork for Asian Americans) wrote last week: “Writer/directorAlex Garland is not being true and honest to the characters in thebook. He exploits the story but fails to take advantage of the trueidentities of each character.
"Hollywood rarely writes prominent partsfor Asian American and American Indian characters and those rolescould have bolstered the careers of women from those communities.”
SonnySkyhawk, founder of American Indians in Film and Television alsospoke up: “Weare not surprised by the Whack-A-Mole diversity replacement that goeson; just when you finish objecting to one whitewashed casting,another one pops up.”
And theissue of white-washing was brought up in an interview with Garland onThe Nerdist podcast.
He said: “It would not be in my natureto whitewash anything. That just wouldn’t be like me. I read a bookand I adapted it because I thought the book was amazing. And Ithought, ‘I’m not exactly sure how to adapt this, but I’ve gotan idea.’ And I just went with it. So that was it.”
Annihilation is based on JeffVanderMeer's best-selling series and focuses on a group of soldierswho enter a disaster zone, leaving all of the dead except for one whoemerges horribly injured. His wife arranges for a second mission tofind out what went wrong.
Annihilation is released in US cinemas onFebruary 23 and will roll-out internationally on Netflix in March.