Tag Archives: Zoe Saldana

Chromatic Casting: Finding A Host For The 2012 Academy Awards

By Arturo R. García

It was almost enough to make you say, F-ck The Muppets.

No sooner did Eddie Murphy give up his shot at hosting the Academy Awards in a heart-warming display of solidarity with Bro – I mean, Brett – Ratner than an online campaign recommending Kermit The Frog and friends get the job pick up some steam.

The Muppets hosting The Oscars? The most interesting part of that pairing would be figuring out which half should feel more insulted.

But at least Muppets fans are coming at this from a place of honest – if at times overbearing (wokka wokka!) – enthusiasm. It’s been more disappointing to scan around other sites and see the same basic wishlist of prospective replacements:

  • Stephen Colbert/Tina Fey
  • Neil Patrick Harris
  • Somebody associated with Glee
  • Nobody at all
  • Not to be outdone, the Huffington Post also nominated a muppet, albeit one with his own talk show.
  • And one black person

With such a lack of creativity from normally creative people (Tracy Morgan? Oprah? Chris Rock?) you’d think Ratner was still doing the show! O-HOHOHOHO!

But seriously, folks. We here at The R can do better than that – especially since Rick Perry’s botched his audition last night. And our nominees are …
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Chromatic Casting: Remixing The Dark Knight Rises

By Arturo R. García

At the suggestion of a friend, I decided to revisit Friday’s post about Bane, Chromatic Comics-style. Keep in mind that there’s several different permutations of the casting choices I came up with.

Let me say up-front that this, ultimately, is an exercise in casting for fun. It is not intended to suggest that casts comprised entirely of people of color are “THE ANSWER.” To suggest that one must choose between calling for more POCs to be cast in race-neutral roles, or calling for the creation and development of more standout characters of color – be they heroic, villainous or otherwise – is to enable a false dichotomy. There’s good reasons why Luke Cage is best played by a Black actor and why Bruce Wayne could be played by, say, an Asian-American actor. (He’s not in this particular version, but I’m not saying an Asian-American actor or actress couldn’t pull it off, and if you’ve got any choices of your own, please feel free to chime in in the comments.)

If anything, the Chromatic meme puts the lie to the premise that “there’s not enough [x] actors to make it work” or “people wouldn’t go see an [x] actor in a general-market lead role.” Showing that there are actors of color out there, each of them with established fan bases, who could step into these “iconic” roles only supports the call for a greater variety of roles for them, and for the next wave of POC actors, because it shows that there are “enough” of them out there for both consumers and business interests to take a chance on.

With that established, here we go. A ton of pics, and some spoilers for Nolan’s Batman series are under the cut.

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Where is the Black Julia Roberts? Part 1: Top Actresses 2000-2010

By Guest Contributor Aymar Jean Christian, cross-posted from Televisual

The “black actress” stepped into the spotlight last year, as Nia Long called out Beyoncé Knowles and other singers for taking roles; Tyler Perry released yet another film starring newcomer Taraji P. Henson; and Precious gave its stars, especially Mo’Nique, a chance to shine.

The November 5 release of Perry’s For Colored Girls puts the issue of black women in cinema back into the national conversation — even if it fails to redeem Tyler Perry. So I decided to posit an answer to the question: where are all the black leading ladies? Below: 1) why this question?, 2) a list, 3) the state of the black leading lady, and 4) how I came up with the current crop.

I. Where is the Black Julia Roberts? One Route to an Answer

Easier asked than answered! The question is really more provocation than anything. At a certain point, comparison between races is irrelevant: is Will Smith the “white” anyone? He’s Will Smith! The question, however, does open up an interesting discussion. Julia Roberts, like Meryl Streep, can do a lot: from Duplicity and Eat Pray Love to, now, August: Osage County. Roberts can choose her roles and she almost always plays the lead. What black actress could do the same, now or in the near future? The real issue leads us to ask: of the potential black leading ladies today, who is on top, who isn’t panning out, and why?

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Is Star Trek Exposing Your Latent Racial Issues?

by Latoya Peterson

I came across this gem while browsing the Hathor Legacy.  Blogger Ankhesen Mié has been watching the debate on fan forums about the Trek reboot (specifically the Spock-Uhura relationship) and decided to create a quiz around some of the most common sentiments:

1)    Do you feel horrified when you see Spock kiss a woman who looks like Uhura, and don’t know why?

2)    Do you look at Zoe Saldana and feel you “just can’t trust her” but can’t say why?

3)    Do you think Uhura’s not a very feminine character, but just can’t say why?

4)    Would you prefer Spock to be with Christine Chapel over Uhura?

5)    Do you think the Spock/Uhura relationship—in the story—is controversial because of Uhura?

6)    Do you consider yourself a “die-hard” Trek fan but still don’t agree with the pairing?

7)    Have you watched all things Trek—shows, films, interviews, etc. pertaining to this cast—and still think this pairing “came out of nowhere”?

8)    Do you think the kissing was “just wrong” and that Zachary Quinto was hurt by the writers? Continue reading

Quoted: Zoe Saldana on Race, Gender, and Star Trek


You’re playing a black ops soldier in the adaptation of the graphic novel The Losers, out in April. Do you enjoy roles that require you to run around and shoot a gun?

Zoe Saldana: Like you wouldn’t believe. It turns me on in a way that I shouldn’t be saying. It’s not the guns that turn me on, though—it’s seeing women in a commanding position. It’s boring to always play the victim. [In sobbing victim's voice] “Rape me! I’ll have your child!” Eff that! Why don’t you have my baby and wait at home while I go kill some motherfuckers? [Laughs.] It’s just very empowering. I just want to play roles that, in some way or another, resemble the kind of person that I am, the kind of things that I’m attracted to.

So what sort of roles won’t you play?

Zoe Saldana: I have a hard time accepting roles that typecast a culture. I don’t need to play Juana, the prostitute from Washington Heights, in every movie. If it’s been done before, you don’t need my help. Latinos, we’re not all pimps or prostitutes, we don’t all deal drugs; not everyone in Jamaica smokes weed; not every Middle Easterner is a terrorist. It’s boring, offensive, and hurtful. I’m not bitter about it, I’m just saying that I would like to retain accuracy of certain cultures. Some people will do these roles, but I’m fine with being poor. [...]

OK, we know you signed a non-disclosure agreement, but can you tell us any secrets about Star Trek 2?

Zoe Saldana: [Laughs.] I did make one request to J.J., which was that I really wanted my character to kick some ass, so he said he’s going to think about that. Just so you know, you guys aren’t the only ones in the dark when it comes to J.J. He’ll hold a surprise up until the last minute, even with the people that he’s working with.

—”For the Uncompromising Zoe Saldana, Hollywood is a Battlefield,” Complex Magazine, January 2010

(Image Credit: Suede Magazine)

Black Latinos, Stand Up

By Special Correspondent Nadra Kareem

Ever have a conversation that seems normal enough and then takes a weird turn? This happened to me not long ago during a discussion about when L.A. Dodger Manny Ramirez would return to baseball.

All of a sudden the person I was speaking to asked, “What is he—black or Latino?”

To me, the answer was obvious. I mean, Manny Ramirez is caramel colored with coarse dreadlocks. He’s clearly black but his Spanish surname made the person I was talking to question this.

In fact, Ramirez was born in the Dominican Republic, the nation where the largest number of black Hispanics in America originate. Cuba, Puerto Rico and Panama round out the top places from where Afro-Latinos in the U.S. hail, according to Census data.

Although there are an estimated 1.7 million black Hispanics in this country, some people seem to have a hard time recognizing the existence of such individuals. Within days of being asked about Manny Ramirez’s ethnicity, I encountered people questioning actress Zoe Saldana’s. Like Ramirez, Saldana is also a black Dominican. Continue reading

The Racialicious Roundtable For ‘Star Trek’

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

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And back we are, with the new hotness! Our table meets up once again to discuss:

* Our least-favorite guest-star
* Where the revamped series should go from here
* Why Uhura Matters, regardless of timeline

And much more!

Arturo: so, everybody catch the review thread?
Andrea: yaaaay!@
Mahsino: yup
Diana: yep
Andrea: ya did good, arturo!
Arturo: What amused me were the comments that went like, “Great review! This movie still sucked!”
Andrea: I suspect those critiques came from the Star Wars contingent
Mahsino: “admiral madea” killed me
Arturo: I know it killed Andrea. Ha. Well, at least Perry did.
Diana: I was like, the Matrix movies had Cornel West. Star Wars had Sam Jackson. The new Star Trek? Tyler Perry? WTF
Mahsino: Me and my brother had a huge silent wtf in the theater. Who did he pay off for that one?
Andrea: for real.
Diana: yeah
Arturo: Like I told Andrea, if the guy’s a fanboy, I can’t blame him for wanting in on it.
Andrea: I can. He just doesn’t get that he’s not as cool as whoopi.
Arturo: Hell, N’Sync wanted to play Jedi.
Diana: Was no one else available?
Diana: He can’t act without a dress
Andrea: he can’t act with a dress
Mahsino: Was Keith David not available for the “cool black guy” role?
Mahsino: The suit was Steve Harvey bad

In light of the reaction to Perry’s appearance, we present:
Eight POC Men The Table Wants To See Instead Of TP In The Sequel:
1.Sendhil Ramamurthy,
2.Forrest Whitaker,
3.Billy Dee Williams (to piss off the Lucas fans)
4.James Earl Jones (to really piss off the Lucas fans)
5.Michael Eric Dyson
6.Colin Powell (’cause Starfleet is the military, after all)
7.Charles Ogletree
8.Michael Steele

During the editing process, I noticed a glaring disparity, so allow me to add:
Five POC Women Arturo Wants To See:
1.Gina F’ing Torres
2.Michelle Yeoh
3.Minissha Lamba
4.Freema Agyeman
5.Irene Bedard

spobamaOur discussion, though, did lead us to this suggestion:
Andrea: f-ck it. Barack Obama
Mahsino: why not? He can’t be worse than perry
Diana:Obama, I’m wit it. Michele too
Arturo: Y’know, the “Barack=Spock” media meme is making me leery. it’s anti-intellectual.
Mahsino: I hate the comparison. It’s as if Spock is the new “mulatto.”
Arturo: well, to the other Vulcans, apparently he *was*
Diana: half-breed, that was a big slur on Spock
Andrea: yep.
Mahsino: what, we aren’t post-species-ist in the future? I half expected Bones to bust out with “some of my best friend are Vulcan” they way his tone was going
Andrea: no, that wouldn’t have been Bones, though
Diana: And Star Trek is supposed to be positive about the future
Arturo: It’s *positive*, but it was never pollyannaish. There’s been eps centered around racial issues throughout canon
Andrea: The kicker is, people feel they’re being complimentary with the Spock comparison, i.e. the Greenwald piece from salon.
Mahsino: The Spock/Obama composite pics make me bust out the side-eye
Arturo: Like I said on the thread, though, Bones’ remarks weren’t presented as being as virulent as the sh-t Spock heard back home
Andrea: but to your comment about race not seeming illogical, arturo….it doesn’t surprise that the vulcans came out their mouths the way they did.
Diana: Bones’ beef with Spock was more understandable. The little vulcans were just mean
Arturo: Kids are f’d up, on any world.
Andrea: racism has its own logic.
Arturo: until Spocky opened up the can of whoop-ass
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