June 22, 2009

Debating Lynn Collins as Silver Fox

A debate on whether the non-Native actress Lynn Collins should've played the Blackfeet woman Silver Fox in Wolverine.

Why is she playing a Native American?by MariaTie (Wed Apr 15 2009 06:31:42)

Another racist act from Hollywood. So much for the Pro-Indian stance.

by licketysplits (Tue Apr 28 2009 01:51:33)

I think the issue is there are so few roles for people who are a visible minority that when roles come up and they cast a white person in a role that asks for a minority its kinda a low blow... I agree with the original poster.... Hollywood needs to diversify!

by luscious_lady52 (Fri May 1 2009 12:41:06)

After seeing the movie... I was a bit put off at how they were trying to play off the Native American background of Silverfox. If you look at the actress. She is wearing "Native American" jewelery and telling Wolverine a tribal story about the moon.... Come on now...

I felt like they were pushing it there. Why even touch on it if you weren't going to go for a Native American actress? A talk show my sister was watching the other day with NA actresses on it was discussing this topic also. I wouldn't go so far as to say racist but... I dunno, I was disappointed but she didn't do a bad job. I don't want to bash her or anything.

by claweless (Fri May 1 2009 13:22:52)

More importantly, why is she in this film. Her acting is beyond wooden.. it's Keanu Reeves-esque in its woodenness. At least Keanu has the good sense to be in movies where all he needs is to do some action and rely on his pretty looks.

Seriously, she's awful. Seriously.

by missparkers (Fri May 1 2009 13:26:58)

Hey,

How do we know she's not native american? I just saw the movie and saw how she played Kayla. I am not legally native american but I do have 1/16 cherokee blood. Maybe she has some native american blood also.

by WasDreaminWhenIwroteThis (Fri May 1 2009 17:22:55)

That was what I was thinking, missarkers. She totally could pass for 1/4 or even 1/2 Native American. But I do agree that Hollywood likes to white-wash characters when it comes to big budget films. It's not malicious, they are just trying to appease what they think is an intolerant nation. It is insulting and helps to perpetuate the problem.

by ReelFilmster (Sat May 2 2009 10:48:58)

If you can actually FIND a TALENTED native American actress then fine--

Besides skin colour: Is she dramatically effective? Does she have a good resume? Is she able to do the physical scenes? Is she attractive enough to play opposite Hugh Jackman in front of mainstream audiences who demand eye candy?

--but hiring someone just because they're Native is stupid, especially if they are unable to pull off a role for the mainstream audience. I live in Canada, work in the industry, and we have a show called The Reserve that is produced on tax credit, and it is by far the worst show on canadian television...it's not easy casting natives when you have 3 or 4 capable performers scattered across the country...why delay the release of a film trying to miraculously find this person when you can go with an actress that has paid her dues...its been a long time coming for Lynn Collins.

by WasDreaminWhenIwroteThis (Sat May 2 2009 13:53:37)

Reelfilm, you make a great point but it fails terribly here because the character IS actually Native American. We aren't concerned that they didn't cast a NA for the sake of diversity but only because the character is a NA woman. When it comes to screen adaptations of novels, graphic novels and comics, it is extremely important to honor and respect the original work. It's important to the fans who have read these comic books since childhood. If the best actor for the Wolverine character was Black, would it be okay to cast him because he is the most qualified or should the cast the most qualified white actor? What if all the best actors are white? Should they be cast for ever character and just perform with make-up, prosthetics and CGI so that they look like another race? When does it go too far?

by captainchris5369 (Sat May 2 2009 21:18:54)

Only Native Americans can play Native Americans? You're the racist.

by WasDreaminWhenIwroteThis (Sun May 3 2009 11:01:22)

Yay! We have a black president now and the second he gave that oath we all magically went color blind:-) Discrimination based on race and ethnicity no longer exist. So, whenever you think you encounter it, just remember that it's all in your head.

I agree that we should pick our battle WAY more carefully and this is definitely not something to get upset about. But it doesn't hurt to start a dialog about it. Especially in a forum as innocuous as imdb. There wouldn't even be a thread about this if this sort of thing didn't go on in Hollywood since the birth of the film industry. It's just funny to see it still going on in 2009 and there is nothing wrong with making the observation. I think some of the responses are way over the top. Lynn is a beautiful woman and pulled off the character wonderfully so I don't have a problem with her being playing the role. The fact that she isn't NA is just something to note and file away with similar instances.

by e-bowen2 6 days ago (Mon Jun 15 2009 21:20:32)

I think this is a little overreaction. Do any known Native American actresses pop in your head? ARE there even any? Probably, but more than likely it's like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
Comment:  Naturally, I agreed with WasDreaminWhenIwroteThis and disagreed with his critics. To see my responses, go to page 4 and page 5 of this thread.

Note:  I fixed some of the spelling and punctuation in these messages to make them more readable.

For more on the subject, see Friday, Tonto, Jacob Black, et al. and The Best Indian Movies.

3 comments:

Simone said...

I am sure given a search amongst N.A. actresses they could have found one that suited the role. Rarely do we see an actor of mixed background or of color placed in a role that was meant for a caucasian without the role being tweaked or rewritten so that "stereotypes" or "issues" relating to their ethnic leanings feed into the roll. We have yet to reach the point where actors are placed in roles because they are good actors. Until then I will probably always have issue especially when the actors on screen continue to define being N.A. in a way that I can't see friends or family reflected there...

Anonymous said...

Lynn Collins is part American Indian. I've read it on several credible interviews. Having some background cultural knowledge/experience is what counts in this case, not race. Race doesn't really exist. Culture certainly does. Ask any anthropologist or geneticist. I support her 100%.

BTW, I have some Ojibwe heritage.

squad51kmg365 said...

In this case, you have a character who is by inference or direct claim to be NDN. Why not cast it with someone who is Native? It's not because NDN talent isn't out there. The idea that you have to cast non-Native actors/actresses because there is not enough talent out there is ludicrous. There are thousands of talented performers from Indian Country. If they are not being cast in roles it's because filmmakers are either lazy (not wanting to do the little research required to find talent), ignorant (assuming there aren't any Native talent that could possibly play the role which is being cast), culturally insensitive & not caring about accuracy ("hey, let's throw so-and-so in there & call it a day cause they "look" native). Doing so just feeds into stereotypes and lets non-Natives define who we are, what "looks" NDN, and what we are capable of doing/performing. There are plenty of us (full-blooded & mixed) who can portray any number of roles if given the chance. This is an extreme example, but would you cast someone from Ireland to play an African or Pakistani?