MoviesExperts Confirm: Most Movies Still About White Dudes
Yeah, imagine that. But here's how you can help.
There's been a lot of discussion about seeing more diversity in film, but according to a report by the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, movies are still mostly about white guys.
The statistics are depressing, confirming that essentially no progress has been made regarding representation in films since 2007. In 2015, only 31.4 percent of speaking characters were women. Less than 1 percent of speaking characters were LGBT. And 2.4 percent of speaking characters had disabilities, 12.2 percent were black, 5.3 percent Latino or Latina, and 3.9 percent Asian.
Of these minority characters, the roles themselves can be discouraging as well, with very few being leading roles and often the characterization being one-dimensional or stereotypical. Women are still three times as likely to be in revealing clothing or nude, and LGBT characters are rarely depicted in a family setting. Only three films featured a female lead of co-lead of color, and no Asian actors, man or woman, had a leading role a feature film in 2015.
Behind the scenes, it's just as grim. According to the report, "of the 107 directors of 2015 films, four were black or African American and six were Asian or Asian American. Just eight were women, still the most since 2008."
The film industry is driven by money, and when diverse films succeed, it bodes well for more diverse films to be made in the future. And that's where the good news is here. According the AP,
Many of last year's most profitable movies … boasted diverse
casts. The appeal of the "Fast and Furious" franchise, which released
its seventh installment in 2015, has long been based on both
high-octane races and a much varied cast. The year's top film, "Star
Wars: The Force Awakens," ushered in more diverse characters to George
Lucas' galaxy. Female empowerment was also a big seller for "Mad Max:
Fury Road," ''The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2" and "Pitch Perfect
As a result, female lead or co-leads improved by 11 percent from 2014
to 2015, one of the rare signs of improved inclusivity in the study.
In the spirit of improvement, here are some of the promising movies coming out later this year 2016 that boast diverse casts and/or creative teams. The ticket buyers send the message, so before you go out and see Sully every weekend for the rest of the year, make sure these are on your radar too:
- The Magnificent Seven: This Western remake stars Denzel Washington, Byung-Hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, and Martin Sensmeier alongside
Chris Pratt and Vincent D'Onofrio.
- Queen of Katwe: This movie is about a young Ugandan girl who becomes an international chess champion and stars Madina Nalwanga, Lupita Nyong'o, and David Oyelowo.
- Birth of a Nation: Nate Parker, the director of the acclaimed film about Nat Turner's slave rebellion, has been at the center of a sexual assault controversy of late, but the film itself tells an important true story about race and human rights in early America. It also stars Gabrielle Union.
- Loving: This movie tells the true story of an interracial couple (Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton) who get arrested for getting married.
- The Girl on the Train: An adaptation of Paula Hawkins' hit novel, The Girl on the Train stars Emily Blunt.
- Moana: An animated movie with music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Moana stars characters voiced by Auli'i Cravalho and The Rock (or Dwayne Johnson, if that's more your style).
- Tyler Perry's Boo! A Madea Halloween: Madea does Halloween. Starring Tyler Perry. Duh.
- The Handmaiden: This South Korean psychological thriller has received rave reviews.
- Kidnap: Like Taken, but with Halle Berry. That's basically all you need to know.
- Lion: This drama stars Dev Patel, who plays a young man who returns to India to find his biological family.
- Fences: This adaptation of the famous August Wilson play stars Viola Davis and Denzel Washington.