'Beyond The Trailer' Host Says 'Racebending' Lady In 'Lady And The Tramp' With Tessa Thompson's Voice Is 'Too Much Change'

August 15 2018

The phenomenon of outrage over diverse casting continues with, strangely enough, Lady and the Tramp.

Grace Randolph, the creator and host of online show Beyond the Trailer, has been raked across the social media coals for her opinions on the cast for the live-action adaptation of Disney's Lady and the Tramp, starring Tessa Thompson as the voice of Lady and Kiersey Clemons as Darling, Lady's owner.

A clip from her Twitch live show was reposted to Twitter. The clip featured Randolph talking about the film and its various changes.

"Honestly, as a big fan of the original Lady and the Tramp...it's too much change, I've got to say. They're racebending Darling, and they're racebending Lady, and then they're changing the gender of Jacques, and then they've also racebended...Old Reliable. That's now going to be an English bulldog voiced by Benedict Wong. I don't know--It's starting to seem like a SJW version of Lady and the Tramp. I'm very much into opening stories to new audiences by involving them more...but when you change so much of it, you start to question is this even what it once was."

Randolph has since commented on the backlash by writing on Twitter that her concerns about Lady and the Tramp were "misrepresented."

"A troll has seriously misrepresented my comments re: #LadyAndTheTramp & @TessaThompson_x. Since original @Twitch stream is too long, here's my clarification from today's YT vid. I never follow the 'agenda' & that often makes me a target of extremists, don't fall for their garbage."

The video that's supposed to add more clarification doesn't do much clarifying. If anything, it backs up her original point, which is that the amount of diverse casting somehow doesn't make Lady and the Tramp the same movie.

But she did also pin her tweet containing the full video containing the clarification. In the video, she speaks positively about the rumor of WB wanting to cast a biracial actress in its Birds of Prey film and also hopes they open the casting to other actresses of color since her pick for the role is Janelle Monáe.

To be fair, the latter video about Birds of Prey is interesting. However, there's still the fact that all of this rigamarole has been made over a film like Lady and the Tramp. While the film is considered a classic, it's not a film many people might lose sleep over if characters apart from Lady and the Tramp were changed. The live-action film, like the original animated one, still tells a love story between two dogs, and dogs can't be racebent.

Randolph's Lady and the Tramp concerns illustrate a more significant issue regarding diverse casting and classic films. Generally, people who view themselves as "progressive" are all right with one or two characters changing, but when more than two characters are updated, then that's when views on "progress" change and reactionary feelings take control. It seems like Randolph's thoughts on the new film are along this conservative train of thought even though the core of the film itself is still the same. The comments are also part of a pattern for Randolph, seeing how she has blamed Star Wars' Kelly Marie Tran and Daisy Ridley for the abuse they've faced from toxic fans.

Nearly all of the characters Randolph is concerned about are dogs who are voiced by actors. The actors could be anyone of any racial background, so why not choose Thompson and Wong? Does the cast have to be white for it to be an acceptable Lady and the Tramp one? The answer is no. It's protesting too much to be upset about who voices some dogs in a Disney film.

The live-action version of Lady and the Tramp, which also stars Justin Theroux as the voice of Tramp and Benedict Wong as the voice of Bull, will come to Disney's yet-to-be-launched streaming service in 2019.

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