Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means

April 20 2017

nullSo, you know

Woody Allen, of course. The filmmaker who’s seemingly been a critics’ darling, since the

early 70’s; Your typical liberal New Yorker, who also loves to play jazz.

But there’s that one thing though. You know what I’m talking about. That one thing

that's been whispered about, or even loudly discussed, ever since Allen’s started writing

and directing his own films. And that thing is, the fact

that you never see black people in his movies.

And considering that most of his

films have been set in New York, one of

the most racially diverse cities on the entire planet, how is it that black people are

virtually non-existent in his films?

Well that's not entirely true. There

have been a few exceptions. There was Sonia Rolland playing Josephine Baker in "Midnight in Paris," although she was basically relegated to the background, as an

extra with no lines. And there was Hazelle Goodman in his 1997 film "Deconstructing Harry," playing... take a guess, a prostitute but of course. Maybe the most significant presence of a black actor in a Woody Allen film was when Chiwetel Ejiofor appeared in "Melinda and Melinda."

And that’s about as much as I can come up with.

So what's the problem? Why hasn’t Allen had black

actors in his films, especially in starring roles?

Well, he was

just recently asked that question in a profile about him, in the New York Observer

( http://observer.com/2014/07/woody-allen-american-master/">HERE). When asked why black actors haven't appeared in his films, the writer of

the piece states that Allen was “horrified” when the subject was brought up.



But Allen has his reasons. It’s very simple. According to the filmmaker: “Not unless I write a story that

requires it. You don’t hire people based on race. You hire people based on who

is correct for the part. The implication is that I’m deliberately not hiring

black actors, which is stupid. I cast only what’s right for the part. Race,

friendship means nothing to me except who is right for the part.”

Run that by me again...

Talk about contradictory. He says he doesn’t hire black

actors unless the story requires it, but, at the same time, he says he doesn’t hire based

on race.

HUH? I’ve read his response a few times

already, and it still doesn’t make sense.

But not to

fear, because, as he says in the interview, Allen is friends with both Chris Rock (who he once took out to dinner

in Rome), and Spike Lee: “I’m friendly with Spike Lee. We don’t socialize, but I

don’t socialize with anyone [...] I don’t have white friends

either.”

Oh that

Woody. Always good for a laugh.

So what do

you think about this? Or maybe you really don’t care? Or maybe you don't think Woody Allen has to put black actors in his films. Or is Allen really being upfront

and honest about how he and other white filmmakers think? That is, unless the part actually

calls for a black or POC actor, casting an actor of color is not even something that occurs to them. That shouldn't really be a surprise to anyone, should it?

The message

is, basically, if you’re a black actor, don’t bother showing up at any casting calls

for Allen’s movie. But hey, Tyler Perry is still hiring.

by Shadow and Act on April 20 2017

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