Dylan Marron has put together a Tumblr called, Every Single Word. It is subtitled, “Every Single Word Spoken by a Person of Color in [Mainstream Film Title]” where we are supposed to insert film titles like The Lord of the Rings. It’s a good idea. And it is, in general, pretty stark. The Tumblr is just a series of videos with everything but the dialog spoken by a non-white person cut out. It doesn’t leave much.
Now clearly, in one way, this is unfair. Most mainstream films don’t have much dialog at all — maybe 5 or 10 minutes, I would guess. But this is a good way of highlighting the lack of diversity of characters in mainstream feature films. For example, the only non-white character in the movie Black Swan was the physical therapist. And it turns out, that was just a fluke — a white actor was originally cast for it, and they ended up using the actual physical therapist they had on the set who just happened to be non-white.
The Every Single Word version of Moonrise Kingdom is just ten seconds long and features three lines by Andreas Sheikh. I’m actually surprised that there was that much. Wes Anderson tends to make very white films and this was a particularly white film for him. Getting a ancestrally Pakistani actor in the film was a good bit of casting.
But there are a number of them that contain no dialog at all. I was quite surprised that Noah was such a film. I would have thought that it would be a film that could easily have featured a diverse cast. So the fact that this is what Every Single Word does with Noah does not speak well of the filmmakers or of Hollywood generally:
The Tumblr is worth checking out. It contains a video that combines all of The Lord of the Rings movies. It has a bit of dialog, because apparently they hired non-white actors to play orcs. You can always depend upon orcs — and Klingons — to provide a little acting work for non-white actors.