The age-old question that if asked, paint you as a potential asshole, do actors need to look like the video game/comic/manga characters they are portraying in movie adaptations?
I’ve heard every argument under the sun. The actors don’t have to look 1:1 with the characters that they are portraying. Non-White actors can play white characters, yet for some reason, the reverse is not true. Yes, there are exceptions to this rule (I’m sure everyone will agree that no one wants to see T’challa or Bayek, both African characters be played by white actors) but most others can be bypassed with the same level of excuse we’ve come up with for other characters.
The simple answer to the question I have proposes is YES! If you’re going to make a live-action movie of a video game or comic, the least you can do is TRY to find an actor that can not only act but looks the part too. We used to be able to do it, and with 8 billion lifeforms on this blue ball of a planet, you are bound to find an actor that can fit both bills. Yet, many people seem to find this concept hard to grasp.
OK, let me ask you this: Let say you’re playing Uncharted 1 when it first came out. After spending 40+hours with Nathan Drake, his image has been ingrained in your head. You’d be able to recognize his voice, his silhouette, and everything in-between him that makes him Nathan Drake. Now, you jump into the next game and all of a sudden, Nathen Drake is an Indian man. Without explanation, nothing. He now LOOKS Indian, brown complexion and all. Is that still Nathan Drake? Anyone with a sense of honesty and common sense will tell you no! However, we seem to break that rule in favor of “best actor for the role” when it comes to live-action films!
In the film industry, it’s the ONLY industry on Earth where you can be specific as to who can take a role, and that includes race. So are you telling me that if an author were to tell the director of the film, that he/she wants his created character from his book to be white, and asks to make the casting round for only white males only, does that make the author racist?
I’ve always found the whole “they were the best for the role” argument nonsense from the very beginning. Especially the argument of “they’re not supposed to look like their characters“. If that’s the case, then what is even the point of making a live-action movie based on the source material, if you’re not going to least TRY to be faithful to the source. Let me be clear, I don’t expect actors to look 1:1 to their characters, but at least come close to it is better and doing a complete 180 and saying “Nah, let’s hire whoever we want.
Let’s be clear here, can an actor who doesn’t look one bit like the character do an amazing job? Yes! If you’re not a fan of said source material, you wouldn’t even realize there’s be change, and that’s what Hollywood is banking on. They are not interested in serving the fans who made the source material popular, they’re banking on the new fish who are aware of the bait. Then they’ll proceed to paint fans as “hateful” if they don’t like the casting.
One thing is clear, their skin tone DOES matter to the character! Let’s be honest, these characters were created with the white/caucasian perspective, so switching the race is dishonest. And even though the done’ make their race a focal point of their character as they do with Black characters, that doesn’t mean we have the right to change it. Also, if I grew up watching/playing as a character, it’s fair for me to want to see a decent 1:1 of that character. Let me know what you guys think.