Natalie Portman Responds to ‘Annihilation’ Whitewashing Claims
Natalie Portman is responding to claims that her role in the forthcoming Annihilation was meant for a character of color and an unfortunate example of Hollywood whitewashing.
During an interview with Yahoo!, the site brought the criticism to the attention of Portman and Annihilation writer-director Alex Garland, who both said it was the first they'd heard of the claims. And that's conceivably the truth: Garland's treatment is based on the first installment of a three-book series, in which none of the characters are given backgrounds or even names. It's not until the story's sequels — which Garland said he hadn't yet learned of — that Portman's character is described as having Asian heritage.
Still, Portman advocated for more representation of diverse actors in film.
"I'm hearing that for the first time. That does sound problematic, but I'm hearing it here first," Portman said. "We need more representation of Asians on film, of Hispanics on film, of blacks on film, women—and particularly women of color—Native Americans...I mean, we just don't have enough representation. And also these categories like 'white' and 'nonwhite' — they're imagined classifications but have real-life consequences. I hope that begins to change, because I think everyone is becoming more conscious of it, which hopefully will make change."
And it bears mentioning that Annihilation features an otherwise diverse cast — Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, Benedict Wong, and Oscar Isaac all star.
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