Dreamworks/Paramount Studios

10+ Times Hollywood Whitewashed Characters

Hollywood has a long and checkered history when it comes to cultural appropriation, that is for sure.

Unfortunately, diversity and equal representation have historically fallen by the wayside when it comes to filmmaking.

Below are 10+ times Hollywood whitewashed their characters.

Hopefully, by reflecting upon the mistakes of the past, we can course-correct for a more diverse and inclusive future together!

Ben Affleck in *Argo*.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Argo is a bit of a catch-22. On the one hand, the film is one of the crowning achievements in Ben Affleck's directorial career.

However, he received heavy backlash when he decided to cast himself as Tony Mendez (who is Hispanic).

Analeigh Tipton in *Warm Bodies*.

Lionsgate Films

Warm Bodies is actually based on the 2013 novel written by Isaac Marion. In the book, the character of Nora is supposed to be half-Ethiopian.

The casting of Analeigh Tipton completely disregarded the heritage of the character.

Tilda Swinton in *Doctor Strange*.

Walt Disney Pictures

The Ancient One, historically, is of Tibetan ancestry. So you can understand why the casting of Tilda Swinton turned its fair share of heads. Marvel's reasoning was equally as tragic:

“The Ancient One is a title that is not exclusively held by any one character, but rather a moniker passed down through time, and in this particular film the embodiment is Celtic.”

Jake Gyllenhaal in *Prince Of Persia*.

YouTube | Disney UK

Even if you haven't seen Prince of Persia, simply reading the title will tell you everything that's wrong with the casting of Jake Gyllenhaal.

The most glaringly obvious is that he isn't Persian. Gyllenhaal isn't even of Persian descent!

Angelina Jolie in *A Mighty Heart*.

Paramount Vantage

Once again, we're faced with a bit of a paradoxical situation. Some of the greatest reviews Angelina Jolie has ever received were for her performance in A Mighty Heart.

It still doesn't change the fact that Jolie is a white woman playing a mixed-race character.

Robert Downey Jr. in *Tropic Thunder*.

RDJ's role as Kirk Lazarus in Tropic Thunder is an interesting case. By all accepted definitions, he's playing the role in 'blackface', yet in an intentionally satirical way.

Arguments have been made on either side of the coin, but it goes without saying that it is definitely one that we all look back on and cringe at.

Laurence Olivier in *Othello*.

Warner Bros.

Speaking of 'blackface', Laurence Olivier was one of the worst perpetrators of this offense in the history of film or stage.

Casting the greatest white male actor of the age, to play the most famous Moor of all time, was just as insulting then as it is now.

Benedict Cumberbatch in *Star Trek: Into Darkness*.


Khan is one of the most infamous Star Trek characters of all time, played miraculously by Ricardo Montalban in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Giving Benedict the nod as his replacement, was a serious step backward for Star Fleet.

Gerard Butler in *Gods Of Egypt*.

When you think of the Gods of ancient Egypt, Scottish-born Gerard Butler is probably the last name that comes to mind.

The ludicrous nature of his casting overshadowed any possible hope of on-screen redemption. This movie (to put it bluntly) was a joke.

Christian Bale in *Exodus: Gods And Kings*.

20th Century Fox

Speaking of character dissociation, I'd love to speak to the casting director who thought it would be a good idea to have Christian Bale play Moses?

What is it with Hollywood casting white Scots to play characters of Egyptian and Middle Eastern descent? I don't get it.

Emma Stone in *Aloha*.

Sony PIctures

Emma was hit with heavy accusations after she was cast as Air Force Pilot, Allison Ng.

In real-life, Ng is one-quarter Chinese. The film remains to this day one of Hollywood's most egregious and flagrant examples of white-washing.

Justin Chatwin in *Dragonball Evolution*.

20th Century Fox

It really is terrible that this is the only live-action adaptation in the entire Dragonball Z canon.

Furthermore, Goku is one of the most beloved manga characters of all time! There's no way fans were going to let them get away with casting Justin Chatwin.

Liam Neeson in *Batman Begins*.

As a Batman purist, I was insulted by the casting of Liam Neeson. Almost as much as I was with the mispronunciation of the character's name!

For the last time: it's pronounced RAY-sh. Not RA-z. Also, Ra's al-Ghul is Arabic for 'The Demon's Head'. So I'm not sure what Liam Neeson was doing in the role at all?

Scarlett Johansson in *Ghost In The Shell*.

Paramount Pictures

Hollywood has a long and sordid history of adapting classic Japanese anime/manga stories and casting the whitest actors they can find to fill the roles.

ScarJo is just the latest example in a long line of mistakes.

Johnny Depp in *The Lone Ranger*.


In the history of film, there are very few prominent indigenous characters. Without any question, Tonto is one of the most well-known.

Casting Johnny Depp was the equivalent to a slap in the face for the entire Native and Indigenous community.