October 4, 2007

Time for a remake of "Hollywood Shuffle."

"Hollywood Shuffle"... for Arab actors.


The Drill SGT said...

Woe is me, life is unfair.

While there is a grain of truth in the article I would note a couple of things:

1. lots of actors made good money playing "bad" guys. Ask Jimmy Cagney or Alan Richman (Hans Gruber in Die hard). Or ask a zillion German actors in the 40's and 50's

work is work.

2. Hollywood is making lots of Iraq movies. To the extent that Arabs have parts, they are as much likily to be victims as terrorists given the politics of Hollywood. so,

3. This grand conspiracy against Arabs is either driven by the market or the Left :) . Unless it's those nasty jews again

4. Given Islam, casting arabs in many of the staples of current TV and the movies would seem unbelievable or dangerous to either boxoffice or human life.

You going to believe the story line about the desparate Egyptian Housewife having the affair with the neighbors or the pregnant unmarried Saudi girl rebelling against her father in Texas? How about poking fun at Islamic beliefs in a situation comedy.

which of these are you going to put arab actors in.

a. the rebelling kids situation comedy
b. the adulterous housewives show
c. the cop / lawyer drama
d. the hospital drama.
e. the making fun of american life comdey
f. The bachelor
g. Dancing with the stars

LarsPorsena said...

My heart bleeds for them.
CAIR et al vet every film coming out of Hollywood with Arabs. If it isn't the usual PC trash (Valley of Elah, Rendition,etc.) it's something that has the Arab villains transformed into Euro-Nazis,
or a CIA-Wall Street cabal.
See 'Sum of All Fears' for an example.

Even '24' tiptoes around this.

Hoosier Daddy said...

When are you wingnuts ever going to learn that the only approved sterotype villian is a white male cop/soldier/corporate suit/heterosexual.

Oh and to emphasize the evilness, the villian must have a German accent.

I remember even back when Basic Instinct came out and the gay/bi-sexual community was throwing a hissy fit over the depictions of gays/bis as murderers because we all know, only pure heterosexuals murder people.

Then again Lost has Saheed, former Republican Guard torture expert turned good guy.

Then you had that abysmall Jodie Foster airplane film where the terrorists weren't the 4 Arabs on the plane but the Air Marshall in cahoots with the flight attendant.

In fact, I'm hard pressed to find a movie within the last 7-8 years where the Arab has been portrayed negatively. There was that Tom Clancy book but the movie had them as wait for it....German neo-Nazis.

PatCA said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PatCA said...

Hoosier Daddy,
Don't forget those awful Christians! http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1905888/posts

Leave it to the LAT to get that pity party started. FWIW Hollywood is an equal opportunity employer--it is unfair to everybody. So get over it and work your craft. Or go back to Cleveland.

former law student said...

Would Danny Thomas be playing a terrorist today? How about the dad in "Clueless"?

The Drill SGT said...

Danny Thomas was a American Catholic from Lebanese heritage. I don't know if he would have considered himself an "Arab".

Certainly Lebanon has the biggest mix of ethnic groups in the ME.

My guess is that he thought he was an American Catholic.

former law student said...

There was a time when Arabs flew under the radar. A bunch of them moved to Detroit to work in the car industry 80-90 years ago. My father-in-law saw Danny Thomas perform back when he was Amos Jacobs. Plenty of Arabs are Catholic. Detroit is full of Catholic Iraqis ("Chaldeans") who run convenience stores in bad neighborhoods.

If you remember Danny Thomas you'll remember when Hans Conried played his Uncle Tannous. Danny did not downplay his Arabness.

I was wrong to call Dan Hedaya an Arab. Although Syrian, he's a Sephardic Jew.

Trooper York said...

Nick is talking to Internal Affairs]
Yemana: I'm not Chinese, you know.
Captain William Donnelly: That doesn't matter, Detective.
Yemana: Now it doesn't matter; but in 1942...
(Barney Miller)

Synova said...

I sometimes wonder...

The advice the young actor got, not to let people know his heritage? Is that even true? Or did someone just think it was true? Didn't Annette Funicello (sp?) plan to change her name for television because everyone *had* to have a non-ethnic name, and Walt Disney actually told her not to?

There's the perceived wisdom, and then there is what is true.

I think there are two separate issues which the article does not separate.

The first is Arab actors.

The second is Arab *parts*.

I have trouble with the idea that people of a particular ethnicity should play parts of a particular ethnicity. The "ethnic" actors who have done well are the ones who don't do this.

Acting is putting on a different identity, so how is it that it has become about promoting your own identity?

Is it because actor's guilds have promoted rules that require the hiring of the proper ethnic actors for ethnic parts? Well, ensuring work seems like a good thing but has it created a ghetto for those ethnic actors? This article seems to be about trying to find good "Arab" parts. What about just finding good parts?

What if Jessica Alba limited herself to Hispanic roles? (Instead she gets criticized for not being all about how Hispanic she is... remember the "why not just change your last name to White, then?" thing just a bit ago?)

What if Will Smith only played parts about black men? All of his biggest parts could have been played by white actors. It's just that he got the job. They didn't.

Movies without good Arab parts is a wholly different issue than movies with parts that Arab actors can play.

Heh... maybe the Arab actors can start taking the Hispanic parts.

Revenant said...

The problem Arab actors face is that there pretty much aren't any prominent Arab good guys in real life. There are plenty of good people who Arabic descent, but the ones who make the news are basically nothing but assholes -- terrorists, heads of state in hostile or openly antagonistic nations, UN bureaucrats, and professional apologists for members of the first three categories.

Trooper York said...

T.E. Lawrence: So long as the Arabs fight tribe against tribe, so long will they be a little people, a silly people - greedy, barbarous, and cruel, as you are.
(Larrence of Arabia 1962)

Blake said...

Synova -- Salma Hayek?

Blake said...

My whole life, when I was growing up, not one race has ever accepted me. So I never felt connected or attached to any race specifically. I did grow up in a Mexican-American culture, but my mom [who's of French and Danish descent] was there the whole time. I mean, I had a very American upbringing, I feel American, and I don't speak Spanish. So, to say that I'm a Latin actress, OK, but it's not fitting; it would be insincere. -- Jessica Alba

PatCA said...

I read that quote by Alba before. Kudos to her. Isn't that what America is all about? Or is it about straining to retain your otherness while capitalizing on being American--and than complaining about being torn between two cultures?

Daryl said...

Omar Metwally played a Palestinian militant in "Munich" and has received good buzz about his role in the current film "Rendition," in which he plays an Arab American trapped in a war-on-terrorism nightmare when he becomes suspected of being a terrorist.

In other words, he doesn't mind playing a terrorist role, so long as it's in a movie that makes the West look bad.

Munich was strongly anti-Israel, distorting the history behind real events in order to bash Israel. The highlight of the movie is that the main character, at the end, regrets defending Israel. In real life: he's glad he did it.

Rendition: I shouldn't even need to explain how this makes America look bad.

Arab actors want to control how we can talk about Islamic terrorism by refusing to play certain roles--including historically accurate roles.

We will have to use Christian Arabs and Arab-looking Jews to play them. Those actors will then be blacklisted from doing any sort of mainstream work by the tolerant Hollywood left.