Michelle Rodriguez Apologizes For Her Comments About Diversity Casting

Photo: James McCauley/Rex/REX USA.
Michelle Rodriguez found herself in a bit of hot water this weekend over some off-the-cuff comments she made to TMZ. A camera man caught the actress leaving a restaurant on Friday night and asked her if the rumors that she'd be playing Green Lantern were true.

"That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard," Rodriguez said, laughing. "Because of this whole 'minorities in Hollywood' thing…it's so stupid."

She continued, "Stop stealing all the white people's superheroes. Make up your own. You know what I'm saying?"

As you can imagine, Rodriguez's words didn't go over too well. The actress posted a video trying to clarify her remarks on her Facebook page shortly after TMZ's story started making the rounds. Here's what she had to say:

"I stuck my foot in my mouth once again, and I said that people should stop trying to steal white people's superheroes. I guess it got taken out of context 'cause a lot of people got offended or whatever. I have a tendency to speak without a filter — sorry about that. What I really meant was that, ultimately, at the end of the day, there's a language, and the language that you speak in Hollywood is successful franchise. I think there are many cultures in Hollywood that are not white that can come up with their mythology. We all get it from the same reservoir of life — the fountain of life. It doesn't matter what culture you come from. I'm just saying that instead of trying to turn a girl character into a guy, or instead of trying to turn a white character into a black character or Latin character, I think that people should stop being lazy, and that people should actually make an effort in Hollywood to develop their own mythology...I'm just saying that the different cultures from around the world that are in Hollywood...they should start focusing on making that a serious priority." 

Rodriguez did make an interesting point: There is definitely room in Hollywood for additional mythologies and superhero franchises to be introduced. Most cultures have fascinating folklore and origin stories that would make epic tales on the big screen, and movie studios are finally starting to explore them. For example, Disney — formerly the land of blonde, white princesses — is finally looking beyond Norwegian and Germanic fairy tales. It's next Frozen-style feature is about Moana, a teen girl whose adventures on the high seas take her to ancient Oceania

Still, the end of Rodriguez's apology fell flat. "It's not about taking Catwoman or Superman or Green Lantern…and trying to make them fit to whatever cultural background you are. I just feel like it should be more creative than that, and I think that people need to stop being lazy. And that's what I meant by my comment," she said in the Facebook video.

First, she did the whole "I'm sorry of people were offended" non-pology. Second, she failed to recognize that actors aren't "stealing" superhero roles when they're cast as an established franchise character of a different ethnicity. That is actually a positive sign that we're moving into an era of color- and gender-blind casting. Since these characters are so well-known that studios are going to keep making films about them until the well finally does run dry, reimaging them with different actors in the roles is the only way to both keep them interesting and make them relevant to the ever-changing face of society. 

Yes, a lot of people "did get offended or whatever" over Michelle Rodriguez's unfiltered, too-fast, too-furious comments. Her apology raised some important points, though, that should be definitely be heeded by Hollywood executives and movie studios as we all move forward. (THR)
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