The Hobbit is on track for production. Yay! Sir Ian McKellan has signed on. Yay! It’s going to be shot in digital on kick-ass new cameras. Yay! It’s going to be in 3D. Er . . . okay.
I’m so torn about this movie right now. I mean, if Peter Jackson thinks he can do something special with 3D, I guess I can’t fault him. Unfortunately, this doesn’t feel like an artistic decision to me. As I’ve said before, we were told the story was intimate, that it suited 2D, and that was when the film was in the hands of a visual artist, Guillermo del Toro. To my knowledge, the script hasn’t changed. So what has?
It might be the need to play with toys or it might be the need to maximize profits, I really don’t know.
Also, apparently the casting director is under the assumption that the Hobbits are involved in white power. There’s a story that a “dark-skinned” actor was rejected as being too “too brown.” Seriously? We can fuck with the story all we like, but heaven forbid we throw a little colour in there? It’s a fuckin’ fantasy movie, people. Fantasy. There are no real Hobbits, so we don’t know what colour they were. And you know what? It doesn’t matter. Kenneth Branagh cast Denzel Washington as Keanu Reeves brother (half-brother?) and the Duke/Don of Aragon in Much Ado About Nothing. Made total sense to me: dude is an awesome actor with a great presence and the story is some kind of alt-history/who-knows-what.
It’s not lost on me that there was a height requirement for the Hobbits. That is discrimination, yes. I understand that. However, I can understand that requirement—they want Hobbits played by actors that don’t need too much/any CGI—and it is a mechanical one. The skin colour thing bugs me because I find it simply stupid. There is no purpose behind it. I also don’t think it’s malicious, it’s more like passive racism—these people don’t see a multi-racial world, so naturally they have a uni-racial view, that the Hobbits are white, like them.
It’s still stupid. I want to see Black, Asian, Indian, and Polynesian Hobbits, just as it would totally make sense to me to see an Arabic Elf, a Turkic rider of Rohan, or an Aborigine Dunedain. Let’s spice this thing up.
And to everyone who says that Hobbits were white in the book, I would mention two things: i) this is for the movie, which has proved it does not adhere to the book and ii) neither the book nor the movie ever indicated or alluded to all Hobbits being white—the ones you saw in the movie were white, but that’s like saying that after seeing The Thin Man that I could say there were no African-Americans in New York in the 1930s.
And did the books ever say all Hobbits were white? Was it even implied?