An interview with Ari Handel, the co-screenwriter of the movie “Noah,” asked him about the movie’s all-white casting. Handel’s answer really captured a lot that is wrong with how Hollywood thinks about race:
Q: While there’s a lot of diversity shown in the animal kingdom, there’s no racial diversity in the cast. Can you speak to that?
A: From the beginning, we were concerned about casting, the issue of race. What we realized is that this story is functioning at the level of myth, and as a mythical story, the race of the individuals doesn’t matter. They’re supposed to be stand-ins for all people. Either you end up with a Bennetton ad or the crew of the Starship Enterprise. You either try to put everything in there, which just calls attention to it, or you just say, “Let’s make that not a factor, because we’re trying to deal with everyman.” Looking at this story through that kind of lens is the same as saying, “Would the ark float and is it big enough to get all the species in there?” That’s irrelevant to the questions because the questions are operating on a different plane than that; they’re operating on the mythical plane.
As Alexis Rhiannon says, “white privilege in biblical proportions.”
If your reflex response is “wait, there’s only one family, so they all have to look related,” stop and think a second. Why do Noah and Mrs. Noah have to be the same race? Why do Noah’s son’s wives have to be the same race? If we do have choose just one race (although we don’t), why does it have to be White? Etc.
Oh, well. Nice to see that some religious leaders and intellectuals have been objecting to this aspect of “Noah.”