There was a time when if a white actor or actress was cast in the role of a character of color, there was very little outcry.
When Swedish actor Warner Oland portrayed Asian detective Charlie Chan or Elizabeth Taylor was cast as Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt, there was no call for boycotts or publicized outrage.
But times have changed, and these days some fans ask the question why, with so many talented black, Latino and Asian actors, does Hollywood continue to pass them over?
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“It seems that not a year goes by where this debate isn’t had, and I think it’s a worthy debate,” said Andrew Wallenstein, editor for The Hollywood Reporter’s website. “I think this stems from a long-held frustration regarding the access of minority actors to leading roles. It’s bad enough that they are far less likely to be cast in those roles in general, and it’s downright galling to them that in roles in which they are perceived as having a natural advantage they are still getting beaten out.”
The latest example is the controversy surrounding the news that Angelina Jolie has been tapped to play the Queen of the Nile in a planned film based on the forthcoming biography “Cleopatra: A Life.”