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August 02 2010

Dichen Lachman On Female Empowerment in Dollhouse and Being Asian in Hollywood. This interview appears in Honi Soit, a Sydney student paper.

Wait a minute, I thought

"Nobody's Asian in the movies,
Nobody's Asian on TV..." ?

Alert, alert, Whedonverse internal consistency error !

More seriously, good to see she feels things are changing for the better.
From the interview:
She cites Maggie Q’s lead role in Nikita and JJ Abrams’ casting of two black actors in his newest show Undercovers. “That is a huge step forward for America,” she says. “For a guy like JJ Abrams to have the complete confidence to have two African-Americans in the lead—that’s never been done before. It’s really changing and in a really positive way.”

Ummm, anyone remember Avery Brooks as Commander Sisko on DS9? Tim Russ as Tuvok on Voyager? Granted using minority actors in lead roles is rare, but not unprecedented, not like "never been done before" implies.
Star Trek series have always been ahead, racially speaking.
"To be an empowered woman, you don’t need to be on your own. As a woman, I’ve crossed a lot of bridges and fought a lot of wars, but for a lot of the time, I’ve had someone in my life who’s been very supportive. I think I’m a strong person but I’m not afraid to say that there’s someone in my life who helped give me strength.”

That there - what she just said. Absitutely - and that's a really important thing to have learned. There is strength in accepting help. (Seems obvious, but a lot of folks trying to learn independence can dump out this baby with the bathwater.)

On the kickarse front - I just saw Salt yesterday - and while some of it veers awfully close to 2012 levels of split-second stupidity, Jolie is believable and riveting in her kickarseitude. It's almost impossible to take your eyes off her.
The remark she was making was about casting two black actors as the leads. (That can still be debated, of course, but it's important to get her point correct.)
You can say that certain shows have been very racially diverse (like all of the Star Trek series) but for the two leads to be minorities (and not on a Tyler Perry-developed show) is really very important.
Star Trek series have always been ahead, racially speaking.

Even then, Avery Brooks, though playing the lead role, was part of an ensemble (IMO that's truer of DS9 than of any other Trek show) and Tim Russ wasn't the lead by any definition (that was Kate Mulgrew as Capt. Janeway).

If the leads on 'Undercover' are actual leads (i.e. in the way Glaser and Soul were leads on 'Starsky and Hutch' where it really is all about them and the other parts are supporting roles) then I think casting two black actors is at least unusual for a primetime TV show, even today (with the possible exception of sitcoms, which ground was well and truly broken by Bill Cosby. Even then though, there's "The Cosby Show", a few others and then "Fresh Prince" ... and since then ?). For an action series where the plot (AFAIK) has nothing to do with their colour, i'd say it may well be a first.

[ edited by Saje on 2010-08-03 07:04 ]
Kinda interesting that neither of the leads of Undercovers are actually African-American. He is German and she is British.
Well interesting ish (if that's a straight quote then she just made a mistake - "Hollywood Actress is Also Human Being ! Capable of Error !" isn't exactly man bites dog ;).

Also, wow, just discovered that the female lead played Tish, Martha's sister on 'Doctor Who'. Good for her. Presumably she'll be using an American accent, hope it doesn't cramp her style as it sometimes seems to.

(the bloke was apparently born in Vienna but raised in Germany so it's possible he considers himself Austrian rather than German, guess it depends)
Got an email from the author of the article. She quoted Dichen on the African-American term. Thought about changing it though since they really aren't. Of course, it's all semantics anyway and really doesn't impact the point.
So it's "human being" then. Good for the author for quoting directly IMO and cheers for the info TamaraC.

What's the difference between semantics and meaningful ... meaning BTW ? Genuinely wondering. I've seen that a few times where someone will say "It's just semantics" and i'm like "Well, it's actually incorrect, isn't that more than 'just' anything ?". I get that it's a detail that ultimately doesn't matter (cos colour is the pertinent point, not nationality), is that what it boils down to ? Importance of the fact itself in context ?
Yeah they are exactly the same, semantics is just the greek root. I think when people say “let's not get bogged down in semantics”, they actually mean terminology — the choice of words to express the meaning. The meaning certainly is the most important.

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