Quote: Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film | Shadow and Act

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.”

What’s wrong with the Starship Enterprise?! What’s wrong with some diversity?! In order to maintain the story that Noah and his family repopulate the earth, the casting directors went with all white actors. And People of Color have had enough with the whitewashing (Noah, as a resident of the Middle East, would not have had Russel Crowe’s complexion) but if you want to say race doesn’t matter, then why not have each member of the family come from a different part of the world? I know from the story that Noah’s sons had wives: why not have them be non-white?
White as the default is very strong, but especially in mythic stories even when the story doesn’t belong to white people. It was a relief when I learned that the new FOX show Hieroglyph isn’t cast with all white people, but actual People of Color (we haven’t gotten as far as casting people directly from or descendent of the region, though).
There’s the idea that if something in a character description isn’t relevant to the plot, don’t write it in. So if a character isn’t described as being Black or Asian or Indian, it’s usually thought of to be white, even though the race of the character has nothing to do with the plot, hence why it wasn’t mentioned, so the character should be able to be cast as any race. We need to get past white as default, because it leaves so many people with no representations of themselves in the media in places where they could have been or even should have been represented.
It’s awful that he said this. I don’t think he realized the problems with his words, but it’s certainly not earned him anything from People of Color. It is clear that he thinks that in order for a story to be accepted by everyone and to stand on a grand, epic scale, only white people can be in it. Asian people or Black people or Hispanic people can’t be epic or represent mankind. Again, I think a better, more diplomatic solution would have been to cast everyone as a different race, but I suppose that would have been too controversial for them.
via Co-Screenwriter of ‘Noah’ Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film | Shadow and Act.


  1. I agree that the reason provided is abhorrent, and definitely not well thought out from a PR perspective. If Whites are good enough to represent the human race in its totality, then why not continue to cast White-only actors in every other film? I mean, since they’re so good at “standing in” for everyone else. The film makers’ choice only reinforces the notion that it’s okay to continue to exclude other races from media, as if society is so self-actualised that we no longer see race, so no damage is done by tucking part of humanity under the carpet. Well, I’ve got news for you. The more we continue to exclude minorities in media, the more foreign they will seem, the more Other, the more unusual, and the more likely people will see race as a defining characteristic that takes away from a person’s intrinsic humanness. Their diminished visibility will only make differences in race MORE pronounced and less “normal,” less acceptable. We need to continue to expose and represent the diversity of the human race in all forms of media, in television, film, literature, fiction, non-fiction. Only with increased exposure (and thus familiarity) will audiences see that POC deserve just as much of a presence and a voice as any White person. Whiteness has not been traditionally regarded as a race, and therein lies the problem. You don’t fix that by burying your head in the sand and saying that “everybody gets it.” They don’t. We need to do more.

    • ConStar24 says:

      Youre right that because “white” isn’t seen as a race, it allows people to use it as a default, ignoring other races. It’s a constant problem of white people being cast in mythological or historical films as people from the middle east or the mediterranean and it ignores actual people from those places who could do the job just as well or even better. The guy said he didn’t want it to look like Star Trek or a United Colors of Bennaton but that’s what the world looks like! diversity should be the default. Thank you for reading and for your comment!

  2. Dee says:

    Jennifer Connelly’s mother is Jewish and Logan Lerman is 100% Jewish. Surely they can play Old Testament characters.

    • ConStar24 says:

      Fair point, but a lot of the problem with what was said was that it acted as though in order for race to not be an issue, only white people could be cast in the film. that makes white the default for all characters, not just the ones of Jewish descent. If they had been in the cast, with other people of color, great! But he makes it sound like people of color or people who live in the region where this story takes place, cant represent “mythical” characters or universal characters. He says they’re supposed to be stand ins for for all people. But only one kind of person is represented. That’s where a lot of the frustration comes from, both before and after this comment was made. Thanks for reading!

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