So far, Disney and Guy Ritchie have been slammed for a couple of decisions they’ve made while making the live-action Aladdin. They got slammed for casting a non-Arab Princess Jasmine and for throwing in a random new white character. And now Disney is being accused of making up extras to look more brown.
BBC Newsbeat reports the accusations of darkening come from a 32-year-old background actor named Kaushal Odedra. Kaushal tells Newsbeat that once he got to the U.K. set, he realized that there were a lot of white background actors. He then noticed that about 20 of those white actors were getting turned into brown actors with the help of some dark makeup. Kaushal accused Disney of being out of touch:
“Aladdin was the perfect time to show diversity but also be accurate. They’re being out of touch with what’s going on around them.”
One time, back when I worked in the world of advertising, I was in charge of the makeup on a very small commercial. Everyone got put in the same shade of foundation, because I was A) dumb and B) an idiot and C) extremely new and had no idea what I was doing. But Disney is a huge corporation with decades of experience. So what’s their excuse? They claim it was a matter of “safety.” Okay, Mickey.
“Great care was taken to put together one of the largest, most diverse casts ever seen on screen. Diversity of our cast and background performers was a requirement and only in a handful of instances when it was a matter of specialty skills, safety and control (special effects rigs, stunt performers and handling of animals) were crew made up to blend in.”
“It’s so diverse! Look, we have all the colors of the rainbow: brown people, and white people, and white people who are painted to look like brown people. Plus, there’s all the colors on the parrot, so….”
Kaushal explains to Newsbeat that he’s not sure what Disney talking about, saying: “I can understand it if it comes to stunt people and animal handling but I think they did have a choice.”
In 2018 (or 2017 when filming started), it’s crazy that anyone would paint extras a different color. If Hollywood can hire the right people to make Tom Cruise look tall in every single movie, they can hire people that look like the people they’re supposed to be. But we can’t really blame Guy Ritchie here. He probably didn’t see anything wrong with it. He watched Madonna acting on set of Swept Away every day, and he still released the movie. He obviously has vision problems.