Sunday, July 16, 2006

Angelina Jolie, playing Mariane Pearl...huh?

Update: June 22, 2007 @ 7:24am

Well, I'm out of the hell that is finals, so I can dust off my blogger's hat.

A Mighty Heart is set to open this weekend and most of the reviews have been quite good. Not that there was any doubt that Jolie could pull off the role or that she has the star pull to make people talk about the movie.

Here are a few links:

I still think it's funny seeing the pictures though. It just rubs me the wrong way when there are so many excellent actresses who you'd not have to look at twice to see the resemblance.

But I get it. This is about exposure and with Jolie, that's what you get. Plus, Jolie and Pearl are friends and Jolie is a marvelous actress who can bring the needed publicity to this flick just due to who she is.

So, to that I say, may this movie make tons of money and while it's at it, hopefully, some will pay attention to the story and not just the center of the vortex that caught their attention.


Update: May 7, 2007 @ 3:13pm

It's time for A Mighty Heart: The Daniel Pearl Story to be released soon.

How do I know this? I know this because "news" articles, which are actually free publicity, are starting to come out. Soon we'll see Angelina and crew in interviews and that will be tied to the movie's release.

Anyway, since I was on the "what the hell?" side of the discussion last year when it was announced that Angelina Jolie was set to play Mariane Pearl in A Mighty Heart: The Daniel Pearl Story, I figure I can be someone to help them with more free news buzz now that the movie is set to come out soon.

Here are some fresh news links:

Entertainment Weekly: Angelina Jolie's 'Mighty Heart'
Glamour Magazine: Angelina & Mariane’s Powerful Bond


I totally admire Angelina Jolie's humanitarian work. However, I'm really not understanding the reasoning behind the news that Jolie will play Mariane Pearl in an upcoming movie adaptation of Pearl's book A Mighty Heart: The Daniel Pearl Story. *Yes, I know it's being produced by Brad Pitt's production company. It comes in handy to be a top tier actor in a serious relationship another top tier actor who also owns a production company, no doubt. However, Jolie isn't hurting for work if she seeks it.

Yes, I know she's been roughing it in both Africa and Asia doing good things for people and children who need it. I really admire her for the work she's been doing because her fame and notoriety bring press to issues that people would otherwise ignore. I've volunteered my time for a long time for special causes, and it burns me up to see the privileged and wealthy care more about being seen in the right light in Page Six than giving back. Jolie shows all of us that we must never loose sight of those less well off and we must give back.

With that said, I get the "we are the world" sentiment, but last I checked Angelina Jolie was not a black woman with a biracial heritage nor does she bear even the slightest resemblance to Mariane Pearl.

Is that racist of me to react this way? I don't think so because I'm such a liberal that I would let it go if there was the slightest physical resemblance.

I think it's entirely pragmatic of me to react this way. It's no more racist than the excuse that tons of black actors have heard in the past regarding roles. I mean there always seems to be a priority placed on casting the right "type", and many a black actor has been passed over for someone who is a closer physical "fit". I will even acknowledge that black actors have been breaking down barriers and getting cast as superheroes and love interests in movies in which maybe twenty years ago they would have never been considered much less cast.

However, I see that as a leveling of the playing field that has always been skewed against blacks. It feels like we're going back to a time where white actors were cast in roles portraying the tragic mulatta. There are tons of examples, but one is Ava Gardner who played the bi-racial, half black and half white, character Julie LaVerne in Showboat.

Is this casting decision a backlash? As stated, the playing field is more even than ever. Is it even enough that a plum role such as this, which would have been a coup for any actor to land, is cast with a white woman? I don't think it's THAT even yet. Just look at pictures of Angelina Jolie, Mariane Pearl and Thandie Newton side by side and you tell me who looks more like whom? Forgive me, as my photo and graphic skills clearly need some work, but it works out nicely with Thandie, then Mariane, then Angelina. It's just a bit crude.

Why is it that talented and well known black actresses like Thandie Netwon, Rosario Dawson, and Halle Berry got skipped for this role?

I really do think this is a case of altruism, optimism and just plain ol' love gone mad. Essentially, it's a bad case of groupthink where no one in the room even realized there was this big pink elephant in the corner. I also think that anyone who did notice probably realized it would be best not to point out that there was a casting incongruity out of fear they'd loose their job.

I'll point it out for them as I don't have to worry about Brad Pitt firing me. There are better suited actors to play this role.

Yes, yes...I bloody well know it's Brad Pitt's production company and that, as a film producer, what he says goes, but come on. We know this is all about box office draw and profit, but there are other ways to get similar results.

What's next? Brad Pitt will skip over tons of talented racially mixed actors such as Daniel Henney (a personal favorite) to cast himself as bi-racial, Chinese and white, Brandon Lee in a movie depicting his life too?

This is as stupid as it is insulting.
*BTW, it would be nice if all these people writing about this story would spell Mariane Pearl's name correctly. I too was unsure if it was Marianne Pearl or Mariane Pearl. However, I took myself to to see how the publisher spelt her name on her book. I figured that was pretty certain authority.

You'd think that the press would do a fact check on this. Now, I make mistakes too (just read a few other posts), but I think I'm good with accurately spelling someone's name. To the news rooms and magazines out there, clearly you folks need some competent help. I’m available, so just send me an email.

Sphere: Related Content


  1. Is that racist of me to react this way?

    No, I don't think it is racist of you to react this way. Hollywood has a history of hiring Whites to play other races, especially African Americans. I suspect Angelina will get a tan and makeup artists will do the rest. I wonder who they are going to get to play her husband? Denzel (sarcasm)?

  2. Well as Daniel Pearl was white man who was also Jewish, he'd be portrayed by someone like Colin Farrell or Ewan McGregor thus locking out actors of the Jewish faith.

  3. Even though I consider myself a fan of Angelina's, I agree...this is stupid casting. Not that I was planning to see a movie on this subject anyway (would much rather read the book) but now I'm even less inclined to see it.

  4. I'm disappointed as I dig both her and Brad. I actually think that their looks overshadow the fact that they're pretty good actors.

    I just can't see how the casting mismatch didn't occur to them. But, as I said, it's his production, so he can do whatever he wants.

  5. I wonder if Marianne has commented? Personally, I'm about sick of Brangelina. We've come no further than Liz playing Cleopatra. Sad.

  6. I actually like them together and I don't mind the press because it's them with their beautiful family. I like what they're doing regarding advocacy and more people with their fame and money should be doing similar things.

    That's why I was disappointed to hear she'll play Pearl. Now, Mariane has said she's happy about it. Plus, Mariane might not get it either. Who knows?

    You'd think however Brangelina being Americans would realize that folks would be bothered not to see a woman with a stronger resemblance get the part.

    Honestly, it didn't bother me at first until I realized Jolie looks nothing like Pearl.

  7. While I don't consider myself a huge fan of either Jolie or Pitt, I don't dislike either of them. I am disappointed that neither of them realize how disconnected they are from the real world, to not know that this was just a bad move. Then again, it's par for the course with Hollywood.

  8. I would say, yes, it pretty much is a reality disconnect. However, we all know that Angelina playing Pearl will generate more box office revenue than Thandie, or someone else who is a closer physical match, playing Pearl. That's sad, but maybe that's the objective.

    Thanks for your input!

  9. Wouldn't the role have to be done by a mixed woman to give credit to both side's of bi-racial heritage? Would it not be fair to have a 100% Black actress play the role? To me, Mariane Pearl is a French woman who doesn't care about race (she married a Jewish man). Maybe she is more concerned about someone portraying her correctly without regards to skin tone.

    Also, was a Thandie Nexton even interested in the role? Should Brad Pitt's production company look for an unknown to portray Mariane Pearl (thus giving the movie less apeal to the masses)? There are a lot of factors involved. I don't think this is a big deal.

  10. Actually Pearl is Afro-Cuban/Dutch, so seeing the role offered to Rosario Dawson, who is also half Cuban, would have been right. Even Thandie Newton would be an excellent choice because of the resemblance they have with one another. But leave it to Hollywood to disenfranchise minorities, as we minorities are only fit to play maids, pimps, prostitutes and every other stereotype that is out there. I am an actress myself with a bachelor's degree in Theater, who happens to be a minority. I have gotten burned by this business so many times, the only roles I'm offered are sexually driven ones, roles with no depth, those roles are reserved for whites. Let's take it for what it is, a white actress can dye her blonde hair brunette, change her eyes from blue to brown, even put make-up that will make her skin darker and presto that "transformation" will allow audiences, including minorities to be able to identify with her. I have seen this for years, I am hispanic and have yet to see characters that I can truly identify with and no hispanics are not all Mexicans, so George Lopez does not count. But ranting about it does not accomplish anything, more people should stand up to the industry, and when I say people, I mean minorities and anyone who doesn't clasify themselves as "white caucasian", they are not the ones who are the disenfranchised, it is the rest of us who are.

  11. I'm a black woman who doesn't care about race yet you assume I do simply because I’ve pointed out something that is clear. I would say the same if there was a part given to Terri Hatcher that was about an obese woman struggling with weight loss.

    As I’ve grown up and lived life I’ve seen stuff that makes you notice how things go when you’re white versus not being white. Whites usually don’t bother to notice it because they benefit from their racial status.

    I’ve already said Jolie is going to have a stronger box office draw and that surely played some factor into her getting the role, so read the comments. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to be the producer’s girlfriend with whom you’ve just had a baby and who has recently adopted your children.

    The point is I'm from L.A. I went to a performing arts high school. I wanted to major in theater and go into acting but my mom talked me out of it precisely because of stuff like this. I don’t regret my choice, but to see this happen when there are so many minority actresses that would love this part is sad and there is no way around it.

    Now there are tons of successful minority actors out there, but when you have a choice role like this that goes to the white producer's white girlfriend it rings as unfair. I've already said he can do what he wants, it's his movie, but it would have been nice seeing a woman who was a closer physical match win the role. There are other ways to bring in a box office draw. What about casting other actors of note in other roles and leaving Pearl’s role to a lesser known or even an actress like Rosario or Thandie?

    I don't care about sitting around measuring DNA. I even said in the comments above, if Jolie had a closer resemblance it wouldn't be a big deal. It's not a big deal now. Actors change their looks to play roles all the time. It’s just that usually minorities aren’t given that chance to go through physical transformations for a part. In fact, as we can see, when there is a juicy part that has a minority character a white woman gets it.

    When I heard I really didn’t think much of it. Then I saw a thread on a forum I use and it hit me when I saw the picture of them next to each other. There is a big physical difference and there are other actresses that you could place right next to Pearl and see why that actress would be considered.

    Of course, there are a lot of factors involved. I don't know if Thandie or any other actress was asked, but it doesn't change the fact that there are tons of minority actresses out there who could probably do a great job and won't need a huge "transformation" to play the part.

    This is nepotism and power. It’s okay. It’s cool. It’s not like anyone can change it, and, as I’ve stated, it’s Pitt’s damn production company and he can do whatever he wants. It just would have been nice to see a minority get the role.

  12. As to the comments from the minority actor, I just have to say I feel your frustration.

    It's just when you speak up, even if you say something relatively soft, you get responses like the one I responded to above where you're just playing the color card and others are much more enlightened because they're not discussing it.

    It's a smoke screen because that seems to come up when a person of color has something to say.


Hey there! Thanks for visiting my blog. It's my first blog, and I'm glad folks are still stopping by even though I'm no longer living in South Korea. Feel free to comment. If you want a personal answer, leave your email, and I won't publish the comment. Nasty comments and spam links will not be tolerated.