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Opinion: Feuding over casting people of color in movies needs to stop

Actress Avantika Vandanapu is known for her famous roles in Hollywood and Indian movies. Photo via Wikimedia Commons courtesy of Anupamacr.
Actress Avantika Vandanapu is known for her famous roles in Hollywood and Indian movies. Photo via Wikimedia Commons courtesy of Anupamacr.

Online feuds over movies and TV shows casting people of color have surfaced continually over recent years. One of the most recent ones stemming from a casting suggestion – not an actual hire.

Actress Avantika Vandanapu was the focus of this recent online argument after a fan suggested she play the role of Rapunzel in a Disney live-action movie – even though Disney has not even announced it would be making such a film.

Vandanapu is best known for her role as Karen Shetty in Mean Girls, the musical movie.

Fans seem to act like the animated version will disappear if the real-life version comes out.

Some fans of the original, animated movie opposed the idea because they want the actress who would play Rapunzel to have blonde hair. Others said Vandanapu would be a good choice for the role, and some of them alleged that the people who disagreed had racist motives for their thinking. 

Some of those who disagreed with the suggested casting said the actress who eventually plays that role should be German, because the story originated in Germany. But some of their suggestions for actresses weren’t German, either – they were simply White Americans.  

Also, the excuse of “it isn’t what I grew up with” is overused. Fans seem to act like the animated version will disappear if the real-life version comes out. 

The discrimination in live-action movies was also seen when Captain Marvel was released in 2019. The fact that Brie Larson, a woman, was playing the role of Carol Danvers really seemed to irk people online. Trolls online commented misogynistic views about the casting, while some fans were excited to see a woman play a big superhero role for once. 

Although Wonder Woman is also a superhero, it seems that she is only there to get women to be quiet on the issue of representation on screen, and she was also extremely sexualized.

Captain Marvel seems somewhat similar to Vandanapu’s case, except some people are objecting because of her race. South Asians have little representation in Disney, and fans tend to forget that Jasmine is Arab. 

Vandanapu has not even said anything about the controversy, yet people take it upon themselves to leave threats and deranged comments about her appearance on social media. 

Hamilton, meanwhile, got hate because of the decision to cast people of color for historical figures who were White. Fans argue that Hamilton is an example of color-blind casting, in which actors are cast for a role without their race or ethnicity being considered.

Too many movies and TV shows lack representation of people of color. Still, when there are attempts to address this issue – or even the rumor of an attempt – the actresses and actors get the hate for it.

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Hritika Pokhrel
Hritika Pokhrel, Staff Writer
Freshman Hritika Pokhrel is a first-year Staff Writer. She can be found watching Netflix, listening to music, or reading.
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