'Annihilation' star Jennifer Jason Leigh responds to whitewashing accusations

Natalie Portman Donated $1,000 To Ellen De Generes Wildlife Fund After The Host Guessed The Gender Of The Actress' Second Baby

Natalie Portman Donated $1,000 To Ellen De Generes Wildlife Fund After The Host Guessed The Gender Of The Actress' Second Baby

"I knew at that time there were supposed to be three books planned, but I didn't know [anything] about the other two", Garland said during an interview with Yahoo in December. There was no studio pressure to cast white. Recently, the casting of Portman and Leigh has come under criticism because, in the sequel to the novel "Annihilation", Portman and Leigh's characters are identified as women of color. Hollywood rarely writes prominent parts for Asian American and American Indian characters, and those roles could've bolstered the careers of women from those communities.

The movie has been criticized for whitewashed casting of its two main characters, played by Portman and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

In the first book, none of the characters are named but are identified by their fields of expertise (biology, linguistics, anthropology, etc.).

Though, it seems everyone involved is saying they never meant to consciously whitewash the character because, well, they never read the second book. In a statement, Alieesa Badreshia, an MANAA board member, said that writer-director Alex Garland "exploits the story but fails to take advantage of the true identities of each character".

"Well, that does sound problematic", Portman told Yahoo Entertainment.

VanderMeer hasn't commented about the recent whitewashing criticisms, but he has said on Twitter to fans that he "never expected or wanted a faithful adaptation from Garland - just a good one". (They're referred to as "the biologist", "the psychologist", and so forth.) Those identifying details weren't revealed until the sequel, "Authority". It isn't until VanderMeer's later books that readers learn their ethnicities. And with VanderMeer's blessing, Garland wrote a deliberately unfaithful adaptation of the book, without even taking the sequels into account. While the complaints against "Annihilation" might be based on a misunderstanding of Garland's intent, Portman told Yahoo that the entire industry needs a wake-up call when it comes to casting. I read a book and I adapted it because I thought the book was awesome. This despite the fact Annihilation features an inclusive cast and is largely female-driven with Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Sonya Miznuo and Tuva Novotny along with Oscar Isaac and Benedict Wong.

"We need more representation of Asians on film, of Hispanics on film, of blacks on film, women and particularly women of colour, Native Americans - I mean, we just don't have enough representation", the Oscar victor stressed. "And also these categories like "white" and "nonwhite" - they're imagined classifications but have real-life consequences". "I hope that begins to change because I think everyone is becoming more conscious of it".

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