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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Discussions About Orson Scott Card » Racial makeup of E's Game Movie (? for OSC) (Page 0)

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Author Topic: Racial makeup of E's Game Movie (? for OSC)
Irami Osei-Frimpong
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I assumed that it didn't matter, as long as the lead heroic character was white, call it the Mod Squad rule.

This rule poses unique problems for individuals like Adrian Lester and Andre Braugher, who have a problem coming off as anybody but the most competent people in the room. It's part of what made DS9 courageous. It's also what made Boston Practice so cowardly.

I always thought that Kelly Leak in the Bad News Bears should have been black, but that would have made a whole different story.

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Libbie
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Uh, Mazor Rackham is an old black guy. Period. Nothing else will work. I will be jarred out of the story entirely if Mazer isn't black. Hello! He's half Maori!!

Good lord, they aren't going to make Alai white, too, are they? AIEEE.

For the record, the ONLY reason I go see Will Smith movies is to drool over Will Smith, who is a prime hottie. His films usually stink, but at least they have eye candy. And it definitely isn't Jeff Goldblum.

Edit: Minor clarification: I'm white, so I can confirm that my extreme physical attraction to Will Smith nullifies Hollywood's assumption that I am afraid of people who don't look like me. How STUPID!! [Roll Eyes]

Another edit: Samuel L. Jackson: Also totally hot, but I see his movies mostly because they're awesome. Snakes on a Plane. Yes.

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IComeAnon87
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I think that Hollywood is mainly worried not about the more intellectual crowd (I'm throwing everyone here into the intellectual crowd) but mainly Middle-America. I'm sorry to offend anyone from the south or the midwest but it is sadly true that when you get more towards the middle of the country and into the south, "black" films sell significantly less (moreso in the midwest than the south). Thus Studios assume people are 'afraid' to see black leading men. Sorry I don't have stats on this but I've heard them somewhere.

Speaking of Will Smith he stars alone in 'Pursuit of Happiness' in December so we'll see how that flies.

As far as Mazer is concerned, I'll be honest my first time through I somehow missed the part about him being Maori and pictured him as kind of an old white British/Australian guy (think Christopher Lee). If they did Smith, it wouldn't be really great but it also would help the film get made and I'd back that.


And as far as the makeup of the school is concerned, I agree with scholar. The more developed parts of the world like America, Europe and Asia would have more students educated and therefore tested and lets face it it is because of wealth. Now it is well into the future so there should be more Latin people then at this time because that population is rising. As far as the amount of Africans, thats up to OSC and the writers to determine how progress is made in Africa in the Enderverse.

I didn't see Bean as black and they shouldn't change his race as a gimick. They said he had African heritage and characteristics (that's not gonna be easy to cast) but he was mediterranean white, maybe a bit darker than usual because of the bit of African but not black.

Oh and my PS. I am glad about that novelization clause, thank god for that.

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Irami Osei-Frimpong:
quote:
Though people tend to disagree with me that the Tams could have had any Asian ancestry.
I assumed the Tams were Chinese.
Simon looked completely Caucasian, but River looked like she had some Asian ancestry. Probably via Slavic background, I'm guessing.
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OSTY
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quote:
Originally posted by Will B:
Hollywood is certainly not brave, but this is hard to believe. Ender, Bean, and Petra are white. Is it really too risky to have lots of supporting cast from different races? We do this all the time, and in fact it's expected.

Um, Bean is not White.
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BaoQingTian
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quote:
Originally posted by JLGpepe:
Actually it was Bernard. The French waited to teach common

Thanks, I couldn't remember if it was him or the French kid Bernard (sadly I forgot his name).

On the subject of racial representation, I don't see why being white wouldn't be closer to 25%. It seems like character and intelligence were being emphasized by Battle School more than knowledge. I would think this would be spread across the races and countries. Are there studies linking intelligence to a country's wealth?

Actually, I guess that's a tricky question because if one assumes that intelligent people will do well in society to the point where they are economically advantaged, and pair up with similar people, then there could be some definite genetic and class components to it as well as nationality.

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OSTY
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I tend to agree with BaoQuingTian. At the age these kids are being tested, intelligence will be what is showing up not knowledge. So the mix should end up being closer to an equal mix I would think. But I don't know, guess we will have to wait and see the movie!
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scholar
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There are studies that diet affects intelligence. Also, there are the studies that spurred Baby Einstein (which the company totally misrepresents but whatever)- basically that enrichment at early age is important. So, if a country has a large percent of its population starving, they will be "stupider" compared to similar educated, but well fed groups. I think also that being preemie is bad for IQ too- so you can link to health care as well, which is less available in some places. Low levels of iron during pregnancy leads to lower IQ as measured at age 5. Exposure to alcohol in the womb obviously lowers IQ. I can't remember the other things, but, a well fed population with decent health care will produce smarter people, even at age 5. IQ is linked to genetics, but it is definetely not the only factor.
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IComeAnon87
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The other thing that I think is being ignored is the simple fact that the means to test these kids would simply not be available EVERYWHERE around the world. They would probably be testing more often in developed worlds therefore, as I've said, America, Asia, and Europe would be better represented, likely resulting in a higher percentage of white kids. Maybe 40-50% white at the school.
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scholar
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I would also think some nations would not cooperate fully. Losing the best and brightest of the next generation is a huge sacrifice. Yes, the evil buggers are out there, but within a decade or two, some nations may decide holding on to their best children is more important than some distant threat. So, a few nations might hide some of their geniuses- maybe passing along one tenth of their best.
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Libbie
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Okay, I know it never mentions in Ender's Shadow that Bean has any African heritage. So where is this mentioned? I can't recall it at all. I've always thought of him as Mediterranean-Caucasian. His parents were Greek. Obviously there can be Greeks of African descent, but I just assumed that they were of Caucasian descent.

Can anybody quote the text that discusses Bean's racial makeup? I'm just curious, because I obviously missed it big-time the first time around!

Edit: Oh, wait, DERRFFF. Shadow of the Giant. The whole African Giant thingy. Now it's all coming back to me. I only read that book once. I listen to Ender's Shadow ALL THE TIME on audio. I guess my first impressions of Bean still trump any later reading I did in my mind. I prefer the entire Enderverse with younger characters, so I never had a strong urge to revisit the Shadow series. The story isn't as interesting to me with everbody "all growed up," as good as the books are.

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RunningBear
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But just because 40-50% are american or european doesn't mean those 40-50 percent would be white, especially with increased immigration.

Doesn't it say that the US closed its borders? Wouldnt that choice come after a masssive influx of immigrants, which would alter the ratio of caucasian/non caucasian citizens?

Maybe it would not alter it much, but it COULD be significant, eh?

what percentage of the world's population is white? shouldnt that be it in the movie???

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cmc
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Um... How about the movie comes out... with the characters cast based on their descriptions in the book... and we fight about it later?

Anyone with me???

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The Mister
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As the person who started this thread, I'm just hoping OSC can answer my original question: can he revisit the question of getting a representative ethnic mix in the film? Or at least some sort of realistic compromise between his vision and Hollywood's racist assumptions about the movie-going American public?

If the current debate keeps the thread near the top (and the topic doesn't drift too much), that just increases my chances. [Smile]

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RunningBear
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ok, cmc, you have just crossed the line.

logic!? how dare you.

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Libbie
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quote:
Originally posted by RunningBear:
ok, cmc, you have just crossed the line.

logic!? how dare you.

I think the problem is that a lot of the characters aren't described in terms of race. The only ones I can think of who are definitely defined by race are Alai and Shen. We can infer that Ender is white because of the exchange he has with Alai where he says jokingly that his great-great grandfather would have sold Alai's grandfather (although black people in Africa were selling other black people to slavers, so who knows?)

Obviously Bean is at least part black, but we never learn that until Shadow of the Giant, which won't be used in the making of this movie. Petra, Hot Soup, Bernard, Bonzo, Dink, Nikolai, Admiral Chamrajnagar, and Corn Moon (or is it Corn Woman? I can't remember because I just woke up) are identified as Armenian, Chinese, French, Spanish, Dutch, Greek, Indian, and American Indian either outright or by their names, but who knows what RACE they actually are? It's never told to us, and they could be any race at all. It's not made important in the books, because it takes place in a world where race is no longer important - or not as important as whether the Buggers are going to come back tomorrow.

It makes sense logically that these people would be any and every race, given the world and the specific environment of Battle School. But it never is really discussed much in either of the books, which means that it would be hard for any studio or script writer to figure out logically based on the books. I guess it's something that Mr. Card is going to have to debate with the studio execs and hope that he can win. It would be really lame to see a Battle School full of white American kids.

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forensicgeek
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I think one important thing to remember is that this book is set in the future. So to say the kids wouldn't be tested in the poorer countries is a big assumption based on today's culture. I also think part of the reason hollywood is putting up so much fuss is because they are used to getting their way. Most people are afraid of them and that if they do go against them it will ruin their career. These people need to take a look and realize that those who love this story love it because of its diversity and unique approach. This is not supposed to be a formula movie.
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RunningBear
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think about the people like sister carlotta who interviewed all the underpriveleged kids too.
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Neon cricket
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I think the problem is that if a quota needs to be filled to make people happy then its forced and that is even worst to me but if it stays true to the book " within respect" then you will have at least a few characters that get parts as they were presented in the story like at least one Spanish fellow and one Asian fellow and they are not background charters that is more important than having to fill the quota by placing so many of a certain kind in the background as to not offend anyone. Most movies will have to TOKEN BLACK GUY and all he dose is add in as to not offend anyone.. isn't that more offensive that we all know he is the TOKEN BLACK GUY???
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Neon cricket
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I have found the easy solution for this whole deal only people of a mixed heritage can be in movies now and the more mixed the more screen time they can get. ohhh and they have to have an accent that totally conflicts with their heritage appearance to maximize diversity. Maybe some body augmentations for those who don't fully look to be racially confused..

sorry Will Smith!!!! ya gotta go take Antonio and Jackie, and go stand somewhere else.

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pooka
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Bean was totally white in Shadow of the Hegemon. I devoted a thread to it not too long ago. Maybe Card hoped Will Smith could play the adult Bean.

[ September 14, 2006, 05:03 PM: Message edited by: pooka ]

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Anshi
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quote:
Originally posted by pooka:
Bean was totally white in Shadow of the Hegemon. I devoted a thread to it not too long ago. I think there was a time that Card hoped Will Smith could play the adult Bean.

Shadow of the Hegemon, page 278 (paper back): Bean had forgotten. His Greek skin was lighter than Suriyawong's. He would catch more light.

The above doesn't mean he's "white". Bean is of Greek-African descent and his skin color is just lighter than Suriyawong's. One just has to know the skin tone of Suriyawong to get a reference point.

I do not equate being middle-to-fair-skinned as being "white" as the term is being used in this thread. One can be Asian and be fair complexioned. In the eyes of the world, that doesn't make them "white". Definitely not in the eyes of Hollywood execs.

I do hope that OSC sticks to his guns and get racial equality on screen for the movie. That's a major factor re: the book in my mind.

[Edited for clarification.]

[ September 14, 2006, 04:42 PM: Message edited by: Anshi ]

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pooka
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Later there is a discussion about the two raiding parties, one led by a brown soldier, the other white. That's on page 304. Now I suppose you could protest that he would also look white compared to Indians.
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Anshi
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quote:
Originally posted by pooka:
Later there is a discussion about the two raiding parties, one led by a brown soldier, the other white. That's on page 304. Now I suppose you could protest that he would also look white compared to Indians.

Is this page 304 of the hard back version? I'm not finding the scene you reference to on that page in my paperback copy (isbn 0-812-56595-9).

My version has page 304 starting with: All futile, of course. No matter where the Burmese made their stand, the Indian Army would simply flow around them.

It ends with: Or it might be that someone else joined Suriyawong and influenced his thinking. Bean.

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CRash
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Okay, I've got it: Dragon Army can be white, Salamander Army can be black, Phoenix Army can be hispanic, and Rabbit Army can be asian. Then they can all compete for the title of sole survivor.
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DaisyMae
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[ROFL] bu-bye Sekou
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pooka
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They might have fixed the brown and white reference at the same time that they fixed the part about Ender living in Greensboro. Is that fixed in your book, Anshi? I think 304 must be the same page because it's Virlomi weighing the reports she's getting back about the Thai attacks.
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GiantReturns
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Since their on a spacestation during the book all the characters can be light skinned. Not being in the sun everyday will make even Black people light skinned very much so. Since i dont really care what race or skin color the actors have but if they can portray their characters well. Going to be tough to find at least 2 actors of a 'Sixth Sense" performance.
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TheSeeingHand
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quote:
Coupled with this argument was OSC's desire to cast a black(ish) actor as Bean
I pictured Bean as being black.
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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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StarLisa, wasn't there some sort of chinese cultural takeover, which explained why the members all cursed in chinese. Tam is a reasonably common chinese name, and the name is not common in Europe, and since Simon and River were supposed to come from high-society, I just assumed that they were Chinese.
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KLoWn
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I think the Jeesh Should be racially accurate Hollywood can do as it wishes with the secondary Characters.

Ender: White
Bean: Dark Meditteranian (With VERY Curly hair)
Petra: Average Meditteranian
Alai: Black
Dink: White (I Think I forget where he was from)
Vlad: White (Never spoken as far as I can tell but the area of the Warsaw pact he came from is primarilly White)
Crazy Tom: ????
Hot Soup: Chinesse
Dumper: Phillipino

Whom am I forgetting?

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The Mister
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I forget which, but either Dink or Crazy Tom is an Aussie - not sure if he was a city boy or from the "EEyout-BEEyak". Either way, it's conceivable that he might have a bit of aboriginal blood in him. However, he doesn't HAVE to be.
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I Am The War Chief
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More Importantly.... WHERE ARE ALL THE CANADIANS!?!?!?! Was this part of the globe simply forgotten? The best and brightest of Canada have been going to the USA for years why not they’re Space Station?
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CRash
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Why fight aliens when you have hockey?
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quidscribis
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quote:
Later there is a discussion about the two raiding parties, one led by a brown soldier, the other white. That's on page 304. Now I suppose you could protest that he would also look white compared to Indians.
North American Indians or sub-continent of India Indians? And if we're going with sub-continent India Indians, are we talking Indians from the south, say Tamil Nadu, who are very very dark, or the Indians from the north who are pale enough to pass as Europeans (and some of which have blue, green, or violet eyes, and medium brown or red hair)?

[/nitpick] [Razz]

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Karmen
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GAH! Why are peeps with power so small minded? All the major character are given a race, who are they to change that? For all that they want to change it, why don't they go and make an African Snow White?
It'd make just about as much sense. Cha, in fact, let's make Virlomi a Latina, Petra Irish, and Achilles red with horns.
Ender is white: his father is polish and his mom's a mormon. Not being stereo-typical, but didn't that movement start in the US? I'm part polish, and much to my displeasure it canceled out the darker pigment of my sicilian ancestry. At the very least he's going to be white-ish, those are some rather potent melanin genes.

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scholar
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I think that the issue is not with the major characters, but with the characters who aren't described enough to determine race from a book. When there is a shot of a classroom full of little kids, is it a bunch of white kids or is it an even mixture?
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Ecthalion
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we could solve all this by dying everyone purple and green, that way no one gets offended but the martians. Let them try and stop us!
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Quimby2999
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It should also be taken into account that few people are identified by their actual ethnicities, but rather their nationalities.

And considering we don't know Card's vision of how immigration will progress in the future Karmen's statement might not be so far fetched.

Also I think Bean might have mentioned his grandmother being African pre-SotG in "Puppets" but I know I'll have to actually find it before it's recognized as a true nit-pick.

Anyway, I do think a promo poster full of "ethnic" faces could scare away middle class White America (no offense) even more than one with hideous insect-alien creatures, and God knows we've got to pander to the ignorant and the racist.

I've never pictured Battle School as being all or even mostly white and it seems to me that all throughout both Ender's Game and Shadow he's made it a point not to describe it as such.

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The Mister
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quote:
Originally posted by Quimby2999:
I've never pictured Battle School as being all or even mostly white and it seems to me that all throughout both Ender's Game and Shadow he's made it a point not to describe it as such.

And that's one of the main reasons Hollywood needs to get their heads out of the sand.

Can you imagine the anglicized jeesh?

Han Tzu would be renamed Han ... Solo? Maybe just Hank.
Alai would be ... Ollie?
Petra would be ... Hmmm... as the only woman in the jeesh, has to be a name *everyone* can relate to. I know: Madison (#3 girl's name for 2005)! Or maybe some completely weirded out spelling of Ashley (#10). "Ayschleiyygh". Yeah, that's it. [Smile]

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Ribeira
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quote:
Originally posted by The Mister:
I forget which, but either Dink or Crazy Tom is an Aussie - not sure if he was a city boy or from the "EEyout-BEEyak". Either way, it's conceivable that he might have a bit of aboriginal blood in him. However, he doesn't HAVE to be.

I think the Aussie was Carn Carby.

Also about the Bean racial issure, I was rereading SotH and there's this part on page 374 where the Indian soldiers were talking to Virlomi about Bean and Suri and described them as "One white, One brown." So apparently Bean has African features but still has relatively white skin???

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Mneighthyn
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I just want to know when they plan on casting. Obviously this is an issue that needs to be worked out before casting but I would prefer there be solid steps towards making this movie happen. Casting is a sound way to prove that the movie is actually going to happen... and not just an idea.
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The Mister
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Well, phooey. OSC visited last night (first time in 3.5 weeks - I have no doubt he's been very busy) and this thread had fallen to the second page, so he didn't see my question. [Frown]

Waaaaaa! [Cry]

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The Mister
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I apologize for what looks like blatant ego gratification in my bumping this thread back up to the top. OSC has been visiting a bit more often lately and, since there was enough interest in the topic to get it to the second page, I figured there are enough of us here who would be interested in knowing his answer. If it falls off the front page again before OSC sees it, I'll surrender to my bad luck and let it be. [Smile]
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Feer
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A problem I see with the makeup of having the movie not coinside with the book is, if they wanted to make sequels to the movie fallowing along the lines of the Shadow series, then if they didn't have someone like Alai or Vlad be the race it says in the book then Alai be Calif, or Vlad be tied down in the Russian government. I just dont see how they can make it work in later years with out changing actors to fit they're needs.
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RunningBear
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Anderson is a guy. Das Buch says so.

why are they making him female? Is it for some sort of plot thing? It doesnt make sense to me that the drill and tactics coordinator for essentially male school would be female.

I am not being sexist, I think it would be equally strange if you flipped the equation.

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Mneighthyn
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I agree with RunningBear.
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The Mister
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OSC has definitely said in the past that the movie will be 100% stand-alone. NO sequels, ever. While it's possible OSC could change his mind, given the way he said it, I doubt he will. So that answers Feer's concern.

Not that this would justify having a white-washed cast.

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Feer
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Well, that makes me feel some what better. Not alot tho. Thanks Mister
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Altįriėl of Dorthonion
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quote:
Originally posted by Libbie:
Interesting! I never pictured Bean as black, but as a sort of swarthy little Mediterranean dude. Like my husband in miniature. But I could dig a black Bean.

Petra HAS to have a wicked awesome Armenian accent, though. I love Armenian accents!

My roommate is armenian but she doesn't have an accent. She's good at mexican accents though, so we both start talking like stereotypical mexican women once in while. She was really surprised when I told her about Petra being Armenian since she said, "few people even know armenia exists..."
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