Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

Natalie Portman Responds to Annihilation's Whitewashing Controversy: "It's Problematic"

Paramount Paramount
Stacy Diaz | 16 February, 2018, 02:44

Natalie Portman has opened up on what it was like to get back into her Padme Amidala make-up in the recent sequel to her 2006 rap on Saturday Night Live.

"Annihilation" is about a group of scientists who venture on a mission to find a lost group of soldiers in an environmental disaster zone.

"It's probably a valid criticism".

In the book, the Portman's character is reportedly from "Asian heritage", while "Leigh's character is half Native American". Leigh plays another member of her team, a tough government psychologist named Dr. Ventress. The 2014 novel by Jeff VanderMeer, on which the film is based, contains no physical descriptions of its characters; VanderMeer writes in a deliberately enigmatic style and doesn't even give his lead characters names.

Although Portman is disappointed with the oversight, she is still proud of the cast's diversity.

Writer/director Alex Garland is not being true and honest to the characters in the book.

In the book "Annihilation", characters are referred to by their job - they're "the biologist", "the psychologist", et cetera.

Ahead of the February 23 release of the film, director Alex Garland also weighed in on the controversy. It isn't until VanderMeer's later books that readers learn their ethnicities. Garland did not ask VanderMeer about any details in the sequels because he was only interested in adapting the first novel.

"Annihilation" had me excited since the first trailer.

"We need more representation of Asians on film, of Hispanics on film, of Blacks on film, and women and particularly women of color, Native Americans - I mean, we just don't have enough representation", the Oscar-winning Black Swan actress said in response to being questioned about the controversy.

The cast at Annihilation's LA premiere. And also these categories like "white" and 'nonwhite, ' they're imagined classifications but have real-life consequences.

The criticism is strikingly different from the praise the film has thus far received for its mostly female cast and inclusion of women of color like Tessa Thompson and Gina Rodriguez.

The latest film that finds itself under fire is Alex Garland's sci-fi thriller Annihilation, starring Natalie Portman and Oscar Isaac. "She was so eloquent in her encouragement of these women to use their voices and move on with their lives to do all of the handsome things that they can do and are destined to do", said Portman, who is a vocal supporter of the #TimesUp movement and has spoken publicly about her own disturbing experiences working in the film industry. "I hope that begins to change, because I think everyone is becoming more conscious of it, which hopefully will make change".

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