"I think that’s rubbish. It’s so superficial," Michael Winterbottom tells Kimberly Chun at the San Francisco Bay Guardian. "The first time I met Angelina was with Marianne, and in fact they knew each other already and they trusted each other already. They’re kind of similar in lots of ways and talked about the story in similar ways. And that’s what’s important, really â€” to have someone actually know the person they’re playing, especially with a story that’s as sensitive as this."
At the Washington Post, Teresa Wiltz rounds up arguments on both sides and wishes a few more of Mariane Pearl’s experiences being of mixed race in Paris and in Pakistan:
What a missed opportunity to explore — or at least acknowledge with visual cues — those complexities within the context of the movie. Daniel Pearl, after all, was murdered for being who he was: a Jewish American of Israeli and Iraqi Jewish descent. Why not, in telling this story, tell all of it? Images are powerful, possessing the potential to smash stereotypes. And reinforce them.
We can only muster a mighty shrug â€” there must come a point at which striving for an exact racial match in role/actor becomes ridiculous and the opposite of progressive (take the fuss over the casting of Zhang Ziyi and Gong Li in "Memoirs of a Geisha" over some Japanese actresses with equal box office pull â€” quick, name one!). But we’re happy to see these discussions take place regardless, not in the least because of the memory of Mr. Yunioshi:
"You cannot go on keep ringing my bell," indeed. Also at the Washington Post is William Booth‘s talk with the directors of "Reel Bad Arabs," a doc that gathers examples of cinematic vilification of Hollywood’s most recent racial punching bag. The film’s narrator Jack Shaheen (who also wrote the book on which the doc was based) observes that the only way around such characterizations, typecasting and racial miscasting is to offer more normalized images of Arab: "’I’ve seen the Arab hijacker, but where is the Arab father?’ Shaheen says. What we need, he says, seriously, is a sitcom called ‘Everybody Loves Abdullah.’"