There's been a lot of controversy surrounding the Ghostbusters remake lately. I find it interesting because it's not just one thing that people are getting upset about; Different people/groups are getting upset about different aspects of the remake. Some are mad that they are even making the remake while others don’t like that it’s a female cast.
The subject I wanted to discuss today was Leslie Jones' character. I've been seeing some posts online as of late with people getting angry that her character, the only black character in the main group, seems to be a street smart everyman (everywoman?) while the three white characters are scientists.
People seem to be saying that it's frustrating to see the black character as "not as smart" as the white characters. I absolutely understand the frustration people have over hollywood portraying people of colour as lesser than their white counterparts or casting them only as supporting roles or comedic relief. It's been something that has been happening for quite awhile in the industry and it needs to be addressed. I also think that it’s difficult to point to the Ghostbusters remake as an example of this.
The thing is the movie is a remake of Ghostbusters. In that movie there where 4 main characters, 3 scientists and 1 everyman (played by Ernie Hudson). When you look at the characters in the remake you see the same thing. I don’t think that Leslie’s character is black because of the movie makers stereotyping, it’s because that’s what the original movie had.
Now the argument of if the original Ghostbusters is demeaning to people of colour is a completely different conversation, and one I’m not trying to address in this post. I think however that people pointing to the remake as another example of black characters being negative stereotypes is flawed as best.
Now that I’ve said one side of the argument let me bring up my own counterpoint because you know, I’m odd like that. You see in the trailer for the remake that the filmmakers are trying to take familiar themes from the first movie and freshen them up. So what if part of that included mixing up the roles a bit; Instead of Casting Leslie as a female version of Winston make her the female Peter Venkman and make Melissa McCarthy the Winston street smart character.
What do you think? Should the folks making the remake have played with the idea of different races as different characters or are they just paying homage to the original movie’s casting? I’m interested to hear what people think.