Critics Accuse Prince Of Persia Movie Makers Of 'Whitewashing' Roles

Fans of perfectly sculpted pecs and Jake Gyllenhaal are no doubt ecstatic about the upcoming release of Disney's new Prince of Persia movie, but the casting decision to put Chesty Jake in the starring role isn't sitting well with everyone.

Gyllenhaal as Dastan in the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which hits Australian cinemas tomorrow, is "not only insulting to Persians, it's also insulting to white people," says indie filmmaker and blogger Jehanzeb Dar. According to an AP report on the matter, Dar's not the only one annoyed by the "whitewashing" of films like Prince of Persia and M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender.

That "whitewashing" has been labelled "the standard procedure for Hollywood films" and "habitual practice" by some academics and protesters, a reflection of outdated casting decisions.

Critics: 'Airbender' & 'Prince' were 'whitewashed' [AP/Yahoo]


    Industry with a lot of rich white people caters to the wants of other rich white people.



      What people are SO fond of forgetting is that at the time, the Persian empire was a melting pot of peoples, much like america today. It contained people of every race, color and creed. White, black, arab, asain, Persia had it all. So really (especially given that prince Dastan was adopted) just about anyone could have filled the role. And the accents? Come on, really? Who would honestly be purile enough to be offended about THAT?

    O RLY?

    Because I’m a white person and I’m not insulted, I think that some random blogger classing all white people and Persians into two groups, then speaking on their behalf is insulting. If the director wanted this actor, then why should he change his decision to meet the status quo?

    Besides, this is just another movie, not a commentary into our downward spiral as an Americanized culture. Who cares?

    but the last airbender isn't whitewashed. it's like the opposite and kind of annoying.

    Jesus was Arabian. Passion of the Christ.

    at least they didnt get soemone with blonde hair and blue eyes?

    This isn't an historical epic! Even if it was, people were remarkably eager to look past the fact that the Persians were sub-human freaks in 300.

    The only, ONLY consideration that matters here is whether Gyllenhaal resembles the character from the game. He does, end of story.

    Pirates of the Caribbean didn't arouse this level of pedantry...

      dude 300 was a movie based on a graphic novel based on another movie based on a point in time i mean really calling it historically acurate is just wrong

        300 is based on the Battle of Thermopylae. It isn't historically accurate in that it was 7000 odd men led by some Spartans that halted the Persian advance but the people named in the movie/graphic novel were at one time real people.

        Also, I believe some people in Turkey had an issue with the portrayal of Persians in 300.

          No the guy above you is right. 300 is based on a comic book by Frank Miller based on his very liberal rock and roll interpretation of the 1962 film The 300 Spartans starring Richard Egan.

          Frank Miller states this pretty explicitly in the notes at the back of 300 issue 1.

          As to the actual battle of Thermopylae, seperating the fact from the fiction a few thousand years later is not the easiest thing to do.

    Go back to Persia? Oh wait, it doesn't exist anymore. Soooo what's the issue?

    Yup, this is the only movie this has happened with :|

    He looks pretty tanned to me...

    Its not a bloody white wash Gyllenhall looks like the prince thats it end of story

    sure maybe they couldve found a persian that looked like him but then you get a couple of problems

    A) hes probably not a big name
    B) people then whinge hes not enough like the prince
    C) he may look like the prince but is his acting up to par

    havent seen the film yet but i am looking forward with it

    The problem isn't colour, if anything it's the Americanization of history. You gotta be an American to be the protaganist in an American film - or game for that matter. Even games set in Britain usually have an American hero for no readily apparent reason.

      In this case, the Americanisation of people and events which never actually happened... Of, and all the main characters speak with a vanilla British accent. Kind've undermines your argument in this instance, though I do not question the validity of it in the main. U571 is a good example...

        Sure I was making a broader argument.. but even in this fictional setting, a "Prince of Persia" ought to be a little more Persian.

          A valid point, but one that needed to be levelled at the original games on which the movie is based. The movies is only guilty of staying true to its source material. There was no uproar about the fact that all the voice actors for the game were Westerners. Where do you draw the line?

            Well dude u gotta remember with videogames they may have several voice actors/actresses for one game for distribution in different countries.

            In the Warrior Within Monica Boluchie who is in fact Italian (the frenchmans wife in the matrix reloaded) was the vioce actress for the empress of time.

            On that note if you've played the Warrior Within PoP game and watched the comentaries after beating it u'd see that not even all of the makers of the game are american and need translators to speak over them for the american players.

    You know I actually have a turkish film-maker friend who raged about the casting of this film, which I think is fair enough. It'd be nice to at least see SOMEONE of ethnic decent take the starring roles in this kind of film but I guess most folks (as a broad generalisation) aren't comfortable with that, which I think is unfortunate.

    On the flipside I'll watch Jake Glyenhoolahay in anything because that guy cracks me up.

      turkey wasnt part of the persian empire and in the end who really cares, its not a historically accurate movie, its a game movie and thus subject to the game's styling and the protaganist looks like the prince so who cares.

    i was so frustrated when i saw the actors who were cast in The Last Airbender. Whitewashing has been going on for years, and I can only hope that Hollywood wakes up and does something to change it soon.

    lol, its based on a videogame... how dare they not have cgi characters playing the lead roles. blasphime

    Went to a preview showing of this on Monday, and I was pleasantly surprised. Probably the best videogame -> movie conversion I've ever seen, and will be for some time. Its light hearted, doesn't take itself too seriously and is good entertainment.

    I understand that everyone doesn't think this is very serious because:

    a) it's based on a game and/or a country that doesn't exist anymore.


    b) it's happened in lots of other movies.

    But none of that changes the fact the blogger is absolutely right. It's a total whitewash. The studio has chosen to cast a caucasian actor in a role that without a doubt should have gone to an actor of middle eastern appearance.

    Can't we just fess up and say, yes, it does seem off that movie studios don't trust us enough to cast an unknown actor of the correct ethnicity in case too many of us choose not to see the film based on that.

    This is really kind of a bad thing, both for the culture of film and for non caucasian actors hoping to catch a break with potentially ethnic focussed roles.

      The only thing that should come into consideration when casting for a movie is talent. If an actor can make us believe they are the character they portray I don't think their nationality should matter at all. I wonder whether the issue would have drawn even a fraction of this attention if all the cast were merely British or Australian instead, or if it's just another window into anti-American hyperbole (which, I have to admit, I freely indulge in myself when I think it is warranted).

      If the characters in question espoused some negative stereotype of an ethnic peoples then there would certainly be an issue here, but it doesn't. The only real crime is perhaps not giving an opportunity to some lesser-known actors from around the world to truly showcase their talent.

    This movie is no good. Don't give it money.

    I really don't care waht race people are in a movie as long as they are good actors.

    Anyone who knows a bit about ancient Persian history, knows that the early peoples of that region were the earliest Caucasoids. Genetic and archeological evidence, support that the region around the Iranian plateau, and through the lower Caucauses, was the region of Caucasoid evolution.

    If you do a little bit of googling, you'll find a some images of busts, in which the Greeks created, that obviously have features, similar to the Northwestern Europeans. There is an excellent illustration on a particular Darius Vase, that clearly shows a group of 'White' looking Persians of royalty. The reliefs at Persopolis, depict King Cyrus as having blue eyes. The Greek Herodotus, describes tall, blue eyed, blonde haired Persian woman. Really, there is more evidence to prove that the ancient Iranians were primary Caucasoid, then any almost any other population of that time (with the exception of Greeks and Romans, of course).

    It wasn't until the Arab and mongol invasions, that physical features faded from the Persian population. The movie has not 'whitewashed' Ancient Persians. Ironically here, a more legitimate criticism, would have been that the cast wasn't quite Nordic enough.

    I just saw the movie and its okay for a Disney movie, but the story line is wrong the names r wrong and the prince isn't suposed to have a name.

    I mean if you're gonna make a movie based off of something whether it be comics, books, history, etc., then stick to what actually happened instead of rewritting everything which is what Disney is most notable for.

    Most people dont know this but disney approached J.R.R. Tolken about the rights for making the Lord of The Rings movies and he said no because of how they treated his favorite book treasure island and destroied the original story line, which is what i feel they've done to this game.

    They've taken a really interesting inovative story and tried to repeat what they've already done with Pirates of the Caribian.

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