Cutting All the White People Out of Many Hollywood Films Makes Them Under A Minute Long

the cast of into the woods

The cast of Disney film Into the Woods all has something in common. Photos via.

So often, I get to the end of a movie and then think, “Yep. That film was entirely white people."

Actor and writer Dylan Marron is doing a project that helps make the lack of people of color on-screen clear: He’s editing down Hollywood films to be just lines spoken by people of color. Often, the resulting videos wind up being 10-60 seconds long.

Marron’s cut of Her, for example, is just 46 seconds long.

His cut of The Fault in Our Stars is 41 seconds and includes only one actress.

Meanwhile, Moonrise Kingdom and Into the Woods clock in at 10 seconds. 

The videos, posted on the Tumblr Every Single Word, speak to a problem that’s well-known and documented, though rarely in such a striking way.  In 2013, the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism analyzed speaking roles in 500 top-grossing films released from 2007 to 2012. All together, the study looked at 20,000 characters. The results are clear: whiteness dominates the screen. Roughly 75 percent of all speaking characters are white—only 10.8 percent of speaking characters are Black, 4.2 percent are Hispanic, 5 percent are Asian, and 3.6 percent are from other (or mixed race) ethnicities.  Clearly, Hollywood is missing the mark here—and they’re also ignoring audience demographics. While only 25 percent of speaking roles go to people of color, 44 percent of movie tickets in the US are bought by people of color.

h/t to The Mary Sue

by Sarah Mirk
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Sarah Mirk is Bitch Media's online editor. She's interested in gender, history, comics, and talking to strangers. You can follow her on Twitter

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16 Comments Have Been Posted

wow.

Let's deliberately point out films with white history casting roles of white people... Yeah, that in itself; is racist. What about the princess bride? What about Zorro? What about fool's gold? All have major roles... Played by people of 'color' . Grow up.

wow.

Let's deliberately point out films with white history casting roles of white people... Yeah, that in itself; is racist. What about the princess bride? What about Zorro? What about fool's gold? All have major roles... Played by people of 'color' . Grow up.

Into the Woods

Into the Woods didn't "clock in at 10 seconds." It had literally nothing.

Into the Woods

Into the Woods didn't "clock in at 10 seconds." It had literally nothing.

This is an interesting

This is an interesting experiment. It doesn't get to the root of a problem, but it does point out the fact that minorities aren't represented in popular film. The fact that the article mentions people of color make up 44% of the audience adds an interesting layer to the story though.

Why doesn't this 44% of of the audience support films featuring people of color? If there were support for movies featuring people of color in prominent roles, then there would be more movies featuring people of color in prominent roles. You can't sell the people something they're not buying. It's as simple as that.

Hollywood is a business. And the goal of business is to make money. How well did Dope perform in the box office, or Selma or Black or White or Focus?

This is an interesting

This is an interesting experiment. It doesn't get to the root of a problem, but it does point out the fact that minorities aren't represented in popular film. The fact that the article mentions people of color make up 44% of the audience adds an interesting layer to the story though.

Why doesn't this 44% of of the audience support films featuring people of color? If there were support for movies featuring people of color in prominent roles, then there would be more movies featuring people of color in prominent roles. You can't sell the people something they're not buying. It's as simple as that.

Hollywood is a business. And the goal of business is to make money. How well did Dope perform in the box office, or Selma or Black or White or Focus?

What about FF7? 3rd biggest

What about FF7? 3rd biggest movie of the year, extremely diverse cast. Even Transformers: Age of Extinction did extremely well over seas, making over $1 billion last year with a partially Asian cast. And of course, Minions is all about characters of color.

What about FF7? 3rd biggest

What about FF7? 3rd biggest movie of the year, extremely diverse cast. Even Transformers: Age of Extinction did extremely well over seas, making over $1 billion last year with a partially Asian cast. And of course, Minions is all about characters of color.

Good idea - questionable selections

The project is great for adding visceral impact to the common complaint that Hollywood films too often structure stories around all white enclaves and/or exclude non-white actors from roles that have no logical requirement to be cast white.

However, the selection of "Into the Woods" undercuts the message. A film based entirely on European folk tales is using an all white cast? That's notable why? Sondheim's strength as a writer is that the topic and themes of his works are universal and do not depend on his personal background as an educated, financially well off white guy. So it is notable that Sondheim all too often chooses story settings from upper middle class white culture. While he may deserve a poke for that, including Woods still weakens the case with observers.

To a lesser degree, so does the inclusion of Moonrise Kingdom. Wes Anderson's films do come organically from his personal experience and the the mostly white alternative culture that he swims in. But since he seems to want to reach viewers outside his own pond, the criticism is valid that he could do more to include a broader mix of characters.

My point is that the message of the project is accurate and necessary - but it distracts if the artist appears to be picking on works that by their nature will be primarily or entirely cast with white skinned actors. There are oh so many films out there that have no logical reason to not be more diverse. I hope this line up is not representative of the full project.

Good idea - questionable selections

The project is great for adding visceral impact to the common complaint that Hollywood films too often structure stories around all white enclaves and/or exclude non-white actors from roles that have no logical requirement to be cast white.

However, the selection of "Into the Woods" undercuts the message. A film based entirely on European folk tales is using an all white cast? That's notable why? Sondheim's strength as a writer is that the topic and themes of his works are universal and do not depend on his personal background as an educated, financially well off white guy. So it is notable that Sondheim all too often chooses story settings from upper middle class white culture. While he may deserve a poke for that, including Woods still weakens the case with observers.

To a lesser degree, so does the inclusion of Moonrise Kingdom. Wes Anderson's films do come organically from his personal experience and the the mostly white alternative culture that he swims in. But since he seems to want to reach viewers outside his own pond, the criticism is valid that he could do more to include a broader mix of characters.

My point is that the message of the project is accurate and necessary - but it distracts if the artist appears to be picking on works that by their nature will be primarily or entirely cast with white skinned actors. There are oh so many films out there that have no logical reason to not be more diverse. I hope this line up is not representative of the full project.

Just saying

To all those that are saying "What about [insert film]?" remember that those films are no where near representative enough of the many diverse cultures out there. For every Zorro there's 300 300s, where Greeks are played by Brits and the villain is a Persian that's blacker than an eclipse. Hell look at what's currently playing: Ant-Man has 3 characters of colour in the whole thing and they're all stereotypes. Inside Out is an animated film where Joy is represented as a white girl inside a white girl's head and all the voice actors are white. Paper Towns is the same as TFIOS, Trainwreck's 3 white people, Magic Mike XXL has like, 2 black people in it I think? Haven't seen it. Jurassic World's 2 white people and dinosaurs. Hopefully I've made my point here but I do want to clarify that most of these movies are probably really good, I'm not saying anything against the films but it probably wouldn't have hurt to cast a couple more people of colour.

Just saying

To all those that are saying "What about [insert film]?" remember that those films are no where near representative enough of the many diverse cultures out there. For every Zorro there's 300 300s, where Greeks are played by Brits and the villain is a Persian that's blacker than an eclipse. Hell look at what's currently playing: Ant-Man has 3 characters of colour in the whole thing and they're all stereotypes. Inside Out is an animated film where Joy is represented as a white girl inside a white girl's head and all the voice actors are white. Paper Towns is the same as TFIOS, Trainwreck's 3 white people, Magic Mike XXL has like, 2 black people in it I think? Haven't seen it. Jurassic World's 2 white people and dinosaurs. Hopefully I've made my point here but I do want to clarify that most of these movies are probably really good, I'm not saying anything against the films but it probably wouldn't have hurt to cast a couple more people of colour.

One of those characters in

One of those characters in Ant-Man is an Avenger, not a "stereotype". One of those voices in Riley's head in Inside Out is Mindy Kaling. Get your facts straight before you talk about movies.

One of those characters in

One of those characters in Ant-Man is an Avenger, not a "stereotype". One of those voices in Riley's head in Inside Out is Mindy Kaling. Get your facts straight before you talk about movies.

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