Wade Mason — so basically you side with Matt Damon, who’s like “Diversity is fine — in the back of the bus where we Big White Hollywood Stars can safely ignore it! Oh, and you gay people? You should really get back in the closet….”
Matthew Monagle’s whole point was “Diversity has to start at the source — the studios.” I’d say (not wanting to put words in his mouth) that it has to start with studio executives not using the “It’s what sells” excuse for why they always cast the same handful of White Guys (and the occasional Token Black like Denzel Washington or Samuel L. Jackson) in major roles, with women mostly in support. It’s the reason Scarlett Johansson got this part rather than a Black Widow solo movie, despite having proven she could open an action blockbuster with Lucy, and make it into a major hit (nearly a half-billion dollars on a $40 million budget!).
Maybe it’s easier for a middle-budget feature (geez, to think $40 million is considered “middle-budget” for mainstream movies!) to take a risk by casting with more diversity — Marvel, after all, has to answer to Disney if the Black Widow solo movie turns out to be their first serious flop. On the other hand, Marvel’s shown a surprisingly canny touch when it comes to balancing formula and risk — angry as I am at a White Woman playing a role written for an Asian man (in the comics The Ancient One comes from “Kamar-Taj, a Hidden Land High in the Himalayas” — I guess fictional countries are too close to Tibet for China to be comfortable, which lets out Yet Another Remake of Lost Horizon!), Benedict Wong’s portrayal of Wong is written as more mentor than servant unlike in the comics.
I’d feel better about supposed “color-blind casting” if it more often worked the other way — as it did when Marvel cast Idris Elba as Heimdall in the Thor movies. I get Paramount’s scared their Ghost in the Shell movie won’t open big, so they’re playing it safe casting one of the few women who’s proven she can open an action movie — that she happens to be White is unfortunate, but by their lights there ya go, right?! If their gamble succeeds then it reinforces the stereotype that The Best Asian Stars Are Caucasian — if it fails? Then it reinforces the stereotype that Women Can’t Open Big Blockbuster Movies, so sorry Black Widow and Wonder Woman!
At this point, it all starts to feel like Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump, only at the multiplex rather than the ballot box….