Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What colour is your hobbit?

I have not read any of the Lord of the Rings books or anything to do with The Hobbit. I have not seen any of those films featuring hobbits, it is not my kind of thing. However, this news story did attract my attention though! A British woman of Pakistani origin was reportedly turned away from auditions for Lord of the Rings prequel The Hobbit in New Zealand on the basis that she was not white enough.

Naz Humphreys, who is 5ft tall, had travelled to Hamilton from Auckland last Tuesday in the hope of securing an extra role on Peter Jackson's forthcoming two-part adaptation of JRR Tolkien's classic fantasy tale. However, according to the Waikato Times, she was told after a three-hour wait that her skin tone made it unlikely she would be cast. According to the Waikato Times , a video shows a film company representative telling the crowd: "We are looking for light-skinned people. I'm not trying to be – whatever. It's just the brief. You've got to look like a hobbit."

A spokesman for the film-maker's company, Wingnut Films, said the offending crew member, an independent contractor, had been sacked. The member of staff had placed an advertisement in a local newspaper specifying female hobbit extras "with light skin tones" and had also been responsible for informing Ms Humphreys that she did not fit the bill.

...Okay, so how am I going to pitch my comment on this story? Well, Naz Humphreys can't you read? The advertisement clearly stated "with light skin tones" - clearly you are not pale skinned. She was taking the piss by turning up and was wasting her time. She was simply wrong to turn up for these auditions as the casting contractor was looking for a certain look. I agree with the 48 comments already posted on the Waikato Times website. These people have their sense of perspective just right, this is not a case of discrimination or racism but a simple artistic casting decision. Mark writes at 09:11 am on Nov 29 2010...

Wouldn't a small, imobile, homogenous comunity tend to contain individuals who bore broadly similar racial characteristics? A medeival english village would presumably have contained only fair skinned people, and isn't it fair to asume that being broadly similar in terms of technology and transport, and being notoriously shy of travel, a hobbit village would be equally homogenous? not to say that hobbits shouldn't be darker skinned, but in the interest of plausibility and integrety, if they were then they should ALL be darker skinned.

...I feel that Naz Humphreys was wrong to turn up for these auditions and that she should not be playing the race card. I think the casting director was doing his job right by trying to get the hired extras to look the part as portrayed in the books. The independent contractor should not have been sacked and he should be re-instated without loss of pay. He was being realistic in holding auditions for extras and should never have lost his job because some woman who was unsuccessful for the right reasons played the race card that other unsuccessful people with light skin tones were unable to play. Let common sense prevail, like the 48 commentators have already posted, and give the casting director his job back. Naz Humphreys - get a life, you silly woman.
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