With diversity in the movies still its hottest topic, Tim Burton has been grilled on why his latest movie, ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’, features almost entirely white actors.
Aside from the inclusion of Samuel L. Jackson as the villain character Barron, the casting is notable for its lack of diversity.
Asked about the move, Burton told Bustle: “Nowadays, people are talking about it more.
“Things either call for things, or they don’t. I remember back when I was a child watching ‘The Brady Bunch’ and they started to get all politically correct. Like, OK, let’s have an Asian child and a black.
“I used to get more offended by that than just… I grew up watching blaxploitation movies, right?
“And I said, that’s great. I didn’t go like, OK, there should be more white people in these movies.”
Now a backlash has erupted over his comments, many calling out the director for his excuses.
To be fair, Tim Burton usually only casts the same three people over and over again, so he's not even diverse in the white people he hires.
— Valentina Cano (@valca85) September 29, 2016
No one is asking #TimBurton to force diversity into his movies but the mere fact that he can't picture a diverse cast w/o it being forced? ????
— Kyra Sims (@lilymischief) September 30, 2016
For Tim Burton, diversity is casting someone besides Johnny Depp.
— Ben Schwartz (@benschwartzy) September 30, 2016
— Hanna Flint (@HannaFlint) September 30, 2016
Tim Burton has an incredible diversity record. Actors in his films range from alabaster to porcelain
— Julie Klausner (@julieklausner) September 29, 2016
yes Tim Burton you are right political correctness destroyed the high quality television program The Brady Bunch https://t.co/eKPXL9CfXw
— Saladin Ahmed (@saladinahmed) September 30, 2016
Others were less sympathetic, however:
Oh look, people are upset that Tim Burton doesn't forcibly insert racial stereotypes into his films just to pander to millenials.
— Pepe the Frog (@YTM1staWu1fy) September 29, 2016
All Tim burton is saying is that he hires people and likes people for their talent, not just because they're a certain race
— *which witch* (@BadMonkeysClub) September 29, 2016
Just to make things additionally awkward, Jackson was also asked about what he thought of the racial profile of the film, admitting that he had ‘noticed it’.
“I had to go back in my head and go, how many black characters have been in Tim Burton movies?” Jackson added.
“And I may have been the first, I don’t know, or the most prominent in that particular way, but it happens the way it happens.
“I don’t think it’s any fault of his or his method of storytelling, it’s just how it’s played out. Tim’s a really great guy.”
Jackson and Burton’s detractors have a point, however. There is a distinct lack of the non-caucasian in Burton’s 36 movies, with Jackson as the first black man in one of his leading roles.
Elsewhere, Billy Dee Williams played Harvey Dent in ‘Batman’, while Michael Clarke Duncan was Colonel Attar in his take on ‘Planet of the Apes’, but both were supporting roles.
Image credits: Fox/PA