Jordan Peele Is Okay With Not Casting White Leads And We Should Be Too!

Jordan Peele film Lupita Nyong'o Us 2019

I noticed some online chatter regarding what Jordan Peele said in an interview about not wanting to cast white leads in his films. Of course, due to the internet being how it is, there was a lot of misplaced anger for a single quote. I decided to read the entire interview, and you know what? I agree with Peele.

The quote in particular, by Us director Jordan Peele, is “I don’t see myself casting a white dude as the lead in my movie.”

As far as my opinion is concerned, I don’t see anything wrong with what he said. There are countless movies with white leads, and if Peele doesn’t want to cast a white male lead actor for his films, what is the harm in that?

It isn’t like he is taking away opportunities from Hollywood, an industry which continues to prefer white leads.

Peele’s decision opens doors for more diversity on the big screen, and that is a good thing.

Anyway, here is some context for the interview he did with THR:

“The way I look at it,” he explained, “I get to cast black people in my movies. I feel fortunate to be in this position where I can say to Universal, ‘I want to make a $20 million horror movie with a black family.’ And they say yes.”

It’s a formula he’s not interested in messing with.

“I don’t see myself casting a white dude as the lead in my movie. Not that I don’t like white dudes,” he said, nodding over to his moderator pal Roberts. “But I’ve seen that movie.” The line drew loud applause and shouts of agreement. “It really is one of the best, greatest pieces of this story, is feeling like we are in this time — a renaissance has happened and proved the myths about representation in the industry are false.”

Again, why would you think what he said is wrong?

Peele’s movies still have white actors. So, it isn’t like he is against working with them. I guess certain white people are just angry about being treated the way Hollywood has been treating minorities since the beginning.

However, even then, what Peele is doing doesn’t compare to what Hollywood has done (and continues to do) as far as whitewashing and preferring white talent is concerned. So, again, why are certain people so angry about his words?

I get that everyone wants a level playing field. But in order to create such fairness, the minorities need to come closer to the level white people have attained and enjoyed in movies.

Once a balance has been struck, then we can talk about always casting the right actors in the rights roles. Until then, Peele continuing to make movies which put POC actors in the forefront is an amazing effort which, hopefully, the rest of Hollywood will follow.

Feel free to share your thoughts with us.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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