From The BVX — Some African Americans are up in arms over Angelina Jolie being cast in the role of the Egyptian queen Cleopatra.* But this isn’t the first time Hollywood has put white actors in roles meant for minorities. Check out some of the biggest casting fails in the history of American cinema below.
To be fair there’s not enough evidence of Queen of the Nile’s ethnicity to prove that she would be considered black by today’s standards or even “white” for that matter, but Jolie’s casting begs the question “if you’re not sure why couldn’t a black woman play the role?” Here’s our short list of some of most suspect castings in film history.
Pacino’s Ethnicity: Italian American
Montana’s Ethnicity: Cuban
Synopsis: Pacino had everyone fooled as Tony Montana in the cult classic film “Scarface.” His accent was spot on, his movements were distinct and when you tell people that Pacino doesn’t have an ounce of Cuban blood in his body, you’ll often get the “GTFOH” look.
Jolie’s Ethnicity: Czechoslovakian/German/French Canadian
Pearl’s Ethnicity: Dutch/Afro-Chinese-Cuban
Synopsis: There are a lot of identities between Pearl and Jolie but still no match. Yet, somehow Hollywood anointed Jolie as the most believable option to portray Pearl’s darker skinned features. Perhaps because nobody can figure out exactly what Jolie’s race is without numerous sub-headings, that Hollywood figured we’d miss the color mismatch. Ultimately, the real Pearl suggested that Jolie play her so we can’t be that mad.
Caviezel’s Ethnicity: Swiss/Irish/Slovak
Jesus’ Ethnicity: Racially Ambiguous (but with hair of wool and feet of brass, so we’ll guess he was a bit brown)
Synopsis: For years, Jesus has been portrayed as a Caucasian man who more often than not resembles a rocker from the grunge era. Maybe one day Morgan Freeman will play Jesus. Wishful thinking.
Dastan’s Ethnicity: Persian (duh)
Synopsis: Apparently, it doesn’t matter if the prince is Persian, because the actor isn’t. The name of the movie should have been the Prince of Sweden.
Leguizamo’s Ethnicity: Puerto Rican/Columbian
Luigi’s Ethnicity: Italian
Synopsis: Aside from it being a lousy adaptation of one of the most significant video games of all time, casting Leguizamo as Luigi was simply ridiculous. When was the last time you met a Puerto Rican plumber named Luigi? Seriously.