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Sparrowhawk, the protagonist in Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea novels has brown skin. Most of the people living in the archipelago world of Earthsea range in skin tone from black to tan. The only white people are the Kargs, brutal Viking-like raiders from the north. Publishers and illustrators have repeatedly whitened Sparrowhawk up for the covers of the novels. The Sci Fi channel has continued that tradition by casting pretty white boy, Shawn Ashmore (he played Iceman in the X-Men movies) as Sparrowhawk in their upcoming Earthsea mini-series.

I'm generally not one to get all bent out of shape over racial issues like this one, but for some reason it bugs me on this occasion.

http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/art-main.html?2004-04/05/16.00.film

Comments

amonynous
Apr. 6th, 2004 06:27 am (UTC)
I always thought of Ged as having skin color like a Samoan or Pacific Islander, but they are obviously not the target market.
kmo
Apr. 8th, 2004 08:11 am (UTC)
Ged as a Samoan or Pacific Islander
Can you think of an actor who fits your mental image for Ged?

So far, the only person to come to mind for me is the Rock minus about 80 pounds. Or maybe Cliff Curtis. He played the absentee father of the main character in Whale Rider.
amonynous
Apr. 12th, 2004 05:58 am (UTC)
Re: Ged as a Samoan or Pacific Islander
No one comes to mind off the top of my head, but that may be because my mental image of Ged is hazy, as it has been a long time since I read the books. Or possibly because I don't watch much TV or see many movies nowadays, it is hard to think of many actors.
Cliff Curtis looks like he might fit the bill though, I dunno about the Rock on a diet though.
I hope they do a good job with the mini-series.
kmo
Apr. 12th, 2004 06:25 am (UTC)
Re: Ged as a Samoan or Pacific Islander
No one comes to mind off the top of my head, but that may be because my mental image of Ged is hazy, as it has been a long time since I read the books.

It could also result from the fact that there are very few actors working in English-language film and tv that have that particular skin tone. Blacks have broken thru the Hollywood color barrier (rappers in particular) as have a few asians, but the Pacific Islanders, Indians, and Middle Eastern actors have yet to follow them into mainstream consciousness.

Most likely, anyone the Sci Fi network cast in the role of Ged who actually looked the part would be an unknown actor, and they can better promote the series with a known name and face in the central role. (Still, unknowns break out every year. Who'd ever heard of Mark Hamil or Harrison Ford before Star Wars?)

I hope they do a good job with the mini-series.

Me too.

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