Friday, August 21, 2015

Every Single Word Spoken - Dylan Marron Calls Out Hollywood's Casting Diversity Issues

Every Single Word creator Dylan Marron
It's one thing to talk or write about the appalling lack of cultural diversity in mainstream Hollywood film roles in terms of casting, but without a doubt artist Dylan Marron has come up with one of the funniest and most effective ways to illustrate it with wit and clarity.

While I will occasionally suggest, I do my best not to tell you folks what to do, but if you really want a good laugh, visit Marron's Tumblr page, 'Every Single Word Spoken'.

The premise of Every Single Word is so simple it's brilliant.

Marron goes through different mainstream Hollywood films and he painstakingly edits out only the lines of dialog spoken by non-white actors of color.

Seriously, check out a few of these on YouTube, they're hysterical and also sad.

Like his amazing edit of the entire Harry Potter film series which reveals that people of color speak a total of 5 minutes and 40 seconds out of 1207 minutes of all the films.

Or his brutal 7 second clip of the musical "Into The Woods", or the clip of Woody Allen's highest grossing film, "Midnight in Paris". Priceless.

I was at work on my computer when I first heard about this guy on yesterday's (August 20th) edition of The Leonard Lopate Show and I was literally cracking up in my chair when they played one of the clips; I had to put the sound on mute when someone came into the office.

Marron (pictured above), who is bi-racial, was born in Venezuela and grew up in New York.

He's been acting, performing and writing for years, but he just started posting the videos on YouTube back in June as a way to channel his frustration over the difficulty he faces getting cast for rolls because of his ethnicity - and it's quickly earned him a global recognition. 

While the videos are funny, it's wicked sharp social commentary on race as well and Marron is remarkably insightful on the subject.

As in this observation he shared with Mahita Gajanan in an interview in the The Guardian back on July 8th:

“When you have people of color as protagonists, the story is about their color. With white people, it’s never about their whiteness.”

Think about that for a moment. Just reflect on some of the white characters you've seen in movies you've watched lately; can you think of one where the character was essentially about their being white?

The only thing that comes to mind to me would be Woody Harrelson's character Billy Hoyle in the hysterical 1992 hit comedy "White Men Can't Jump" directed by Ron Shelton that also featured Wesley Snipes as Sidney Deane.

Or maybe Rod Steiger's small-town southern sheriff character in the 1967 classic crime drama directed by Norman Jewison, "In The Heat of the Night" with Sidney Poitier.

But even in both those cases, the character's race was only one aspect of a complex multidimensional role.

But regardless, I think it's really cool to see a talented young artist of color who's relatively low on the Hollywood food chain use humor and insight to generate original media content that educates in a way that's not preachy, entertains and brings attention to an issue that's extremely important in a multicultural society like America.

Marron is rapidly gaining a huge following on social media and and The Washington Post are just a sampling of the media interviews he's done in recent weeks; I've unplugged from cable but if hasn't yet been on one of the network late night talk shows, I'd be surprised.

Seriously, 'Every Single Word Spoken' could be a really funny half-hour weekly comedy variety show on Comedy Channel, HBO or one of the OTTP digital streaming services like Netflix if the right executive had the balls to put it on.

Anyway, go to Youtube and check out some of Dylan Marron's work when you get a chance before he blows up and goes mainstream.

In this case, truth truly is funnier than fiction and knowing Hollywood executives are watching some of these clips and squirming uncomfortably makes it all the funnier. 

No comments: