Like I feel like tumblr’s reaction to this is so… based outside of the reality of things. People chose to frame the argument as “a cis person is playing a trans person” but they ignore several things:
First of all, Dallas Buyers Club is an indie film with a $5 million dollar budget, and an even smaller marketing budget.
Let me put this in context… To advertise “The Avengers”, Disney paid an estimated $4 million for the 30-second spot during the Superbowl. That is how TINY Dallas Buyers Club’s budget was. More context: Daniel Radcliffe earned $20 million for the final Harry Potter installment. Just him. One actor.
In comparison, ”12 Years a Slave” had a $20 million budget and also had a stellar cast of famous people both black and white.
So let’s establish the objective reality that “Dallas” simply don’t have the money to promote this movie aggressively.
Second, it’s not a comedy or an action film, so it’s either going Oscar or broke in the first place, but to get Oscar consideration, they need the “Oscar buzz”. Essentially the film had to rely on the established fan bases of big name stars and the gossip their fame generates in order to be talked about on the internet or in mainstream media. Every time some gossip mag writes an article on Jared or Matthew, they are likely to add “Jared Leto is currently filming ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ in ____ with___” and that generates interest, like people will go online and google “Dallas Buyers Club” and even if they might not be interested in the first place, they might be curious and learn about the people in the movie just by reading the summary.
Because the reality is that this story is little known, and the majority of people aren’t interested in indie films. For example, my movie budget for an entire year is $100, and a movie is about $10~$13 dollars a ticket depending on if I’m seeing it in 3D or not. That’s about 9/10 movies max in one year… and “Dallas Buyers Club” STILL didn’t make that list. (Might buy it from google play tho if it doesn’t end up on netflix, I’d feel dirty pirating 12 Years a Slave and/or Dallas Buyers Club)
Now my family is pretty well off, solid middle class, no kids yet, so we can afford to set aside $100 just to see movies on top of everything else we want to do (vacationing every year in or out of the country, eating out, saving up for a baby, house renovations, bags shoes makeup etc) Not every other family has this kind of luxury if they don’t place “going to movies” that high on their list of entertainments. With the economy the way they are, maybe they’ll go and see 3~4 blockbusters a year, that’s it. You can’t expect a person to pay $10 out of pocket to see a movie they otherwise have no interest in.
They might go see this movie if they are a fan of McConaughey or Leto, and if someone less famous is casted for it, they simply don’t see the point in paying money to see it. Maybe they’ll pirate it when they saw it nominated for an Oscar, maybe not even that.
It doesn’t make that person cis scum or transphobic or w/e. That person might be supportive of LGBT issues and votes accordingly, they just simply don’t and shouldn’t have to shell out money to see a movie about an issue that they might not hold so close to their hearts.
Now, there’s a real issue of an indie movie maker putting in $5 million dollars in a movie and not have it gross more than the budget.
So their only target audience without the stars involved is 2 kinds of people:
- people who cares about AIDS/LGBTQ issues enough to shell out the money to see it.
- True film fans who will see movies at film festivals or whatever is generating buzz on Rotten Tomatoes or w/e.
By casting already famous “stars” they are accessing a third target audience: fans of said “stars”.
People need a earn a living.
Content Creators need to not only earn a living but build capital for their next project.
Just because they are “artists” doesn’t mean they have to adhere to a “moral high ground” according to tumblr sjw and then earn barely scraps to get by.
Before anyone say “they could have did _____ and still earned money”… let me tell you a wise Chinese meme that basically means “it’s easier to criticize the swimming technique of a drowning man when you are sitting on the shore”
If the content creator had casted some little known actors: a male lead with AIDS, a transgender person for the supporting role… etc, but the movie didn’t do as well financially because of the lack of exposure, the critics are not the one bearing the financial responsibilities.
In fact, Matthew McConaughey was paid an upfront fee in the low six figures (under $200,000) and I can only imagine Jared Leto earned way, way less. If you consider the publicity they bring to the film, budgetary wise, the movie is actually earning money by casting those two because they are getting back more than they paid the two in publicity well before awards season. The film gets free publicity and the actor takes a pay-cut to participate in a film that will better their career, it’s a mutually beneficial situation.
Sometimes casting decision is not based on talent.
Sometimes a casting decision is based on a complex equation of talent, connections with the right people, and the math of the monetary reward of their fame converted to publicity.
Nobody should be saying “trans actors/actresses are just not as talented.” No. You asshole. Stop.
However, nobody should be trying to justify casting decisions only based on an argument of talent when the reality is that it’s much more complicated than that.
If the director had a choice of two actors wanting the part.
One actor is talented enough for the part and super famous, he will get invites to all the talk shows to promote the film, all the gossip papers will follow him while he’s doing the film, his fans will pay money to see the film.
One actor is just as, if not more talented. And for whatever life experiences, more fitting for the part, but nobody outside of a certain circle knows about him.
If I was a small time filmmaker and wanted a film made, after having to suck a dozen dicks (figuratively speaking… or literally, who the fuck knows) to scrape together five million dollars, I would chose the famous actor in a heartbeat.
The financial risk is exactly why television are way ahead of film in terms of representation and inclusion of social minorities in leading roles. It’s way cheaper to produce TV shows, and they could introduce a __whatever__ character, and if ratings drop, they have the option of writing the character off, if rating stays, they keep the character and the character develops. If it wasn’t from the get go, it gets cancelled. Shows get cancelled every season, networks recover, but it’s harder for smaller film production companies to bounce back from a loss, while larger film companies are risk averse because they have shareholders. Television also benefits from getting feedback in real time and can attempt to take risks and innovate from season to season.
Financial risk is the reason we’ve seen Disney Channel create a strong black female lead (that’s so raven) before they ever created a black princess movie.
Financial risk is the reason we’ve seen Disney Channel debut their first-ever lesbian couple but we probably won’t see queer representation never mind a lead in a Disney film.
I really find the complete lack of understanding of financial risk extremely toxic to any kind of productive dialogue…
Like if sjw want representation, then reblog all the shows with GOOD REPRESENTATION. WATCH IT ON TV AND DON’T FUCKING PIRATE IT (unless you are in like Australia or something, in which case buy the damn DVD. If the issue is important enough for you, you should be able to budget a monetary support somehow. It’s easy for anyone with a keyboard to say they support this and that, and harder to actually donate to the cause). Support indie film makers as in see their films with actual money. SUPPORT KICKSTARTERS. No matter how much everyone whines on the internet, if there’s no money to be made, it’s not getting made.
I will never understand sjw who complains about poor representation and then turns around and pirate a show or movie that is diverse. If you don’t have cable, fine, but if you are a “nielsen family” (it means the cable counts what you watch), watch the damn thing or stream the show (which is free!) from the ACTUAL NETWORK’S WEBSITE.
You are on tumblr, so clearly you have internet access, SHOW content producers your support when they are doing something right!
But none of the sjw blogs I’ve came across ever talks about stuff like that, all they do is whine or distort the context of the representation they do have, or trivialize the role and then say it’s not enough.
Example, in Agents of SHIELD, the main character Skye is played by a mixed race actress, Chinese and some shade of white. The sjw loves to either conveniently ignore that or say the show never talks about her being part Chinese.
However, in the episode that reveals her background, she was explicitly told that she was discovered in a village in China, her heritage is not paraded around like that’s all she is, it came up when it was relevant to the story, and Culson and May didn’t make a big deal out of it. May didn’t go like “so I guess we are both Chinese”, and Skye wasn’t suddenly shown as something “exotic” and “foreign”. She is still Skye.
Or when it was revealed on Arrow that Black Canary is bi. Nobody batted a lash and treated her differently, she never came out and said “I’m bi”, nor did she have to explain to the other characters that she’s not “suddenly a lesbian”.
I’ve seen sjw talk about the show “Almost Human” and how Dorian is a “sidekick”… like he’s a main fucking character okay?! It’s possible to have two main characters okay?! Stop fucking invalidating Dorian’s importance in the series/plot by saying he’s a “sidekick” because he’s a fucking main character okay? (also he’s a cute bb and you should watch the show.)
Oh my God, thank you so much. All these thoughts have been bouncing around my brain for days.