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A very thoughtful article about the casting choices in Star Trek Into Darkness

Washburn

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 6

Report this Jun. 03 2013, 10:00 pm

Is it established anywhere that Khan was actually a practicing Sikh?  And if he is a practicing Sikh, where is his dastar? His beard?   I realize that McGyvers said he was "probably a Sikh" but that doesn't make him one. In STID Kahn's "terrorism" had nothing to do with religion or even political ideas. He just wanted to kill Marcus for killing his "family". 


 

Somniac

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 462

Report this Jun. 04 2013, 8:38 am

Quote: Catholic.Fan @ Jun. 01 2013, 8:00 pm

>

>Actually, it's been put forth several times in this thread that those who do not see the premise put forth are either ignorant, stubborn, or blind (paraphrasing here).  It's also been suggested that everyone should, to some extent, be upset about said racism, and therefore like the film just that much less (if they enjoyed it to begin with).  Some members have even gone so far as to say one is complicit in racism if one attempts to deny or obfuscate the (alleged) truth of the racism in the film.  Ergo, if you liked the film completely as-is, weren't bothered by the recasting of Khan, or don't really care enough to get upset at any of this, you're some sort of racist.  

>Frankly, even with all the stuff I've said about the racism (both for and against), I think that's a crock.  While it's important that some people acknowledge and advocate for issues such as these, there's something to be said for the fact that this is merely entertainment.  Given, there is clearly discrimination occurring in a workplace (the movie studio), but at the end of the day, that's as far as this really goes.  We attach a certain fervor to Hollywood discrimination because there's so much attention given to it, but it's really just people working (though some for outrageous money).  You should be bothered this no more or no less than work-place discrimination anywhere else in the country, and if you're truly going to become an advocate, worry less about artists fighting for big-time Hollywood roles and maybe a bit more about discrimination in your local neighborhoods where you can actually do something about this.  If anyone reading this thread wants to know where they should put their internet angst into action, it's not reading some blog article, it's not signing a petition, and it's not even boycotting a movie.  That's all pretty useless stuff.  If you're going to boycott the movie, take that $10 you were going to spend (more if you're a concession addict like myself), and go give the money to a local food shelter.  Better yet, take the two hours you were going to sit parked in a dark theater staring at a screen and go volunteer at a soup kitchen for a while.  

>The internet is a great thing, but if people put all the energy they spend getting worked up on message board arguments into real world action, things like work-place discrimination would likely be much less of a problem in the world today.  I'm not saying people should love the movie (or hate it), but if you're going to get all up in virtual arms, put your money and time where your virtual mouth is, and go out and do some actual good for the world.

>


This could be said of any discussion about anything. 


This could be said of the Internet as a whole. This approach gets us nowhere.


Discussion about the issue has got to be good.


What other people think of you is none of your business.

Somniac

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 462

Report this Jun. 04 2013, 8:41 am

Quote: Washburn @ Jun. 03 2013, 10:00 pm

>

> In STID Kahn's "terrorism" had nothing to do with religion or even political ideas. He just wanted to kill Marcus for killing his "family". 

>


True. 


We have also not really discussed the post 9/11 America and its entertainment industry.


A big factor it seems to me in making Khan recognisably Indian/Sikh/Afghani/whatever.


What other people think of you is none of your business.

fireproof78

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 342

Report this Jun. 04 2013, 8:47 am

Discussion is good, but so often, it seems to me, discussion turns in to arguements, which are not productive. Discussion implies that there is an exchange of ideas, which doesn't always happen here.


 


And honestly, Catholic Fan has a point as does Sominiac. The Internet is great as an exchange of information but the time taken doesn't always make change happen. It can, but, as Sominac said, this could be said of the Internet overall.


I guess I'm just of the opinion that there comes a point where discussion reaches its end and you either doing something or you don't. Like I said, I'm glad others have pointed out issues and contact information.


I don't think think other fans are racist simply because they don't agree.

Somniac

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 462

Report this Jun. 05 2013, 1:03 am

[quote]


I don't think think other fans are racist simply because they don't agree.


[/quote]


Neither do I.


I have interrpreted comments here about racism as referring to the attitudes in the media that are well reflected in STID.


Also there is a difference between being racist and denying it in others.


Isn't there?


Actually now that I've written it, I'm not so sure.


It is all part of the problem


"It only takes one good man to do nothing for evil to flourish"


 


 


What other people think of you is none of your business.

fireproof78

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 342

Report this Jun. 05 2013, 9:37 am

Quote: Somniac @ Jun. 05 2013, 1:03 am

Quote: /view_profile/ @

>

>

>I don't think think other fans are racist simply because they don't agree.

>

Neither do I.

I have interrpreted comments here about racism as referring to the attitudes in the media that are well reflected in STID.

Also there is a difference between being racist and denying it in others.

Isn't there?

Actually now that I've written it, I'm not so sure.

It is all part of the problem

"It only takes one good man to do nothing for evil to flourish"

 

 


I wish I knew. Like I said before, it hasn't been so cut and dry as smetimes we would think. I mean, its easy to say that something is racist when it is blatant. However, when motivations are not clear, its hard to say what exactly happened.


It might be more of a Hollywood institutionalized thing, and is disappointing that the writers didn't realize what they were doing when casting the role. I took the comments to be a reflection of Abrams and Co racist tendencies, potentially a reflection of Hollywood.


Like I said, contacting the companies is a good start, but I don't think watching the film supports racism somehow.


But, I could be wrong. Like I said, it's not an easy question.

fireproof78

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 342

Report this Jun. 05 2013, 9:52 am

Quote: Washburn @ Jun. 03 2013, 10:00 pm

>

>Is it established anywhere that Khan was actually a practicing Sikh?  And if he is a practicing Sikh, where is his dastar? His beard?   I realize that McGyvers said he was "probably a Sikh" but that doesn't make him one. In STID Kahn's "terrorism" had nothing to do with religion or even political ideas. He just wanted to kill Marcus for killing his "family". 

>


STID Kahn's terrorism is a reflection of Marcus' attitude of victory at any cost. Khan was bringing his point home that such weapons could be used against the Federation and not just the Federation's enemies.


Besides, killing Marcus gave him access to all the weapons he had helped developed, allowing him to become a warlord again.

rocketscientist

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 10054

Report this Jun. 05 2013, 12:12 pm

Here are some answers and quotes from Bob Orci from trekmovie.com in response to questions from fans that pertain to the casting of Khan:


 


boborci said :


““Basically, as we went the casting process and we began honing in on the themes of the movie, it became uncomfortable for me to support demonizing anyone of color, particularly any one of middle eastern descent or anyone evoking that. One of the points of the movie is that we must be careful about the villain within US, not some other race.”


However, he says later, in response to this analysis of his previous answer:


1113. Curious Cadet - May 25, 2013
@1099. boborci,
“it became uncomfortable for me to support demonizing anyone of color, particularly any one of middle eastern descent or anyone evoking that. One of the points of the movie is that we must be careful about the villain within US, not some other race.”


While I respect the politically correct rationale behind this, it appears too easy a cop out.


Marcus is the villain within US. Not Khan. If anything I would think in light of Marcus being one of US, we would want Harrison to


represent what WE do to others, especially ones not like US. Demonstrating how others can be driven to the extremes they take because


of OUR treatment of them.


I’m happy to listen to other interpretations, but isn’t that what Harrison’s role is in this?


In the end, I wish the movie were more ethnically diverse. But it seems that will never be possible as long as the only other major


roles in the film are antagonists for which we must be careful of projecting the wrong impression to an international audience?


Bob Orci:


1113. CC


I think if you know me at all based on everything you can read on this site and others, you know this is not a cop out.


And K’s blood literally ends up within Kirk.


I agree Marcus is the true villain.


I don’t agree with the implication that we were trying to placate an international audience through political correctness."


Ok, first he says that the casting of a white actor was because he was uncomfortable with casting a person of color to suport demonizing them, but then he says it wasn't due to political correctness.  I guess what he is saying that it wasn't due to how it would be perceived overseas but because he didn't want to have yet another terrorist of color (i.e. perceived middle eastern descent).  Ok, I guess, but CC's challenge made sense.  Basically, Orci said both Marcus and Harrison/Khan were "the enemy within."


Personally, I didn't have a problem with Khan's color/race.  After all, Montalban was caucasian.  He was of Spanish descent, not Mexican.  Similarly, Bob Orci remarked on trekmovie.com:


1128. boborci - May 25, 2013
and by the way — when I was a Kid and saw WOK, I had NO IDEA the guy was Indian. NONE at all.


What I did have a problem with, probably my biggest problem with STID (although I loved the film), was that Cumberbatch's Khan bore little resemblance to Montablan's.  He didn't look like M's Khan and he didn't sound like M's Khan.  It's like a totally different character.  There's arrogance, yes, and obsessive hatred and drive, but there's also no humor, no charm, and none of that Khan machismo.  Yes, Cumberbatch's Khan was a killing machine, but he wasn't Khan Noonian Singh at all.  I just don't understand what the producers were doing here.  If you want him to be Khan, then have him act and sound like Khan!  Cumberbatch is a good enough actor.  He could've pulled it off.  Or get someone else.  Or just have Cumberbatch play John Harrison without the Khan reference, which is what Bob Orci wanted all along (Damon Lindelof was the guy who made Harrison be Khan).  Honestly, it felt half-a$$, and I just don't understand the rationale on why that was the case.


  


KHAAAAAAANNNNNN!!!!!

JazzTNG

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 108

Report this Jun. 05 2013, 1:20 pm



This is a classic case of "damned if you do, damned if you don't":


 


If Khan is played by an Indian actor, it will be criticized for being a 'white hero vs. colored villain' film.


If Khan is played by a white actor, it will be criticized for being a whitewash.


 


Of course, the article being referenced on this thread is not being very honest about the character's screen history. Montalban grew up in Mexico but his parents were 1st generation Europeans of Spanish origin. Now we're entering that dreaded, ultimately pointless territory of "is that 'brown' enough?"


The joke is ultimately on the author about Iron Man 3 as well - Shane Black took "racebending.com" to school. Anyone who has seen that film knows how Black & co. took the audience's expectations of what big-screen terroristic villainy looks like and turned them upside-down and inside-out with the Mandarin.


Anyway, I wonder when we will start looking at people as individuals; just as Star Trek has always encouraged. For example, one can watch "Sherlock" and see the extent of Cumberbatch's great acting talent, drawing a logical conclusion that he would be great in just about any role; similarly, one can watch Mystery Street and see the extent of Montalban's great acting talent, drawing the logical conclusion that he would be great in just about any role. It turned out that they were both great Khans.

Will we ever get to the point, as Bob Marley wrote and sang, when "the color of a man's skin is no more significant than the color of his eyes" if folks like those running racebending.com are still obsessed with who belongs to what socially-prescribed racial group based solely on skin color?


So, five-card stud, nothing wild. And the sky's the limit....

Somniac

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 462

Report this Jun. 06 2013, 7:16 am

[quote]


What I did have a problem with, probably my biggest problem with STID (although I loved the film), was that Cumberbatch's Khan bore little resemblance to Montablan's.  He didn't look like M's Khan and he didn't sound like M's Khan.  It's like a totally different character.  There's arrogance, yes, and obsessive hatred and drive, but there's also no humor, no charm, and none of that Khan machismo.  Yes, Cumberbatch's Khan was a killing machine, but he wasn't Khan Noonian Singh at all.  I just don't understand what the producers were doing here.  If you want him to be Khan, then have him act and sound like Khan!  Cumberbatch is a good enough actor.  He could've pulled it off.  Or get someone else.  Or just have Cumberbatch play John Harrison without the Khan reference, which is what Bob Orci wanted all along (Damon Lindelof was the guy who made Harrison be Khan).  Honestly, it felt half-a$$, and I just don't understand the rationale on why that was the case.


  [/quote]


I so agree with this. But for me, the ethnicity issue is part of it.


Nail on the head though mate.


What other people think of you is none of your business.

rocketscientist

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 10054

Report this Jun. 06 2013, 8:06 am

Quote: Somniac @ Jun. 06 2013, 7:16 am

Quote: /view_profile/ @

>

>

>What I did have a problem with, probably my biggest problem with STID (although I loved the film), was that Cumberbatch's Khan bore little resemblance to Montablan's.  He didn't look like M's Khan and he didn't sound like M's Khan.  It's like a totally different character.  There's arrogance, yes, and obsessive hatred and drive, but there's also no humor, no charm, and none of that Khan machismo.  Yes, Cumberbatch's Khan was a killing machine, but he wasn't Khan Noonian Singh at all.  I just don't understand what the producers were doing here.  If you want him to be Khan, then have him act and sound like Khan!  Cumberbatch is a good enough actor.  He could've pulled it off.  Or get someone else.  Or just have Cumberbatch play John Harrison without the Khan reference, which is what Bob Orci wanted all along (Damon Lindelof was the guy who made Harrison be Khan).  Honestly, it felt half-a$$, and I just don't understand the rationale on why that was the case.

I so agree with this. But for me, the ethnicity issue is part of it.

Nail on the head though mate.


Thanks, Somniac.  I generally loved the movie, but I just don't understand why they called Harrison Khan when he had almost zero resemblance to Khan-Prime.  It's essentially a different character altogether.  It's not in line at all with their premise for the new timeline.  I would really like Orci and/or Lindelof to explain what went into their thinking here regarding both how the character was written, played, and cast, because Harrison just isn't Khan.  He had no humor, no machismo, no charisma whatsoever.  A great villain, sure.  A genetic superham, absolutely.  A revenge-crazed maniac, definitely.  But, despite all that, he just wasn't KHAAANNNN!!!


   


KHAAAAAAANNNNNN!!!!!

bunkey

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POSTS: 686

Report this Jun. 10 2013, 10:58 am

I have to say that I'm happy with the discussion going on.  The topic has even been addressed on this site. So it's not falling on deaf ears. People are listening to the bloggers and the internet is being utilized for good.


The canon grasping by apologists is beng used less, which is a good thing. Khan was Sikh. Space Seed connected all the dots for you. Because he never specifically said "I am Indian" doesn't mean that all the facts weren't there.


 All in all, getting people talking is important.  It's the kind of discussion that would have been going on for months if Khan's identity wasn't kept under wraps.


Sarcasm is my native language.
JJ Abrams is not of the body.

lynny

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POSTS: 11

Report this Jun. 10 2013, 4:39 pm

This is my opinion as a fan of Trek.   I'm sorry regardless of all the opinions on who should have played Khan, but Benedict Cumberbatch was not the actor to play this role.   The character had his background listed as Sikh of the country India.  He was made into a super-human along with his fellow men and women.  He was infused with the knowledge that he and the others  created with him was a superior race and therefore should take over the Earth.   Star Trek fans understood that. We accepted the man as the egotisic but mesmerizing character he was meant to be.  Ricardo Montalban epitomized what that character was.  Come the reboot and we get a bland unsexy, unmesmerizing character that looked like he was playing a computer game of shoot em up.  Who was mesmerized?  What Enterprise female crew member would give everything up to follow him?   The fans of Star Trek have grown up accepting people of all colors  ( including blue and green ) and knowing it is the person's personality and mental fitness that makes them hero or villian.  The reboot turned an iconic character into a bland pathetic villian.  No matter their reasons  they made a terrible mistake. 

Treknoir

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POSTS: 1784

Report this Jun. 11 2013, 3:09 pm

Quote: bunkey @ May. 23 2013, 10:53 am

>

>You've given me triple bingo

>

>


You have given me so much life with the whitewash bingo! Best thing EVER!


It is curious how often you humans manage to obtain that which you do not want. - Spock

Treknoir

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POSTS: 1784

Report this Jun. 11 2013, 4:03 pm

As a POC, the disinformation campaign and @** covering from Abrams, Orci et al. leaves a bad taste in my mouth.


I don't think those of us who feel this is a serious issue believe the writers, casters and producers got together in a room and said, "mwahahahahahaha, no POC shall be cast as Khan," while twirling their mustaches.


What is an issue is that they chose to use an established character who's storyline (by their own logic from ST09's alternate universe story) should not have been affected by the events in the first movie. Which means nuKhan should have at least looked similar to Khan Prime.


If you think we're making a mountain out of a molehill then would you have been upset if nuKirk was played by a black man? Or if nuSpock had curly blonde hair, blue eyes and no pointy ears? What if nuScotty had an Australian or Jamaican accent? Does this sound crazy to you? Of course it does and the FIRST thing most folks would wonder is why the change was necessary.


They knew who their villain was going to be before the script was even written. They chose to default to a white English actor when the Hispanic considerations didn't pan out. It's not the end of the world or enough to make me stop being a fan. But damn if I'm not going to call them out on this mess.


If folks can post endless rants on Spuhura, Budgineering, lens flares, rapid promotion and canon violations/plot holes (transwarp ohmygerd!!!!!!, Archer's beagle, oh the humanity!!!), then this complaint is equally reasonable.


It is curious how often you humans manage to obtain that which you do not want. - Spock

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