Saturday, June 18, 2016

Steven Spielberg and the Hispanics (A Very Short Story)

I read an article earlier today that said Steven Spielberg could be remaking West Side Story, the musical adaptation of Romeo & Juliet set in the clash between gangs in New York City in the 1950s. Notable to the story and music is the Puerto Rican heritage of the Sharks (one of the gangs, if this is your first time here on Earth). 

This was my initial reaction, which I shared on Factbook (now with anotations):
This seems a bit far-fetched to me. Where would Spielberg ever find a(n) Hispanic actor? He's been making movies over 40 years and hasn't found one yet (actually there may have been a Mexican in Jurassic Park--probably someone who died in the first 20 minutes).1
But I figure he will just adapt the story to make it about a group of white teens from Earth and a rival group of white teens from planet Abercrombius 7 (can you identify one of the movie's marketing partners?). Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning2 will play the parents of the main white teen (the one from Earth, that is).
Djimon Honsou will play Agent Krup'k. On the Golden Globes red carpet Melissa Rivers will ask him how he and Heidi have managed to have such a successful marriage.3
1 Five Hispanic actors (note: I am using "actor" in a non-gendered form here) have appeared in a featured or leading role in a Steven Spielberg movie: Rick Gonzalez and Yul Vazquez in War of the Worlds; Diego Luna in The Terminal; Martin Sheen in Catch Me If You Can (yes, Sheen counts);
Miguel Sandoval in Jurassic Park (I don't think he dies in the first 20 minutes). While he has 56 directing credits on IMDB, I decided to focus only on theatrical releases for which he was the sole director, to give him a pass on films based on historical events, and thought it fair not to include The Color PurpleThe Adventures of Tin Tin and War Horse. The leaves 19 films.

There is at least one Hispanic actor in 4 of 19 movies (21%), while Hispanics are only 17% of the US population. Ergo Spielberg is a friend to the Hispanics! Viva Spielberg!

2 Because Spielberg often takes more than a decade to get around to a project. At 22 years old today, this allows a reasonable amount of time to pair Fanning with Tom Cruise (53) before she disappears off the face of the earth (age 40). As a white male, Cruise will be eternally eligible to play someone's dad. Viva Hollywood!

3 Djimon Honsou, who has worked with Spielberg in the past, has been confused with singer Seal in the past, most notably by Joan Rivers on the red carpet for the Oscars the year of Amistad's nominations. Seal is no longer married to Heidi Klum. Melissa Rivers is no more observant than her mother.

No comments: