Yaas the tides are slowly changing in Hollywood
Marvel Studios are continuing their boundary-pushing streak this week, as studio bosses announced they will be hiring more women and people of colour on and off screen.
Following on from their recent Black Panther smash, considered by many as a movie milestone for representation in film, studio president Kevin Feige, 44, said that he and other Marvel execs are keen to hire diversely to fit ‘all different capacities’ when it comes to roles.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, when asked if Marvel were planning to increase their diversity behind the camera as well as in front of it, Feige said ‘Yes. I think we’re seeing it shift from a very purposeful initiative to just a fact of life, to just a way of doing business.’
‘As Panther has so loudly declared, [representation] can only help you, can only help you tell unique stories, can only help you do things in a new, and unique, and fresh, and exciting way. If you do that, audiences will notice it, and appreciate it, and support it,’ he added.
Marvel’s efforts to better represent the diverse world we live in should definitely be celebrated, but it hasn’t always been this way. Back in 2016, the studio was involved in a whitewashing row when actress Tilda Swinton, a white Scottish woman, was cast as the Ancient One, a character of Tibetan descent, in Doctor Strange.
Feige’s thinking is underpinned by the recent findings of a UCLA Study, the Hollywood Diversity Report 2018, which found that ‘regardless of race, audiences want to see diversity on the screen,’ explained Ana-Christina Ramón, director of research and civic engagement for the Division of Social Sciences and one of the study’s authors.
‘Reports in this series have repeatedly found that films and television shows with casts attuned to America’s diversity tend to register the highest global box office figures and viewer ratings.’
And although the report was published before Black Panther’s recent release on February 16, the film’s $1 billion global box office earnings (approximately £721.9 million) proves that diversity does pay and cinema-goers are clearly crying out for it.