It’s nothing short of a scandal: despite all the pretensions and posturing of woke actors and producers, Hollywood is denying some of the best roles in cinema to non-white actors. And now a Pakistani-American movie star, Kumail Nanjiani, is blowing the whistle. Will his revelation herald an outbreak of sanity in Tinseltown? Or will he never work again on the big screen?
Nanjiani has pulled the curtain back on a dispiritingly recurrent feature of woke Hollywood: far-Left producers and directors don’t dare risk incurring charges of “racism” by casting non-white actors as villains, and so all the evil-doers in movies these days are white guys. And that means that for all of Hollywood’s efforts to showcase its commitment to “diversity” and “inclusion,” it is denying some of the very best roles to non-white actors (and, apparently, women, although Nanjiani didn’t touch on that aspect of the problem).
We go to the movies in large part because of the villains, and it has always been that way. Darth Vader. The Joker. Hannibal Lecter. Anton Chigurh. Gollum. Patrick Bateman. Nurse Ratched. Freddy Kruger. Norman Bates. Some of the meatiest, most riveting, and most memorable roles in movies have always been those of villains. Even Humphrey Bogart’s Rick Blaine in Casablanca has a rough edge, a shady past that got him barred from returning to the United States, and a cynical sense of self-preservation that contrasts sharply with the monochromatic character of the straight-arrow hero, Victor Lazlo.
Nanjiani went straight to the heart of the matter, saying, according to Slay News on Friday, that “he can’t get roles playing villains because Hollywood is too ‘woke’ to cast non-white actors as ‘bad guys.’” Nanjiani “is best known for his role as Dinesh in the HBO comedy ‘Silicon Valley’ (2014–2019) and for co-writing and starring in ‘The Big Sick’ (2017).” He is playing a villain of sorts in a new show, “Welcome to Chippendales,” which Slay describes as “the crazy but true crime story of Somen ‘Steve’ Banerjee, the Indian-American entrepreneur who started the Chippendales before taking a dark turn.” How dark? Well, “the show is based on the book ‘Deadly Dance: The Chippendales Murders’ by K. Scot Macdonald and Patrick Montesdeoca.” But if Banerjee is a villain, doesn’t that contradict everything Nanjiani is saying about not being able to get the juicy bad-guy roles?
No, it doesn’t. Nanjiani “said he only got the role of a criminal because it was based on a true story.” Banerjee was a real person and an Indian-American, so even though Hollywood doesn’t hesitate to cast a black man as William F. Buckley, who was a real white man, casting directors wouldn’t be caught dead casting a white man as an Indian-American. Thus, Nanjiani had an inside track to the role. And he is glad of it, saying, “I’ve never gotten to play an arc like this. By far the most layered, complex, complicated person I’ve ever played.”
Still, Nanjiani observed that “the role of Banerjee would have gone to a white actor if it was not based on a true story.” He explained, “I think that Hollywood now — even though they’re trying to be more diverse — is still weird.” Weird because “good intentions can sometimes lead to misguided solutions: If the bad guy is a brown guy, what message is that sending?” Maybe the message is that all racial groups on earth are made up of some people who are generally good and others who are generally evil? But we can’t expect that kind of maturity or nuance from contemporary Hollywood. And Nanjiani is not optimistic about getting another good villain role: “He said he wants to play more villains but has been told he is dreaming if he thinks woke Hollywood will cast non-white people as the bad guy.”
Nanjiani added, “And that’s just as limiting as anything else,” saying simply, “I want to play more bad guys.” But “I was told that’s going to be hard because people don’t want to cast non-white people as bad guys.” Yes, it is limiting indeed, and stupid, but Hollywood today is far more interested in pushing the Left’s agenda upon an increasingly bored and indifferent public than it is in making good movies that will pack in people of all races. The American people must learn that white people are often, if not always, evil, while non-white people are long-suffering, noble, and good. And Hollywood will keep hammering us with that message whether we like it or not.