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We Should Talk About Vasquez; Was the ‘Aliens’ Casting Problematic?

One of the hottest topics of discussion in the online film community right now is a recurring Hollywood problem that’s been dubbed “whitewashing.” Essentially, the term refers to the casting of a white actor in the role of a non-white character, and upcoming films like Doctor Strange and Ghost in the Shell are currently the primary targets of this very problematic issue. Why, for example, was Scarlett Johansson cast to play Major Motoko Kusanagi, a Japanese character in the latter, rather than a Japanese actress?

A question we should all be asking, at the very least.

But no matter which side of the fence you reside on when it comes to this debate, one thing is for certain: Hollywood whitewashing is nothing new, despite the fact that it’s only recently been given a name. Thanks to the internet, fans are more vocal about the industry’s problems than ever before, but the reality is that problems like this one have been problems for a long time. And we need only reflect on Aliens, released in 1986, to realize that whitewashing is somewhat of a Hollywood tradition.

Aside from Ellen Ripley herself, the most badass character in James Cameron’s action-packed sequel is Private Vasquez, the tough-as-nails Colonial Marine who is almost always holding a big gun and leading her fellow Marines into battle with the Xenomorphs. When we first meet Vasquez, she’s doing pull-ups straight out of hyper-sleep, and when we last see her, she dies one of the most heroic deaths in the entire franchise. In between, Vasquez spouts off one-liners and blasts away Xenomorphs like it’s going out of style, and it’s no secret why she became one of the most fan-favorite characters in the movie.

What most did not realize at that time, and what many still haven’t figured out, is that Vasquez, a Latino woman, was played in Aliens by Jenette Goldstein, a freckle-faced white actress. It’s a testament to Goldstein’s acting abilities, to say the very least, that most never caught on to the fact that Vasquez was not played by a Latina actress, but what’s worth discussing here is that Vasquez was, well, not played by a Latina actress. In an effort to appear less white, Goldstein was outfitted with dark contact lenses to hide her blue eyes and yes, she was even covered in full face-and-body makeup to cover her white skin.

The makeup took an hour,” Goldstein told Starlog Magazine back in 1987, reflecting on the film. “The makeup woman said I had the most ornery freckles she had ever seen. It was freezing cold on the set, and we were oiled up all the time. The fake sweat and water made the makeup run a lot, so it was a toss-up between looking sweatier and having my white skin show through.”

It may not seem fair to retroactively cast stones at a 30-year-old film, especially when that film just so happens to be one of the most beloved in franchise history, but if we’re all angry about the casting of Scarlett Johansson as a once-Japanese character in Ghost in the Shell, shouldn’t we also have an issue – if not back then, than at least now – with Vasquez not only being played by a white actress, but a white actress made up to look Latino? Upon revisiting Aliens, it’s an issue I couldn’t help but notice and ponder.

Mind you, I’m writing this post as a means of encouraging discussion rather than criticizing Aliens or the casting of Jenette Goldstein in it (I must reiterate that she was fantastic in the role), and it is my personal opinion that the character of Private Vasquez did more good than harm. Sure, it would’ve been nice for a Latino actress to have been given the chance to play a Latino character in a major Hollywood movie, but regardless of who played her, one simply can’t deny that Vasquez was a strong, important, and altogether inspiring Latino role model in a major Hollywood movie. And isn’t that what really matters here?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this one, so feel free to sound off.


149 Comments
  • 2016 problematic is 1986 woke.

  • Metal-Frank

    Yeah.. while we’re at it, let’s stop the amount of heavy people playing skinny people, rich actors playing rednecks, women pretending to be men, and everything else about acting that makes ACTING LIKE SOMEONE ELSE not what it is.
    Political correctness should only be political correct awareness.

  • Terry Simmonds

    It’s also about jobs and being able to make a living at your craft. a lot of ppl just give up and that’s sad. I am not one of those people who feel that you have to match the exact ethnicity of the character, but it doesn’t hurt to try or to at least come close. (some films are just egregious– like “Gods of Egypt.” and guess what- it tanked at the box office.)

    • GrossGreg

      The casting of Gods of Egypt has absolutely NOTHING to do with it tanking. It tanked because it is a shitty movie.

      • Terry Simmonds

        HAH. well I had no desire to see it, so I didn’t. So I don’t even know how shitty it was.

  • Daniel Anderson

    “A question we should all be asking, at the very least.”

    Like how they cast a black woman to play a white character in the harry potter play? Or talks about a Latino spiderman? Those were problematic right?

    Wait…no, no its not. And I can’t tell if you’re trying to come at this from story integrity or the typical SJW “less white = better” rhetoric. But this is NOT “A question we should all be asking, at the very least.”. I feel bad for even giving this article a click.

    • John Squires

      All due respect – and thank you for clicking over and reading – but there’s no history of white people being held down in Hollywood, which is why established white characters being played by non-white actors isn’t a “problem” we need to be talking about.

      Also, as I point out in this post, I really don’t personally have an issue with the casting of Goldstein as Vasquez. As I said, did more good than harm. Just a discussion worth having, given recent conversations in the film community.

      • Daniel Anderson

        Who are you to designate what the general populace needs to be talking about? SJW’s, so privileged and don’t even know it. Leave it to an SJW to focus on things like race and gender without giving it two thoughts.

        • BigSpoonyBard

          Why is a citation needed for something that has been obviously true for the entire history of this country? Straight white males have held dominance for centuries. If anyone is privileged, it’s those who have a comfortable enough life that they can complain about minority groups trying to obtain better representation. You are fortunate that you were born as a member of a group that can look up on the screen and see people who look like you in a variety of roles. For many, that is still not the case.

          So yes, this is an issue that people should be talking about. While you’re complaining that a fictional character in a popular series is being portrayed as someone non-white, there are real people of different ethnic, racial, and gender backgrounds who would love to see someone who looks like them up on the screen or in books.

          • Flu-Like Symptoms

            Upvote for your name. FFIV FTW!

          • Daniel Anderson

            Nice play on your emoitions. The fact Straight white folks were the majoirity throughout the majority of the nations history, it only makes sense they ran the show. Keep spreadin gyour awareness through “discussions” (Which everyone has heard) and offer absolutely no solutions other than, and I’m paraphrasing, “They need to stop cause I feel bad”.

    • graham Dalrymple

      Your examples of the latino Spiderman etc were exactly what I was thinking of, its utter hypocrisy.To make an article going on about Hollywood not employing actors of the ethnicity of a character over white actors, then point out how well the actresses in question portrayed the ethnic character is self defeating to the argument is.she was brilliant in the role regardless of her race, so the article is purely designed to pander to those looking for the latest outrage to rail against, sad.

    • Brian McNatt

      Point of order, there’s technically nothing indicating Hermione as white in the books, at least from what I remember. There’s a moment in Prisoner of Azkaban I think where Harry notices her pale face, but that’s in a situation of extreme stress and there’s a long tradition of people being described as going pale when stressed or hurt or scared, so it’s a little iffy. That she was FIRST played by a white actress doesn’t mean she must ALWAYS be played by a white actress.

      • Daniel Anderson

        Still doesn’t matter, just as I said in my initial comment.

      • L p

        On the other hand, Katniss in the Hunger Games trilogy was pointedly dark-skinned. Not black, but “olive-skinned” which would have provided an excellent casting opportunity for an ethnic actress. IMO, Jennifer Lawrence isn’t that great as an actress or in that role (though she did sort of grow into the role by the third movie where she actually showed some emotion for a change) and she certainly wasn’t a big star before this film. Prime opportunity for an ethnic actress, say an Islander, or Middle Eastener, or even East Indian. Someone like Jesssica Alba, or Halle Barry, or _____________ (but clearly a teenager) would have been perfect.

        I agree with you about Hermoine–anyone who read the books should be fine with the new casting choice. Of course, we do picture the characters we’re reading about in our heads, and it’s normal to picture them in a way that is familiar. In my head she was white, with the same hair they had in the series of films–but that’s only because the physical descriptions in the books are limited and seldom repeated, and I myself am white. Doesn’t mean the actress has to fit the picture in my head (that could certainly complicate casting decisions!) but they certainly should fit the descriptions (or depictions) as they were written. I could picture that hair as described because unfortunately it was all-TOO familiar. (I never heard of conditioner until I was a teenager)

      • Michał Kryłowicz

        Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter 21

        “Hermione’s white face was sticking out from behind a tree.”

        There is a difference between saying a face got pale and got white. People suggesting this doesn’t mean she’s white are just denying all common sense so their imaginary little world won’t fall apart.

        Also Deathly Hollows cover: http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/File:DeathlyHallowsCover.jpg

    • Dermacka

      We seem to be forgetting the bigger crime here. The heinous act of “blackwashing”. My blood boils when I see Dave Chapelle portray a white news reader. Or, who can forget Eddie Murphy’s selfish turn as Mr Wong in Norbit. I stand by all elderly asian actors deprived of hard earned acting gigs.

      • the usual suspect

        what about when Dave Chapelle was the blind white supremacist. ….. oh wait dam it lol

        • Dermacka

          mate, if the aliens in independence day 2 aren’t played by real extraterrestrials, I’m writing to congress.

    • m-m-m-MONSTER_KILL

      This article is NOT about casting black or Latino or even white actors to portray pre-existing fictional characters. It’s about casting a white actor to portray a Latina character and playing the character AS Latina. Personally, I couldn’t care less that Scarlet Johansson is playing Kusanagi in ‘Ghost in the Shell’, but I would have a serious problem with it if she was playing the character and doing an accent, with make-up to make her eyes look more “asian”. There’s a difference between casting Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm, and casting Mickey Rooney as Yunioshi in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ or Cliff Curtis (a New Zealand actor of Maori descent) as the ridiculous Mexican gangster stereotype Smiley in ‘Training Day’.
      That’s not to say there’s no merit to those movies, obviously “Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and ‘Training Day’ and ‘Aliens’ are classics and rightfully so, but it is a bit offensive when you have these good actors in otherwise good movies doing the modern equivalent of Black-Face.

      (Side note: Hermione was never specified as being white in the books. Her physical attributes were given only as ‘Brown eyes and curly brown hair’, which could certainly be attributes of a black woman. At least, that’s the justification given by the series’ and character’s creator J.K. Rowling, which is good enough for me. And the Latino Spider-Man that you seem to lament being discussed as a possibility has precedent in the Ultimate Spider-Man comic series, in which Spider-Man is, in fact, a Latino kid by the name of Miles Morales.)

      • Graham

        “This article is NOT about casting black or Latino or even white actors to portray pre-existing fictional characters. It’s about casting a white actor to portray a Latina character and playing the character AS Latina.”

        Exactly! There is a really big difference between a non-white person playing a non-white role that might have originally been written as white, and a white person playing a non-white role as a non-white person. That’s what many seem to overlook.

        • L p

          I agree–so I was assuming that (if) they couldn’t find a Latina with the kind of strength and physique they were looking for that they then cast a white actress and decided to keep the character as a Latina–but Steven Millan posts that originally the character WAS supposed to be white–so now I’m kind of confused by the choice (if that is indeed the case–with movies it’s hard to know the facts–not that I’m suggesting he’s making anything up). I’m really curious now, as to the whole backstory behind this decision.

        • Daniel Anderson

          They are literally one in the same. The only difference is the bias against a white person playing a role that was originally geared towards a non-white actor.

      • Daniel Anderson

        The first sentence showed me how little reading comprehension you have. As long as it only affects the demographics you find important. Racist.

  • Brian McNatt

    Is it bad that I always thought she was just a lighter-skinned Latino actress?

    I make no claims to intelligence.

    • John Squires

      Just goes to show how good she was in the role. MANY people did not, and perhaps still have not, realized that Goldstein isn’t the least bit Latino!

      • PsychoMantis18

        Doesn’t show how good she was in the role; show’s the lack of intelligence amongst the AlienS fanbase.

      • Alexander Dinamarca

        Why are you replying in a serious manner to such an obvious troll?

    • PsychoMantis18

      Once you out yourself as an AlienS fan such claims are forfeit anyways.

  • Believe it or not,Vasquez was actually supposed to be played by Sybil Danning(via as a white character named Dietrict),but Danning didn’t want to live in England for a year(where ALIENS was filmed).

    • L p

      So she was originally supposed to be white? Wonder when they decided to make the character Latina? Certainly would have been easier to keep her white…I mean since the actress was. (and I was clueless about that until this article)

  • Dermacka

    After further reflection I realise now that the issue lies squarely at the feet of the practical effects, makeup and digital effects departments whose sole purpose is to make someone/something look different. The fact that the Industry hires, acknowledges and awards these departments perpetuates the dastardly phenomena known as “whitewashing”. Once these departments are outlawed, only then will the battle for equality be won!

  • Artist Formerly Known As Alive

    I wonder if there’s a website, anywhere on the whole internet, where we can go and NOT have to hear about race. So sick of it.

    • Flu-Like Symptoms

      Agreed, 100%. Makes my balls itch.

  • Kristen Willsher

    She was picked because at the time she was a body builder and was cut. I think that had more to do with it. Not many female body builders 30 years ago.

    • PsychoMantis18

      Who woulda thought Vasquez was chosen for muscle and not her amazing acting ability!

      Oh yeah, the movie is 90% testosterone.

    • L p

      I agree–they probably couldn’t find a Latina with her strength and physique, yet chose to keep the character as a Latina. The actress certainly looked the part in the film! She was great.

  • B.

    Ultimately it comes down to business. We should not forget that mainstream film-making is a business. It isn’t guided by progressive individuals, it isn’t there to please the PC set, nor minorities – it’s there to make a profit.

    In the past Caucasian actors were cast in diverse roles because there was a lack of diverse actors, and a lack of the same with names big enough to be in major roles. Racism played a part sometimes, but it was not the primary driver. These days it still comes down to the big names issue. If a studio invests a shit-tonne of money into a big-event commercial film, lets say set in ancient Egypt, and fills the cast with actors from that region that no one in the English speaking world (the primary audience) will recognize, then there is an element of risk. Star power is a big part of commercial film-making, and the studio big-wigs, with their huge houses and phallic cigars, fear risk. It’s less about racism and more about profit.

    In an increasingly globalized community with a diverse talent base, it’s quite possible that the problem will eventually solve itself, as people recognize more diverse names and faces. Most Asian character roles were once filled by known white actors with sketchy make-up, now there are known Asian actors playing Asians, and the exception is becoming rarer (that recent superhero flick with Ben Kingsly playing an Asian villain), and so on.

    Little is gained by retroactively condemning older films for their casting choices, unless the depiction was decisively racist (buck-toothed Asian-face for example), and even then it should be treated as a cultural artifact and studied in context.

    Vasquez didn’t run around shouting “arriba arriba andale arriba yeppa”, so I doubt very much racial prejudice played any role in her casting.

    • L p

      The problem with that argument is that it isn’t supported by evidence. In fact just recently there have been several articles posted that state ” diverse films and shows make more money” (NPR) and the study cited in this named article “Diverse Casts Deliver Higher Ratings, Bigger Box Office: Study (Exclusive)” in The Hollywood Reporter, backs it up with numbers. Moreover, “Audiences, regardless of their race, are clamoring for more diverse content,” says co-author Ana-Christina Ramon. (same article). To be fair, the article partially agrees with your conclusions–but casting decisions (while fear of losing money is certainly a factor) seems to be more about what is familiar (and safe) rather than anything logical like profit margins. And these white male executives are surrounded by other white males. I recommend reading these articles–though I can’t post the links, just google them using the phrases I quoted.

      • demonkoryu

        Fuck white males.
        (So, fuck me)

  • Flu-Like Symptoms

    I think one main aspect people need to keep in mind is these people are ACTORS. Acting is portraying a character and is not limited to personality, dialogue, accents, body mechanics, etc. It also includes nationality and race. Jenette Goldstein portrayed someone she is not; a Latino space marine. Quick; everyone drop to their knees and scream RACISM!!!!! Or, how about just STFU and realize Goldstein should be praised for being so damn good at the job she got hired for that probably no one outside of the know in Hollywood knew she was white when they first saw the film in 1986. Anyone thinking she got hired by some racist casting director with an agenda to deprive aspiring Latino actors of their shot to be in a major motion picture need simply watch the film. She absolutely killed that role. Should the Vasquez character have been diminished by passing on the best woman for the job simply because hiring someone from her ethic group would be smiled upon? Fuck no. If the actor is perfect for the role, they get the part. Period. Case-closed. Should Robin Williams never have been Mrs. Doubtfire because he wasn’t a woman? Oh, sorry. This isn’t a sex thing these days. It’s race. Though the standard on which this issue is being judged is exactly the same, we’ll ignore it since it isn’t the sexy mainstream hoopla right now. Bottom line; Jenette Goldstein was perfect as Vasquez. Hiring her did no harm to the role whatsoever.

    • m-m-m-MONSTER_KILL

      To be fair, casting a woman in Mrs. Doubtfire wouldn’t have made much sense, since it was about a father posing as a female nanny to be with his kids.

      • Dermacka

        I believe they changed the plot to get around the accusation of “sexwashing”. Originally it was about a lesbian couple and Robin was meant to portray a woman for real.

      • Flu-Like Symptoms

        Fair enough. Megan Fox playing a hot chick would’ve been a better analogy.

    • PsychoMantis18

      You’re right – it was a shit role to begin with.

    • Mr.347

      I agree. It must be challenging times indeed for people to agonize over what is nothing. We do not complain that Robert England does not have a sketchy past with children or insist that Doug Bradley stuff needles into his person prior to entertaining company. Where was the rage for the Irish when Billie Piper was whoring about “Penny Dreadful”? Or the hundreds of times “white people” and Hispanics and Filipinos and whatever are used as stand-ins for Native Hawaiians?

    • L p

      I don’t know what you are ranting about. The author of the article was making an observation–and revealed a relatively unknown fact, as well as raising a valid point about casting. It’s a legitimate concern and one that should be discussed. Moreover, audiences can certainly make sure that casting directors (and their bosses) know what we do and don’t want to see, and that it DOES matter to audiences that a character who is specifically one thing or another, should be cast as that if it’s possible (as I pointed out in one of my comments about the physical requirements of Vasques’s role) could have behind Alien’s casting choice. I like the fact that they kept her character as Latina despite the inherent problems in doing so, and yes the actress was great in the role. However, wouldn’t hurt for people to try and understand that there IS a problem, and why people are discussing it in the first place. No ranting and raving required.

      • John Squires

        Thank you, so much, for understanding that I was just trying to start a discussion here – a discussion about a very real, very topical issue that we should be talking about. I’m not outraged, I’m not anti-Aliens or anti-Goldstein, just wanted to have a calm discussion about something that I absolutely could not ignore upon revisiting Aliens.

        • Flu-Like Symptoms

          And that’s what we’re giving you, a discussion. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I simply stated my opinion in a firm manner. No soap box. No emotion. Calling this topic an issue that everyone “should” be talking about and asserting a casting choice made 30 years ago is a problem today is ludicrous, and suggesting some kind of awareness, accountability, or even consequence is needed over Goldstein playing a Latina as well as an actual Latina would’ve done is exactly why racism will never die in this country. Let. It. Go.

          • JVoorhees

            This is what happens when you’re upper middle class, have no real problems and have a pretentious agenda to push. You think the race of actors in a 30 year old movie (having nothing to do with race), is a “topic worth talking about.”

            It’s actually pretty sad. I can’t imagine how miserable it must be to not even be able to enjoy a movie without analyzing the living hell out of it, looking for anything that you can declare “problematic.”

        • Zanzia

          How did you feel about Idris Alba playing Heimdall (a norse mythological character, portrayed as white in all the drawings) or how about him playing The Gunsling a character that was white in the book of the Dark Tower?.

          I have no issues either way but i’m seeing some terrible double standards in regards to “whitewashing” but not “blackwashing”. Maybe there’s an SJW definition that explains why one is worse than the other?.

      • Flu-Like Symptoms

        It is only a problem with those who want to make it so. Aliens came out 30 years ago. I’ve never once seen the casting of Jenette Goldstein be a “problem” in any form of media I’ve ever picked up and read, until seeing this post. I’ll concede it is an interesting tidbit that the actress cast wasn’t a true Latina and had to be made up to look like it, but that’s where it stops. It wasn’t “wrong” or “problematic” that they chose the person who they felt best fit the role. There is no realization to be had. Goldstein rocked it as Vasquez and it simply isn’t a problem. No rant, no rave. Just truth.

  • jdt1986

    If people are going to complain about Goldstein as ‘Vasquez’, then (on a non-horror related note) we should probably also talk about Quvenzhané Wallis as ‘Annie’. Funny how, when a white character gets played by a black actor, no one says a thing… But when a latino character gets played by a white actress? Everyone loses their minds!

    Total. F**king. Double. Standard.

    • Graham

      That’s not exactly the same issue, since in that version of Annie, the character herself was actually black, and was played by a black actress. In Aliens, the character was Latina, but played by a white actress. Most opportunities for big roles in Hollywood are for white people, so I think the issue people have is that even non-white roles are being given to white people, thus reducing the chances for non-white people even more.

      • Mr.347

        Most big roles go to the ethnic majority/prevailing social ideal of beauty in the country of origin. If you never have seen Mexican television you should try it… So many “white faces” it is ridiculous.

  • PsychoMantis18

    ‘What most did not realize at that time, and what many still haven’t figured out, is that Vasquez, a Latino woman, was played in Aliens by Jenette Goldstein, a freckle-faced white actress. It’s a testament to Goldstein’s acting abilities’

    No, it’s a testament to the stupidity of AlienS fans.

    • John Squires

      I wouldn’t say that. She absolutely looked/sounded/acted the part, so viewers buying into her actually being that character is without question a testament to her ability as an actor.

      • PsychoMantis18

        I didn’t and I know others didn’t: your argument in invalid.

        I’d go with the trend in AlienS fandom and assume that stupidity played a large role.

        • Crow

          The only stupidity that is showing is your own.

          • PsychoMantis18

            Good one.

          • Tehy

            how is it that you manage to come off as even more of a pretentious loser than the author of this piece

            genuinely curious

          • PsychoMantis18

            You’re genuinely curious to know the answer to that incredibly stupid question?

            Sad….

          • Tehy

            now i’m really curious

            did you find some well of pretentiousness as yet untapped, suck it all up as though it was going out of style, and stumble to your computer just knowing you needed to get it all out before it was all gone

            FUCK i’m a poet nigga

          • PsychoMantis18

            …Think that’s your insecurity talking; certainly didn’t come from a functioning brain.

          • Tehy

            Pretentiousness maximus, a condition wherein the brain short-circuits to cut all non-pretentious neurons out of the loop

          • PsychoMantis18

            Hope you didn’t spend a long time thinking that one up.

          • Tehy

            about a minute tops

            unlike you i aint pretentious 🙂

          • PsychoMantis18

            If you say so.

    • L p

      How would we know when they spent so much time making sure that she looked–and acted Latina? How does that make the audience stupid?

      • PsychoMantis18

        It’s an example of stupidity on behalf of the AlienS fan base – could’ve seen her in other films, including Cameron’s T2; could’ve googled her; and most importantly – could’ve seen a Latino and a White American before and then compared the two.

        • Are you saying that people could’ve Googled her back in 1986, when Aliens came out? Or in 1991, when Terminator 2 came out? Google wasn’t launched until 1998. Additionally, widespread access to the internet wasn’t available until the mid 90’s, so your theory still doesn’t hold up.

          • PsychoMantis18

            Except that it does because I didn’t say people could’ve Googled her back in 1986 or in 1991.

            That would be stupid.

            Just as it would be stupid to misrepresent my argument by blatantly isolating and twisting one aspect to fulfil a personal bias.

          • There is no personal bias. You didn’t make yourself clear and I called that out. If you want to make an argument, that’s fine. But don’t be surprised if people call out inconsistencies because your manner of presenting it is flawed.

          • PsychoMantis18

            Clearly there is personal bias as you wrote the article praising her shit performance.

            I did make myself clear but you still had trouble understanding – if you want to delude yourself by defining that as calling me out, that’s fine.

            I’m actually not surprised you’ve found imaginary inconsistencies to “call-out” as many of you staff at BD seem to exist within the reality of your own arses.

          • Where did I stick up for the article? Please quote the exact line.

            Nope, you weren’t clear. Fact.

            Well, I do have to admit I have a lovely “arse”. Plus, I’ve been working out, so it’s only getting better!

          • PsychoMantis18

            I took your unfounded argument as a show of support for the article. So no, you don’t agree with it?

            ‘Nope, you weren’t clear. Fact.’ – that is not a fact.

            “Arse” – ? Yeah….?

  • Johnny Rico

    …Happy Aliens Day, you guys.

  • Dermacka

  • Braker

    “Let’s look at movies from the ’20s to the ’90s AND NITPICK IF THEY’RE PROBLEMATIC!” Guys, there have been DECADES of films with oddball and questionable decisions that were OF THE TIME. Charlton fuckin’ Heston played a Mexican for godssake. Where’s the essay there?

  • TH3J4CK4L

    It happens a lot,but at least it isnt as bad as fisher Stevens in short circuit 2.

    • Bad? Dude, there’s still some people that never realized Fisher Stevens is actually a blue-eyed white guy! lol.

      • TH3J4CK4L

        Lol. Ill always remember him from Early Edition & The Burning

        • And Hackers and Super Mario Bros. – The Movie!

  • Fracassi

    It’s only wrong if Cameron turned down an actual Latina actress who was better suited for the role.

  • Mark Andrew Glinka

    No problem at all. She was perfect as Vasquez.

  • Mr.347

    Nobody on the “yellow washing”

  • Justin Moore

    We were much less aware back then. We barely are now. There are too many instances where whitewashing happened before we, as a culture, were sensitive to it. Doesn’t mean it was correct or not… but it’s really not worth (in my opinion) looking back and nit-picking. It’s much more effective to take note and move on doing the best we can to give opportunity to those who deserve it. My 2 cents…

  • Beanagespan

    Interesting. I was actually completely unaware of this.

  • jackstark211

    Who gives a shit.

  • Poopsmith McUnty

    she nailed it. it’s done. who cares

  • L p

    I had no idea she wasn’t a Latina! It does seem like a strange casting choice, though I agree that the actress was fantastic in the role. Maybe they couldn’t find a Latina that was as physically primed for the role? The role did require a woman who was extremely strong and fit, so that could have been the driving force behind the casting decision.

    I personally have mixed feelings about the issue of “whitewashing”. On the one hand, there definitely is an issue if qualified actors and actresses of the appropriate ethnicity, sex or age are being denied role opportunities out of hand. Did they try to find a Latina that would fit the role before they cast someone who was not? I don’t know.

    On the other hand is the fact that they went all out to make her fit the role of a Latina–despite the extra time and expense, so kudos to them for that. But with all of the talented people out there waiting for their big break I don’t understand why we don’t see a greater proportion of “real” minorities on screens big and small. A greater mix overall–ethnicity, genders and AGE. Audiences like good stories with good actors. Audiences aren’t going to turn away (or turn off) a n exciting, interesting, well-written show simply because their leading lady or man isn’t white, or male or a breath-takingly beautiful (or handsome), sexy, young thing. If minority lead films haven’t done well in the past, then other factors come into play. It IS irritating when what should be an ethnic character, or female character or even an OLDER character (suddenly becomes a (young) white male. How ridiculous when “parents” look almost as young as their “children”!

    Frankly one of the things I love about British shows is that they aren’t afraid of wrinkles and gray hair, or for their actors to look like real people instead of plasticized perfection or artificially perpetually youthful versions of people. I’ve been binge watching Midsomer Murders and most of their (scandalous) affairs are between middle aged or senior lovers–you don’t see that on American shows! So refreshing–and even in the UK there’s been growth in the number of minority leads as well as strong female character leads. England however, is not the “great melting pot” America is, regardless. We have good reason to bow our heads in shame.

    There are many good arguments against the talking heads who complain that audiences don’t like “ethnic” casts, or strong female lead–the usual excuse for “safe” casting decisions (and why we keep seeing the same faces in film after film) Several of the biggest hits on TV and the big screen have had minority or female leads. Just off the top of my head are the “Bill Cosby” show; the Alien franchise (surprise!); “Julia” (one of the first blacks to have her own show); The Man from Uncle (another early Bill Cosby vehicle), Star Trek franchise (though initially a dud) and more recently with solid ratings: How To Get Away With Murder, Black-ish, Fresh Off The Boat, Jane the Virgin, Empire, Quantico, Grey’s Anatomy, Mr. Robot, Shades of Blue, Telenovella; and many, many more. In fact NPR just published an article that concluded ” diverse films and shows make more money”! So why aren’t they taking advantage of this fact? All we can do as an audience, is to continue our vocal protests and requests, as well as where it counts: the bottom line. Support the kind of films you want to see!

  • John Vasiliou

    So we’ve now moved on to bitching about past movies casting huh.

    • John Squires

      We’re not bitching, just having a discussion about a topical issue. That’s all this post was intended to be.

      As I noted at the end…

      “Sure, it would’ve been nice for a Latino actress to have been given the
      chance to play a Latino character in a major Hollywood movie, but
      regardless of who played her, one simply can’t deny that Vasquez was a
      strong, important, and altogether inspiring Latino role model in a major
      Hollywood movie. And isn’t that what really matters here?”

      • John Squires

        It’s an interesting situation from the past that, looking back on now, allows us to have a discussion about current Hollywood trends. That’s all. Wasn’t bitching, wasn’t criticizing. Just wanted to talk about something I thought was worth talking about.

        • JVoorhees

          “Just wanted to talk about something I thought was worth talking about.”

          It’s not.

        • Tehy

          ‘I was just trying to drum up outrage to shame movie developers into doing what I want and what everyone else doesn’t want’.

          discussion over.

        • Franco Burciaga Moreno

          SJW thinking they can save poor latinos from their white opressors.
          Please, stop that, she’s great in the role and we love her, let’s give roles to people based on their talent, not their color

      • How about you let us Hispanics bring up the discussion and stop trying to save us?

    • Juan Diablo

      SJWs are all coming out of the woodwork these days

  • Seal Clubber

    Being upset at the “Aliens” movie for this is a bit silly. It was 30 years ago. That’s like criticizing Charles Darwin for marrying his cousin …. it was a different time. It’s fine to be critical of current movies for this but something 30 years removed ….. I dunno.

  • Chuy Chuy

    For one, I’m a huge fan of Vasquez and Jenette Goldstein. So maybe I’m slightly biased. She was in the UK at the time, where the initial casting (and later filming) took place so that probably has something to do with it. Sure you could find some Spaniards but they’re caucasian also. On the other hand, clearly the cast wasn’t entirely white either. I don’t believe anyone, Latino or otherwise, could have made Vasquez’s role more memorable.

    • Juan Diablo

      I’m a Hispanic male and I feel like she did us proud, no qualms with her casting at all

  • gabriel

    Michelle Rodriguez is going to be in Aliens 5 I guess.

  • Grant B.

    Why does it matter when people don’t have the exact same racial background as their character? Unless you’re a segregationist who believes everyone should exclusively stick to playing their own race, there is no reason to care. Unless there’s some reason to suspect that some Latina actress somewhere was actually discriminated against in favor of a white person, there is nothing wrong with this casting in and of itself.

  • Ravinus

    This is fucking ridiculous. You’re an idiot.

  • Fracassi

    Fun Fact: Jeanette Goldstein was in a Macgyver episode titled, “The Prometheus Syndrome.”

  • Fracassi

    God I love “Near Dark.” So very very much.

  • gabriel

    Ehh, this article is too long. Don’t feel like reading it.

  • JVoorhees

    Is it possible to have ANYTHING that isn’t infected by the social justice cult? You’re the one who’s problematic. Take it to Buzzfeed and leave the rest of us in peace.

  • Edgar Pinkerton

    I was honestly surprised Cameron didn’t cast Goldstein in some bit-role in Avatar. I always just assumed they were friends since she was in T2 and Titanic. Maybe we should talk more about Hollywood nepotism than white-washing (assuming you want to have this conversation at all).

    • SonofaGlitch

      I thought it was a well known scandal that Cameron and Goldstein were in a sexual relationship, and that this was the reason Linda Hamilton left him, but after looking it up I guess it was another actress and his current wife, Suzy Amis.

      Certainly there’s a ton of nepotism in Hollywood. Find out how many teamster’s family members end up as set drivers and you’ll be blown away.

  • JVoorhees

    Saw this on Twitter:

    “All I’ve learned this week is that men are tired of hearing about women’s issues & white people are tired of hearing about non-white issues.”

    Not a white male here and it’s racist and sexist for you to assume anyone who disagrees with your world view is a white male.

    What makes the social justice cult so infuriating is that they represent a small but very loud vocal minority, who claims to speak for those of us who fall into minority categories. The vast majority of us just want to go about our lives and be left alone and treated like everyone else. Constantly calling attention to our incidental demographics, isn’t helpful. Judging, labeling and identifying everyone by their gender, sexual orientation and/or race, doesn’t make you progressive. It makes you sexist, homophobic and racist.

    “Privilege” isn’t a real thing. It’s a social justice/social media buzzword. In reality, the color of someones skin, what’s in their pants and who they sleep with tells you absolutely nothing about their real experience.

    Those of us who have real world experience with actual real world suffering, not just what we’ve read about on social media, understand this. We also realize that the race of an actor in a 30 year old movie is NOT a real issue. Neither is Hollywood casting. Anyone who actually has the luxury of being offended over or even “having a conversation” over such ridiculous nonsense is the very definition of privileged. Regardless of their race, sexual orientation or gender.

    While the social justice cult whines about fictional movies/tv, and oppressed millionaires, the rest of us are busy trying to pay our bills and put food on our table. We don’t have time or energy for that. We want to watch a movie to watch a movie, not constantly seek out things to be offended over.

    • m-m-m-MONSTER_KILL

      And yet plenty of time to post endless diatribes on a horror movie website about how you don’t have time to worry about things like “social justice” or “privilege”. And you’re definitely not just seeking out things to be offended by…except the idea that people are offended by things, apparently that’s an offensive enough idea to dedicate several paragraphs to.

      • Tehy

        lol

        see, what he’s offended by is the idea that idiots will keep writing articles like this and horror movie creators will start making their movies worse in the interest of -diversity-.

        Recently there was a controversy because a black actress was playing a black character – but because she was half latino, and the original was all black, the actress wasn’t dark-skinned enough. This shit is completely insane, no one cares except a small group of people like you who really don’t have anything better to do with your lives.

        People who are offended about these issues are wrong, they’re throwing all kinds of mud and everyone is tired of it. That’s why they have time to write giant paragraphs – you give them no choice.

    • Jeremy

      If news talk shows had sane, reasonable people like you on them, I might actually watch them.

  • FloR

    Listen. I’m hispanic and I had no clue when I first saw this back in 86 that the actress was not hispanic. I didn’t find out til much later, and truthfully I didn’t care. This character, her portrayal, was KICK ASS. She can be a latino if she wants. I love Vasquez!

  • tony

    There are many latinos with light skin that you could mistake as “white” people. Look up the history of Central/South America and you’ll notice that latinos come in all different colours. There are italian, spanish, french and even german communities in countries like Mexico, Argentina, Costa Rica, Chile, Brazil, ect. The only issue in this article is the authors assumption that anyone with the last name vasquez should look like a stereotypical dark hispanic. IF she had blackface or some other form of BLATANT whitewashing thats one thing, this is only racebaiting. SJW’s are ruining civilization.

    • Francesca Lopez

      Sorry she’s not a Latina but Jewish and yes it is offensive. There are plenty of Latino actors who could have been given the part. Besides latinos are not the minority but the majority!

      • Ruthlessly Absurd

        The movie was cast in London, where I have to imagine there aren’t many Latina actresses

      • It is only offensive to people who choose to feel offended by it

  • Ryan Smith

    How the heck can it be ‘white washing’ when it’s the first appearance of the character? There’s nothing to wash! White people aren’t allowed to be named “Vasquez”? It’s impossible for a non-ethnic latino to be born in Mexico City or L.A. or some other hispanic part of the world and adopt style and affectations typical of that area? The only thing problematic here is the implied racial purity test required for somebody to ‘act latino’.

    If Vasquez had been in 10 other movies (or books or whatever) previous to this and then suddenly they decided to cast a white woman in her role, I could see the complaint ( I wouldn’t agree with it, but at least I could see it). But this is the first appearance of the character. If somebody is bothered by this, just head-canon it that she’s a trans-racial hispanic. SJWs are into that bullshit, right?

  • metroid_fetish

    White people are inherently evil. It’s a fact, look it up. Something, somewhere on the internet proves me right. Do the research for yourselves-kin.

    • Michael

      I’m white and I’m evil, so…

    • You should really stop with the racist lies. When you say stuff like this, anyone with half a brain knows what your brain is composed of. White people are no more or less evil than black people or anyone else…

      • metroid_fetish

        I can’t be racist.

        • The only way that you cannot be racist is to not be human. Are you saying that you aren’t human?

  • Takubooru

    This statement sinks your argument right out of the gate, “What most did not realize at that time, and what many still haven’t figured out, is that Vasquez, a Latino woman, was played in Aliens by Jenette Goldstein, a freckle-faced white actress. It’s a testament to Goldstein’s acting abilities, to say the very least, that most never caught on to the fact that Vasquez was not played by a Latina actress.”

  • chien_clean

    Get a life, SJW!

  • Mike

    This is nothing, I just read that they cast a white male actor instead of an actual Xenomorph! You can’t just let actors act and use make-up fx to aid in their character’s appearance. What’s next, a man playing the role of a woman? When will it end Hollywood, when will it end???

  • Cats736

    Problematic = immoral

    No, there was nothing immoral about the casting.

  • Maniate

    Literally anyone could play Motoko Kusanagi and it would make sense according to the story of Ghost in the Shell. There are different backstories depending on what you’re looking at but in all of them she’s a cyborg with her brain containing the only human cells she’s got.

  • Franco Burciaga Moreno

    I’m mexican, and LOVE Vasquez, she is latina in my eyes, the only real problem I see is people like you who can only look at people based on the color of their skin.
    BTW, Motoko Kusanagi is in a cyborg body that looks mass produced, not a japanese woman, she has an identity crisis because of this.

    • America f Yea

      Thats what I dont get… if you look at a picture of her she could pass for white hispanic.

      The make up is just racist and cheesy.

  • Neptunium

    delete your account.

  • Daniel Jackson

    I wonder if any Asians were offended or complained when Joel Grey was cast as Chiun, the Korean “Master of Sinanju” in the movie Remo Williams.

    • jtrevino79

      He looks creepy as fk. But it’s sort of the example that proves the point. White actors can play every race because we don’t see ourselves as any race, we’re the “normal” or default. Whereas Asian or black actor can never escape their ethnicities to play other characters. They would never be allowed to “white-face” even as it’s acceptable to yellow-face and it was acceptable until recently to black-face.

  • jtrevino79

    A lot of this is too far back when the culture was very different and normalized. Considering there is a larger awareness now with minorities given a stronger voice, it’s much more egregious now to hire a white actor to play an asian character.

  • Juan Sandoval

    Pretending we live in a color blind society is part of the problem. ‘White washing’ is an issue because minorities aren’t represented in Hollywood. IF they were, then yes, this conversation would be mucha do about nothin or political correctness run amock or race baiting or any of the multitude of characterizations that have been used. Alas, minorities ARE NOT represented Hollywood in proportion to the American audience. To make matters worse, when a script writer DOES include a latino character in a major movie, the role is not given to a minority actor. The issue is about race because Hollywood continues to to exclude certain races.

    • Michael

      Minorities aren’t represented in Hollywood??? HAHAHAHAHAHA GOOD ONE, LIAR!

      • laststand

        No kidding lol. I keep asking, why are we portraying such a disproportionately high ratio of black vs white actors on television? Commercials are the worse.

        If anything, hispanics are treated like the “odd man out” and blacks are getting red carpet preferential treatment. I guess we need this false narrative to teach whitey a lesson for the past? No idea, but it’s all bullshit.

  • Francesca Lopez

    I was upset to find out Vasquez was played by a white actress. wtheck!? There were plenty of Latina actresses. Just like Hollywood only hiring white people to play Latin roles!!! The Latin community should be upset about it! And protest Hollywood because it’s no different today! Hollywood is more of a white and black community and leave out the majority of people in California – latinos who have great actors.

    • Ribb Rotgut

      Maybe she was the best actress who auditioned for the role.

      “Just like Hollywood only hiring white people to play Latin roles!!!”

      Oh yeah, they nevvvver hire Latinos. Ever.

  • Ribb Rotgut

    If she was the strongest person who auditioned for the role, and obviously she was awesome, then “social justice” should take a back seat.

    It looks like the remake of Rocky Horror made this mistake when they cast Laverne Cox as Dr Frank-n-Furter.

  • Rob Kester

    She did an awesome job. If it wasn’t for this article I wouldn’t have known otherwise.

  • Michael

    The Major in the anime was Japanese??? MIND. BLOWN. All this time I thought she was a robot that looked like a white woman but was given a Japanese name because she was made in Japan. See, I don’t live in South Korea or Arizona but I drive a Hyundai Tucson, so the name argument means very little to me…

    • Motoko Kusanagi is a Japanese cyborg. Has been since 1995 or so…

  • KL

    The reason a white actor can play other races is the same reason how white characters often switch races. Then again…what is Latino anyway? Don’t they trace tgeir ancestry back to Europe?

  • ThomasER916

    Oy vey goyim! Jenette Goldstein is a white racist goy! She’s not a chosenite.

  • mustdisqus

    Regarding Ghost In The Shell, the clue is in the robot’s surname. It’s japanese, for ‘grass cutter’ ie a sword, but as the original was an animation, I don’t think it’s a big deal. The real issue will be as to why the movie was so average and not as good as the fans wanted, as with every other rehash or remake (what was that? it’s a ‘sequel?’ don’t kid yourself)

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This Week in Horror - June 12, 2017 - Starship Troopers, Godzi...

An animated Starship Troopers movie is coming to theaters, Godzilla vs. King Kong has its director, and more details emerge about Jeepers Creepers 3. It's This Week in Horror with Whitney Moore!

Posted by Bloody-Disgusting on Monday, June 12, 2017

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