With all the flap that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have caused in India lately, it's been easy to forget that they are there to make a movie – and Angelina Jolie seems to be determined to make sure nobody forgets that.
The first pictures from the Indian set of A Mighty Heart have been released and they seem to show Angelina Jolie playing murdered journalist Daniel Pearl's widow Mariane while being blacked-up to the gills. And now there's a big fuss about whether or not the role should have been given to a biracial actor instead of the producer's decidedly un-biracial girlfriend. And the fact that one scene in A Mighty Heart shows Angelina Jolie wearing a top hat and a bone through her nose eating a watermelon and cooking up an 18th century colonial explorer in a huge metal pot over a fire while singing My Good Lord Done Been Here just exacerbates these claims, if anything.
When Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie travel, they really know how to make their mark. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie left Paris worrying about how much it smelt like cabbages, they sort of annoyed Graham Norton a bit when they left England and after giving birth to Shiloh Nouvel in Namibia, all the country could do in Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's absence was cook a lot of meat. And now they're in India, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie seem to be trying to beat their personal best of whipping up enormous media frenzies.
Already since Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie arrived in India there have been claims of assault from photographers, and now Angelina Jolie's appearance has caused even more of a stir. She's starring as Mariane Pearl in an adaptation of her book A Mighty Heart – but it's just been realised that Angelina Jolie and Mariane Pearl aren't, well, they aren't the same race. And pictures of Angelina Jolie walking around all blacked up has led to all sorts of trouble, as This Is London reports:
Some black campaign groups say it amounts to a "whitewash" – because Mrs Pearl is mixed race. One website, blacklooks.org, claims: "It is 2006 and I had assumed that the days when white actors took on roles of black people had long passed away. Another blogger adds: "This is just another example of the white washing of history. There are mixed/black women actresses who could have done a damn good job in this role. You can't tell me that Halle Berry, Judy Reyes or other women of African descent wouldn't have been a better choice."
However, these people are missing the bigger picture; Mariane Pearl has already given Angelina Jolie her blessing and also – people! – the first person lined up to play Mariane Pearl was Jennifer Aniston, the whitest woman in the world. Imagine what Jennifer Aniston would have looked like plodding around India in a pregnant suit with her face blacked up, and tell us that would have been better than Angelina Jolie.
Plus this resurgence of white actors blacking up to play roles of different races means that our script for a Martin Luther King biopic starring Rick Moranis might finally get that greenlight we've been waiting for.
Image – Associated Press
[story by Stuart Heritage]