Critic Accuses Prince of Persia of "Whitewashing"

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A lot of people seem to be forgetting that the original Persians were in fact Caucasian.

So actually, it makes perfect sense to cast a white actor as the Prince.

As a matter of fact, current Persians are Caucasian, as well. Same with the Arabs and the Indians, even though they've got a bit more melanin. A good amount of Latinos, too... Really, Caucasian is an extremely broad classification which is not, as some people in this board might possibly think, equivalent to WASP. I mean, check out President Ahmadinejad: image

And Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: image

They both look pretty white to me.

So.... should we throw a fit every time they cast a guy of Italian decent to play a Cuban or viceversa? They do this stuff all the time. What about a guy named 'pitt' playing an irish traveler?

As far as A:tLAb goes most of the characters I perceived as asian. But Aang definitely looked 'white' to me and Sokka and Katara had blue eyes and dark skin... so I'm not sure if there IS a real world race that is the same.

He looks like the Prince tho, so I don't care.

"The main character should be Persian"

You mean Iranian, right? Before you call someone racist you should get the name of the country correct, especially since, as he says, it's 2010.


Excuse me? I've played the game, I know my stuff, it's one of my favourite games actually. Regardless of his accent he's still Persian, hence the title and hence the reason Jake isn't the right guy.

But that's far from my biggest problem with this film.

You obviously don't know your stuff that well. First, the Prince's voice actor isn't Persian either. Second, the Prince of Persia games aint exactly a bastion of cultural accuracy. Case in point: the architecture in it is all Turkish, not Persian...

You want to re-think your argument here, man?

Dude, in the original game he was white and with BLOND hair. I thought he looked quite authentically Persian(ish) personally. What's more I feckin' LOVED his accent.

Rarely do actors actually match up to the role's race. Just look at Lord of the Rings! There wasn't a single hobbit, elf, or dwarf cast in that movie. Curse you, Peter Jackson, you racist asshole!

my hopes for The Last Airbender were crushed by the casting, not too particular on the ethnicity, but please please at least put someone who looks 'right' or can at least act well. Anyone from the sin against nature should not be starring in something the could actually be good (been?- don't want to use the wrong tense since technically it has not been ruined yet).

Maybe they picked him because HE LOOKS LIKE THE PRINCE OF PERSIA. People need to stop whining about this kind of stuff.


Wait... are you ACTUALLY saying that Samuel L Jackson in the Iron Man films is based... OFF HIMSELF!?!?

I'm not "actually" saying this, that's just the case for Ultimate Nick Fury, which is the basis for the film version.

His complaint would only have merit if the Prince was based on an actual historical character who was in fact Middle-Eastern. Since it's entirely fictional, however, it seems pointless to complain about it not being PC, especially since historically it was not uncommon for the ruling class of a country to be ethnically different from their subjects - look at Egypt, which was ruled at various points by Egyptians, Nubians and later by Ptolemaic Greeks.


Andy Chalk:

While there's no doubt some merit to the complaint, I think it's also fair to suggest that Gyllenhaal was given the role in large part because he's a known commodity who can carry a summer blockbuster.

What? Jake isn't known at all, he's only been a supporting actor in a few movies. He's never carried a lead role in a significant movie, let alone a summer blockbuster.

Dude. Donnie Darko, Jarhead, Brokeback Mountain, Zodiac, The Day after Tomorrow. That's five I count.

Methinks he doth protest too much.

Although, if that's his major complaint, must be a pretty kick ass movie though. And Jake G ain't too bad on the eyes.

I don't care much for the ethnicity of the actor as long as it doesn't make them stand from the setting because of it.

I do imagine there is a bit of racism on the part of the producers or casting crew, but it more likely comes down to choosing the best actor for the job. If they want to make a successful movie, they aren't going to limit the casting criteria for the main character based on ethnicity. That would be racist.

Wow, someone of other origin playing a character in a film? You mean, like pretty much every film? I don't recall Sherlock Holmes or Dr. Watson being Americans, yet the film had Americans.

Do they realise that films are fictional and blockbuster casts are based on acting skill/popularity ratings?

Eldritch Warlord:

Ancient Persians (and the Prince of Persia games are set in ancient Persia) were pale-skinned. I'm not talking about playing the games and portraying them, I'm talking about the fact that it would not be correct to get a modern "Persian" to play an ancient Persian. It is in fact more historically accurate to get a dark-haired European with a light tan to play an ancient Persian.

The games knew this too. Really casting Ghyllenhaal was quite smart of them, the only thing that could make him fit the role better ethnically is having a sharper nose.


Edit: Civ 4's Persian had white skin, blue eyes and brown hair... Argument over!

Yeah, he's right. Hollywood way behind in that thing and it always turns out to be profitable because the average white moviegoer doesn't want to watch a movie that doesn't star a white, or at least whitish, person, or a famous/stereotypical black person.

At least it's not as bad as the original game, in which the titular prince had milky white skin, blonde hair, and white pajamas.

This man obviously doesn't know about the modern media premise. Any non-white, non-english/american accented person is a terrorist. Any white's with a russian accent and or background are also terrorists. pretty simple concept really.

Wasn't the original protagonist of the 3d games a brown dude with an american accent?

Baron Von Evil Satan:
This man obviously doesn't know about the modern media premise. Any non-white, non-english/american accented person is a terrorist. Any white's with a russian accent and or background are also terrorists. pretty simple concept really.

that is the rule of movies...

Well, the original Prince of Persia from the first MS-DOS game was white and blonde, so there.

This is more or less the debate-ender. The original Prince was white, the revised prince is arguably no more tan than the actor chosen. The choice fits. For all other arguments, see my previous post comments.

Has anybody ever HEARD of ... A PERSIAN? Yes, yes, I know--Xerxes and all that--but I mean in the modern day world? You know, given that Persia is currently known as Iran and the two cultures aren't really the same? Because one of them is DEAD? This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. This is like bitching about the guy who played King Leonidas in 300 not really being a Spartan and saying they should've found a Spartan actor.

Bad example, as Sparta still exists, but yes you make a very good point. Which is also probably why nobody protested when "The Rock" played an Acadian in The Scorpion King.

Legitimate complaints, except the part where white people can only enjoy movies cast with white people. That part is just ludicrously innacurate.

However, even if the complaints are legit, I do not see the reason to get so bent out of shape about it. Minor problems in my opinion.

The colour of the Prince's skin is the least of this movie's faults. If he was Persian then they'd complain that they made him look like a giant douche.

For the information of the author: Iranians are white.

Even though, "white" is neither a race nor an ethnicity, but it's slang. More scientifically speaking, we should say Iranians are Caucasian.

Just some plain facts: When Persians were running Empires and cultivating the basis of the modern civilization, the Europeans were walking half naked in Europe and forget about the America. It didn't even exist.

Let's ask what is white and who is white? The answer to the question is the function of who are you asking the question from. If you would have asked a sixteenth century European settler, he/she might have said Angelo-Saxons, a self portray of their own ethnicity only (a self-centered view).

In the 19th and early 20th century America, most of the people who are called "white" today were considered non-whites. Among this group are the Irish, Italians, Greeks, East Euros, and the Jews. But after WWII, all of a sudden all these people were assimilated into the main stream US and almost overnight were labeled as Whites.

Now the same people who were not considered white just 50 years ago are telling some other immigrants that they are not white. My advice to you would be: just wait another 50 years when the Latinos and even Phillipinos would be called White! It is already happening: look at their children.

Wow, someone's a little late to the "but he's white" party. Most people got their flaming about that done and over with when it was first being talked about, not two days before the movie is released.

that's all I've gotta say to this guy
(aside from "hmm look at the source material" that is)

I'm not too upset with it, but I do find it a bit annoying. I mean there are a lot of actors out there, you couldn't find one that at least looked slightly arabic? Jake's name alone will probably bring in plenty of money though, and he's not a bad actor (not great, but certainly not bad). This certainly isn't as bad as when hollywood bot John Wayne to play Genghis Khan (and the movie sucked ass too).

Hurr Durr Derp:

If you know The Last Airbender, you should know Zuko isn't really the bad guy, but rather the abused child prodigy who eventually is instrumental in overturning the rule of the real bad guy.

I do find it a little odd to say that The Last Airbender is really Asian. Sure, they incorporate a lot of martial arts and at times Asian architecture and garb, but I'm pretty sure they're supposed to be on a completely different world. Look on the map: Asia wouldn't be there.

It's sort of a subtle form of racism that a person needs to constantly associate characters with an ethnic group in order to fit them into boxes where they've judged them.

It's also annoying when developers act like an IP is improved when you take it from cartoon to live action. Cartoons regularly kick reality's ass. They're probably just in it for the cash grab.

Yes in a way...[Samuel L. Jackson] is based off himself [when he plays Nick Fury]... hes that badass

I could see the talent scout now:


Isn't the Prince white in the games?

Basically. Jake looks a lot like the Prince from the box art if you ask me.

I don't see why this would come as a surprise to anyone. Western culture painted Jesus white and has run with the idea that the familiar is more palatable ever since.

Since the dawn of theater we have had actors playing the role of a character that is a different race from the actor. Hell for the longest time men played all the women parts in plays. From a white person playing Othello, to Jake whateverhall playing the Prince, this is nothing uncommon. Is Iron Man "blackwashing" because they cast Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury?

I do think it's a little crap that they didn't get someone a little more Persian.

No one ever complains about Blackwashing.. Like when Samuel L. Jackson was cast as Nick Fury?

Actually, they did.

And you're complaining about it right now.

Maybe it's supposed to be the prince of Persia post-occupation.

I'm guessing this guy had a HUGE problem with Robert Downey Jr. playing a black man in Tropic Thunder.

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