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Aziz Ansari talks turning down Transformers & racial diversity in Hollywood

10.26.2015

People are often afraid to get their hands dirty talking about real issues. They don't want to say anything that might offend someone else or that might be misconstrued as negative, so they walk a fine line in order to make sure they play it safe and bring no extra criticism onto their careers. Comedians don't give a shit though. They are brutally honest all the time, speaking truth to power and crossing boundaries others don't want to get into.

While speaking during a Q&A at EW Fest to promote his new Netflix series MASTER OF NONE, Aziz Ansari got into the way racial diversity is or isn't represented on the screen in most Hollywood productions, be it film or television. While some want to pretend this isn't a thing, leave it to someone who has seen opportunities not present themselves for a minority to drop some knowledge on you.

That’s a real thing that happens. When they cast these shows, they’re like, 'We already have our minority guy or our minority girl.' There would never be two Indian people in one show. With Asian people, there can be one, but there can't be two. Black people, there can be two, but there can't be three because then it becomes a black show. Gay people, there can be two; women, there can be two; but Asian people, Indian people, there can be one but there can't be two.

That feeds right into why he created MASTER OF NONE - if no one will cast you in any type of meaningful role, because you're not the default, you have no choice but to create the content yourself.

Look, if you’re a minority actor, no one would have wrote this show for you. No one would have been like, Hey, how about we get Aziz to do this ten-episode show and have play this thoughtful character. At best, they would just write something that’s a character based on the qualities people have seen already, like Tom [Haverford].

Now how does this all circle back to TRANSFORMERS?

He was offered a role in Michael Bay's initial TRANSFORMERS film. However, it wasn't anything glorious. He wasn't going to be battling alongside Optimus Prime or serving as the witty comic relief. Instead he was going to be playing into a stereotype, which Ansari couldn't get behind.

It was a role for, like, a call-center guy who has an accent. And I was like, 'No, I’m not doing it.' And then [friend and co-star] Ravi [Patel] was like, 'I’ll do it.' And Ravi did it and made some decent money. And I don’t have anything against someone who does the accent. I understand. You got to work, and some people don’t think it’s a problem.

A paycheck is a paycheck for some, and Ansari is right. You can't fault those who want to work and pay their bills. But, in the larger scheme of how Hollywood works, when these are the only roles that some films offer for people of color, that's not a good sign.

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Source: Vulture

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4:38PM on 10/27/2015
I hate his stupid fucking meerkat-looking face.
I hate his stupid fucking meerkat-looking face.
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12:21PM on 10/27/2015

It's not racist, its business

Companies invest in their demographic, and market to their audience based on what they want. People in North America want what they can relate too. Sorry if the word minority means somethi else to you. But no company is going to invest millions based on a minority ( the smaller number or part, especially a number less then half) audience. This is how every company works, they do their research and design their product around what the masses want.

If you want an Asian character based
Companies invest in their demographic, and market to their audience based on what they want. People in North America want what they can relate too. Sorry if the word minority means somethi else to you. But no company is going to invest millions based on a minority ( the smaller number or part, especially a number less then half) audience. This is how every company works, they do their research and design their product around what the masses want.

If you want an Asian character based show and to star in it.. Go to where the majority of Asians live. I'm sure there aren't white actors or black actors upset cause they aren't getting rolls in parts of the Asian content. I can imagine how the media would address that issue over there lol
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12:17AM on 10/27/2015
Actually what he's doing with his show ironically enough is what makes America great. If you don't like what the choices are you stop complaining and then you make it yourself.
Actually what he's doing with his show ironically enough is what makes America great. If you don't like what the choices are you stop complaining and then you make it yourself.
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8:00PM on 10/26/2015
Oh boo fucking hoo poor little rich guy.
Oh boo fucking hoo poor little rich guy.
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