I personally have never been a Tim Burton fan but that doesn’t mean I don’t think he is a great film maker or director. Years ago during Beetle Juice and Batman, I noticed the lack of non-pale ghostly looking folks in his films. So as a consumer, I had no problem keeping my dollars and my film viewing time to myself and not giving Mr. Burton my time. I’m only one dude so who cares?
Well, obviously I’m not the only observer who noticed the lack of hue in Mr. Burton’s films. In the 20 plus films Burton has directed, only 3 have featured men of color; Billy D Williams in Batman, Michael Clarke Duncan in Planet of the Apes and Samuel L Jackson in his current film Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
When interviewed by Bustle about his lack of film diversity, Burton stated;
“Nowadays, people are talking about it more. Things either call for things, or they don’t. I remember back when I was a child watching The Brady Bunch and they started to get all politically correct. Like, OK, let’s have an Asian child and a black. I used to get more offended by that than just … I grew up watching blaxploitation movies, right? And I said, that’s great. I didn’t go like, OK, there should be more white people in these movies.”
Twitter reaction was swift.
I get it, a film based on a story set in England where there are few non-white people would have few (if any) non-white people but what about all his other fantasy sci-fi films? And Burton aren’t in a class by themselves. Many fantasy science fiction films either don’t feature or feature very few people of color making is seem like in the film makers minds, “people of color don’t exist in the future”. Maybe there was some sort of virus that wiped out the majority of melanated folks on the planet and the future events in the films pick up after. BUT things are continuing to change if only you use the Marvel / Disney universe big screen material as an example.
For his reaction Samuel L Jackson stated, “I had to go back in my head and go, how many black characters have been in Tim Burton movies? And I may have been the first, I don’t know… I don’t think it’s any fault of his or his method of storytelling, it’s just how it’s played out. Tim’s a really great guy.”
Well what do you think about Burton’s response and also the lack of diversity in fantasy science fiction films?