So here we are. The topic of diversity. Hot damn, this can be a heated topic. From the Sad Puppies movement to Matt Damon’s comments about diversity on Green Light, this topic – no matter how delicately one attempts to tread these waters, someone is going to blow a gasket – is a subject of unbridled controversy.
Some people feel diversity for the sake of diversity is a cop-out; this seems to be prevalent in the job market. This includes film, but the sentiment also extends to other domains, such as literature. Chuck Wendig has become a magnet of anti-homosexual animosity because he dared include a gay character in a Star Wars novel. The complainers seem to think he has some agenda to push. It doesn’t even occur to them that maybe he fucking wanted a gay character in the book. I can’t wait to see what they think about Sulu being gay in some of the upcoming Star Trek material.
Regardless of what your views are, my personal reasoning for wanting diversity in my films is simple. It’s also the only reason I need:
I want to.
I love variety. Film is a visual medium. I take great pride in every visual detail that goes into any film project I’m involved in. Props, wardrobe, sets, logos, promotional materials, locations, everything. But this also includes the actors. There are 7.4 billion people on this planet. Even without clothing, everyone looks different. Body types, bone structure, hair and eye and skin tone, hairstyle, features like freckles and scars and tattoos, height, everything. And this doesn’t even begin to cover the possibilities that come with varying social and cultural influences. The way people dress and talk and behave is also as diverse as everything else.
Why would I not want as much of that as I can get my hands on? Why would I only want the same types of people involved in my projects? That would be asinine. People are amazing, fascinating, beautiful. They are interesting to look at. They are wonderful to get to know. They are compelling in a myriad of ways. I’m of the opinion that every type of person ought to be celebrated. Some folks love all kinds of music, some all kinds of food. I happen to love all kinds of people. And I want them in my films.
I want you in my films, because you are a work of art. Some people may look at that and come away with the impression that I want to exploit people for their look or their personality or their mannerisms – whatever, dude. I look at it as wanting to include everyone. Do I want my films to succeed? Absolutely. Do I want them to succeed at the expense of everyone else involved? Hell no. If I can help other people succeed at the same time, or even in lieu of my own success, I consider that a win.
And if I ever ask you to be in a film and it seems like I’m excited because you’re not like me, I hope you take that as a compliment. Because it is intended to be. I’m not doing it because I think “it’s only fair.” I’m doing it because I think you’re fucking awesome.