Casting agent dismissed from Peter Jackson's 'Hobbit'
November 30th, 2010
11:00 AM ET

Casting agent dismissed from Peter Jackson's 'Hobbit'

Apparently discrimination exists even in the world of men with furry feet.

A casting agent for the upcoming film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" was dismissed on Monday after placing advertisements calling for extras with "light skin tones," reports the New York Times.

According to the newspaper, one actress was turned away after being told she was too dark to appear in the film. “The casting manager basically said they weren’t having anybody who wasn’t pale-skinned,” she says.

But a spokesperson for "Hobbit" producer/director Peter Jackson's Wingnut Films has since made it clear that the company never intended the auditions to be restricted in terms of skin tone.

“No such instructions were given,” the spokesman said. “The crew member in question took it upon themselves to do that and it’s not something we instructed or condoned.”

The two-part "Hobbit" saga is set to begin shooting in February, with the first of the films set to hit theaters in 2012.

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soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. lknowledge

    I agree with you, Foren, SilverFox, & meep. but it is also sad, as when it was first announced, I can remember disappointment with each and every date it was pushed forward or back to. I still can't wait to see it!

    December 30, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joe

    When I watched The Lord of the Rings trilogy I remember seeing more than just Hobbits. In fact the Haradrim ( they rode the elephants ) were a race of darkskined people. I would assume anyone of any color cold play an Orc. Do I really need to continue!

    December 4, 2010 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. youdungoofed

    ive never seen a white Asian but that didnt stop the casting directors for LAst Airbender and DragonballZ casting white people to play Asian roles esp the lead roles hahahah oh the hypocrisy.

    December 1, 2010 at 3:58 am | Report abuse |
  4. Cieje Valentine

    I think the more pressing issue is how they plan to turn this ONE book into TWO films. Why not make it another flippin' TRILOGY?

    November 30, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. @George on behalf of Gandalf

    You sir, are quite the fool if you don't grasp sarcasm

    November 30, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. George

    "C'mon ya'll... This is just silly. Have you ever seen a ethnic hobbit? Didn't think so."

    Have you ever heard of an ethnic Airbender or a white person in the real life 21? No. Hobbit should be all white, and by the same token, 21 and the Last Airbender should be all Asian. The fact that the latter is not Asian tells us about the white privilege in society even today!

    November 30, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kimberley

    Sounds like there hanging this poor person who was doing there job out to dry!!! Shame on you Naz Humphreys and shame on you Hobbit production poeple!! Why cant Kiwis ever stand up for Kiwis!!! Stop giving in to everyone else!

    November 30, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Foren

    Let me be the one to say it: HOBBITS ARE WHITE GUYS WITH BIG HAIRY FEET.
    Like it or not, the person who got fired was right.
    Tolkien's books were meant to create a pretend-mythology for "Ancient" England.
    He did not write about an Ethiopian Aragorn, a Malaysian Gandalf, or a Pakistani Hobbit. It's supposed to be "Ancient English" mythology. From a time when the all the food and the music on the island sucked and all the inhabitants were rather pale pink.

    Do we complain about Bollywood films not having enough Swedish actors dancing around? Maybe we should.


    November 30, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Silverfox

      This is a storm in a tea cup but I am surprised how a variety of right wing crazies have jumped on the band wagon.

      The casting director did something illegal and against the law. It was NOT the requirement of the film directors or producers for hobbits to only be white.

      Why is this casting guy any different from any of us i.e. If I did anything illegal or inappropriate at work, I will get fired. He messed up and he is paying for it now.

      Its called CIVIL RIGHTS people, it stops people from discriminating against others and judging on their merits. WHY IS THAT SO BAD? Don't you want to live in a fair, equal and just society?

      Why should we support someone for just being a kiwi. He committed a crime by breaking a law and he got caught. Tough. Why are we expected to support such outdated practices like racism or bigotry.

      Next time he would think twice before saying something or doing something that is blatantly against the law.

      November 30, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • meep

      You do realize that casting directors are allowed to specify what sort of actors they're looking for in the casting call brief, right? And although it might have been smarter of the casting director to open up auditions to everyone and just picked the ones that fit the part to avoid scandals like this, she was just doing her job.

      The Hobbits are inspired by rural English folk. Of course they're going to be white. Tolkien's works draw largely from Anglo-Saxon culture and there's nothing wrong with the casting reflecting that. You wouldn't cast an Asian to be James Bond. You wouldn't cast a black guy to be Count Dracula. You wouldn't cast a white guy to be Krishna. And you wouldn't cast someone brown as a hobbit. I'm all for equality but it's idiotic to ignore cultural differences.

      I hope you realize you're not being "liberal" by supporting the termination of that crew member. You're just being ignorant.

      November 30, 2010 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Foren

      I think that, in a perfect world, the real question would be
      You'd think one of her friends would point out how pale white and furry the Hobbits look?

      Instead of firing the casting director, they should have spelled out the obvious:
      We're casting people who fit the bill. It's not meant to be racist or mean. Sorry if you took it that way. Your problem.

      But no, instead we've got people up in arms and screaming civil rights as if we were talking about Soweto in the Apartheid era or racial profiling in the US. We're talking about casting people to play chubby little hairy elves, folks.

      December 10, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Gandalf

    C'mon ya'll... This is just silly. Have you ever seen a ethnic hobbit? Didn't think so.

    November 30, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aragorn

      Dude, have you ever seen a hobbit outside of the cartoon version? Why can't there be black or Maori hobbits? I don't think Tolkien wrote "whites only" anywhere in the script.

      December 28, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. kiki

    Why does everything have to be about color. It should be about the acting ability not the color of the actors skin. The casting director should have gotten the boot.

    November 30, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • JAR

      See Last Airbender

      but I do understand what you're trying to point out

      December 1, 2010 at 4:03 am | Report abuse |

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