If you weren’t already annoyed enough with the Jonathan Liebesman-directed, Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, you will be now. It’s been confirmed a white actor will play the role of Shredder.
It’s not the first time it’s happened in Hollywood, particularly with important Asian characters, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Actor William Fichtner, previously in an unknown role in TMNT, has revealed he’s playing Shredder. He spoke to HuffPost TV Canada:
I play Shredder. It is cool. It’s one of those things that came along where I thought, “Really? Let me think about this for a minute.” [Laughs] Then I was like, “Yeah, OK, this sounds like a journey.” I’m very glad that it worked out, I’m really glad that I’m doing it.
Perhaps Fichtner should have thought about taking the job for more than just a minute and considered it might not sound all that great to say he’s playing a classically Asian character. It’s a shame really, I love Fichtner’s work, I think he’s a fantastic actor and while some might say, “Isn’t that all that matters?” in an acting gig, I’d have to answer, “No, representation matters.”
Add this to Alan Ritchson, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, and Noel Fisher, four white men playing the Ninja Turtles, as well as Danny Woodburn as Splinter and Megan Fox as April, and you’ve got a resoundingly one-note cast as far as race is concerned. Although just recently we were praising the film for adding Whoopi Goldberg in what appears to be not only a racebent, but a genderswap role as well.
What are your thoughts on a white Shredder?