Richard Chew, Academy winner for editing Star Wars with Paul Hirsch and Marcia Lucas back in 1977, had a conversation at the American Cinema Editors’ EditFest L.A. with The Hollywood Reporter.
In that talk, Chew, who was born from Chinese immigrant parents in L.A, talked about why he decided to join the film industry.
“To be able to tell the story of people that the majority might feel are ‘the others.’ I always hated the notion of the ‘they.’ I wanted to work in film so I could tell the stories of those people.”
To him, and so many others, Hollywood has still a long way to go talking about representation.
“I find that there’s still a long way to go. In some pictures in Hollywood today we are trying to overcompensate, perhaps, maybe for instance by making African Americans as victims. [Instead, I’d like to see more films that] show that they initiate action—like Hidden Figures.”
Having POC in a film doesn’t equal representation.
“Just because the actor has dark skin, doesn’t mean that we’ve found equality in terms of portrayals. The characters have to be allowed to live out a full life. They have to be portrayed in the same way — with a sense of humour and a sense of purpose. We see so many different shades of Americans these days, coming from different cultural and religious backgrounds. We have to acknowledge that in that fabric everyone is contributing to what America has become. It’s not the America of the ‘50s that I grew up in.”
That’s why he chose to work in his current project, The Public.
“The drama centres around a group of homeless people in Cincinnati’s public library and they decide to have a non-violent protest against the lack of housing for the homeless. I was drawn to that because there’s voice given to the homeless that doesn’t paint them in an idealistic manner or as a stereotype. They are not just victims, they perpetrate action.”
Although things seem like they are starting to change, with movies like Hidden Figures, Girls Trip, Rouge One a Star Wars Story, … and the upcoming Black Panther, A Wrinkle in Time, Coco, … there’s still so much representation missing, we cannot say “we’re done”. Let’s start hoping that all of us who seek representation in the media are going to be able to change things in the near future.
What do you think about this news? Which movies/characters/actors would you like to see?
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Source: The Hollywood Reporter