Hollywood has made some pretty progressive strides in the last few years. The wage gap between actors and actresses is shrinking, and with films like Moonlight taking home the Oscar, it would appear to be a golden age of fairness and equality in tinsel town. But in the battle for representation on the silver screen, one group remains tragically underrepresented: the deceased.
It’s almost 2018. It’s long past time we put an end to this culture of living supremacy.
That’s why Carrie Fisher’s performance in Star Wars: The Last Jedi is so important for this day and age. Finally, audiences will see a strong, confident dead person, a woman no less, in a starring role.
The dead have gone tragically underrepresented in Hollywood for decades, and most of the representations we do have are wildly problematic. Take Paul Walker, for instance. His final appearance in Furious 7 involved his character literally driving a car off into the sunset. Stereotype, much?
And if that isn’t bad enough, dead characters (zombies, vampires, etc.) are usually depicted by living actors, who have no idea what it’s like to be a dead person in America. No wonder the performances are so shallow.
The living have erased the dead through media for too long. Enough is enough.
We can only hope that this triumphant performance from Carrie Fisher will usher in a lasting change to the film and television industry, and that this role won’t be just another flash in the pan for the dead. Time and time again, dead actors have appeared in brilliant films, only to see their careers dry up shortly afterward. It took more than a decade for Carrie’s co-star Peter Cushing to find another role after his death in 1994. Never again.
And don’t even get me started on award shows.
Sure, Heath Ledger won an Academy Award for his performance in The Dark Knight, but what about Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, huh? Where’s the Oscar for Robin Williams in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb? Are we really OK with denying legendary actors the Academy Award just because they happen to be dead and just because their final performances happened to be in movies that were mediocre at best?
When will the deceased see their own role models depicted in mainstream film, and see the actors awarded for their efforts?
Living allies should root for that day to come.