Casting Director Dismissed From ‘Hobbit’By DAVE ITZKOFF
You’d think a movie project whose roster of characters runs from dwarves to dragons would need to be as inclusive as possible in its casting. But on Monday a casting agent was let go from Peter Jackson’s planned film adaptations of“The Hobbit,” after placing newspaper advertisements seeking extras with “light skin tones” and a prospective performer said she was told she was too dark to appear in the movies, Agence France-Presse reported.
A spokesman for Wingnut Films, the production company of Mr. Jackson, the “Hobbit” producer and director, told Agence France-Presse that the casting director, who was not named, was not directed by the company to make these restrictions. “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.” In addition to an ad that appeared in The Bay of Plenty Times, a regional New Zealand newspaper, Naz Humphreys, an actor who attended a casting meeting, told The Waikato Times, “The casting manager basically said they weren’t having anybody who wasn’t pale-skinned."
This story made me look for the composition of the Fellowship of the Ring, as imagined by Peter Jackson--and indeed, "light skin tones" abound: