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Most Offensive and Controversial Roles in Hollywood Movies

Acting in films is not always fun for the actors and actresses. As actors and celebrities who get the spotlight in everything that they are doing, they have to keep themselves relevant. Some roles that these actors are taking seem a little bit too risky for some people not to criticize. Their appearances are even considered controversial or at times offensive. From the conflicts about race, gender, and dentity: those are some serious and sensitive topics that many filmmakers sometimes forget. In consequence, many of the actors and actresses receive backlash for their roles.

In this list, we are summarizing some roles in movies that are considered to be very offensive and controversial by critics and the public.

1. Ben Affleck – Argo

Ben Affleck in Argo

Argo’s film is based on the true story of CIA agent Tony Mendez and his undercover mission to save American citizens from the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. Ben Affleck’s controversy because he does not have Hispanic blood like the character he played.
One artist who has spoken out about racism in the film ‘Argo’ is an artist of Latin descent, Edward James Olmos. He opened his voice about the relationship between the political climate and the issue of racism.

Olmos opens his voice, one of the references in the film ‘Argo’, starring and directed by Ben Affleck.

In the film, Olmos questions the reason why the character is not played by a Mexican-blooded actor, even though the main role he plays is a Mexican-American.

“When Hollywood made a film about Latin, say like Tony Mendez in ‘Argo’, Ben Affleck shouldn’t play it. He is a director, he should hook Michael Pena or Andy Garcia,” said Olmos as reported by Deadline.

The Argo film tells the true story of a CIA agent named Tony Mendez who is a Mexican-American who pretends to be a Hollywood film producer. Tony Mendez argues that searching for a filming location in Iran has the goal of rescuing six US hostages there in the 1979 crisis. Ben Affleck, who played Tony Mendez in the film, made Olmos react. According to him, the issue of racism is still happening today.

Regarding that, Ben Affleck also opened his voice. He said that there should not be a problem.

“You know, I asked Tony Mendez’s approval to play him. And Tony basically doesn’t have a Latin / Spanish accent,” said Ben Affleck.

2. Emma Stone – Aloha

Emma Stone in ‘Aloha’

In the film Aloha (2015), Emma Stone plays Allison Ng, a character who comes from Hawaii and has Asian blood. Like Ben Affleck, he said that his role in films should not be considered problematic because of differences in cultural backgrounds.

“This is a very important conversation. The character should not look like a quarter Hawaiian and a quarter Chinese background,” he said in a interview in Australia.

In the film, Emma plays Captain Allison Ng, whose character is said to have some Asian and Hawaiian blood. Crowe said the character was adapted from a real-life, red-haired woman from Hawaii trying to explain her culture.

“Is this story at some point painful is, of course, a topic of much discussion,” he added.

Crowe claims to have learned enough for his future work. But at the same time, he also said that he was proud to have employed many crews from various backgrounds. There are Asia, America, to Hawaii.

Crowe also regretted that many viewers gave bad comments before watching and observing the story in the film ‘Aloha’.

3. Tilda Swinton – Doctor Strange

Tilda Swinton in Doctor Strange

The Doctor Strange film is based on the Marvel comic strip of the same name, and in the comics, the Ancient One character is actually depicted by an Asian man. The Ancient One was Doctor Strange’s mentor and was considered the Sorcerer Supreme. And the election of Tilda Swinton is considered not in accordance with the comic description about the Ancient One.

Responding to the controversy that led to him, Tilda Swinton responded with a big heart.

“I think when people see this film, they will see that this film comes from a very diverse place, in many different ways. Maybe the misconceptions surrounding this film have become an opportunity for those who disagree to be heard, and I’m not against it at all,” said the actress.


4. Halle Berry

Halle Berry arrives for the Special Screening Of Lionsgate’s “John Wick: Chapter 3

Halle Berry was chosen to portray the character of a transgender man in an untitled film. The news provoked a scathing response from many parties, one of which was the LGBT organization.

Halle Berry had survived the criticism he received. But in the end, he decided not to continue with the offer.

“I shouldn’t have considered this role, and the transgender community should have the opportunity to tell their own story,” he said in a statement he tweeted.

On the same day, Berry’s apology was later responded to by the LGBTQ rights organization via Twitter. They were grateful that the actress was willing to listen to the concerns of LGBT people.

“People with great influence should do the same as Halle Berry. A good start is to watch Disclosure and learn about transgender representation in the media,” the organization said on Twitter.

5. Julianne Moore – The Kids Are All Right

Annette Benning and Julianne Moore played lesbian parents in ‘The Kids Are All Right’

In the 2010 film The Kids Are All Right, Julianne Moore played Jules, a lesbian and parent. His gender expression, which he criticized in a different life, did not match the character he played. Since then, Julianne Moore has considered similar characters in the future that will be offered to her.

“When I played this role, I looked back. Will this role be accepted by many people? Because I think we need to provide real representation to many people out there,” he said.

In the film, he collided acting with Mark Ruffalo as well as the late actor Eddie Hassell. The film was nominated for Best Picture at the 2011 Oscars.

6. Scarlett Johansson – Ghost in The Shell

Scarlett Johansson plays the role of Motoko Kusanagi in ‘Ghost in the Shell’

The film Ghost in The Shell is based on an anime series starring a Japanese woman, Motoko Kusanagi. The election of Scarlett Johansson also caused the debate to play the character of Major Mira Killian.

The presence of Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell continues to create controversy. Scarlett Johansson, a white Hollywood actress is considered unsuitable for playing the main character Motoko Kusanagi who sounds very thick with Japanese culture.

Not only from Ghost in the Shell fans, but this harsh criticism also came out of the big media Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA). Scarlett Johansson is considered a liar, considering his interview some time ago.

When interviewed by Good Morning America, Scarlett Johansson once said, “I will not play a character from another race,” FoxNews proclaimed.

In fact, Scarlett Johansson played a female character who was supposed to be depicted as coming from Asia. This was underlined by Robert Chan, CEO of MANAA, who stated, “we do not see the similarity between Scarlett Johansson and her identity as a human being in that character.”

The appearance of Scarlett Johansson was very unfortunate by MANAA as if Asian artists could not portray the character Motoko Kusanagi well.

He continued, “Hollywood always provides a defense. By cooperating with artists who are considered well-known will be able to boost the popularity of the film. It’s sad.”

However, the presence of Scarlett Johansson actually received praise from Mamoru Oshii, the director of the first anime film released in 1995. According to Oshii, Johansson’s appearance as the main character in the Hollywood version exceeded his expectations.

“The Major (the main character played by Johansson) is a cyborg and his overall physical form is considered one. The name ‘Motoko Kusanagi’ and his current body are neither his real name nor his real body, so there is no basis for saying that an Asian actress should play him. if his real body (let’s pretend such a thing exists) was Japanese, it would still be applied. I think this character is going through a very unique experience because he has a human brain in a complete machine body. He is basically anonymous,” he said in response to the criticism he received. Scarlett Johannson added that he basically never tried to play a character from a certain race.

7. Anne Hathaway – The Witches

Anne Hathaway in ‘The Witches’

Anne Hathaway lined up as a witch in the film adaptation of the children’s novel, Roald Dahl. This film is controversial because it shows the character of a witch who is physically imperfect because it only has four fingers.

Anne Hathaway emphasized that she was unaware of the impact her character portrayals had on some audiences. “As someone who truly believes in inclusiveness and truly hates cruelty, I owe all of you an apology for the pain it has caused. I apologize,” he said in a recent statement.

He also encouraged his fans to support the campaign to raise awareness for individuals to respond to physical differences in some people. The campaign is accompanied by the hashtag #NotAWitch and was initiated by the Lucky Fin Project organization.


Written By

A writer, a thinker, a voice actor, and a movie/book enthusiast. Here Tony shares his love and excitement for pop culture. You can reach out to him on Facebook.

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